car rack

Any recommendations for an inexpensive, easy to load car rack for a Toyota Highlander? I am 5’2 and over 60 years old.


What are you loading?
Info would help in responses.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Six five and over seventy, and
I don’t find roof loading a Highlander easy. Especially when you’re talking cheap.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve put my money into lighter boats. Much lighter boats, because the difficulty doesn’t stop when you get the boat away from the car.

Check out the Yakima and Thule websites. There are roller systems where you can start a boat rolling onto the back of the vehicle. You’d probably still need a firm, steady stepstool or a low extension on the SUV to complete the operation.

A very active paddling friend of mine, now deceased, simply planned to have family or friends available for loading, and we were glad to do it. But I know I don’t like being dependent, and so ancient muscle power comes back into play. And no more SUVs. I never need them. Lower vehicles, better mpg, easier loading.

I think “easy to load” and “inexpensive”

– Last Updated: Apr-09-14 5:05 PM EST –

...are mutually exclusive!

I'm 63, 6' and have two 40lb rec boats and a Hyundai Santa Fe, which is about the same height as a Highlander.

I started off with the Thule folding J-cradles (Hull-a-Port PRO). They were fine. I could get the boats on by using a small step stool but I wasn't 100% happy with the setup and my 4' 11" wife unfortunately isn't much help. So, I sold the carriers here in the classified section, and spent the money on two Thule lift-assisted Hullavators and I'm very glad I did as they really do make loading and unloading so easy.

I just figured that if I want to keep doing this sport for another 10 (or more) years then the Hullavators were a good investment.

Check YouTube
Do a YouTube search for “DIY kayak loader.”


Wow!! The Hullivator is really nice. I’m 64 & have a Ride 115 at 70 lbs & a Tahoe. Unless my buddy goes & we use his trailer, I’m out of luck. I do have a small pickup I can shove it into, but it’s about at the end of it’s useful life. It’s spendy but looks like a real answer.

car rack for kayak
Old Town heron.

I’m using a Yakima Boatloader and
it helps significantly. It’s also relatively cheap and simple.

Looks like it would work pretty well
on a van like pictured, or on cars with strong rails like our late Outback.

But when loading a heavy canoe on our Accords with Q-towers, do you think the towers would stand the possible wrenching around associated with my clumsy loading attempts? My Q-tower racks are more stable than most, because the front and rear crossbars are strutted firmly to one another, but I might be ooncerned about use of your loader extension on a single crossbar and towers.

It’s related to my overall suggestion that light boats and low cars make a practical combination.