Tie down at front of Ford Ranger

I have a 2011 Ford Ranger pickup. I would like to know how best to secure the bow of my long narrow kayak at the front. I do not see any good places to tie the rope that will keep the front of the boat centered.

I’m thinking of installing two hooks somewhere. Does anybody have any suggestions?

The rest of the hull will be secured to a Thule XSporter rack system. Its only the bow centering at the front that I need to figure out.

De ol’ bolt-strap-to-de-fender trick…

– Last Updated: Feb-05-12 12:13 PM EST –

Git yerself a piece o' strappin', fold over ta form a loop, burn a hole inta it, unscrew a bolt fro' de fender/engine compartment, insert bolt through hole, screw bolt back in, fold out between hood an' fender fer use ta tie onto, flip down an' back under hood waan not used.




under hood loops
Few different types available. Just Google them. Very inexpensive

Ryan L.

Do you have an outdoor store?
A store that caters to rock climbers or paddlers or sometimes even campers will often sell 1" wide tubular nylon webbing by the foot. You only need about a foot of it or a little more to make a pair of loops. You might get a couple of sizable fender washers of the appropriate size for whatever machine screws you find near the edge of your hood. Put them over the nylon webbing loops to better secure them. You don’t need to buy anything commercial (unless you really want to).

Why Bother?
Where I paddle, nobody does so. 20’ - 26’ canoes and kayaks are car topped every day w/o securing the bow and stern. If the strap comes loose, the tires will find them and snap your canoe/kayak in half. Best to secure your boats at the cross bars.

With a "26’ " canoe, I would just put
wheels on it, and then put the ranger inside the canoe.

Just have to constantly roll down hill though!

Jack L

I have the same problem
So i do it all backwards instead of a stern line running backwards and a bow line running forwards, i run two ropes from the bow back to the rack, which holds it centered and keeps it from going forward if the strapes come off, then i do the same thing in the back going forward to the rack, which would keep it from sliding backwards if things came loose.

Under hood loops
I use a set up pretty much as described previously and it has worked well. The object is to keep the front of the boat from getting wrenched around by the wind from trucks or crosswinds at highway speeds. Perhaps I’ll take some flack for this, but I sometimes don’t even use front tie downs on backroads and short shuttles where I won’t be going fast. Calculated risk. Always use them on the open road, though.

The only thing I would further suggest is that instead of using the front-most fender bolts to attach the loops to, use the ones closest to where the front of the boat ends up when its placed as you want it front to back. Where it balances most naturally is the placement I go for. My thinking is that if the ropes go forward from the boat, they can get slacked if the boat slips forward even a little in an emergency stop. They then do nothing for you. (I don’t worry about it slipping back. A Ranger doesn’t accelerate that quickly.)

If the rope goes straight across the hood, even with the front of the boat, it helps prevent such slippage. Should slippage in an emergency stop occur, it only tightens the rope more. There are plenty of screws under the hood to choose from, why not choose wisely?

I’ve been just using webbing from my straps to make the loops. The straps are always too long anyhow, and the hood will rumple before the strap would break - no need to get into “overkill” on this. Just burn the cut ends to prevent fraying, melt your hole with a nail heated on the stove and you’re set. Easy, secure, safe.

The loops are good advice
you’ve got from others and are easily made at home if you have some nylon webbing - most hardware stores sell this by the foot. PJC and FatElmo give you direction on making your own.

Don’t know if it will work for you but I’ve used carabiners as a tie off. Crawl under the front of the truck and look for a really secure place to attach 2 carabiners - one on each side - (again you can find similar looking hardware at the hardware store - usually with a screw closure). Then run your bow lines to the carabiners.

Perhaps I’m overly cautious but whenever I transport my boats on the highway I have 4 attachment points. Bow and Stern to the truck itself and 2 belly lines over the center of the boat and attached to the roof rack.

Yup! Ah’s agree…
Bow an’ stern ta car/truck an’ two belly straps ta racks…

Racks kin fail… ah’s seen a few in me time.


Fender Strap
Thanks for posting pictures on the fender strap trick. I have a 2001 Ranger and will be trying that trick out.

these Quick-loops go under a hood or trunk lid or doors and get pinched there when you close them.


loop strap question
Instead of putting one on each side of the hood. Can you just put on in the middle of the hood? then you could put two boats on the roof and tie them both to the loop in the center?

I just ordered me some loops.


Cheap hood straps/loops
Make your own hood loops from a $3 pack of “soft straps” that are available at WalMart in the section with the straps and bungees. A pack includes two green 12" straps with a loop on both ends of each.

one pack of these will make 4 tie downs, just cut them in half, make a hole and put the fender bolts through them.

Someone mentioned not wanting to use bow and stern lines because they can get under the tires and fold a boat in half. YES, IF you you LONG bow lines that go under the bumper or to the frame. The whole POINT of the hood straps is that they are short and can never get in the tires.

Always use bow and stern lines on any craft over 16’ on most vehicles.


Free is even cheaper
Open hood. Hook strap to where the hood latches. Close hood. I don’t know about the Ford Ranger, but this works on both my cars. There’s room for two hooks and the hoodlatch without a problem.

Tie-downs coming loose

– Last Updated: Feb-19-12 11:05 PM EST –

I use usually use a trucker's hitch for tie-downs, so by necessity, my bow and stern tie-downs must be a couple feet longer than a length that "just reaches" the anchor point, and in my case the best anchor points are under the bumper. Also, I use the same tie-downs for every boat, as well as tying my boats on other people's cars, so there's no practical way to make them just the right length in each particular situation. However, anyone who skips the bow tie-downs because they are worried about them coming loose and flopping under a tire needs to learn some proper knots, or stop using cheap rope made from recycled milk jugs, or stop using straps anchored with hooks. The right knot on a decent rope will never come undone, and is every bit as fast and easy to tie and untie as a strap buckle (actually it's always easier and usually just a little faster). As a bonus, with rope, whatever extra length is present can be eliminated by knot placement (put the knot a few feet above the anchor point if need be), or even by doubling the line back around again if it's way too long, so you never need to wrap a free end around anything (and tie it again) to "use it up" like strap users do. And people who trim their straps may render them useless for multiple applications.