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Tie Down a Kayak with One Strap

Knowing how to properly tie down a kayak on the roof rack of a vehicle is one of the first and most essential skills every kayaker must learn. In this video, we show you how to safely secure a kayak to a car using a single 15 or 20 NRS 1" HD Tie-Down Strap.

Securely tying down your kayak on the roof rack is super important. An improperly secured boat can become an unguided missile at highway speeds!

Start by threading the strap under the roof rack bars. Lay the kayak up on the rack, hull side down. Bring the buckle end up over the far side of the boat and thread through one or more tiedown brackets, then drape it over the near side of the boat.

Now take the webbing end of the strap and repeat the process of running it through boat tiedown brackets. Thread the webbing under the rack bars, inboard of the bar supports. Run the strap through the cam buckle and cinch it tight. If you have a loose strap end you can tie it off on the rack, so it doesn’t flap in the wind, or you can open a door, toss the strap inside and close the door on it.

With a whitewater boat that’s probably all you have to do. With a longer boat, like a sea kayak, you’ll be wise to put front and back safety straps, tying down to the bumpers. Buckle Bumper Straps are nice for this job, shielding your vehicle from the scratches and dings of a mishandled cam buckle.

Here’s a great tip for protecting straps at highway speeds. Anytime you are using a tie-down strap on a vehicle, where a section of the strap is not directly against something, put a “twist” in the strap in that area. This helps eliminate “strap strum,” the rhythmic vibration of the strap in the wind. Under the right conditions, this strum can generate enough energy to actually melt and part a strap. This also helps cut down on noise.

We carry many options for carrying boats on top of your vehicles. Check out the linked pages for Yakima racks and foam rack kits.