Monday, August 30, 2010

Simple tips to help protect kayak and car

Here’s a cheap, simple, and effective way to help load your kayak on a car top rack if you’re using “saddle” mounts. Thanks to Cap’n Bob for coming up with the idea of slipping car wash mitts over the saddles. First, this allows you to more easily load the kayak on the rack from the rear of the vehicle, since the hull slides over the mitts. (Use an old bath mat with a rubberized backing to protect the car roof behind the rack.) California kayak tips

Now I’m using mitts on the front saddles as well, because it adds a bit of non-scratch cushioning. As long as straps are tightened properly, and you use front and rear tie-downs, slippage should not be a problem. I had no trouble on a windy trip to Lake Tahoe at highway speeds of 60-plus.

And speaking of tie-downs, here’s a tip to keep those nylon tie-down lines from scratching the finish of your vehicle. Get some pipe insulation tubing – preferably the kind that hasn’t been pre-split – from your hardware store. Cut a piece of foam three to four feet long, or as needed, and use a coat hanger wire to help thread the line through the tubing. (If only pre-split foam is available, seal it with tape.) You may have to replace the foam tube every once in a while, but it only costs a buck or so for a six-foot tube. Mitts are available from car parts stores for $5 or less.
© 2010 Glenn Brank