loading kayak on truck by myself


I’m under 5 ft and having a real problem loading my Sun Flight kayak on our Ford Ranger. We have Thule T-bars installed, but even with them, it’s difficult to load by myself. We used to have a Chevy Celebrity and it was a piece of cake. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Tire step
In the product review section there are 2 good reviews of the tire step from www.cabelas.com It’s now $40, but I was thinking of getting one.

Hully roller?
Have you seen those Hully rollers? You might consider something like that. A small folding stepladder might help also.

Does your truck have a campershell
or is the bed open? I use …Ummm…what I call a set of “string-o-vators” - you have to have an open bed to use them.

I set my kayak next to my truck-then I put loops of strong string around the kayak lined up with my rack on my pick up-then I pick up one end and “hang” the loop on one rack-then walk back and “hang” the loop on the second rack-then my kayak is “hanging” - I climb into the bed of the truck - grab the front of my kayak and finish lifting to the rack-I do not let go-but I move towards the back of the kayak and lift the back end into the saddles-then tie down. Let me know if you want some pictures-I guess I could do a series of pictures.


Loading Kayak on pickup by myself
The tire steps look like a good idea - I do have a small step ladder - I’ll have check the tire position out on my truck.

Do it yourself Roller


Cheap Solution
I find a small step stoll helps. Mine has a compartment I use to store straps and cables and locks.

I’m 5’4" and have a Saturn
Vue. I use small foldable step-stools, good for up to 300 lbs. They are always in the truck, under the seats. They fold completely flat, end up being about 1" thick. Surprisingly sturdy. I’d never be tihout them now, they have come in very handy many times.

Seen here: http://www.canadiantire.com/browse/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396673108&bmUID=1181071425610&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443287573&assortment=primary&fromSearch=true

Regularly go on sale for $20 Cdn.

Loading Kayak
While perhaps not completely analogous, we recently purchased a Rollerloader to help lift our two kayaks onto our Toyota Camry. It has been a tremendous help. Perhaps a Rollerloader used on the front of the vehicle will assist in getting your kayak up onto your roof bars. Here is their webwite: http://www.amagansettbeachco.com/indexrl.asp?Type=RL

The rollerloader is made with two different size wheels and the manufacturer can advise which is better for your boat.

On our Thule roof bars, we have the Thule glide and set supports. In your case, if you are loading from the front of the vehicle, I would think that having the gliding supports on the front bar rather than the rear bar would help in sliding the kayak onto the bars and positioning more easily onto the rear bar supports which would have the rubberized (non-sliding) supports.

I hope this is helpful.


Loading Kayak
Never thought about loading from the front of the truck - I have a Roll-eze cart that is supposed to convert to sit on the trunk of a car, maybe I could use it on the hood. I’ll give it a try.

Thanks for the suggestions

Loading Kayak
We have a lock-down top on the bed of the truck. I was thinking about removing it and using the tailgate as a starting point.

Thanks for your suggestions

Drive a ranger with camper shell & Thule
i am not tall but I always load my kayak from the stern of the truck unless parking area prohibits this type of maneuver.

I lift the bow up to the bar/kayak glider and then go back and slide the kayak the rest of the way on the rack.

I do admit more height would be helpful at times, you might try a milk crate or one of those nice paint type step ladders from Home Depot for $ 20 bucks.


Loading Kayak
Great Idea - a definite keeper.

Thanks so much

Thule T-Bar on Trucks
I have a Nissan crew cab truck. I use a Thule hitch mounted T-bar to support the rear of my boat. The front sets on the factory roof rack. When loading, I drop the T-bar down to it’s lowest position (roughly shoulder height on me) so I don’t have to lift the front so high and up over my head. Then I push it on up and rest the front on the roof rack. Once it’s roughly in the right position, I lift the T-bar all the way up to it’s final travel position and pop the pin back in to secure it. Lifting the full weight of the boat using the T-bar as a lever is a breeze compared to lifting the full dead weight of the boat by itself.

If you have a 2in reese hitch you can also use a bed extender. 39168-2VGA

TRUCK BED EXTENDER from harbor freight.

If you don’t have a reese hitch on your truck google northern tool for buyers step bumper bolt on receiver.

Total cost of receiver and bed extender will set you back about $100