Tying down a kayak or canoe...

I have a full size pick up truck with cap and I’ve been hauling my boats in the bed, hanging out the back. This has worked quite well for me so far but I’ll be getting an 18’ boat soon and that’s just a bit too much hanging out the rear.

I just purchased a roof rack system by yamika…haven’t even installed it yet, but it consists of two crossbars, one that goes on the cab and one that will mount to the cap. I know it can’t be too difficult but I don’t know how to properly secure a boat to these crossbars. I’m sure I could rig it up to work but I figured I would get some of your ideas on how to do it properly. My biggest question is…Do I need to use bow and stern lines secured to the truck also or can I get things secure enough just tying to the rack?

Any tips would be appreciated :slight_smile:

Trucker’s hitch

– Last Updated: Aug-09-09 8:11 AM EST –

works well if you use line, otherwise straps for securing to the rack. I would not use the ratchet straps, but that's me. I know others who use these, but be careful not to overtighten to avoid damage to the hull. I also use bow and stern tie downs (always at least a bow line), but some don't. If you are willing to take the risk that your boat will stay put if you are rear ended or rear end someone else, then that's your choice. Straps and racks can fail in collisions.

I would not use anything except

– Last Updated: Aug-08-09 9:10 AM EST –

cam lock buckle straps. (Absolutely never use the ratchet straps that truckers use. They can hurt your boat)
The camlock buckle straps are the correct way to go.
Just ask Yakama or Thule.

And for the OP, the way you use them. You use one for the front and one for the rear.

Stand beside one of the bars, and make a loop under the bar with both ends facing up like a horseshoe. Make sure the loop is right up against your boat.
Take the end with the buckle and put it over the top of your boat to the other side. Then do the same with the free end.
Now go around the other side and take the free end and pull it until the buckle is situated approximately half way on the side of your boat.
Now take the free end and loop it under the bar and bring it up to where the buckle is and attach it to the buckle.
Snug it up tight.
I am never afraid to tighten mine real tight, but if you are a weight lifter, or super strong you might want to just get it snug.

Do the same with the other strap.

To answer your last question: As far as I am concerned if you have faith in your rack system, and you have the boat properly secured with camlock buckle straps, the only time they are necessary is if you have a long delicate bow sticking out, in which case I use a front inverted V one to protect the boat from high cross winds and Tractor trailer turbulence.
I never use rear ones, and I never use front ones on my eighteen foot long QCC kayak.
I have the same set up as you and the same full size pick up, which gives a good spread between bars.
If you had a samll car with a short spread, it is a whole different ball game!

The most important ones are the ones holding the boat to the cross bars

Hope this helps a bit.


Anything can fail
so I use bow and stern tie downs so I don’t have to worry about my boat killing someone in the vehicle following me down the highway. It’s just worth the piece of mind.

ever been
in an accident? There are tremendous forces at work and while a yak or canoe isn’t all that heavy, to have it come off would certainly damage or destroy it, and it may very well cause issues with other cars. It’s your issue if it does (read expense and liability).

Straps are cheap and the what, 5 minutes maybe, it takes to put them on/off is a very small price to pay for peace of mind IMO.

Yes !
My wife was stopped at a red light and was rear ended by a kid going 40 MPH, (as estimated by the HP cop).

The kid never even touched the brakes.

Our two QCC’s were on the Yakama Racks and there were no front and rear tiedowns.

The boats and rack didn’t budge a inch.

Our car had extensive damage.

Next question ?




– Last Updated: Aug-09-09 8:12 AM EST –

mixed up cam lock and ratchet. Maybe because I don't use rachets. I'll edit my original so it doesn't go in the archive wrong.

JackL is not the person to listen to
when talking about bow/stern lines.

Search the archives. He’s been blown out of the water more than once. At this point it’s just a machismo thing where he won’t back down for pride, or more to the point hubris.

Always use bow and stern lines.