Loading Kayak on T-Rack Alone

Hello all,
This will be my first season at my new home and I will be renting a space in our community kayak storage t-racks. The only available racks are the top racks (of course). I’m on a wait list for a lower rack but I’m wondering if you have any advice, techniques, or load-assist equipment recommendations for getting a 14 ft Necky Zoar Sport (about 55 pounds, which is a lot for me) from the ground to the top of a t-rack. I am about 5’4 125lbs. My height is a bit of an issue, as I think the top rack is at least 6 feet off the ground (photo included). I’m wondering if a load assist like the Rhino Rack (<-- hyperlinked) would work even though it’s not being used to load a car. I’m also not looking to spend that much money if I can avoid it.

Thanks for any advice you can throw my way!

How about a step stool or short step ladder to get the bow up then push the stern up.

The problem with the lift assist bar is that you will still need to lift the nose of the boat to the same height as the T-rack you are putting it on. It appears that you have plenty of room to load from the end of the rack, so string’s suggestion of a small step stool makes sense to me. Do you transport your kayak on a cart? If you do, here’s my thought…roll the kayak up to the end of the rack while on the cart. Put a weighted object behind the wheels of the cart to prevent it from rolling backwards. position your step stool to assist you in getting the nose of the kayak up onto the rack. This is crucial (I know from experience), get as much of the nose up against the rack, like at least 1/4 of the boat length. Walk back to the end of your kayak, lift the stern & push/slide the boat up onto the rack. When you have most of it up there, take your cart off. You can do this same process without a cart on your boat as well. Getting enough of the nose up onto the rack to start with will prevent it from falling off the rack when you pick up the back of the boat. I learned this the hard way with my Rhino Rack T-bar loader on my SUV. Also, when you lift the boat to start pushing/sliding up onto the rack, don’t hesitate… do it all in one continuous motion…momentum is your friend.

Just pick up one end at a time. Like the orange boat in the picture. Use a two step folding stool if necessary.

Your boat will slide well when it is hull side down, so the going to en end and putting one up up and pushing should work. For ease, you can use a cockpit cover, which would let you leave it cockpit up all the time. Bit if you live in n area where it gets warm (like close to 100 or more), you likely would want it to be hull side up, so you don’t get denting in the hull. In that case, you cold slide it up on its hull (much easier than sliding it deck down) and then flip it over when it is up on the rack.

Thank you very much for your suggestions. The other issue is that the kayak is 57 lbs. I have difficulty lifting it on my own. I’m not sure I’ve figured out a good solution for this yet. I think I need some sort of load assist, but they’re all made for vehicles rather than storage racks. If you’ve got any more ideas, I’d love to hear!

A stronger friend?

Google “jib crane”: https://www.google.ca/search?q=jib+crane

Then see if you’re allowed to rig something up to the storage structure. Wood construction will be more than adequate, along with a block and tackle or small boat winch.

This would be even easier if there’s a stout tree branch overhead.

You are my height and I agree this is going to be a bit difficult. And initially sliding a boat works less well on wood racks than metal ones… Plus getting the nose high enough for the top rack… and your support for flipping it upright to take it down, since you are talking about a boat with rigging and stuff that can catch on the wood.

Sparky’s idea would work if you had an anchor point higher up, but you may be able to get partway there without it. This is a flyer, see if you think it’d work.

Position a reliable sturdy thing nearby that will give you 8 to 12 inches of added height. Position the boat so one end is clear the end of the rack, the other end more inside.

Get a block and tackle, say one like this (https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200668083_200668083?cm_mmc=Google-pla&utm_source=Google_PLA&utm_medium=Material%20Handling%20>%20Hoists,%20Lifts%20%2B%20Cranes&utm_campaign=Grip&utm_content=55267&utm_source=google_PPC&utm_medium=Materials+Handling+-+SC&utm_campaign=&utm_content=&mkwid=s&pcrid=39129660716&mtype=&devicetype=c&storeId=6970&langId=-1&type=search&gclid=CjwKCAjw8_nXBRAiEiwAXWe2yakelO2FVM6_CRQr03tJ2n8PSWMZpTQtmf78mAH79Si53sCq2JSnfxoCF1YQAvD_BwE) and hook it to a loop one around one end of the upper rack. In a few inches since those ends are open.

Get the more inside end of the boat under it (probably the bow) and lift using the block and tackle so it is hanging a bit under one side of the rack. Tie off that line so the block and tackle is carrying the weight.

Lift the other end of the boat over the other side of the rack using the reliable sturdy standing thing. Weight should not be an issue since the block and tackle is holding up the other end.

Move the reliable sturdy standing thing under the end of the boat being held by the block and tackle, get the boat weight on you as you release the rope from the block and tackle that you tied off. Lift that end up and get it over the rack. Slide forward as needed to get more centered. Again,weight is reduced since the stern is now supported.

Flip upside down from one end as needed, or use a cockpit cover and straps. Probably don’t need to unclip from the block and tackle until this is all done, but not sure.

Again, maybe not. But for a fairly cheap investment, and at our height the sturdy standing thing is needed for car topping as well, in your shoes I’d try this.

Leave a note on lower kayaks and ask politely if anyone would be willing to trade levels with you :slight_smile:

I agree with ABZ. Most paddlers over 6’ and with average strength should be able to easily rack a kayak at 6’ level (in other words, a significant proportion of male paddlers). Prevail upon your fellow paddlers to help out your predicament – it can’t hurt and might yield a kindly offer from some chivalrous soul.

My guess is that OPer rarely or never has a fellow paddler with her when she returns home, unless she paddles with were to live in the same complex or there is a paddling buddy with a rack for two involved. Rakeonig - are you always dealing with this solo?

My suggestion was admittedly unclear. What I meant was for her to leave some notes in the facility explaining her situation of being so short and not being able to reach the upper tiers safely – I was hoping somebody taller with a lower rack would act in a kindly manner and agree to swap spots with her on a permanent basis, not to help her with the boat.