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Every car I have owned (including my wife's Forester) has had a removable cap on the right front bumper to allow insertion of an eye-bolt. While the original purpose is for tie down during shipping and towing, many outdoors oriented people used the eye-bolt to secure the front of a canoe or kayak with a rope or strap. On my 2020 Ascent, the bolt hole is in the left rear.

Of course, with everything made out of plastic these days, there is nothing that you could affix a rope to on the frame without crawling under the car.

This is one more example of how a car company that purports to be geared to the outdoor market misses on the little things or sometimes bigger things - like design of the Outback roof rack which made the crossbars too close together to safely carry a canoe or kayak.
 

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Every car I have owned (including my wife's Forester) has had a removable cap on the right front bumper to allow insertion of an eye-bolt. While the original purpose is for tie down during shipping and towing, many outdoors oriented people used the eye-bolt to secure the front of a canoe or kayak with a rope or strap. On my 2020 Ascent, the bolt hole is in the left rear.

Of course, with everything made out of plastic these days, there is nothing that you could affix a rope to on the frame without crawling under the car.

This is one more example of how a car company that purports to be geared to the outdoor market misses on the little things or sometimes bigger things - like design of the Outback roof rack which made the crossbars too close together to safely carry a canoe or kayak.
They didn't miss it. On the front driver side of your car, right behind where the bumper meets the underguard, you will find a tow hook.

Behind that, on both sides, are tie down hooks - these are not tow hooks.

The eye-bolt is for the rear, and it is located in the rear cargo area, under the floor deck, behind the cover closest to the bumper. In the event the OEM hitch is installed, it has nothing to connect to. A hitch based tow hook needs to be used instead.

(sorry, I originally wrote passenger by mistake)
 

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Thanks for the quick response, Robert. Loving this forum! On my Ascent Premium, I found the hook you described, but on the drivers side only. This was not a viable solution for a couple of reasons:
1) Attaching the bow ropes down to the drivers side would impede vision. The wind vibration is quite distracting I probably drive 10,000 miles a year with kayaks on my car - no good.
2) Most importantly, that hook is located quite far under the vehicle, In order to tie something there it would be a real pain in the , ah, emmm, KNEES, that's it! I'm a very active kayaker, instructor and guide and sometimes take my boat off the car 2-3 times a day and certainly 4-5 time a week.
So, here is the solution I came up with:
I took some looped strap material, slid some protective tubing over the strap to protect the car's finish, put a grommet on one end and bolted it to the metal part of the support under the hood on the passengers side of the car. When in use, I extend the strap, close the hood and tie the kayak bow rope to the loop. When not in use, it folds nicely under the plastic shroud. See the pictures for a better idea of what I did. It should work nicely!
5233
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick response, Robert. Loving this forum! On my Ascent Premium, I found the hook you described, but on the drivers side only. This was not a viable solution for a couple of reasons:
1) Attaching the bow ropes down to the drivers side would impede vision. The wind vibration is quite distracting I probably drive 10,000 miles a year with kayaks on my car - no good.
2) Most importantly, that hook is located quite far under the vehicle, In order to tie something there it would be a real pain in the , ah, emmm, KNEES, that's it! I'm a very active kayaker, instructor and guide and sometimes take my boat off the car 2-3 times a day and certainly 4-5 time a week.
So, here is the solution I came up with:
I took some looped strap material, slid some protective tubing over the strap to protect the car's finish, put a grommet on one end and bolted it to the metal part of the support under the hood on the passengers side of the car. When in use, I extend the strap, close the hood and tie the kayak bow rope to the loop. When not in use, it folds nicely under the plastic shroud. See the pictures for a better idea of what I did. It should work nicely! View attachment 5233
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Hi, glad I could help. I'll show you some other potential solutions this weekend, now that I know what you're trying to accomplish. Can you share what it looks like with the kayak on the Ascent?

Also, keep in mind that the hood is aluminum.
 

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@MikeCav, does that bend the hood up at all when you tighten the rope? Front edge of the hood is quite stiff, but I'm concerned about the distance from the latching point in the middle.
F.S.
 

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Nice solution, but monitor it carefully for lifting/bending the corner of the hood upward, especially on bouncy driveling conditions
 
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I'm a firm believer that the front tie downs should point backwards and the rear tie downs point forwards. The purpose of the tie downs is to secure the boat in the event of a failure of the rack. So the front tie down keeps the boat from moving forwards and the rear keeps in moving backwards. I use a piece of paracord tied around the hood hinges for the front tie downs. For the rear I used the loop that Thule supplied with the Hullavator through the cargo loops in the rear.

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Ugh, so sorry. I was on my back putting my skid plate back on when I'd checked them out last. Tow point is driver's side. I'll fix my earlier comment.


I was in a rush when I made this video on lunch break, so, let me clarify a few things I muddled in my rush (thanks @Wangle).
  1. (if you have the skid plate) Do NOT use the skid plate or its mounting points to TOW the car.
  2. (if you have the skid plate) I would not use the skid plate as a tie-down point - as I said in the video, drilling holes into it will weaken it, just like drilling holes in anything else.
  3. (if you have the skid plate) You could use one of the cross bolts as a tie down point (NOT as a tow hook) and loop a strap around the front lip of the skid plate.
  4. The TOW locations are the two places I showed. The front factory hook attached to the frame rail, and either (a) the rear screw in for the eye-bolt, or (b) the rear OEM hitch.

  5. Tow hook locations CAN be used as tie down locations.
  6. Tie down locations CANNOT be used as tow locations.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
@MikeCav, does that bend the hood up at all when you tighten the rope? Front edge of the hood is quite stiff, but I'm concerned about the distance from the latching point in the middle.
F.S.
No - I don't chinch down on the straps. They are for stability and to provide warning if it looks like the kayak is moving.
 

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Ugh, so sorry. I was on my back putting my skid plate back on when I'd checked them out last. Tow point is driver's side. I'll fix my earlier comment.



I'm not impressed with the all plastic (and flimsy, at that) "skid plate" It will protect the engine from tall grass!
 

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I'm not impressed with the all plastic (and flimsy, at that) "skid plate" It will protect the engine from tall grass!
It's not designed to protect the car from off-roading. It's not a skid plate, it's a brush guard. While I wouldn't use it at any serious off roading place where there's tons of rocks, it will take a considerable amount of damage. I know that, from leaving the rest of my underside plastics in place, and then bashing the heck out of them on thousands of miles of off-roading. ;)

While Subaru does sell actual skid plates for other models (like the options of either steel or aluminum skid plates for the Outback), they do not currently sell them for the Ascent.

BUT...
I think your misunderstanding is thinking that I still run the brush guard underneath. If you've seen the videos of my adventures, you'd know that'd be ludicrous of me. Hence, I don't. ;)

I've chosen Primitive Racing's aluminum front, mid and rear armor for my Ascent. I really like their skid plates, and, since they survive the abuse I put them through, I am very sure they will easily handle the abuse almost anyone else puts theirs through. You can see mine in the photos below.

If you decide to order from them, tell them I said "Hi". I plan on bugging them for rock sliders next.

Oh, and do get the front lip for the front plate.

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Thanks for the clarification. You are more adventurous than I.
lol, I honestly don't suggest anyone does what I do... I somtimes go well beyond what I can excuse away as simply being "adventurous". ;)

Besides having to buff out "trail stripes" on a regular basis, and pop clips back on panels, I spend a lot of time on three or even two wheels, or at ridiculous angles (for a car so heavy) on places where the car will slide, potentially over onto its side.

BUT, in the meantime, at least people get to see what their Ascents can really do, if they really push it. Everyone gets to drive their Ascents vicariously through me. ;) 🤣
 

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Every car I have owned (including my wife's Forester) has had a removable cap on the right front bumper to allow insertion of an eye-bolt. While the original purpose is for tie down during shipping and towing, many outdoors oriented people used the eye-bolt to secure the front of a canoe or kayak with a rope or strap. On my 2020 Ascent, the bolt hole is in the left rear.

Of course, with everything made out of plastic these days, there is nothing that you could affix a rope to on the frame without crawling under the car.

This is one more example of how a car company that purports to be geared to the outdoor market misses on the little things or sometimes bigger things - like design of the Outback roof rack which made the crossbars too close together to safely carry a canoe or kayak.
 

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What you need are called "hood loops". We have been using them for many years. I made my own at first, but soon realized that you can buy them. There are 2 styles. One gets bolted to some structure under your hood and / or trunk/ hatch. The other style just rests on your fender beneath the hood. It's loop is attached to a short length of plastic hose. In both cases the loop of nylon webbing protrudes from the joint between the hood and fender and provides tie down points for your boat's safety lines. Thule and several other manufacturers make them.
 
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