Tie-downs, some folks just want to go..

without them.



A Few Extra Minutes…
…is not too much to ask. Equipment failures happen. Welds weaken. Crap happens. A few moments may save someones life?

some lessons from the article

– Last Updated: Mar-15-16 3:45 PM EST –

that shouldn't be ignored:

don't use a rack for your car thAt isn't for your car. Even if the "dealer suggested it". No way would I ever put anything like that on my car, but if I did I wouldn't take the secondary chance of not using tiedowns.

Pay attention to your rack FIRST. If it's difficult to install, get some help. If you can't get the plastic thingy to click, exhibiting closure, get some help. If you can't get results from your help, call the manufacturer. Don't walk away from a rack feeling you've compromised in selection or installation by any measure.

Then, put your tiedowns on.

That’s a quite frightening tale.
Especially to someone who’s never carried a kayak on the roof and now will have to.

I know the rack is correct for the vehicle and was properly installed, but even with using the straps and tie-downs, I still don’t like the idea of driving at 70 MPH with a kayak on top. So much so that I’ve rerouted a 200-mile road trip later this summer so I can stay off I-75, using Google’s “avoid highways” option.

Maybe I’ll feel more confident after I’ve done it a couple of times, but right now 55 MPH sounds less stressful than 70 MPH.

Can’t imagine not using tie-downs and straps. I’d use duct tape too, if I could.

been there and done very similar
Launched a kayak off roof after observing bow shimmy at secondary highway speed. Stopped too quick, inertia kept boat in motion down windshield, hood and coming to rest after a few yards of hard shoulder. All in slo-mo with sound effects to match. Totally my fault. Saddle got loose and moved out causing straps to no longer secure. No bow or stern lines which would have reduced carnage. Did learn FG repair as positive result. Just a few months back, kayak on cart rolled down drive and was struck by passing car. Those repairs required a pro. No water based collisions yet!

so what
brand name rack was that ? and the dealer ?

A loose contraption went by this week. Prob Local Yokels as we were thru the lakes district…near Orlando

Yak appeared as single tie bow stern doin’ the shimmy shimmy yaw yaw 18" left 18" right.

you doah hear that ?

The yokels were toothy grinned.

rarely see a badly tied rig.

Way back when…

– Last Updated: Mar-15-16 5:37 PM EST –

This is at least twenty years ago. Before cell phones were common and we set up club runs by snail mail and news letter. Three Lotus solo canoes lost their life to flying down I75. Came off the car and were ran over by a semi. They were just lucky the truck destroyed them so thoroughly that the cars behind just ran over little pieces of fiberglass and wood. Took us days to find out why our friends never showed for the trip.

So this is not a new fad. We are not leaning from history. Or even from the stories that get posted here and elsewhere. Keep seeing kayaks, sot, and even once in a while canoes (not many canes around here any more) just thrown in the bed of a pickup, on top of a car, or sticking out the back of a hatchback/van. Not really tied down with any thought. They pull up at the take out while I am starting to load my canoe and leave before I am half finished. Am jealous most of the time at how fast they load and go. But then start to wounder what happens when things start flying. Can not replace any of my boats. If lost or damaged they are gone for good. Not to mention if some one was hurt. So they get tied down as secure as I can make it and then double checked.

Trailers can be just as bad or worse. You have to worry about tire and bearing failure as well as tie on the boats securely. Just this last Saturday coming back form a paddling trip while driving on the toll road saw a small power boat half off its trailer with another car that was beside it damaged as well. looked as if a not well tied down power boat came of its trailer when the trailers tire blew. So how many regularly check their trailers tires for rot and air pressure?

this concerns me more:

Wrong roof rack for Subaru Outback!!!
Part of this person’s problems began when the bought a Subaru Outback with the stupid swing away cross bar system. After a lot investigation and waiting I finally bought Yakima Landing Pads made for my 2013 Subaru. The dealer who recommended that they buy something that mounted on the swing out cross bars should be horse whipped.

Second Problem. It’s hard to find a good place to tie down on the new outbacks front and rear. You have to gerry rig your own tie down hardware to make something work.

OK rant over. Never drive on the freeway with sea kayaks and no tie downs.

not many
I celebrated Eli Whitney’s patent daet ending with a link to Winslow Homer’s Veteran scything grain.

Obsolescent rain gutters. My van has rain gutters, a 2008. And Quick n Easy’s.

When’s last time yawl saw 2 Grumman on tuba4’s on QnE’s ? Have you fabed a QnE carrier ?

So now we have Yakima n Thule. Now who could screw that up ? Yak n Thule made this foolproof no? prob not you all would know,

And a megabyte more yaks n canoes.

But not a megabyte more road killed yaks. Even with Tupperware.

Yet there’s always tomorrow. With all this GoPro viewage, by fall we should have…

Yawl watch the cop mace the bikers !!! eyeyyyaha…

I would never even drive around my block without my boats fully secured with good quality straps and bow and stern tie downs.

And yet, at my local lakes I see people all the time with boats very insecurely attached to their cars and trucks.

And, as I know my boats are secure, I have no problems transporting them at highway speeds on extended trips.

And don’t use bungees!
When I read stories like this, I shudder to think about how we carried our Sunfish sailboat on the family cruiser in the '60s. The rack was cheap, bendy pot metal, affixed to the drip rails with plastic hand-tightened clamps. The Sunfish itself – these weigh about 120 lbs. – was strapped to the rack with a few bungees. That was it. No front/rear tiedowns. We used to take it on the highway from Long Island to the Adirondacks in the summer. How and why it didn’t fly off and kill someone I’ll never know. It was a different era. Life vests? Bike helmets? Bah!

By the way, one thing I highly recommend for transport is steel-belted straps. These will not stretch. Your boat will be secure at any speed – plus they have locking catches, so they are secure from thieves when at rest.

Made by Kanulock and Thule. I have both, and both are good. Not cheap, but a great insurance policy.

Even though…
My Yakima racks are made for the factory racks on my vehicle and attach to it very securely, the system is only as strong as the factory rack attachment to the roof, and I have no idea how strong that is. So I always use tie-downs. I’ve lost two boats off car-tops over the many many years I’ve been transporting them. The first one was a 12 foot aluminum johnboat that I tied onto my roof with parachute cord around the steel bumpers (what I can I say…I was young and dumb). The cord broke and the boat flew off the vehicle with us going 60 mph on a two lane highway, hit the road right in front of the car following us, and fortunately bounced into the other lane before he crashed into it. The guy stopped as we did, got out of his car shaking, and said, “JESUS CHRIST! That’s the closest I ever came to being run over by a boat!”

Lesson learned…use stronger rope. So many years later, using 1000 pound test nylon for tie downs on quick and easy rack towers with homemade wooden crossbars with little blocks of wood screwed to them for side to side stops, fiberglass canoe. Blocks gave way, canoe slides off the rack sideways going 60 mph. Ropes held, canoe is bouncing along the side of the highway and beating against the side of the vehicle with every bounce, but those ropes kept it from leaving the vehicle and possibly endangering the cars behind. Put a few dents in the car and a big hole in the canoe. Lesson learned…good stops and good ties across the top of the canoe as well as tie downs are important!

Who doesn’t check their tires? Me
I had one trailer tire with a slow leak. If it sat for a couple of weeks it would be flat. A fill would last for days though. I was driving my boat all over the place on that tire. Then last fall I was loading the boat for a 100 mile round trip for some fishing.

While taking the cover off the boat I kneeled next to the tire to remove a strap and I noticed the side wall of that tire was severely cracked. So bad that I decided to forget the fishing trip. I have no idea how long it was like that. That day I ordered two new tires, but I keep thinking about how long that tire may have been in that condition and how lucky I was that it didn’t blow on one of my trips.

Always a place for a front tie down
When I purchased my canoe there was no obvious place for a front tie down on my 2003 Honda CRV. No prob for the dealer. He suggested I buy a cam strap with loops on both ends. He opened the hood and looped the straps around the hood’s hinge. I used that setup the entire time I had that car. The canoe was going nowhere unless the hood came off the car.

When I bought my Outback the hood hinges weren’t in a good place for that setup so I bought cam straps with hooks on the ends and anchored them to the front wheel wells. I have no qualms going 70+ MPH with that setup.

Outback question
Dear OP:

So I am one of those long-term Subaru owners that has never warmed up to the swing across cross-rails. In 2010, I cancelled my order for a Outback 3.6 and bought a Forester XT because I preferred the standard roof rails that would accomodate any aftermarket crossbars.

Now the Forester is getting older, and I am once again considering an Outback 3.6, but your post is rather disturbing. I appreciate your discretion in not naming the rack manufacturer, but could you provide more detail on how your rack attached to the Outback? On the Subaru sites, it starts a war to criticize the Outback rack, but given that I kayak over 100 days per year, and usually have two kayaks up top, this is a top consideration for me in purchasing a vehicle.

Lastly, if anyone from SOA reads these posts, I will once again repeat my request for Euro-style rails as a factory option. If not possible, I would rather have a rack delete option with threaded mounting holes as you offfer on the bare roof Forester and Impreza.

Thanks all.


You are on the right track.

– Last Updated: Mar-16-16 2:11 AM EST –

SOA has proven that they don't care what outdoorsy people actually want. People like us, TV ads not withstanding, are too small a portion of the market share to actually matter to the bean counters. They know that when it comes to SUVs, success is all about looks, not function (so the rack is highly visible, even if it's basically useless).

As for you, you have the right idea in thinking about the bolt holes which surely are present beneath those horrendous side rails. As a bit of a tinkerer, I've imagined building custom attachment bases which would take advantage of all that surface area at each end of those side rails, but if one were to invest time (do it yourself) or money (welding shop or machine shop) in such a solution, using the existing bolt holes seems like the more practical way to go. Don't forget also that Thule (and perhaps Yakima) make tracks that can bolt where you want them, and such a system could be attached once you ditched that useless monstrosity that Subaru calls a roof rack.

No quality attachment concept would be impossible, and in relative terms, not even all that expensive. If you think about how much any individual item costs among all the bells and whistles that nearly every modern car comes with, the cost of adding a custom rack that looks decent and is rugged really wouldn't be much in comparison.

That’s the playing field
Inspect or not.

Drove past several trailerd desert reservoir bass boats…one axles n wheels 250’ feet left behind snazzy boat n tow vehicle.

This Bud’s for you.

Off course, can’t top cabin cruiser AND tow vehicle in the canal somewhere west of Palm Beach abt 200’ off the roadway.

However, to be relevant. I work at a storage area off the GOM. The current season carries a total shift away from locked wheels n brakes trailers, rotten frames, clogged fuel systems dead batteries n moth eating woodcutter’s garb 15 HP skiff into all new tech equipment bearing savers new tires HD tow vehicles with G4 hitches…

I come from Subaru family. In total, we’ve had 8, and I personally bought 5 of them. As much as I enjoy the dynamics of the vehicle, if I have to go to the expense of custom fabrication, I will just “upgrade” to an Acura RDX with standard crossrails.

I’m open to Landing pads, if they’re truly safe. That was why the original post was disturbing. It reads as if one of the Outback fixes from Thule or Yakima failed on the OP.

I also need to drive a Crosstrek, but I suspect I will find it too much of a downgrade in power and interior quality. I love my Forester, but have always hated the degree of road noise in the cabin. The Outback is the more “premium” vehicle from Subaru, and thus they add more sound insulation.

I hope the main Subaru fan on this site doesn’t start ridiculing the idea that someone would walk away from Subaru over a roof rack, but it is a reality. There are several great manufacturers, and my money goes to the one who comes closest to building exactly what I want. If I have to take it to an auto body shop to drop the headliner, I will buy something else.

I had interactions with subaru over outb
It was a while back and l can’t remember names or offices, but between some letter writing and a local dealer (who is actually very good otherwise), l walked away with the message that subaru specifically did not care about long boaters. Those stupid outback racks are ok for white water boats, but if you think on it you have not seen Subaru car ad with anything more than one 12 ft lightweight transition boat on it since the 2010 redesign. And l only saw that once.

I got various dissatisfactory answers, but it all boiled down to sea kayakers can go to hell. The good news is they hit so much resistance that it stopped them fl from moving that rack to the Forester, which they originally planned to do for 2012. I know of two long time subie owners who walked off the lot when they went in to buy their second outback and realized about those racks, and that is without asking around. One was actually going in for their third subie wagon since they had a GL before the outback.