cargo tie down in the canoe

I ask for info as to installing the correct tie down hardware in a canoe bottom. I want to install two places in the bottom left and right of center to tie packs and gear down

I appreciate the help and advice

is what I use. I’ve used a 3M material to glue them in, can’t recall what is was though. Maybe others will mention what they’ve used.


What boat material?
If you are talking about a Royalex boat, the best (or at least most common option) is to use a D ring or webbing loop anchor which is stitched onto a vinyl backing patch like this:

These typically come with either 1" or 2" stainless D rings. Some anchors substitute a sewn in nylon webbing loop for the steel D ring, and unless you need a D ring these might be a better option because the metal D rings can eventually rust (unless you really need a metal D ring, for example to allow a thigh strap to smoothly glide through it).

A variety of bonding agents can be used to glue them into a Royalex boat. I have preferred vinyl adhesive or “Vynabond” which has worked well for me if used according to directions. A D ring bonded in with vinyl adhesive might eventually give way (typically years later), but I have found that it can just be bonded back down again in the same place with the same adhesive. I like vinyl adhesive because it usually allows a patch to be removed without tearing up or off the underlying vinyl of the Royalex, unlike epoxies and other adhesives.

To glue in a D ring patch to a Roylex boat using vinyl adhesive first mark the position of the patch on the hull bottom with a pencil, Sharpie, or china marker. Lightly rough the vinyl of the hull with 100-120 grit sandpaper. Clean both the bottom of the patch and the hull with an organic solvent. I use acetone, but be careful with acetone on the hull because it can dissolve the Royalex. If you don’t dribble it or allow it to pool, using just a bit to moisten a cloth or paper towel it flashes off quickly and does no harm. An alternative to acetone is isopropyl or denatured alcohol.

Apply an even coat of vinyl adhesive to the bottom of the patch and the hull and allow it some time to “degass”. This takes maybe 15 min at room temperature, less in warm weather. You can speed up the degassing by wafting a heat gun or hair drier over the hull and the patch. Be careful when applying the patch to the hull, starting at the edge, and smoothly approximating it to the boat without leaving any air bubbles beneath or getting any pleats in the vinyl patch. To get a good bond, it helps to run a small roller over the top of the patch.

If you have a Royalite or R 84 hull vinyl adhesive may not result in a durable bond. Likewise, if you have a polyethylene hull, vinyl adhesive and many other agents will not bond. In these cases I would use West System G Flex epoxy. With polyethylene boats it is necessary to pretreat the hull with flame oxidation by passing the tip of a propane torch flame over the hull surface to be bonded. I have heard that Stabond will also work on Royalite boats.

For composite boats I have also bonded in vinyl D ring patches using vinyl adhesive using the same technique and had no problems, even though I have heard it said that vinyl adhesive only bonds to vinyl.

An alternative to D ring patches on composite boats is to “glass in” nylon webbing loop anchors using 1 inch tubular nylon webbing, fiberglass cloth, and epoxy. Cut a piece of nylon webbing 6" long or so and fray an inch or so at each end. Bond the frayed ends to the hull with epoxy, then cover the ends with 2 or 3 layers of fiberglass bonded in with epoxy. This results in a lighter anchor if you already have the materials.

A related recommendation
I won’t say anything about anchoring methods, as Pete has covered it and he knows much more than I do anyway.

I was thinking that you might want to install FOUR tie-downs at each pack location rather than two. This will accomplish a few things. You’ll have a bit more flexibility as to the exact location you place the item to be tied down. Much less stress will be applied to the anchoring points when the anchoring lines are “tight enough” to keep the pack secure (with a few well-placed anchor lines, the pack is firmly held in place even if the lines are not very tight, but with just one line crossing over the pack, it will need to be very tight, especially if the pack is small). That’s because with four anchor points, you can hold the pack down with many more lines in various directions, using two, four, or even six crossings of the tie-down rope. I usually use a diamond hitch laced from one piece of rope (two lines cross from left-to-right, but the center of each loop passes through the adjacent loop at center so the pack is held down by lines in the form of an ‘X’, but better than a plain ‘X’ because no shifting of the lines can occur. Then you can supplement that with a plain left-to-right crossover loop at one end or both ends of the pack as well.

If you can use the Vynabond method described in Pete’s post, very little time/labor is needed, so you might as well install enough anchors to make life easier once you start using them.

Better (IMHO) TIe Down Method
I Install (bolt on) nylon loops to gunnels, thwarts, etc. Use a nice, heavy duty climbing carabiner attached to the pack and they’re secure. Easier to show than explain. Attached to the bottom it’s a little harder to un-clip, especially if it’s in a pinned or upside down boat. Here’s some pics of some of mine (look for blue loops and black and yellow loops):

The problem with
gear tethered at the level of the thwarts or gunwales is that when the canoe is inverted, the gear hangs well outside of the hull.

Any gear secured to a thwart or gunwale has to be on a long enough attachment so that is rests on the bottom of the hull, or it will raise the center of gravity. If you swim out of your boat, the gear will dangle well out of it making it more likely to snag on rocks or wood, or just get damaged.

Gear dangling down below the sheer line also makes what would be a relatively easy boat-over-boat rescue difficult, or even impossible.

same thing
I did the same thing as this with mine. I then went in because as pete said if something does happen and you flip it would be harder to get the boat back over so I also installed D rings at the bottom of the boat. this way heavier items go through both d rings as well as the top loops incase one fails the other should hopefully hold.

haven’t flipped yet to test the theory but it sure makes me feel better.