PaddleWise Discussion on Strapping Down Folding Kayaks to Roofracks

Update to this topic provided by Reinhold Weber

Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2000 09:18:18 -0700
From: ralph diaz 
Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Transporting Boats

Erik Sprenne wrote:
> Michael Daly wrote:
> >
> And how tightly one ties/straps the boat to the racks/saddles/etc. for a
> given vehicle.  Plastic boats can generally be tied tighter than fiberglass
> boats (unless you own a British 'heavy' ), as plastic will deform and
> recover its shape without permanent marks, while fiberglass boats will flex
> only to a certain degree, after which they will suffer irreversible damage.

This may be as good a place as any to talk about strapping down folding
kayaks on a roofrack.  The rule I use is crank them down real hard so
much so that your strap or rope is indenting the sponsons by quite a
bit. I have done this regularly for a dozen years with a variety of
foldables with no damage whatsoever.  The secret though is what you are
cranking them down on.  I used cradles at one time but I am not certain
they really are all that important with a foldable.  The odds that the
cradles will line up with crossribs are rare and all the cradle will be
is against fabric and some long pieces.  A better solution is to use
commercially available windsurfer pads around the roof rack bars or use
pipe insulation tubes.  This gives you something soft and cushioning to
crank down the foldable against. (BTW, try not to draw straps across the
deck fabric any more than necessary as that can wear at deck coatings,
i.e. throw the straps over the top and pull them over loosely until you
have buckled the loose end; then you can cinch down real hard to that
sponson-indentation extreme.) 

I bring this all up because I have at times seen people who say their
foldable doesn't cartop well.  I look at how they strap down and they
act as if they were strapping down an ostrich egg, i.e. gingerly.  Not
necessary at all.  But the cushioning is important.

Years ago I had Doug Simpson, co-founder of Feathercraft, here for a
meeting and later we went paddling to the Statue of Liberty using 2 of
his K-Lights and the Klepper Aerius I that I owned at the time.  We made
the boats in my hallway because it was wintertime in NYC and we didn't
want to freeze while doing this.  When it came time to put them on my
minivan's roofrack, we discovered that some one had stolen the rear
Thule rack.  Since I had factory racks below them, we just did the best
we could.  We cartopped to the launch site and later back to knock down
the boats on the street near his hotel on Broadway.

As I pulled the rear frame half of the Klepper out of the skin, the
chine rod came apart in my hand; it was broken.  Here I was with a break
in a wooden frame with, of all people, the major proponent of aluminum
framed boats.  Doug looked over and in his driest Western Canadian voice
said "Ralph, does that happen often?"

What had happened was that the rear factory rack was not padded and in
cinching down the boats too much pressure was put on that chine rod.  I
also like to think that it was also my self sacrifice of putting my
Klepper on the bottom to protect one of Doug's K-Lights since the three
boats could not all fit side by side on my rack.  :-)

ralph diaz 
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Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter
PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024
Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail:
"Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag."
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Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2000 16:06:36 EDT From: FoldingBoats Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Transporting Boats Ralph, I cannot resist: In the 25 years or so that I have been in charge of securing the boats to the roof rack, my old Pouch double has always got the bottom berth with any hardshells partly or fully on top. My roof rack (so old it has no maker's markings left) bars are merely padded with some foam pipe lagging. The old Pouch of course has no cushioning sponsons. Remember, I rely on the straps across the boats to hold them (see previous description), so I put them under considerable tension. I have yet to break any parts of the Pouch frame ... :-) Truth be told, your chine bar must have been weakened by something else because they do not just break from steady compression! "The Other Ralph" Ralph C. Hoehn