Imagine one fine morning you’re driving to somewhere near water to have the time of your life. But suddenly in the middle of road, you see your kayak flying off from car roof and strongly hitting highway.
That tragedy is not a very uncommon thing to happen. In fact, those who don’t really bother much about proper kayak bow and stern tie downs methods often end up meeting this or similar consequences.
Apart from knowing how to carry a kayak or pondering enough for the whole purchase phase, this matter is also equally important. And so, I have decided to bring some limelight to this topic specifically for today. Enjoy…
Here’s Everything About Using Kayak Bow and Stern Tie Downs.
The fact that your kayak flying off in such a way in middle of road is not just tragedy but also a huge accident inviting thing to happen makes this matter even more concerning. Strapping the kayak onto your car or vehicle is beyond crucial. And that’s why the matter deserves a detailed explanation. So, from getting the supplies to working on bow and stern, I’ll be including all essentials in this guide.
Things You Need to Get.
There are a few stuffs you need to get for the proper implementation of this whole process. And this includes thinking about the right padding for roof rack. So that while you drive, the roof rack does not damage kayak. The paddings that come with Velcro bars will also work.
There are straps with specific design for kayak tying called cam buckles. These are great for avoiding any over-tightening issue and as a result, there will be less potential damage. And finally, you need bow and stern lines.
These are special ropes or straps that can secure the parts to your vehicle. So that it does not suddenly lift up and detach while you drive. Lines that come with ratchet attachment or cam buckles will be fine to use.
Place & Tie the Kayak First.
You need to lift your kayak (maybe get some help from a friend) and place it on right side over your car. The bow should face the front side of your car. While the stern needs to be at the rear of vehicle.
Bring the kayak to center of your vehicle. It should not look like your kayak is closer to one side more than another. Maintain centering here as it will help to distribute the kayak weight evenly. Now one strap needs to go over your kayak. Let it loop right below the bar of roof rack. The other end of strap should be hanging on another side.
The bare end of straps needs to go across kayak. Go around your car to grab the thrown end and then loop it right under similar bar of roof rack. But this time it should be on the opposite side of kayak.
Let the bare end of strap go right through cam buckle at this point. So that your kayak is secured by the strap being closed off finally. You want to pull the strap through cam buckle slot until there’s no slack remaining to go.
Now you need to pull all the ends that are bare together to make strap tight enough. This way there will be slacker going through the cam buckles. And that will help in making the strap tight enough to avoid any kayak shifting when you drive.
On the other roof rack bar, you want to repeat this with straps there as well. And finally, you can wrap the ends of straps right around roof rack bars. So that these don’t get onto your tires and cause any sort of damage later on.
Hooking the End of Bow Line.
You need to put a hook at the bow line’s end. This will go through the carrying handle’s loop. The one that stays at end of your kayak basically. You need to ensure that the hook is surely inserted.
Now right below your bumper, there should be a tiny metal ring. This is the tow hook. You need to hook the other bow line end to this spot. However, make sure you are not hooking to the bumper’s plastic part. This is an open invitation for damage to your car, so pay attention.
In some cases, your car might not have a tow hook. You can go with a hood loop strap in such a situation. Right under your hood, there should be bolt heads. These straps can attach to the bolt heads easily. Once you are done with bolting, gradually close the hood. So that strap’s fabric loose part is sticking outside. You can bring the bowline to this loop and hook it nicely.
Bow Line Tightening.
Some bow line comes with cam buckle. In that case, pull this line through the buckle. And make it tight enough. In case the bowline comes with a ratchet, you need to crank it up and down. Do so until the line is all tight nicely. Also, you don’t want to overdo things. This can lead to damaging the kayak.
Do the Same for the Rear.
Now work onto the rear parts of your car and kayak with a stern line. You need to get the stern line’s end hooked to carrying handle that is located on rear of your kayak. Then work on the line’s other end for hooking it to back bumpers underneath tow hook. You can also do this with the car’s hitch. In case you don’t have a hitch or tow hook, install one. Because the stern line needs to be hooked to something.
Take Care of Any Loose Ends.
There should be some loose ends of both bow and stern lines. You want to take them and wrap around the remaining line. After wrapping up the whole slack, go for a few knots here. So that the loose ends cannot unravel later on. If you leave these loose ends dangling, then it can get inside your tires. And this will make the kayak, as well as roof rack, come off.
Now you are well aware of the whole kayak bow and stern tie downs usage. Make sure to give all lines a few more checks before you finally depart for a trip. Also, while driving, you should leave enough space between your car and other vehicles. So that there’s no chance of mishap even with sudden braking or accelerating.
During a long-distance trip, you should stop occasionally to give regular checks to the lines. So that even if there’s a loosening situation, you’ll be able to handle things without facing any problem later on.