Tie down straps breaking?

I would be curious to know if any one has had one of the better brands like Thule, Yakima, NRS, etc tie down straps break.

I have probably a dozen sets, and I have one Yakima set that is about twenty years old that is getting a little raggy along the edges.

A bunch of different sizes are a must with me since I not only use them on our canoe/kayaks, but on lumber, piping and everything else that is too long for the truck

I lubricate the camlocks and inspect them so I don’t worry about them, but I was wondering if anyone ever had one where the strap broke?



Nope not yet
I had one come loose that just about killed me. Well, I didn’t get hurt but just about died from heart failure when I looked in the side view mirror and saw the canoe fall from the trailer and fold. Never had one break though.

Webbing usually won’t break
It’s the stitches that come out around the buckles. Good 1" flat webbing for boats should have a test break strength of around at least 1200 lbs and some is even much stronger. There are some cheap straps out there that I wouldn’t trust. But that said, a nylon strap that is under tension will cut like butter if it comes in contact with anything sharp.

And no I never had one break.

Yup, Stitching…
checking the straps, I found the stitching by the buckle on one of my Thule straps fraying/seperating. Tricky since this area is normally hidden by the rubber buckle cover. I have no doubt that the frayed stitching will let go at some point. Good thing I check. I stitched it back with several runs of the sewing machine.


Straps are cheap…
… kayaks and racks are expensive. Worse, the consequences of a failure are potentially disastrous, possbily even threatening lives on the road.

So, a formal (or informal) risk analysis would certainly conclude that you should replace straps at even the slightest sign of degradation. I appreciate frugality, but there are much more important places to put ones energy than nursing along old straps to save $10-$15.

I replace them when there is any significant fraying (like 1/8"). I also carry a spare set in case something happens during a trip to mine or someone else’s.

Actually, it’s even cheaper if you buy from a place like strapworks (http://www.strapworks.com/camstraps1.html) where a pair of 1", 10’ cam-buckle straps goes for $7.00-8.00.


They degrade in the sun, so if you leave
your boats on the vehicle, they will probably wear out faster.

Good tip on checking stitches. Also, check springs on buckles/cams if you have that type. We wrap and tie the end of the strap so that if the fastener fails, the strap holds.

replace them,UV degradation. I was using it in a non-tie down application and it ripped in my hand.

One thing to be aware of with cam/buckle
Make sure you squeeze the cams open when sliding the strap through. I used to feed the strap into the buckle, then let it spring shut, and pull the strap through. Eventually, the little grippers on the cam were wearing down and losing gripping power.

20 yrs call it good an dump it you got your money out of them trash them if there that old

Had a one year old Yakima strap
that got a gash halfway through somehow. Must have come in contact with something pretty sharp. I often double strap when I’m going on the freeway, and use bow and stern lines.

Old Yakima Strap
I had an ~20 yr old Yakima buckle vanish at highway speed last year. I was using the strap as a bow tie down. The stiching and the loop were still fine on the strap, but all of the metal buckle was gone. Scared the ____ out of me when it broke!