Making a butt bra to load kayak on car

I load a Prowler kayak on my Montana (minivan) by sliding it on from the rear. I have tried a pillow, and wood blocking but still need help on the stern end. I want something to wrap around the stern to protect the rudder and plastic material while bearing the kayak weight as I load the front end on and off the car. Being only a 5’3" girl and paddling alone I must be able to do this more easily. Has anyone heard of such a thing? Or have an idea how to make something “simple”. My makshift pillow idea slides so I tied it to the car with a rope (good to make the distance from the car right) but then the boat slide off the pillow. Help!

Is the boat loaded deck up or hull up as in upside down?

Is the rudder hitting or can it be retracted?

Would loading backwards with rudder first help?

I think you are on track. Try calling some local rubber suppy companies for a small sheet of gasket material or silicone sheet material. Make a bag of it, slide it over, bungee it on to the hull somewhere, and try that.

Butt Bra
I load the kayak top up and front forward. The rudder does flip on top, but a triangle metal brace sticks out behind the stern maybe 6 inches and when boat is lifted more than 45 degrees to load the front onto the car, the back end metal rubs and then slides across the pavement or digs into the dirt. Rubber might be a good material as it isn’t slippery. Maybe cut up a snow tire??? If I can find one in Florida.

Maybe that butt-bra is on a$$ backwards

– Last Updated: Dec-02-04 8:40 PM EST –

Pamelasue! Why don't you just load your kayak stern first, get that rudder mechanism on the car first and let it ride backwards. Even with rubber protection over the mechanism, it probably would not be good to have that pressure on the pivoting mechanism.

As far as yak sliding off pillow, maybe contour the pillow w/foam blocks under each side so it forms a V, or a V-shaped foam block.

Good luck.

I use a cheap foam pad
From REI. A thermrest plain grey non inflateable. Set pad on ground appropriate distance from bumper.

Set one of two old and/or cheap bath mats on roof, covering from corner to over the bars. Then bring up boat; set one end on pad other against car. Maintaining contact and control, go to stern. Lift and shove forward, boat loaded.

Foam pad is cheap, use all cotton bath mats, the jute or rubber can hurt or scratch your car.

Backwards ain’t cool
But I went into the garage and measured how it would look on car and strapping it down. It works and will save the rudder mechanism. So we are 1/2 way there. Now we need to protect the bow and keep it from sliding as I lift the stern up on the car. While out there the laundry basket looked tempting, put my pillow (actually a footstool pillow for outdoor furniture covered in some weatherproof plastic and slick) in it and stuff the bow in that. This might work. Thanks for the backwards idea.

I load like Peter does
Thanks for the step by step. I use a matching pillow for the roof top right behind the rack, it stuffs in nice and solid. The procedure I use is just like yours. Everything I try just slides against the yak and pavement. My measuring rope gets the correct distance between car and end of yak, if can just stop it from sliding and scratching the boat. (The best answer so far is that side loading rack I saw on the internet, but wow expensive and can’t lift this yak that high by myself).

Like Peter said,
maybe lay something on the ground under the bow (piece of scrap carpet, tarp, cardboard, old sweatshirt). I think that attatching something to the bow will just cause problems falling off.

Backward is not as cool as forward, but it’s acceptable (imo).

The looped bath mats work well

– Last Updated: Dec-03-04 7:56 AM EST –

but if the car is too hump backed side to side, yeah that might be a problem. then I'd make a cradle out of foam or buy one and cut it deeper and set under the mat at the top corner of the the car. The bottom is textured and perhaps tacky it should not shift, the kayak should slide nicely over the bath mats.

The foam sleeping pad might blow about in the wind but should not slide much. again you grab the bow, (in your case) slide it out, then drop it to the pad. Maintaining contact and control, go to the middle of your boat, hoist and walk.

Thanks for all the ideas
This was my first time to try the message board and am most pleased by all the help. Thanks to all of you for the great ideas! I’ll put them to use this week-end and will be flying down the highway backwards but proud and home again, probably wet but happy. Happy paddling to one and all :slight_smile:

Use one of your floor mats
They’re already in the vehicle, no? No extra gear.

Big towel should work too. Boat will slide on anything - but beach towel gives you a lot of room so that’s OK.

Use to load my T160 like that - but just did it quick and kept a hand on it to minimize and slips. No ground protector (no rudder either though).

I use
That rubberized fabric you can get at Walmart to line your drawers with. I wrap it around the stern with a bungee. Boat won’t slide while I’m getting behind it to lift.

Also…another possibility…from Maine
The Maine Roll-on Rack…looks pretty useful and relatively affordable…

I have had problems getting my kayak onto the rack due to shoulder issues and have recently purchased a Talon Rack to help. Check out the archives for a recent posting on the variety of racks for easier loading of boats.

Welcome to the board…


Maine Roll-on:


Take the canoe out if you want to keep those binos, camera & bird book handy & dry.

Stern cart solution.
I mentioned this once before on and it might work for you if you’re the least bit handy. I made a super light (2.0 lb.), low-profile stern cart, largely from molded plastic and baby carriage wheels, which resembles the Paddleboy Molly:

Anyway, its small, light, and secure enough on the stern that it literally resides on the boat the unless the boat is in the water. To load at home, I wheel the boat to the back of the car, and slide the bow up the trunk lid (on a bath mat) and onto the roof. Unlike other carts, it is not removed for the drive. At the water, the boat slides off the trunk until the wheels touch down. I then have wheels to take me to the water’s edge, where the cart fits in any hatch, or in front of the foot pegs, without dissasembly. (It floats if it were to get loose.) It’s kinda like having wheels sticking out the sides of your stern

I love the title of this thread

You know
it shouldnt be Two hard for sombody to Rig up a pully system, Just attach to front of boat and wench it up…

My boyfriend was going to put in a winch system for me…I bought a Talon EzLoad…a trailer… a station wagon instead of the SUV…

Actually, I just got better at loading the kayak instead of all the gadgets.


Why not load from the side…
Seems like another choice would be to use one of the front doors on your van:

  1. Lift one end of boat on top of open door frame. You can put a towel or padded material on door frame to prevent kayak from slipping around.
  2. Then lift opposite end and pivot on top of roof.
  3. Then lift boat from door frame and pivot on top of roof.

    I realize at 5’3" you may need a step stool or crate to give you enough lifting height. This method will minimize the problems associated with sliding/dragging.


Floor mat
I load my double kayak on my minivan by myself when I take my ten year old daughter with me (she’s to small to lift the kayak). I take the floor mat from the car and place it on the ground behind the car and then place the stern of the boat on the floor mat. It’s a nice easy solution because I don’t have to utilize anything that I don’t already have with me.