We recently cartopped our 17′ Grumman canoe 900 miles and tried out Seattle Sports Sherpak Quick Loops to secure its bow and stern. The straps took only seconds to install and provided the essential tie-down points for the long highway drive.
Skipper’s family has a history of cartopping canoes and we know it is just as important to secure the bow and the stern as it is to secure the middle of the boat to the roof racks, especially on longer vessels like the Grumman. The lines to the ends help prevent the bow from swinging sideways in the apparent wind generated at highway speeds and keep boats from sliding fore and aft during sudden starts and stops. On old cars, it can be easy to find places to attach bow and stern tie-downs, but many new cars may not have anchor points because of aerodynamic cladding of the underbody and hood-gap streamlining. Older cars were also built with rain gutters, which provided a positive attachment for a roof rack. Racks clipped on new cars don’t have a grip that is as secure, and while the straps across the middle of the boat will hold it to the racks, only the bow and stern lines can help hold the racks on the car.
Each Sherpak Quick Loop consists of a flexible rubber anchor and an 8-1/2″ loop of 1″ nylon webbing and can be installed in seconds. With the hood, door, hatch, or trunk open, the anchor is placed inside the perimeter and the strap extends out from it. The flexibility of the anchor ensures a snug fit inside; a quick pull on the web loop ensures that the enclosed anchor is fully seated. For our canoe we use four loops, one on either side of the hood and one on either side of our car’s hatch.
The webbing is thin enough to fit the seams between the vehicle body and its hood, door, hatch, or trunk and won’t mar the paint finish. Even if a car has underbody tie-down points, they limit the options for locating tie-downs. There is a wider variety of locations for the Quick Loops and they can be placed to keep tie-downs from rubbing on the paint. I save time by not having to pad the tie-down line and I really, really like not having to crawl under the car to find anchor points, which can be uncomfortably close to a hot engine and exhaust pipe.
We bought two pairs of Quick Loops so we could have supplemental side to side lines both fore and aft. Our canoe, SCOUT, recently traveled in secure comfort to her new Middle Atlantic homeport thanks to this uncomplicated piece of gear, and the loops have her highest recommendation.
Audrey (Skipper) and Kent Lewis are hosts to an Armada of small boats and look forward to exploring the Tidewater region of Southeastern Virginia, their new home.
Is there a product that might be useful for boatbuilding, cruising, or shore-side camping that you’d like us to review? Please email your suggestions.