Instructables
Picture of Strap Wraps
PHOTO strap wraps.jpg
Quick hack for tie down straps- increase contact friction to improve holding power by making these simple sleeves to slip on tie downs.

Friction is a function of surface contact area, force and the coefficient of friction.  When I car-top my kayaks, these three variables are what I have to work with.

Ratcheting up the force is the simplest way to increase the holding friction.  However, this can strain and stress a boat, an expensive investment to damage! 

Commercial racks increase the surface contact area with special cradles.  Unfortunately, these are expensive and reduce the general function of the rack.

Sleeves of non-slip rubber to augment the friction easily secure my boats.  It's cheap and general, rather than brute force or elaborate racks. A more simple solution.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

Step 2: Construction

Picture of Construction
Fabrication is straightforward, however, most flexible epoxies release poisonous vapors so work in a well ventilated area.
  1. Unroll the non-slip material and cut in 12" sections.
  2. Lay out sections on top of non-permeable paper.
  3. Apply a thick bead of epoxy in a 2" wide - zig-zag along on edge.
  4. Fold non-slip material over, onto the epoxy. 
  5. Use a spatula to press the flaps together and keep your fingers clean.
  6. Let cure per the epoxy's instructions, outdoors preferably.

Step 3: Wrap-up!

Simply slide the sleeves over what you use for tie-downs.  My initial wraps have lasted 6 years of use and actually hold better as they've gotten worn and wrinkly.

I've also found that there is no longer any need to ensure my tie-down straps lay flat across my kayak.  In fact, when the sleeves bunch up, and twist around the straps, I get the best holding power. An awesome tertiary advantage, I can throw the straps on sloppy and quick- with better performance!
really great idea ! it will really come n handy for racing boats. they are very light weight,like a eggshell, Too muck pressure on the straps will easily crack or break the seam, there goes a$2000 boat and good luck finding a professional repair. the builders who can repair them tend to be in hawaii of hundreds of miles away, if that close. The race K1 kayaks are about 23 lbs,. i have an outrigger one man, that is 24 foot long, carbon fiber and kevlar layup, the scrunchies material also protest the gel coat.
CrLz (author)  escapefromyonkers3 years ago
Definitely!

As you can see, my long boat is a simple roto-mold plastic boat, but cracking up the force bends the hull shape way too much. In this case it is the cheap hull materials that are the issue. Certainly with racing boats it is protecting the expensive hull that is the concern.

BTW- although the scrunchy material is gentle on hulls, it does retain sand. For a performance, gel-coat hull, I'd slip a clean chamois between the wraps and the hull. Definitely don't want to loose the gloss!
scubaru3 years ago
Sorry to be off topic but what happened to the front end of your subie? I notice the ding on the front left quarter panel and the foglight cover is gone.

Nice write up!
CrLz (author)  scubaru3 years ago
Lets call it - calibration... an ongoing process that is slowly customizing my car. The shadow on the driver's door obscures another calibration. Tires are new, because the sidewall of the passenger front tire let go last fall, another calibration error.

All said, it's doing good (by my estimates) for 150K. Probably buy a new car next year, then drop 5K to clean up this one.

BTW- you should see my old car...
curbowman3 years ago
Great! It's so simple and effective I just have to say "why didn't I thought about that before?"
CrLz (author)  curbowman3 years ago
What is really surprising is how much better the grip becomes. Initially I tried to sew strips onto the straps. Didn't work well with the cam-buckles, but the hold improvement wasn't much either.

Crazy that just going simple and sloppy actually works best!
NachoMahma3 years ago
CrLz (author)  NachoMahma3 years ago
Muchas gracias!