Trail Cafe: Article - Adding canoe tie down points


Title: Adding_canoe_tie_down_points.html
Trip type: article
Summary: Adding canoe tie down points
Author: M. Tanton

The Trip Report:

Well I bought a new car, which is good because now I will be able to get out more often. I bought a plain-Jane Pontiac G5, which I like well enough. However it is lacking a reasonable way to tie down the ends of a canoe/sea kayak to the car.

So this is the trick that I used, which I thought may help others. This is something I learned from my friend Ross.

What do is create a loop of webbing that is bolted to the car at the edge of the hood and trunk. Sounds easy enough and it is.

First find some webbing, I sacrificed a strap and buckle system I had laying around. I cut four lengths 2 at around 6" and 2 around 8". The different lengths as the bolts I'm attaching them to the car with with are at different distances from to the edge of the car.

After cutting the lengths use a lighter to melt the edges so they do not fray. Next I cut a 1/4" hole in each end of each strap. For cutting I used a utility knife (or box-cutter for our American friends). I cut small squares and pulled some of the loose fibers out. I did not try to pull all the fibers out, a quick hit with the lighter melts the frayed center bits, and prevents further fraying. While it is still hot run a pencil or some thing similar through to make a reasonable hole. (I used an arrow with a field point...) Then another quick hit with the lighter to clean it up a bit and it is a good enough result for me.

Completed Straps ready to install on the car.

(sorry Picture lost... when I make some more)

close up of end

(sorry Picture lost... when I make some more)

After you make the straps comes the installation. This again is simple remove one of the body bolts just in side the hood, and run both ends of the strap through the bolt and reinstall the bolt. Do make sure the bolt is affixed to a strong point of the car and not some bit of plastic. You'll see in the picture that it looks like I'm on a plastic bit, but under that is steel.

Mounting technique

Loop installed under bolt in the trunk
Loop installed under bolt in the trunk
Tie down under the hood
Tie down under the hood

So you end up with a easy to use loop for tying your canoe down. No need to crawl under the car in the dirt to find a tie down point. Not a big deal on some cars, but more so on others like mine. The loops tuck nicely under the hood when not in use, so it does not make your car look like it is growing some kind of ears.

The loop is in the deployed position.

tie down loop with the hood closed.
tie down loop with the hood closed.

I've used this technique before on my old cavalier, but in that case it only worked on the hood. So your mileage may vary. I do wonder about wicking water down the bolt hole. Also after a few seasons I found they should be replaced as they do wear down a bit. Hope you find some use in it.

Please take care to not Hurt yourself (cut, burn, or otherwise). Having said that I survived the building process, and I imagine you will too. Also be aware that If you use this trick, I am not responsible for any damage you may do to your car as a result. Depending on your car it may break your paint seal, may cause wear in rubbing the paint on the side of the hood or other damage. I wish I'd looked at the Caviler prior to giving it away, to see if this did occur.

Also the loop may even snap and fail to hold the canoe. Use at your own risk, and ensure you canoe is tied over the center. It makes me sad that I have to say things like this... sigh.



Loop installed under bolt in the trunk


Tie down under the hood


tie down loop with the hood closed.

Content Copyright © M. Tanton 2017

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