Mechanical assistance and thoughts


My favorite boat is a new model tarpon 160. it is a joy in the water and a total BEAST out. 16’; 80+ lbs.

i usually transport it in the bed of my P/U with an extender. Launching is easy from a ramp,just back up and push.

Getting it back in on a ramp is another story.

I have been thinking about mounting a small winch at the cab end of the bed to help get it loaded and it would also help to secure it.

Any thoughts? One of mine was a small electric winch mounted to the bed .

The winch might work well, but you may want to mount it somewhere near the rear of the bed, which would allow you to guide the bow of the kayak up and on to the rear roller/support.

Unless you need the winch for some other purpose, a small manual winch might do the same thing.

How I would load it:
Put the tailgate down, back the truck up on the side of the boat but very close to it, with the tailgate about just about six inches back from the boats bow.

Pick the bow up and move it over and onto the tailgate

Go around to the stern; pick it up and slide the boat forward.

I have loaded lots of electric utility poles much heavier then 80 pounds this way.

Jack L

I agree with Jack

– Last Updated: Nov-09-13 10:12 PM EST –

If you can lift one end onto the tailgate, lifting the other end of the boat and sliding it forward should be no problem. I've said this before, but I could load a Jon boat of about that weight onto the roof of a full-size van when I was a scrawny teenager, much weaker than almost anyone else my age (though in that case, I got one end onto the roof first via an across-the-shoulder carry, like one does with canoes, not by arm-lifting the thing. But I can't imagine arm-lifting ONE end of a Tarpon onto a tailgate being a problem.

If you can't get the truck close enough to the water to use that method, a set of wheels clamped/strapped to the trailing end would help.

I just can't imagine the need for a winch, but in case I'm missing something and that's what you need, I'd get the smallest hand-cranked model you can find for between 10 and 20 dollars (the kind they put on the smallest motorboat trailers). A hand'cranked winch will already have enough power to pull your rope connection right out of the hull if something kept the boat from moving (and if the rope were strong enough), so even the smallest electric winch would be useless, as far as its extra pulling ability goes (and you could use the extra money for a nice paddle instead).

And here's another winch idea. Get some pulleys from the hardware store and rig them up to multiply your pulling effort. This has the advantage of being as easy to attach to the truck as clipping a hook to one of the forward anchor loops of the cargo bed, and you can even stand next to and guide the boat while pulling it in. I learned the value of this a couple years ago when I needed to figure out how to get a very large deer into the back of a pickup truck without assistance. I ended up making a crude block and tackle with two "pulleys". I tied a short-handle shovel to a forward anchor loop of the cargo bed, with the blade facing the anchor point and the handle aiming toward the rear. I used that handle for one pulley, and one of the deer's antlers for the other, and with the working rope arranged so that the fixed end was tied to the deer and the free end being pulled in the "in" direction, I had a 3:1 mechanical advantage (not accounting for friction, which wasn't all that bad, actually). If the shovel (and extra rope) had not been in the truck, I'd have had to go off and find help. If I'm ever in that same situation all by myself, I'll surely have a "real" block and tackle ready to use.

GBG,I like your pulley ideas. I’ll have
to work on that.

As for the first method, that is what I do but since my lower back can take very little direct stress without crippling me,I have to look at alternatives.

Find yourself
a strong, beautiful, young blonde who wants to go paddling with you???

Or, maybe put one of those small cranes in the bed of your truck?

More on pulleys
If your pickup’s cargo box is open (no cap, no tonneau cover or whatever those things are called), you could mount a tall stake or boom to one of the stake pockets so that the lifting point is a few feet higher than the floor. You could even mount a horizontal beam a few feet higher than the rear of the box, carried on the rear pair of stake pockets, so that the boat could be more centered within the box as it’s lifted. Or, you could do the same with a single boom, built to angle toward center from one rear corner of the box. Any of these things could be ready to use just by dropping them into a stake pocket, or pair of pockets, and be just as easy to remove.

Get a trailer.
I did and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My suggestion, relative to the winch, was poorly worded (Sorry). I envisioned mounting it near the rear bumper and running the line up towards the cab and through a pulley.

Whatever the case, some of these other posts suggest a better way to do it.

Whatever which way strikes your fancy, I’d think a trailer roller mounted at the top of the tailgate (farthest point back when down) would help.

Game lifter
I have a small block and tackle made with nylon strap that was designed to hang game from a tree for cleaning. It could probably be used as a winch to drag a boat. Keep an old piece of cardboard around to slide the lower end across. Saves scratches and wear, and reduces friction.