Need recs on best boat loader

-- Last Updated: Aug-15-08 12:51 PM EST --

Since I had my neck surgery (almost 8 wks and healing well) doc has ok'ed me to paddle flatwater only for now, but the hitch is he says I can't lift my boats yet, and I solo alot, since most of my paddling pals don't live close by.
My canoe is 43 lbs. royalex solo, the touring yak a monsterous 53 lbs poly boat, which I still love. I'm either going to have to find as assistant, LOL, or try to manage with a loader....I have a Yakima rack, and a roller loader for the yak, which works well. I'm primarily going to use the canoe for a while since the yak is heavier. I have the canoe on a hoist, but that's only good for home, not at the launch... Any suggestions?

This may sound dumb . . . .
But would it be possible to take the hoist with you and tie it to a tree branch? Pull the vehicle underneath it, hook up the canoe, lift it off, move the vehicle, drop the canoe down to the ground, presumably onto a cart for pulling. Reverse that for reloading.

All depends on your loading zone. I don’t know knots well, but there are some you could use to throw a rope over a high branch, and secure, then loosen later still from the ground. Someone here might know what I mean, or you could look up some knot-tying websites.

Maybe it’s all a dumb idea, I don’t know. Give a thought and ignore it if it won’t work.


Doesn’t sound good

– Last Updated: Aug-14-08 1:08 PM EST –

A trailer may not even be an option because you'll still be lifting to get the boat on the trailer.

Hate to say it (and I know you don't want to hear it) but it may be best in long term investment to wait a while longer unless you go to a popular place where there are lots of men willing help a damsel in distress.

Paddlin' on

step one/ loosen straps
step 2 / point your vec. at the sorce of the recreation(lake river,creek ect.) step 3 / floor it and when you get close slam on the brakes… your canoe will land in the waterr without you having to lift it …now getting it back on the car is another story…let me know how it works…jack

Try a Light Boat
There are several solo canoe and pack canoes available below 20 lbs. Bell, Grasse River, Hemlock, Pb and Savage River come to immediate mind, and Hornbeck has hulls down to 12 lbs.

Considering the cost of a Hullavator, maybe trading in one of those monsters and acquiring something lighter might serve you well for decades to come. ??

If you can afford a trailer , get one …

– Last Updated: Aug-14-08 11:40 PM EST –

...... you won't have to lift but the bow (1/2 the weight), 23 lbs. up onto the bunks which will be low to the ground .

Use a set of wheels (those karts with wheels for canoes/kayaks) . Slide the back end of the boat off the trailer , right into the wheels .

Walk the boat to the water , again you are only picking up 1/2 the weight in the wheels . Actually you aren't really picking the boat up , just holding it off the ground while you walk .

Set the bow end in the water and roll stern up to water , take off the wheels and you're in .

Wheels will allow you to move weight around with ease .

Real-world experience
I started out with Hully Rollers. Several modifications later I gave up on them and installed a BoatLoader (extension bar). This worked fine, and I still think it is one of the best low-cost solutions. But Thule did a Hullavator re-introduction several years ago, so I popped for one in a minute of financial weakness.

The Hullavator does indeed work well, greatly reducing the force needed to pop the boat to roof level. Of course, you still have to lift it to waist or chest level to place it in the cradles. ANother plus is that you can move the boat to the intermediate position and open the hatch of your wagon.

That said, lately I have been spending most of my time in my Bell Magic. Charlie Wilson is right about the virtues of a lightweight hull. The cost of a Hullivator is a nice down-payment on a new boat.


Thanks guys

– Last Updated: Aug-15-08 12:57 PM EST –

I knew I could count on you guys to come up with a workable solution. I've decide on a combination of Yakjak's projectile method for put in and GK's damsel in distress for take out. Should work, LOL

Sure, you still have to lift the boat some but lifting it to/from hip height is far easier than lifting above the shoulders.

I have a Yakima Boatloader that I was using to put a short boat on my truck topper’s roof. It’s cheap at only $60, but you have to be very very careful not to let the boat slip and possibly damage the vehicle. Not bad on a calm day, but when it’s windy it’s a hazard.

With the trailer, loading and unloading my 57-lb sea kayaks is no big deal. I paddle solo on at least 50% of my outings, so having to have a helper would be a severe restriction.

Yakima makes some new type of loading assist device that attaches to the roof rack. It slides out the rear over the roof and has rollers on it. MIght be worth looking into if you don’t want a trailer.

Another option
Move to WV and I will help you load & unload.