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Old 10-03-2008   #1
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
How should you strap a boat to the rack?

I've been giving this subject a little thought recently. I tend to strap my creekboat cockpit down, hull up on the roof rack of my car for transport. I do this because (a) it gives me good clearance for driving into a garage, (b) it's a very stable position on my rack, and (c) it's easy to reach over the top and strap it on.

However, I've been beginning to wonder if having the hull baking in the sun while I'm driving around is not so good for the plastic. What are people's opinions on this? Am I exposing the hull to significant sun damage?

If that's not the way to strap it, then how? Hull down is generally considered bad form. I have Thule stackers and find that if I strap it on it's side, hull against stackers, the stackers compress the hull in much the same way as if I had the boat laying hull down on the rack. If I strap it cockpit towards the stackers, I find the boat tends to slide on the rack (maybe I need some pads on the bars) due to the rounded sides on the creekboat.

Anyone with sage advice? Thanks.

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Old 10-03-2008   #2
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Posts: 438
I'd say leave it cockpit down. The sun will probably do more immediate damage to your outfitting than the hull. Seems more stable to me cockpit down, and maybe a bit more aerodynamic.

Drew J.
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Old 10-03-2008   #3
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
My favorite is strapping my creekboat hull down, with one strap, going through both front and back grabloops - or, on it's side if multiple boats are present. With strap through loops, that biatch 'aint goin' nowhere.
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Old 10-03-2008   #4
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
Cockpit down. Aerodynamic, and keeps it from filling with water if it rains. Cockpit up tends to deform the hull significantly. I've never owned stackers, seems unnecessary. I don't do the one-strap thing because it tends to pull my towers together and causes loose boats. As for sun, I keep it in the garage when I can. During the season, they will spend some time baking in the work parking lot. Perhaps some 303 protectant... but would make it slippery.

"I think I handled my alcohol pretty well considering how drunk I was." -Cousin Dan
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Old 10-03-2008   #5
V for Victory
9300ft, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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hull down
two straps
incorporate a gear loop or two
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Old 10-03-2008   #6
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 81
Hull down if you have a flat planing hull because it will not deform the boat.
Hull up if you have a displacement hull because you don't want to start creating an oil-can on the rounded hull.
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Old 10-03-2008   #7
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Cockpit Down.
"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 10-03-2008   #8
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Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 231
For one or two boats... I put my them on my car like I want them to go down the river. Forward and right side-up. Call me superstitious.

That is the only time my cockpit sees the light of day anyway. I don't yard on the straps, just make them snug. A couple of good tugs and we are off. Two straps for each boat one for the front one for the back. 9 foot NRS straps with bumpers for single boats.

For 4 boats I have a stacker. I put the hull against the stacker, then cockpit to cockpit (usually the second or outer boat has bow point to rear of car). Starting above the boat, the 15 foot strap will wrap around the inner boat (and through a grab loop) then around the stacker pole at the base, put the second boat on, go completely around the second boat (again feed through a grab loop) and back down to the base of the rack. Take end of the strap around the outside of your roof clamp (so the strap doesn't slide inwards) and cinch it all down. If you do it right you should have about 6 inches of the 15 strap left to tie off.

Never done more than 4 boats at a time.
You ARE a soul, you HAVE a body.

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Old 10-03-2008   #9
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Cockpit down, one or 2 straps depending how many I have on hand. Through at least one handle on the boat.
University of Denver Kayak Club
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Old 10-03-2008   #10
V for Victory
9300ft, Colorado
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Originally Posted by SummitAP View Post
hull down
two straps
incorporate a gear loop or two

Meant to say COCKPIT DOWN

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