tieing down a kayak to my vw beetle

I have just purchased Thule racks for my 2002 vw beetle. The racks work great and the boats fit fine, but I can’t seem to find a place to tie the front and rear of the kayaks down. The bumpers of the car are all plastic. Does someone have any advice on what I should do?



yep, maybe
I had the same problem on my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Front I had tiedowns, but rear I had none.

I looked around underneath, and found two bolts, one on either side of the bumper that were accessible.

I went to the hardware store, and bought a section of chain with links that would fit over the bolts, and nuts and washers to fit the bolts. Then I simply bolted the chain across the back of the car using the two bolts I had found. The chain isn’t visible.

I just slide my rope through a couple links and tie it down. You might be able to try the same thing.

Tie downs

– Last Updated: Jun-15-10 11:58 PM EST –

For the front, you can open up the hood, and see if there are any places in the engine compartment you can loop some p-cord or webbing around, make sure it is something that is structurally sound, and preferably metal. Lead your tie down out beyond where the hood closes, close the hood, and you have a good tie down point. On my Subaru, I have a small p-cord loop set up like this, with the knot sticking out of the seam between the hood and fender, so its easily accessible without opening the hood. Tucks down low when not in use, but isn't distracting or noticeable. Worst case scenario, you can make a loop out of p-cord or thin webbing, open the hood, put the center of the loop around where the hood latch is located, and close the hood. You now have a decent front tie down. Can use the same technique for the rear hatch as well.

There used to be
a product (Bones? Banz?) that consisted of 1" PVC pipe with caps either end and a sewn piece of webbing that could be closed under the hood and trunk of a vehicle to create temporary anchor points. QED, but I cannot find them. Maybe someone else can provide a link.

Your Bug has a “short roofline” and as such you do need to tie the boat with Vs both bow and stern to reduce the tendancy of the boat to yaw in wind and 18-wheeler wakes.


De ol’ web strap trick…


Hood or wheel wells
Look under the hood. I loop a strap around the hinges of the hood on my CRV.

That or get tie down straps with hooks and attach them to your wheel wells.

VW Tow points
There is a screw in tow point for the front of your car and likely a loop on the back.

Put the screw in tow or tie down loop and that is your first tie down. My VW has a tie down transport or tow loop fixed on the back, that is your second loop.

Alternately check out Fiona Stirlings posts some years ago. She loops a stocking around the hood and trunk latch then ties your bow and stern lines loosely to that. No damage to the car and in an emergency stockings or panty hose are tough enough to lift your car.

The boat is held in place by the latteral lines.

Bow and stern lines are a safety line only.

Check the manual for tow points. My guess is that you have to:

  1. Remove a small plastic hatch with a threaded hole behind.
  2. Find the threaded hook from somewere close to the spare tire.
  3. Install the hook in the threaded hole.

tieing down a kayak to my vw beetle
Thank you so much. Your reply was extremely helpful.