Unrestraining kayak carrier handles

My wife and I recently each bought Tsunami 140s. The handles at the bow and stern for carrying the kayak have elastic restraints that pull the handle cord back and keep the handle flat to the boat.

To me, this seems a little like style over function. I don’t know why they can’t simply flap free. When they’re restrained, they can be a little tricky to grab. One particular problem is when we’re getting the yaks down from the top of the car. We flip the boat over and have to quickly grab the carrier handles, but when they’re restrained, it’s a challenge to get your fingers around them.

So I removed the elastic restraints.

Is there any good reason to not do this?


– Last Updated: Jul-08-05 10:54 AM EST –

personal preference...my .02 cents...

Mine flap free, no problems....

So I'll edit this post today to add a furthur comment. Toggle placement and the manner they are attached to the boat vary with manufacturer, so my personal solution may not apply to your particular boat...

I enlarged the holes the cord for the toggles passes through,(both in the boat and the toggles themselves) and replaced the existing cord with a stiffer, higher tensile strength cord. The toggles now stand free of the hull on their own in all but the most active waves...this was done not because of noise, but to ease my own mind about attaching tow lines, painters, and using the toggles as carry handles (The LOADED boat is of course very heavy).

Well, they bang against
the hull in waves. I’m not sure how that can not be annoying to anyone, but apparently some are not bothered by it.

That being said, I don’t like any of the bungee restraint designs I have seen, they don’t inhibit the carrying function much, but I think they do inhibit the safety/rescue (grabbing while in the water) function a bit.

I obsess over this most every week, trying different solutions (just ask my wife). Got a new one to try out this weekend.


Perhaps if the elastic wasn’t so tight…
…it might not be so hard to grab.

Also, my typical paddling environment doesn’t see a lot of waves, so the banging shouldn’t be an issue for me.

But I like that !
On my Recluse, the toggles banging against the hull in waves sounds exactly like an old wooden tall ship creaking. Gets me feeling all nautical :wink:


Please report your findings
I’ve been wondering about flop vs non-flop since I took a class from some pro-flop/easy-grap purists.

How fitting
I just put elastic to hold back the toggles on my wife’s boat last night. She’d been asking me to do it for about 3 years now. Drives her crazy when they rattle every time we get into some waves and she asked if I would do it before our trip in August.

I did the front of mine tonight, but its also to help hold the storm paddle I’m making.

You need some bigger waves
to give you more to worry about than flapping handles.

kayak carrier handles-not

Many believe they are not “kayak carrier handles” but toggles that are not to be used to carry the yak but to assist in rescues.

If this is indeed the case, bungee hold downs would make them much harder for a swimmer to hold on to or much more difficult to hook a tow line on them. Just My $.02

I’ve been told …
they aren’t for carrying OR hooking a tow line to. Tow lines go through a single deck line such that multiple fittings would have to fail for the towee to be lost.

Toggles are only for swimming with the boat and making music against the hull i guess :slight_smile:

The elastic I put on will still allow the toggle to spin in the hand should I be swimming in surf and shouldn’t make it any harder to grab. I fact, the extra elastic might make it easier.

a solution for banging toggles
Most of the time i’ve set up the rigging for homemade kayaks so the toggle could tuck under the perimeter line but it does require pulling it out from under the deck line otherwise it will bang on the hull. On the Chatham 18 I removed the toggle from the hole in the ends and put in a looped splice of high strength hollow braid line. On top of the loop the toggle is attached so the toggle hangs at the top of the deck but can be pulled forward and clear the bow.

Some ARE.
I can’t speak for all boats, but on my handle is imprinted “Kayak Karrier”. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Solution number 4
I’ve tried a few things, here’s the last one. This may be the one I keep. The Caribou did not come with the holes drilled in the hull, it had very short toggle loops in the deck fittings. So I drilled those, after making sure the ends were poured solid. The holes nearest the ends use nylon cord the usual way, with just those there’s lots of banging. The holes further back use bungee, fed into another pair of holes drilled in the toggles, about 90 degrees around from the existing ones. The length of the cords is such that there is seldom any direct toggle-to-hull contact, the bungee cushions the blow, as well as damping general swinging, from the rear one particularly. The nylon cord is just long enough to reach around the tip should I want to use them for carrying, which is not very often.

It’s also possible to loop the bungees around the toggle ends once to firmly hold them to the top deck, which might be good for cartopping. When trailering I haven’t seen that they get blown around much at all simply hanging below in the normal position.

Had it out this weekend and did not hear a single thump, after boring through some boat wakes. And enjoyed seeing only the nice clean point of the bow up ahead.





The issue for carrying is…
…that toggle cords tend to wear due to slapping around and sharp edges on the holes in some cases. Most people don’t check or replace them unless/until they break. If you maintain them, they work fine for carrying.

Do you fish?
Swinging toggles banging on the hull can spook the fish.