hauling kayak on grand cherokee

Hello, first post but an experienced kayaker. I used to haul my kayak on my car, but now have a 99 jeep grand Cherokee . My kayal is an old town Cayuga 16’. This is a long heavy kayak that I am unable to lift onto my roof rack myself. My kayaking has been limited because I can’t load my kayak. I recently had somebody help me load it and I used the foam blocks attached to the roof rack and it was still very cumbersome. I am looking for suggestions on what to get to both load it and haul that I can do on my own. I would like the ability to haul 2 kayaks if possible. It needs to be secure when hauling. I’ve heard of j-hooks, but again, I can’t lift it up myself. I have fears of driving down the road and the kayak flying off. Thanks

Something like this might help
My first choice would be to get a small lite weight trailer but if you are having problems lifting a kayak you might have problems moving a trailer around. Maybe something like this could help you have an easier time loading your kayak on top of your vehicle.


Thule Hullavator
Not cheap, but if you shop around you can get 20% off MSRP.

Two of these solved all my kayak loading problems on the fairly high roof of my Hyundai Santa Fe.


Two Simple Loading Aids

– Last Updated: Jul-13-15 7:11 PM EST –

Am I correct in assuming that you are able to carry the boat, such as by gripping the cockpit opening with two hands and letting the boat hang below waist level? If you can do that, you can load it, but you'll need a proper roof rack (as is the case if you get the Thule Hullivator, but there may be no need to spend that much). When it comes to loading aids, I often mention a variety of methods which can be put together by someone with building skills, but in this case, I'll just mention a very simple product you can buy.

Method #1:
If you mount a rack to your roof that's made by Thule or Yakima, you can get extender bars that make loading a cinch. An extender bar temporarily sticks out sideways about two feet from the end of one of the main cross bars of your roof rack. Here's how it works: You extend the bar, then carry your boat up alongside the car at waist level. You need to get one end of the boat up onto that extender bar. You can do this by shifting the location where your hands grip the cockpit rim so that one end of the boat goes up while the other goes down, or you can set the boat on the ground and lift one end. The second method requires less strength (but you hay have to use a step stool), but the first method requires no overhead lifting whatsoever (your hands remain below waist level). Once one end of the boat is resting on the extender bar, lift the end of the boat that's on the ground, slide the boat forward some if necessary, then lift the end you are carrying up onto the other cross bar. The boat's a little cattywumpus at this point. Now shuffle the end of the boat that's on the extender bar to the side so that it's on the main cross bar. If you have saddles or J-hooks, you can set the boat into them during this process or after.

You will have to lift no greater than half the weight of the boat to put one end on the extender bar. To get the rest of the boat up on the rack, and to set it into position (one end at a time) into cradles or J-hooks, you'll be lifting less than one-third of the weight of the boat at any given time (depending on your cross-bar spacing, it could be much less).

Method #2:
This method is even easier and cheaper. You should still have a good roof rack.

Lay a rubber-backed bathroom mat on the hood of your Jeep, and another at the top edge of the windshield and forward edge of the roof. Get one end of the boat onto the hood of the car. Go to the other end, and push the whole boat up onto the roof rack. If there are any other sticky spots, lay a bath mat there too.

Again, you'll never lift more than half the weight of the boat, and once it's on the rack where it may need repositioning, you'll be lifting one-third of the boat's weight or less.

Think about all this before forking over hundreds of dollars for a Hullavator.

What about this?
I was thinking about this myself http://m.rei.com/product/853261/seattle-sports-sherpak-boat-roller?cm_mmc=cse_PLA--pla--8532610001&mr:trackingCode=F9CCBAE1-BC77-E211-BA78-001B21631C34&mr:referralID=NA&mr:device=m&mr:adType=plaonline&mr:ad=70486548040&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=70912229920&msid=FZIFmjqq_dm%7Cpcrid%7C70486548040%7C&lsft=cm_mmc:cse_PLA

Still have to lift some, but if it works should be much easier





the shocks themselves deliver a grin. Grin grin.



easy, lay hull on Walmart cut open cardboard boxes

lift bow onto outrigger, pull forward a bit

go to stern, lift stern onto roof

is how build log cabin ! or set beams…

eees got drip rails !

AHA ! your junker has drip rails !

Buy 2 2x4 add>



mounting the tuba is simple

buy bolts and nylock nuts of Grade 5 and Blue Loctite

drill hole end of knot free tuba, blockmup the undrilled end so the QnE sits under that undrilled end as

you bolt the tuba thru drilled end onto the standing QnE

I use full thread SS bolts from McMaster Carr replacing QnE bolts with a nylock inboard

And use aluminum strap for washers spanning the QnE mounting area…filing a U for the lockdown.

Law Enforcement inspected.

Used coast to coast with 2 hulls now with a full platform with airfoil, sides and driving/running lights

Get a maintenance schedule.Look thru it for what the 99 needs. Assume nothing, inspect !

bath mat method
I highly recommend Guideboatguy’s 2nd method, that’s the one I use. On my used Thule racks I have Malone sea wings, they save space because the use a single mount clamp, so you can slide them very far to the roofs edge. I easily and painlessly put two yacks side by side with this set up

I have a 2000 Grand…
I use the Malone wings with the Stinger loader… Works fairly well.


Thanks for the info. I guess I should have noted in my post, I am physically fit and able to lift the kayak up, but getting it up above sholder height is tough. I had trouble lifting it onto a car.

I am still reading thru it all, but as for the hoist in the hitch, I don’t see that working for me. As for the suction cup roller, I can see that diving out as I am pushing it up and it damaging my jeep. The hydraulic assist are quite pricy and out of my price range. I can lift and push so hydraulic assist isn’t really necessary. I am still trying to understand the method 1 and method 2 and not picturing it yet. However, method 2 sounds like it is jeep damage waiting to happen. I remember once when trying to set the kayak on my car, the back slid off the car, crushed my antenna and dented the car. Still looking thru the posts though.

Does your car have rain gutters?

– Last Updated: Jul-13-15 9:19 PM EST –

Datakoll made the comment that you have "drip rails", which I think means rain gutters. If so, you can save a ton of money in setting yourself up with a good roof rack. Here's the most well-known brand of brackets to attach to rain gutters.


You can rig up ways to bolt most name-brand cross bars to them, or even just use 2x4s. In the old days, lots of serious canoers had 2x4 cross bars on these brackets.

Thule and Yakima will have their own versions. In any case, rain-gutter brackets are far easier to set up than any of the other rack-mounting methods, and in this case, will be a lot stronger (and cheaper) than anything that clamps to the existing factory roof rack.

Here's one of Yakima's clamps for attaching to a car roof's rain gutters. I'm surprised to see that it's a lot cheaper than the Quick-n-Easy brand.


Here’s a crappy video
Yakima has a video about their load-assist bar, but apparently they are more concerned about telling you how to install the thing than showing you how to use it. Well, maybe once you see it in the video, my explanation will make more sense and you’ll figure out how it’s used.


don’t understand?
I don’t understand what you are trying to say? Why are you posting links to a grand cherokee swaybar and shocks???

Ignore that stuff
He does that all the time.

The malone stinger
Extends back over the lift gate and will hold the bow while you push the boat up onto the wings and then it will slide back into the rear wing when not in use.

No rain gutters on Grand Cherokees


– Last Updated: Jul-13-15 10:08 PM EST –

i too have a grand cherokee. but i load a 16 foot canoe on it. i can do it myself easier than with 2 people.

First, i place a rug on the rear of the roof and let it overhang the rear window a bit. Then i lift the one end of the canoe onto the rear roof of the jeep (this is where the carpet is). Then i put a swimming noodle between the roof and canoe. Lift the back of the canoe and slide it on.

BTW... The canoe sits between the rails and i use foam canoe blocks.

I thought some of the oldest ones might

– Last Updated: Jul-13-15 10:23 PM EST –

Datakoll's comments seemed to spark the memory that this was so. Yes, I realize that a Grand Cherokee isn't the same as a Cherokee. I just thought the first models might have had gutters.

Okay, just looked at a bunch of photos of 1999 Grand Cherokees. No rain gutters. Dk's searching was as off the mark as ever.

I had a 93, the first model year.
I remember seeing the first ones mid year 1992. Insurance adjusters coming in to Miami after hurricane Andrew had quite a few.

Learn to select a LEVEL parking surface
for your loading adventures. Or, at least be level side-to-side if the front or back of vehicle is uphill or downhill a bit.

Also, if it is very windy, such as at a lake where you are reloading after kayaking, you may want to position your vehicle for the kayak loading so the wind does not grab the kayak as you have it halfway up and sail it off the side.

IMPORTANT - Most of the time, if the kayak seems to want to suddenly go somewhere it shouldn’t during the critical “lift phase,” it is because of these two common errors- parking un-level, and not allowing for wind effect.

I know to keep at least one hand on my kayak as I slide it out of my truck bed and put the one end on the ground, because I’ve had a wind gust come up and try to blow it off the truck more than once. That bed liner is REALLY slick. This wind effect is more pronounced with bigger, lighter, longer kayaks…

The purpose of “bath mats” or cut up cardboard laid on the vehicle’s edges is to provide a temporary surface that the kayak CAN slip over easily - but won’t scratch your vehicle.

Building up your existing top rails with 2x4’s (as suggested above) can help hold the kayak from falling off the side of the car during the sliding phase, also.

Get one of those cheap rubbermaid type footstools, and then you can stand on that for fussing with the tiedown straps/foam blocks/noodles/whatever once you get The Behemoth up on top of the Cherokee. This is nice when one has arm fatigue from paddling.

BTW, I think your vehicle has been recalled for that gas tank vulnerability problem, if Chrysler hasn’t done so already, you may have them put that free trailer hitch on the back for the “fix.”