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How to Properly Tie Down a Kayak

One fundamental issue with people who start to get into kayaking and looking at carrying options is, “How do I tie it down?” This may seem simple, but if you do not use the proper technique, your kayak could go flying off your car when driving down the road causing serious damage to your vehicle, or other vehicles on the road. So let’s break it down:
  • The best way to start is by setting your straps up before you load your kayak. First, loop one strap around your front bar, and one around your rear bar. Take both ends of the strap and lay them down the hood and trunk of your vehicle. If you have a J style cradle, loop the straps through the hoop of the cradle.
  • Load your kayak into your saddles/cradles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Take the ends of your straps and walk them up and over your kayak so that they are now laying on the side of your vehicle.
  • Next loop the non-buckle end of the strap underneath the bar of your roof rack. It’s best practice to always try to loop the strap on the inside of the tower or rail so that the strap can not slide off the edge. Slip the strap through the backside of the cam buckle and start to tighten down the strap. Before fully tightening the straps, adjust the cam buckle so that it is roughly positioned in the middle of the kayak. Then fully cinch down.
  • Bow and stern tie downs are always needed as well for added safety, especially if you are traveling at high speeds. Typically there are some kind of hooks underneath the front and rear bumpers to be able to tie the line. If not, we offer hood and trunk loops to tie it off such as the Yakima Hood Anchor Tie-Down Attachment, Thule Hood Loop Anchor Strap & Malone Hood Loops
Looking for Bow/Stern TieDown Straps? Here's what we recommend!
kayak on roof near water and mountain