How to carry a kayak?

Our Tsunami 14.0’s finally arrived yesterday. Because of my work schedule, we probably will not be able to try them out until Labor Day weekend. The look great but they are heavier than I thought the 55lbs would be. How is the best way to carry these from the garage to the truck and the truck to the boat ramp without risking my back or damaging the boats? Thanks.


– Last Updated: Aug-24-07 8:40 PM EST –

This is obviously a case where you will need personal servants to assist you in carrying your purchase to the water.

One wonders how you managed to buy a kayak without lifting it to see how much it actually weighs ... let alone two.

I like to wear my kayak like a hat and carry it to the water over my head, if you swagger a bit it makes you feel very festive and intimidating at the same time. Humming a pirate ditty also helps with the load and creates an image that you know what you are doing.

Easy does it.
Pick it up in front of you with both hands on the rim of the cockpit,swing it over onto a shoulder support it with the hand of the shoulder your useing and walk.55 pounds is not much as long as you keep your back straight and don’t twist or bend.Use your knees to bend down.

"One wonders how you managed to buy a kayak without lifting it to see how much it actually weighs … let alone two."

It was the best at the price and capabilities that I wanted that I could find. Sure there are lighter touring kayaks available but they are much more costly.

55 pounds divided in two is 27.5. Easy to carry. Put both hands under the stern or bow. Do not use the toggles.

I noticed the "we"
If you grab the bow toggle of each one in one hand, and your partner grabs the stern toggle of each one in one hand, you’ll find it easier for two to carry two than each of you to carry solo. 27.5 pounds on each arm, balanced, is easier than 55 balancing on one shoulder.

get a yotawoman
to help you

If the weight
is too much for you to handle alone without injuring your back then you have a couple of options:

  1. Buddy system - employ the team lift concept, the toggle handles on the end of the Tsu’s are real easy to carry the boats with. Just put one person on each end.

  2. Purchase a set of folding kayak wheels that strap onto the end of the kayak for you to lift the opposite end an role the boat around.

    I am able to shoulder, carry, and lift my Tsu 120 to car top it on my Explorer. But I’m in pretty good shape, however after a long paddling day or a lot of exertion it is difficult.

    Be careful and go get those boats wet!

truck to the boat ramp
I usually stay away from grabbing up the whole truck at once, preferring the bumper method and easing the thing down the ramp backward.

Seriously, though I can usually manhandle the things, a little wind, some shifting water inside, or a slippery bank can cause trouble. The two-person methods mentioned for carrying work well. For loading, you might try leaning the boat against the vehicle and sliding it on/off. One of our friends uses a rag-rug to protect the back of her SUV while loading/unloading.

if you “shoulder” your boat…
Use you PFD for cushion between the cockpit combing and your shoulder. More comfortable for long carries.

Or you can shape a chunk of minicell foam to the contour of your shoulder on one side with a notch cut into it on the other side to fit the cockpit coaming. This can be slipped on and off the boat quickly and helps for long portages.

I like this idea
Any suggestion for getting appropriate minicell online?

He scores on the turnover
You have vision. Thats funny.

I usually pick it up…
…look furtively around, and then run like hell.

minicell sources
You can by minicell sheet in various thicknesses from 1/2 inch to 3 inches by the square foot at Nantahala Outdoor Center outfitters store ( Another option is to find a local store that sells those foam blocks for canoe or kayak transport. Sometimes you can by them by the single block. The notch in the block that is intended to fit over a rack bar can be modified to fit your cockpit coaming and the other side can be contoured to your shoulder. Depending on your boat, a kayak block or a canoe transport block might work best. Minicell can be easily shaped, but results in a lot of obnoxious dust so do it outside. Best tools for shaping are Surform tools, Red Devil “Dragon Skin” (available at many paint and hardware stores, and various grades of sandpaper. Some kayaks can simply be fit out with a pad of minicell glued to the inside of the hull near the coaming, where your shoulder sits, but check to make shure that this doesn’t restrict your mobility in entering or exiting the cockpit.

Here’s a Link
Thanks, I’ve been wondering where to get this. Here’s a direct link to the minicell in case anyone else is looking for it: