I am in the market to purchase a sea kayak but I’m having trouble figuring out how to load and unload it. I know I’m going to have to replace the factory racks on my Ford Excursion. I will be going solo most of the time so I need a system that will work for me and my twiggy arms. I saw the Yakima EZ loader but I don’t think it drops down low enough for me and I was looking at the Hullavator but I see they are coming out with the new improved version in October?.. Anyone else dealt with this problem? I’d rather not get a hernia or smash out the windows… just a preference!
I am sure you will take a lot of heat
for going out solo with an Excursion ;^)>! You could try a trailer. Either of the products you mentioned should bring the rack down to a loadable level, at least you’d be further away from the windows! An Excursion is a very tall vehicle, I am 6’2" and my arms aren’t so twiggy and I don’t think I’d want to deal with it.
My 4x4 Excursion
I had an Excursion. I put Yak racks on it. Hully Roller in the middle and Hull Raisers on each out board end. It was a pain. Because of the height (nobody could reach up that high to help) I was forced to put the kayaks on the Raisers by myself. Combine friends plastic boats with uneven or soft ground and using the four foot ladder it took to get up that high was a pain and potentially dangerous. Thule bought a company that makes a hinged rack that pivots over the side and drops the racks down to you. A kayak club member has one and it is great. It will however keep you from carrying three boats, but you will save yourself a hernia or broken bones and it will make carrying the boats much easier. Thule didn’t make the racks when I bought my racks. I have since sold that truck and puchased a Subaru Outback. Much easier to load but sadly can’t carry anything to speak of. Franklin
6’2" and no twiggy arms??? I need a paddle partner like that! I’d be happy to share my beastie truck with other kayakers but I haven’t found anyone with my schedule yet. I can only go Tues and Thursday right now. Weekends are not an option at this point. I hadn’t thought of a trailer so I might see what I can drum up there. I have had my eye on this Corvette though… I think a 17 foot kayak would look spankin’ fine on a sleek pony like that! lol yeah… The local Corvette club would probably find a way to get even with me.
Thanks Franklin for your input. I actually traded in my Subaru Outback for an Excursion. It hauls alot and is versatile but I miss my Subaru. Short of trading in my truck for something else… I think I’ll have to wait for Thule to improve the Hullavator. Folding kayaks are sounding better and better!
I bought the Outback and now I miss my diesel Excursion. I traded it because diesel was higher than premium. Diesel is not as highly processed. Now diesel is less than premium. Go figure? Good luck. Franklin
The big problem with Ford diesels is
they are set up purely for power and you have no savings on fuel useage. The diesels in other trucks have both power and fuel savings, but not Ford. Look at that little FreightLiner with the Mercedes 5 cyl diesel. It will carry and pull a heavier load and get over 20 mpg while doing so. Much the same with Dodge and the Cummings diesel.
As for diesel prices? They have always gone just above and just below gas. What drives the price is not what it costs to make it, but the supply. The same refimeries make heating oil with the same equipment. Esrlier this year heating fuel supplies were dangerously low so production was switched. Diesel went up. Diesel being down must mean fuel oil is caught up and the plants are making diesel again. We do not have enough refineries in this country to meet all demands, but we have enough that it is not cost wise to build more.
Well, I’ll tell ya, but ya haveta keep
it a secret. Shhhhhhh ...
Seeing as no one else seems to have a simple way for you I guess I'll try.
You may not have to change racks. First see if those saddles or what ever you yakers use will fit the factory rack. They have made them stronger these past years and it may work.
I load canoes, yaks, duck boats, lumber, and what ever on the top of my Ford E-350 vans all the time. Last I noticed I think my vans are a lot higher than your Excursion. But I think you will have a bit of a problem using my primary method. Maybe you can use the other ways I load.
I load almost everything the normal way you would a rack on top of a car, except I use a three step, step ladder to do it. I just put the boat in the portage position and walk up the ladder. I then lower one end and swing the other end over the rack. Finish loading by pushing the boat up off my shoulders, reach over and set the remaining end on the rack. This takes strength, true, but even more it takes very good balance. Especially when the wind is blowing. Being a lady with self professed twiggy arms this may not be doable for you.
Then I use the ladder to get straps into place and tie the load down. I also use a pole with a "S" bent rod in the end to maneuver and hook up straps when loading the center position(s).
I have also used milk crates. They are strong, stable, stackable (be very careful here!), handy to have to hold stuff while driving, easy to have extra on hand to dump out so those others that want can help. Just please MAKE SURE you use honest to goodness milk creates and NOT THOSE cheap, flimsy wanta bes from the mart stores!
I have also used a home made roller on the very rear to load the vans. Get an extra rack to put it on the very, very back of the vehicle roof. Before assembling the rack slip a section of PVC pipe over the racks bar. Now you can walk your yak up to the rear of the truck with the bow up in the air and the stern almost dragging the ground. Set the bow on the roller and the stern on the ground. After making sure in is not going to fall, let go and go pick up the stern. Push the boat up and onto the rollerized rack and forward onto the carry rack. Tips: This is a good place to have those milk creates and/or ladder again. You will figure out when they are needed. It is also a good idea to have a painter tied to the stern so you can still control it when is becomes too high to reach. I tried this method, but tired of it as it is just so much easier for me to use the portage position, walk up the ladder, and put the boat on from the side.
Another way is to use the "loader" slide out bar. Put one end of the boat on the bar in the sild out position and other on the ground. Pick up the remaining end and finish. The use of the ladder, mike creates, or something similar will allow you to put the remaining end on the rack.
It is also a good idea to get those full length "nerf bars" or running boards installed. Really helps when tieing down, checking straps during stops, etc...
Hope this all is of some help!