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Straps Break?

Joined
Mar 22, 2024
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Location
Newtown, CT
Something happened to a friend when he was hauling his canoe down the highway and it got me thinking. He had front and rear straps on the canoe, but no bow line. The front strap broke and the canoe immediately folded around the rear strap, creating a very expensive carbon fiber taco. Ouch!

I had three thoughts on this event.

1. The most obvious; always tie down the bow. Duh.
2. I've never had a strap break, and therefore, never given them much thought. But they must age like any piece of kit and sooner or later might fail. Is the cost of a new set of straps every few years worth the price of a canoe? I ditched my old straps and bought new straps from NRS. They look very well made and are labeled with both load limit and breaking numbers. This is not an endorsement, but someone at NRS is paying attention. I also took a sharpie and marked them with the year "2023", so I know how long they've been in use.
3. On long, high speed road trips, I now throw a second strap over the front strap. Belt and suspenders.
 
I have seen a picture of this happen to a Hornbeck. What a heart break for him, and luck to the cars behind him. I have tulle straps and as mentioned on the other thread, iam gonna look for that tracer cord. I like the idea of two straps on the front. I would be very upset if my boat got tacoed like that, but even worse if I damaged others cars or people. Now after writing what I've been thinking, 30 dollars is a no brainer.
 
I have accumulated so many NRS type straps (probably a dozen pairs) and rotate them so often I do not see any obvious wear in any of them. I have always used rope bow lines to webbing loops fastened to bolts under the engine hood edge of my vehicle. When I carried a carbon C4 from NY to the Yukon and return, I did double up on the number of belly straps, as well as the normal bow line, plus a stern hitch support and tie down line as well. Necessary when driving in the windy Canadian prairie and turbulence from big trucks was strong.
 
3. On long, high speed road trips, I now throw a second strap over the front strap. Belt and suspenders.
That's what I've always done. 2 separately secured ties on the front & one on the rear. Even back when I used bungee cords, I had the rear one break & the canoe stayed in place. (no bow or stern attachments at that time... young, dumb & living on the edge)
 
I had a strap brake while lashing down my canoe. The buckle broke. It was a decade old, and from Walmart.

Afterwards I bought new NRS straps. I always use one of those as the lead strap.

Anytime I'm traveling by highway I secure the bow. I secure the lines to the fender mounts under the hood, then snake the rope up and around the corner of the hood where the hinge is. This ensures the hinge carries the load, and pulls less on the hood latch Otherwise I go over the front bumper and down to the chassis.

I've had factory roof racks pull from the roof too. Thankfully it wasn't a catastrophic failure. So I like at least one line tied somewhere besides the racks.
 
The buckle broke.

This where I've seen some weaknesses. Either the buckle itself can become damaged or the stitching around the buckle. I always do a couple half hitches below the buckle and then tie the remainder of the strap around the tower and bars.

I've had a foam block blow off the roof on an Alaskan highway when using the four foam blocks with a rental canoe.

Front and rear tie-downs are important because even if the belly straps/ropes never break, the rack towers can come loose or fail for a variety of reasons.

One of my rain gutter towers on my old van just got flattened by a falling tree. I haven't yet determined whether it's permanently damaged or not. The van has been dormant for over a year. It has no confusing electronics. Only mice.

tree on van.jpg
 
This where I've seen some weaknesses. Either the buckle itself can become damaged or the stitching around the buckle. I always do a couple half hitches below the buckle and then tie the remainder of the strap around the tower and bars.

I've had a foam block blow off the roof on an Alaskan highway when using the four foam blocks with a rental canoe.

Front and rear tie-downs are important because even if the belly straps/ropes never break, the rack towers can come loose or fail for a variety of reasons.

One of my rain gutter towers on my old van just got flattened by a falling tree. I haven't yet determined whether it's permanently damaged or not. The van has been dormant for over a year. It has no confusing electronics. Only mice.

View attachment 140592
Ouch.
Reminds me of the time long ago when I used Quik & Easy gutter mounts. My wife forgot that I had a whitewater kayak on top and drove into low ceiling parking deck. It broke the rain gutters away where the clamps were attached. You would think the bow lines would sort of give away the fact that a boat was on top.

Yes, we're still together. My wife and I that is, not the truck.
 
The yeah, but what about the boat?
The boat survived and went on to run many more rivers. The old rotomold stuff was tough. The racks with vertical stacker bars remained in service with a bit of repair.
The rain gutters were the real heroes; even with the chunks out of them, i was still able to move the bars closer together and still use them. That old truck took me on river journeys for many years after that.
 
Thankfully, I've never had a roof rack fail, but I check the mounts regularly.
I have but it was 150lb- rated factory racks that failed where you couldn't see it, the through bolts under the headliner had corroded over time- I suspect it was seepage over years of use and weather, while the visible part was in perfect condition the attaching bolts underneath were corroded down to less than the thickness of a matchstick. that cost me 3 sheets of 4x10 x1/2" plywood.
I also had a set of "Sportracks" that looked fine but the 1/2 round, threaded block that made the Tee for the adjusting bolts had cracks in 3 of the 4 mounts- they immediately were retired
 
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