Cam Straps vs. Ratchet Straps: Best Way To Secure Your Kayak

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Want to know the best way to secure your kayak to your car or truck?

Cam straps and ratchet straps are two of the most popular options here and the truth is, you’ll likely need both.

They each have their place when transporting your kayak and in this video, you’ll learn:

  • When to use cam straps vs. when to use ratchet straps
  • The potential dangers of ratchet straps to your kayak (and how to avoid them)
  • How to use each type of strap
  • And much more

If you want to see the best way to secure your kayak, check out the video below.

Cam Straps vs. Ratchet Straps [VIDEO]

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Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are the most popular type of strap to use, but are also the most dangerous for your kayak.

They’re very secure because you can tighten them down really tight, but it’s way too easy for you to tighten them down too tight and warp (and eventually crack) your kayak.

I recommend using these only for longer road trips.

Cam Straps

Cam straps are perfect for local trips and should be used more than ratchet straps.

They’re better for your kayak because the buckle sits flush on it and it’s harder to overtighten.

Now although they’re not as strong as ratchet straps, I was able to transport a kayak from Florida to North Carolina using only cam straps.

I recommend using two or three of them when moving your kayak, especially if you’re going on the interstate.

Conclusion

inshore kayak fishing setup

Cam straps and ratchet straps each have their place when it comes to transporting your kayak.

Cam straps are better for your kayak and great for local trips, while ratchet straps are good for long trips on the interstate.

Have any questions about securing your kayak?

Do you have any other ways of strapping your kayak to your car or truck?

Let me know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who kayak fishes, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Jeff Kritzman
2 years ago

I’ve only use Cam straps and have hauled my 2 yaks on the roof of my Subaru Outback back and forth from Chicago to Naples, FL four times.

Pat Ogletree
2 years ago

Good stuff Wyatt! I ditched the ratchet straps a while ago, too easy to over tighten. I car top carry my Hobie on my Mini Cooper and have thousands of miles under my belt and one of the most overlooked and useful tools is the bow tie down. Not only does it keep the bow of the kayak from rising while going down the road it also less you know if your kayak is moving around any by showing you it’s loose. Also a good idea on long trips, especially in the heat of the summer, to check your straps periodically to make sure they don’t come loose. This can happen if the hull conforms to the bars or cradles because of the heat. It’s happened to me. One last tip with the cam straps, if you take the tag end and tie an overhand knot around the base of the cam mechanism this will help make sure the strap won’t loosen because the knot won’t fit through the buckle. These topics are important to share, thanks for bringing this up!

Bob Dixon
2 years ago

Excellent and very necessary video Wyatt! I’ve spent the last 30 years strapping whitewater and sea kayaks to my car roof and ratchet straps are a pet peeve of mine. Way too easy to damage the boat with excess pressure and they have more failure points. They usually have ungated hooks on the ends which can come lose with any slack from a load shift. Cam straps are simpler, plenty strong and more secure. NRS straps (https://www.nrs.com/product/1440/nrs-1-hd-tie-down-straps) are my favorite. 1,500 lb min breaking strength and the little cam buckle is rated for 2,000 lb. Strap length is woven into the webbing and embossed on the buckle. Makes it easy to find in the bucket-o-straps. Loading tip: a twist or two will kill any humming or strap vibration on the road. Apologize for the novel – you hit a nerve. 😀

Dave Otte
2 years ago

Great info Tony! I stopped using ratchet straps when I got my 2019 Hobie Outback. I converted a utility trailer to tote my kayak, and I use the cam straps to keep the kayak from ‘flying up’ while travelling. I also use a 3/8″ rope, tied from the metal side rail of the kayak to the trailer to keep it from going forward or backward (in case of a hard stop, for example). It doesn’t put any pressure on the kayak, and it also acts as a backup in case one of the cam straps fails. I store the kayak on the trailer in the back yard with a cover. I put the straps over the cover, and I loosen them to a ‘snug’ fit. They kept the kayak on the trailer during 105 mph winds recently during hurricane Sally.

Dave Otte
2 years ago
Reply to  Wyatt Parcel

Oh my, sorry Wyatt, I didn’t see your face so I just knew the kayak tip was from Tony. Sorry brother you are doing such a great job!!!

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