Best Boat Loader

I’m looking to find something to help me load my kayaks on my vehicles. The trouble is I have two vehicle and may use either one depending upon which is available. One has a Thule rack and the other a Yakima. (BTW IMHO Thule far exceeds Yakima in ease and customer support. If I had it to do again I’d go soley with Thule.) I also have J-Cradles that are on the far side of the rack, not necessarily in line with the body of the vehicle.

Yakima makes a couple options including the Showboat and the Boatloader. The Showboat may work but I’d need one for each vehicle and I have lots of other stuff on my rack for carrying bicycles etc that may interfer with it. The Boatloader doesn’t llok like it will work with the square crossbars on the Thule. I’d also like something that I can move easily from one vehicle to another so I don’t have to purchase two.

The Rollerloader looks simple and movable but I don’t know if it’ll work well because my cradles hang off the side of my vehicles.

Anyone with experience with these products or other suggestions?



tried it

– Last Updated: May-19-08 2:45 PM EST –

Don't use it - I plan to get a shorter car next time and a rack and roll trailer.

What I do, I have Thule Glide and Slide on top of my van. I put a beach towel over the back of my van. Then I stand my kayak up agains the back of the van. I use my inhaler. Then I pick up the back of the kayak and give her a shove up onto the roof. I might then have to use my inhaler a couple of times or sit down for a minute. Then I get out my trusty footstool and go to the other side of the roof and get the straps ready. I thread them underneath the bars and then toss them over my kayak. Then I go to the other side with my footstool and finish up tying the kayak down. Sometimes I tie the front end up under the hood of my van with the rope lead I have on my kayak.

Usually if paddling in a group someone tosses it up there for me but when I'm alone I either do it myself, like above, or find some kids to hand a five dollar bill to to lift it up for me.

I like to do my own tie downs - then I know it is on right.

These days, for the most part the only asthma I have is exercise induced, I have health issues but I consider myself lucky to do what I do.

The roller loader just seemed like too much work to organize and another item to fill up the back of the van with. Good concept though.

Friend didn’t like the roller loader
Some issue about it not clipping onto the car well enough, one of those little wagons with the spoiler wing off the back. On the plus side, even though she had it for months before she tried it, the vendor gracefully accepted the return of the item for refund. So it is fairly low risk if you want to give it a try. Your risk is basically the time and effort of a trip to the post office.