One of the best ways to spend time outdoors is to relax in your canoe while sailing on the water. However, unless you live on a beachfront property, you’ll first need to transport your canoe to the water body. Straps are useful for holding the canoe down during the trip, but they tend to get noisy.
Here’s how to stop canoe straps making noise:
- Tie the canoe securely on your car roof.
- Twist the straps in multiple directions.
- Tighten the straps.
- Keep the loose ends secure.
- Use round ropes in place of straps.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain each of these steps in greater detail. Once you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll no longer have to announce you’re transporting the canoe next time you go water-side camping.
1. Tie the Canoe Securely on Your Car Roof
Transporting your canoe is usually less of a challenge if you own a truck, van, or trailer.
However, you can still transport the canoe on a car if you have a mid-high powered sedan. The first step is to position the canoe dead-center of your car roof. Look at the positioning to ensure it’s not leaning to one side too much.
If you have a luggage rack on your car, the canoe might slide around before you’ve tied it into place. You can enlist extra help to hold down the canoe as you tie it up. A luggage rack also protects your car’s roof from dents and scratches. If you don’t have a luggage rack installed, you can place a weighty blanket or blocks of foam between the roof and the canoe to keep out any scratches.
Your canoe should be tied facing downwards to reduce drag. If you intended to carry some personal effect in the hollow part of the canoe while it’s tied on your roof, you should reconsider.
Put all such items into your trunk or come back for them if there isn’t enough space. There’s the risk of any material carried inside the canoe flying out while you’re in transit.
Some people put the items on the roof, cover the canoe, and then tie down the canoe. That may work for you, though you’ll need to confirm that your car is capable of handling the load. You should also ensure the load underneath won’t push up the canoe to an unnatural height atop your car. It will increase drag and the risk of the canoe falling off.
2. Twist the Straps in Multiple Directions
While tying down the canoe with the straps, you should twist some legs of the strap clockwise and others counter-clockwise. This trick is the simplest way to stop strap noises. Twisting the straps ensures that there is very little force on the straps while you’re driving. This is because it leaves very little room for air to have the acoustic impact that makes the straps noisy. With the reduced force, the straps become quiet.
3. Tighten the Straps
After twisting the straps, make sure they’re tied down tightly. Loose straps will make some noise as your car gets into motion. Your twist may also come undone. There’s also the risk of the canoe falling off the top of the car.
Minor luggage falling off the roof of a car can cause very expensive damage. Imagine the damage a canoe tumbling off the top of your car while you’re doing 50 km/hr (31.07 mi/hr) can cause.
4. Keep the Loose Ends Secure
After you’ve tied off the straps, you’ll have some loose ends (the remaining part of the strap beyond the tied-off knot). You need to secure these properly on all sides to keep them from thrashing about in the wind as you drive. The noise isn’t quite as loud as what you’d get from the strap area when it’s not twisted, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
You can secure the loose end by closing the doors against them to hold them in place. Alternatively, you can tie loose ends on the same side of the car together. If the loose ends from the strap are too small to be held in place by the car door or tied up together, they’re unlikely to make any noise.
5. Use Round Ropes in Place of Straps
The first four approaches work when you absolutely have to use a strap, and you don’t mind taking a bit more time when tying down your canoe. If you want a faster solution to the strap noise problem, you should use round ropes instead.
The ATERET Diamond Braid Polypropylene Rope and the Wellmax Diamond Braided Polypropylene Rope are good options here. They’re powerful enough to hold down your canoe and won’t make any noise. The latter is UV and weather-treated as well, so you can trust it to hold up nicely for a long time. They both come in 100 ft (30.48 m) packages, so you’ll always have enough to work with.
However, you need to pay attention to the laws in your area before you use ropes instead of straps to hold down your canoe. For example, in New Jersey, some people have mentioned that it’s illegal to use ropes when transporting any bulky items on top of your car. If you don’t have any legal problems to worry about, it’s the easiest way to ensure you won’t have to worry about canoe strap noise again.
That said, avoid using cheap ropes. If there’s any risk of the rope coming apart while you’re driving, you should never take the risk. You’re not just risking damage to your canoe; you’re putting other road users at risk.
Strap noises can be distracting when transporting your canoe. Approaches like twisting help limit or eliminate the noise, allowing you to focus on your driving. If you still hear whipping or rattling sounds after adopting this method, it’s likely that you’ve not secured your canoe on your car properly.
In such a scenario, you should park by the road and take a closer look at the strap to ensure it hasn’t come loose on any side. Remember, a canoe tumbling off the top of your car can cause major damage and significant issues for you and other road users.