Best vehicle for transporting canoe

I’m looking to buy a new small SUV to transport my 17’ canoe. I looked at the Subaru Forester but it didnt have any good tie down points. Do you know new SUVs with good tie down points?

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Our vehicle does not have useful tie down points. We use these:

Hood Anchor – Yakima

Under the hood and under the tailgate. VW Alltrack.

I bet if you crawl under the Forrester you’ll find someplace to insert hooks. Foam blocks and straps and you’re all set, with or without a roof rack

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Many vehicles now do not have tie down points, but it is easy to install hood loops for the front of the vehicle.


Here’s how I do tiedowns for bow lines:


i made this for under my rear hatchback.

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From what I’ve seen, Subies now have such short racks…I wouldn’t want to strap a 17ft. canoe to them. You’d have to have a lot of boat twords the font of the vehicle

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there are several different methods. My Forester has a couple of bolts under the hood near the edge that I used to fasten webbing loops. My original 2004 Subaru was an outback that had nice wide spacing of the roof bars. When it was time to buy another car, I did not like the folding bars on the new model that I did not think were spaced far enough, so I waited a couple of years until a redesign looked much better. So when the later updated Foresters came out, that is what I got. Two of them actually, one for me, one for my wife. I have no trouble securely tying down and carrying canoes of all sizes, from 10’ pack canoes, up to 18.5’ C2 and 23’ C4 racers.

The C4 canoe shown here has multiple tie downs for the trip from NY State to Whitehorse, YT. Most times, even for my 18.5’ canoes, they only get two straps on the Subaru rack in addiiton to Thule roof top rack gunwale blocks attached to the Subaru rack, plus a bow tie under the hood. I don’t normally feel the need for a stern tie down because I don’t expect to travel down the highway at 70mph in reverse. Gunwale blocks on the Thule racks keep any tendency for the boat to drift sideways down to zero.


Forester with 17 foot canoe on the rack. Put a Yakima or Thule rack on to the factory rails, and you can safely carry a long touring canoe cross country.

Put hood loops in for the front tie downs. There’s no point not doing so, when $8 fixes all the ills . They’re purely there for insurance anyway, as long as you’re not trying to use foam blocks to support the canoe instead of an actual rack.

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You can cross the new Honda CRV off your list. It is no longer possible to use hood loops anywhere in the front of the vehicle - too many plastic covers under the hood and no bolt on point. I can no longer use a bowline with my canoes. Great vehicle other than that.

If you can’t find a good underwood anchor point these work just fine…you just close the hood with the webbing loops sticking out and the rubber part keeps them trapped under the hood. There are less expensive ones on Amazon.

Overall I think the Forester is way above average as a canoe vehicle because it has a relatively flat roof and the raised roof rails allow you to attach a universal rack (it’s easy to find used racks that fit) and perhaps most important is has a longer front to rear span than most (all?) other compact crossovers and that helps keep the canoe secure.


How about a 34’ voyageur canooe being transported to the Yukon on a GMC Yukon vehicle:

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I have a 2019 Forester, and there are metal plates on each side below the front bummer with holes that work perfect for front tie-downs. I think they were used to secure the car in the boat when it is shipped over. Look underneath and you may find something similar. I don’t bother with rear tie downs.

Same with my 2015 Forester. I was under the impression that Japanese cars have these to tie them down during shipping. There are also little square pop-out panels on the rear bumper that cover threaded holes for towing hooks but I have not used them.

Is there a screw-in towing lug for the front bumper? I use one on the rear bumper of my car to tie down to. Solid tiedown point.

The best solution couldn’t be any easier. There is no need to run a rope to rub over the hood//bumper of a Subaru to connect to an obscure connection underneath. I have had three Foresters and an Outback. Each had the same bolt just under the edge of the engine hood. Simply make a loop of heavy nylon webbing, heat a large spike and melt a hole in the webbing. Attach wiith the Subaru bolts and you are done.

No. I actually had the service manager look over the vehicle with me to see if I was missing something. There is a tow point underneath the front but any strap/rope would end up putting pressure on the plastic grill. Honda emblem on grill houses some of the safety system sensors so you don’t want to mess with that. Ended up buying side brackets for the crossbars which keeps my canoe from cocking around in the wind - feels very solid. Simple hood loops on my last CRV wre so easy.

Just to reinforce what yknpdlr said, if there isn’t a convenient bolt available you can just run a loop around any available sheet metal. I use woven nylon pulling tape. My vehicle has sturdy tow hooks under the front bumper but I don’t use them because having underhood anchor points that enable short/straight tie-downs makes a difference on windy days. Offshore’s bow line set-up looks ideal.

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Tis be de SpamVan an’ Hippie Canoo an’ Tyler Too - ready ta git goin’ ta de Joisey Pine Barrens ta parley wit dem Mingo varmints. Yer needs a step ladder though.

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