Tying down my new yak

-- Last Updated: Jul-05-14 8:22 PM EST --

I just recently bought my first yak. I noticed all the videos I watched used the handles to tie the yak bow and stern. My instructions say not to use the handles as tie downs. I think I can get some good caribiners that will fit in the holes along with the carry handles. Would that be okay to do so?? I realize I don't want a lot of tension on the handles, just a snug fit..
It is a pelican maverick 100x kayak.

Assuming you mean on a car top rack?
The bow and stern are tied down for safety and do not require much tension, just enough to take the slack out of the line. I would think the carry handles are fine (I use mine for that purpose).

The kayak should be secured to your rack with cam buckle straps around the body of the kayak on either side of the cockpit. These should be snug so the kayak does not move.

Yes I have the yak tied to the rack with straps also. I did tie the bow and stern down snug, but not really any pressure on them… Thanks for the input…

Most kayak manufacturers warn not to use the carry handles to support the weight the kayak, such as using them to hang the kayak roof the roof of a garage.

Generally using the the handles to secure the bow and stern tie down is fine for most kayaks and really is the only option.

Lots of the Pelican kayaks I have seen just have simple holes in the plastic with rope attached as carry handles. I am not sure that adding a binder to the hole would help much as the plastic never really seemed that strong to me at that point. Also not sure the rope is that strong on them consider how many replacement or missing handles I have seen.

The reality is the bow and stern lines don’t secure the kayak at all but help keep it from turning into a missile if something fails. It is a good idea to use them and keep an eye on them when driving. You also need to consider with your kayak that if something does go wrong you probably don’t have the strongest attachment point for a bow or stern line.

Handle not the only option

– Last Updated: Jul-06-14 7:15 PM EST –

If one is concerned that the handle of the kayak is not strong enough to use as an attachment point for front and rear tie-downs, there's another option. You can rig a bridle attachment using rope. I won't try to describe it in detail, but you start with a loop of rope around the coaming, and that rope runs along the hull toward the end of the boat, and at some point along the way, that rope forms a locking loop around the hull. As long as the direction of pull is angled somewhat away from the center of the boat, the bridle won't slip, and the attachment is as strong as the hull itself.

For the rear tie-down, this method could actually be preferable to using the handle at the stern, because an attachment point closer to the boat's center would allow the front and rear tie-downs to be in opposition, which is the only way to ensure that the boat can't move around much in the event of rack failure.

Most people would call it overkill to provide a break-proof attachment method like this, and people have told me it's nuts to recommend it. I only mention it again because tying to the handles is NOT your only option and there's no reason for people to say there's no other way. If you are good with rope, this method would take perhaps one minute per tie-down, and certainly less than two minutes, to set up.