How many times have I seen people transporting kayaks without the bow and stern tied down, vulnerable to gusts of wind with only two straps over the kayak? I will admit, I have been guilty of this in the past due to not having any accessible anchor points for the bow and stern straps. Now, there’s no excuse with these easy and affordable DIY kayak tie-down loops.
DIY Kayak Tie-down Loops
Each time I tried to car-top my kayak the only anchor points were on the car frame underneath the front and rear bumper. Getting to these spots was a hassle, and having the strap right up against the car would scratch the paint. There had to be a simple way to add some sort of removable anchor point for the bow and stern straps.
Searching the Internet for kayak tie-downs revealed some pricey options, with companies charging over 20 dollars for what was essentially a piece of webbing with a grommet. I decided to come up with a cheap alternative by fashioning my own DIY tie-down loops.
With about 10 minutes and very little money anyone can make their own kayak tie-down loops. I already had all the materials necessary, so this project cost me nothing. The cost is extremely low even if you have to buy some or all of the components.
Trunk tie-down loops
I decided to make two different style loops for my needs. The first was a loop secured to a piece of small diameter PVC pipe that can be easily closed in your trunk or hood leaving the loop sticking out. I decided to use this style for my trunk.
First you need to find a small diameter piece of PVC pipe. I used the grey pipe used for running electrical wire. I drilled a hole through the pipe which will be used for running a bolt. I then found an unused tie down strap and cut a small section off. I made two holes in the ends of the piece of strapping which will be used to pass a bolt through.
I found a bolt long enough to run through the strap and PVC. I secured the bolt with washers and a nut. This anchor point can now be shut inside of your trunk leaving a loop sticking out which can be used for your bow/stern tie downs. You can use the loop in any location along your trunk and you can use as many as you need. You can also use this under the hood of your car if you have enough space for it to fit and still be able to close your trunk.
Hood tie-down loops
My car lacks enough free space under the hood to use the same kind of loops as the trunk, so I picked another style of DIY kayak tie-down loop for under the hood. The first thing to do is find an unused hole in the frame of your car underneath your hood. The hole needs to be somewhat close to the gap between your hood and the body of your car. Most cars will have one that you will be able to use; I’ve had no issue finding an unused hole in the frame of every car I have owned since I started kayaking.
Now get another piece of strap or webbing and make two holes in the ends for running a bolt. Find a bolt long enough to run through the strap and through the hole in the frame of your car. Attach a washer on both ends and tighten everything down with a nut. This loop cap now be pulled out of the gap between your hood and body of your car and can also tucked back under the hood when not being used.
Treat your tie-downs with care long and reliable use
It is important to check on all the components regularly and make sure the bolts are tight and the straps are not ripped or frayed. I never pull the bow and stern straps overly tight. I simply tighten until there is no more slack in the straps. The job of these straps is to keep the kayak from swaying around while driving and provide insurance in case of a rack failure. The most important thing you can do is regularly checking your rack for any problems.
Want another DIY project from James Chappel? Check out his step-by-step DIY Light Pole build tips.