How To Tie Down Your Kayak | Described In Details

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 28, 2022
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There are many ways you can tie down your kayak. However, the easiest way of tieing a kayak to your car is with cam straps. You will require standard cam tie-down straps for this purpose.

Key Takeaways

  • While carrying a kayak you have to ensure that the kayak is centered along with its balance point and must be placed in between the racks
  • While tieing the kayak you should fine-tune the cam and bring it to the top of the gunwale
  • You should daisy chain the slack ends, or insert them in your car doors to avoid flapping

The Wrong Way (We Do Always)

When trawling the freeway, I was able to come across a lot of cringe-worthy tie-downs. At worst, it can claim human lives. But, it doesn’t have to be you. We both know you can be better than that. Here is the best of the worst…

Ah yes, it denotes the kayak side of the mattress sail. If you own a pick-up, try to build a rack. 30 Minute Pickup Kayak Rack gets me cranking so hard with a ratchet strap that you could use to break the kayak. So, it’s best to avoid ratchets. 

Poorly Installed Rack: Number 1 way people tend to lose their kayaks on the highway. Losing your Rack on the Highway also tops my list of things you need to avoid. 

THE RIGHT WAY (We Should Be Following)

To adopt the right way of tying a kayak, you will require standard cam tie-down straps (8′ min.). You can easily find them at hardware stores, sports stores, or online.

The following guideline has been inspired by SEAWolfKayak – so if you need more info; visiting their website will surely enlighten you.

1. Always make sure that your kayak is centered along with its balance point and must be placed in between the racks. Find where the balance point is (might be different for different kayak manufacturers).

2. Position the kayak towards you, so it remains rested on the keel and the outside chine/stringer.

3. Now, deliver the strap under the bar on the far side of the kayak.

4. Gather both the slack end and the cam end over the top of the kayak towards you. After bringing them together, you will have two similar straps running across your kayak’s deck.

5. Fine-tune the cam and bring it to the top of the gunwale. This will give you space to tense down.

6. Deliver the loose end beneath the bar, throughout the cam from bottom to top, and grip it down. Don’t make it any tighter yet.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 when following your second bar. Once you bring both straps on, tense up each one.

8. Grip the straps down tight. Once you went on to move your kayak side-to-side or up-down, your car should move on as per shocks.

9. AVOID USING RATCHET STRAPS. It is difficult to make regular cams any tighter with simple arm strength. However, it is VERY EASY to over-tighten ratchets.

10. Daisy chain the slack ends, or insert them in your car doors to avoid flapping.

11. After following these steps, if your kayak still moves from side to side, follow the steps below…

Tying Down A Kayak At A Glance:

Tying Down A Kayak At A Glance

If you don’t know much about how to tie a kayak then, you have to be knowledgeable about a few good knots first. This will go a long way when you’re in the bush. And, for canoeists, the bowline offers the ideal knot to use in fastening your painter and severe lines, particularly when dragging.

You’ll be hard pushed to undo a granny knot after a few hundred meters of exertion have tightened it. Fortunately, Will’s a pro with the Bowline. Follow these steps and you’ll achieve the bowline every time.

1. Shape a small loop close to the end of your rope.

2. Slip the bitter end of the rope up through the loop, as if you were wearing an overhand knot.

3. Carry on around the standing end and back through the small loop.

4. Pull it tight.



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