Spring Equinox Reminder: Check Your Racks and Straps!

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Rejoice! Rejoice!

All ye in Mullet Land (or at least the ones who live where Winter is a thing) for it is the first day of Spring! Hallelujah!!!!!

Springtime car rack safety check

As we begin to ramp up our trips to the lake, river, sounds and ocean, taking advantage of Daylight Saving Time and (hopefully) warmer temps, it’s a good time to check those bolts on your roof racks. We were recently reminded of this by a Mulleteer who discovered his were catastrophically loose.  Wear and tear, changing temperatures and time can cause the hardware on any roof rack system to loosen up, and least you want to lose your board or canoe or surfski as you make haste to your favorite paddle places, it is always a good idea to go around your vehicle and make sure everything is nice and secure.  If not, tighten it up.  If anything looks suspicious, consider a trip to where ever you purchased the rack for a professional consultation or call the rack manufacturer. If it needs to be replaced, then do it.  Also it’s a good time to check the lock cores, if your system has them. On some rack systems, those pesky little things can work their way out of the receptacle in which they are normally seated. If you have them, and we hope you all do, and they have gone missing, then replace them so you don’t run the risk of getting your gear stolen.

Don’t Forget the Tie-downs

And while we’re at it, let’s go through that bag of tie-down straps and check them all for fraying.  Any strap that shows significant signs of wear needs to be retired.  Sure, you can repurpose them for other tasks that won’t result in tears when they break, but the last thing you want – next to roof rack failure of course – is a strap that’s holding down your new full carbon race board to break on the Interstate. Or anywhere, for that matter.

Suspicious scoring indicating wear

 

Yep. This one is cruisin’ for a brusin’

 

Need to buy some new straps? We like the kind that has a nice rubber or neoprene bumper that will protect your board or boat from scratches and dings from the buckle.  If it has a little shock cord loop that allows you to secure the strap when it’s rolled up all nice and tidy, even better.  We also like locking straps from Thule (Tool-EE) or KanuLocks. Oh yeah, remember not to over-tighten those straps!!!!

While we are talking about theft prevention, I noticed lots of folks on Maui are using lock boxes – like the ones real estate agents use on houses – to secure their keys and wallets while they are in the water. You simply set the combination lock code after purchase, place your car keys, credit cards, driver’s license, wedding ring, whatever, inside, close the cover and then attach the unit to the towing hardware usually found underneath the bumper on most cars, or anywhere else where the U-shaped contraption can be secured to your vehicle. That way, no losing them out of a pocket, no risk of ruining the electronics in most key fobs these days if a dry bag fails, and no need to risk theft because you just stuck the keys in your wheel well. Super convenient.

So check those racks, mull over your straps and arise, go forth and enjoy the season!

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Lisa
Lisa is managing editor of PaddleMonster.com and is an avid paddler of all the things - including sup, SurfSki, outrigger canoe and prone, though she especially enjoys paddle surfing and downwinding. She is a former journalist with more than 30 years experience in print and broadcast journalism and in government communications. She is a six-time Chattajack finisher, racing both sup and OC2. When not paddling, she is an outdoor instructor.

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