what works for me
I’m 5’3" with a Honda CRV. I can load all boats (some more gracefully than others), by using a loader-bar. I put it through the back rack system, put the back of the boat up first (it’s heavier), and then the front goes up pretty easily. Oh! I do have to fold in the side-mirror. I can get a valley boat up there - and they’re pretty heavy!
what works for me
The Malone Loader works well
I have had the Telos loader basically since it came out. I’m 5’3" and drive a nice tall Nissan Xterra, so I need to use a step stool, too. But I can load my 53 pound kayak myself. Before this (and a slightly shorter vehicle ago) I used Hully Rollers and loaded from the back. This is better and with the J Cradles I can carry two boats.
Bearing the weight of the kayak
I have the Yakima Boatloader extension tube, an aluminum step stool, and a wheel-mounted step. I used to use the Boatloader to put a 10’ SOT on the roof, but I’ve been contemplating using it to help load the 17’ sea kayak instead of trailering every time. (The stool or step were there to help position and strap the boat.) The wheel-mounted step is nice in that it feels solid and does not rely on smooth ground–the truck’s wheel provides ample support and the step itself is rated up to 400 lbs.
The problem is that a short person with a tall vehicle will still have to bear 100% of the kayak’s weight part of the time even with a Boatloader type of device, UNLESS you are willing to stick the stern in the dirt and hope it doesn’t slide out. I see this as the key to solving the problem. If there were a heavy base plate that would grip the ground (pavement, dirt, grass, sand, anything) and provide a secure, nondamaging depression to hold the stern in place, THEN you’d only have to lift the bow up to the extension tube. In effect, this base plate would serve as a very, very short person stabilizing the stern end. It just couldn’t lift–unless it were also a hydraulic lift or some other interesting device. With only one end to focus on at a time, this would help reduce the risk of hitting the vehicle with the kayak, something I consider extremely important, especially when the wind is strong.
It just dawned on me that if I could attach something like the above to the wheel step, then it would not need to grip the ground…hmmm. Might be worth visiting the metal-working guy about this.
I’ve been thinking of all kinds of aids to rooftopping, some of them involving pulleys. This is not rocket science. But it’s strange how there is still no really good, reasonably priced solution to our problem. The rack makers have come up with all kinds of expensive and/or exclusive (cannot use with any system except their brand) aids, when I believe there is AT LEAST ONE inexpensive, more broadly useable way to make this happen.
I wonder if I could devise something like this…need to do it ASAP for a road trip.
Why would you buy a boat you can’t lift when the $600 for a hull-a-vator would have allowed you to buy a hull you could?
Return to start, get a hull you can tote, sell the junk you can’t on e-bay or craig’s list. Sorry, rationality occasionally hurts, this is one of those times. What were you thinking?
Or $1000 for a kayak trailer
While you’re on that train of thread, a trailer would make things much easier, and it can be towed by multiple vehicles. No need for different attachment systems to the roof, just the right-sized bumper ball (about $10) and electricals (about $50 for someone else to install).
But the OP did not ask about a trailer. They may or may not want to add $600 proprietary item (Hullavator) on top of $500 for the rest of the roof rack stuff.
I still think there’s an inexpensive way to solve this, without resorting to our-brand-only auxiliary items.
Thanks for all the advice
Great suggestions! I like the one about going to the gym
One Lift Free Method I Tried
I used a stern cart along with a rollerloader and was able to lift the bow, place it on the wheels of the rollerloader, and just push it up the rest of the way. At the time, I just had foam blocks. I removed the stern cart at some point during the trip to the roof.
I’ve since simplified my life using a small stool and Malone Autoloaders. It’s definitely more heavy lifting but less gear to deal with.
I’m too old to consider myself "strong"
any more, but 56 pounds is not “heavy.” However, my 60 pound touring kayak is clumsier to lift and load than my 66 pound canoe. You may need to identify or install hand holds that allow you to “throw” the kayak over your head (still held on your arms) so that you can load it. It’s a similar problem to getting a kayak or canoe up for portaging.
loading your kayak by yourself
I stumbled across a new company that has a neat little device that sticks under your roof rack that lets you load your kayak by yourself. You balance your kayak on it while you go to the back of your boat. Then you just pick up your kayak and slide it on to your roof rack. I am going to get one of these for my wife so she can go with her girl friends. I don’t know if they have a web site yet. I saw them on face book. It called the Flat River Company and they are out of Ada, Michigan. Good luck.
Where do you get the rubber pad?