Self loading kayak onto roof

I’m having trouble getting my kayak loaded onto the roof of my '03 Malibu.

I’ve got a Thule rack with the Rollercoaster on the back. My two big problems are:

  1. I do not want to damage the hull of my glass boat while pivoting it on the ground as I lift the bow to the rack.

  2. The boat makes contact with the trunk before the Rollercoaster so I want to protect the hull from this contact as well.

    If anyone has suggestions to avoid or overcome these issues, I’m very open to suggestions. Thanks for your help!

Rubber backed bath mat
has helped me “use” the back end of the van when loading myself.

Rubber back keeps the rug in place…protectiing the car ( my boat is not glass) Too bad I didn’t know this from the start…I have scratched paint as a result of my stubborness to get the boat on top without help available. Hopefully you will get great suggestions that really relate to your situation.

That is precisely why I am getting a trailer.

I’m confused…
In most of the places I paddle, we carry our boats to get them from the parking area to the water and back. Often this is 50-75 yards or more, and we all carry our own boats and gear. Loading an empty kayak onto a low car like an Impala should be a simple matter of picking it up and setting onto the rack.

Assuming you are not physically disabled, could it simply be a matter of having someone show you how to lift and carry your boat?

When not 30…
I’m hardly disabled, but at age 54 and 135 pounds there is no way in heck I can lift a 45 pound 16’ or 17 ft plus boat onto the top of a station wagon. Unless I really want to finish off my back. At age 50 plus a lot of people can’t take that kind of chance with their backs.

In answer to the original question - to protect the edge that really tends to sit on the ground go to a Home Depot or garden center and get a set of kneeling pads. They usually come with stretchy straps that will fit around the boat and cover the most vulnerable bit quite nicely. And when they wear out it’s no big expense to get more of them.

As to the back of the car - we have a set of wheels that hook onto the rack and allow the person to slide the boat onto the rear rollers with more distance from the car, windshield wipers etc. (We have station wagons.) I’ve seen people make their own from child’s bike parts, or they can be purchsed if you poke arond the ads in various kayaking magazines. I forget what they are called and who makes them - sorry.

I Load By Myself
most of the time onto the roof of a compact station wagon. I keep an old beach towel in back to protect the stern as it pivots on the ground if I am at a hard surface. I load from the side of the vehicle so that when the bow is lifted onto the rack there is nothing for the boat to hit in terms of the car. Once the bow is sitting on the cradle it is a simple matter to walk to the stern an lift it into place while sliding the bow on its craddle to the proper position.

I am in my mid 50s and I am able to lift the entire boat up and put it on both cradles at once. However, I have to agree with Celia, lifting the boat that way would have a good chance of causing harm to me or the boat.


Right on! and if you are realy concerned
ground grinding your kayak, just go to rei and by a cheap foma sleeping pad.

I use thick fuzzy mats from target 2 for 14 dollars. The rubber mats are aoso nice but my fuzzy mats are washable.

canoe T loader
While this may or may not be applicable to the orig. poster, just as a data point for any that don’t know about it, I’m 100% sold on the hitch mt. canoe T loader as sold by Cabela’s and some hitch stores.

Best $80 I’ve spent in water sports.

Roller loader from Amgansett
I believe the wheels Celia is referring are those that we have and they work very well. Plus they can be used to wheel your boat to the water. They will work whether loading from the front or rear of your vehicle.

Check out the following website.

Paddle Boy cart
Keeps the boat off the ground. I load an 18’ boat over my head with the cart on the back and it doesn’t touch anything but the rack.

I put it on a Nissan Frontier with Q towers and cross bar on the cab, and outdoorsman bed rail on the back.

JT in Central FL

Thule Hullavator
It works and is worth every dollar.

Thule Outrigger
is what I use.

That and a rug to lay the kayak on. I have several bad back disks, but this device has allowed me to hoist the boat alone. I’m only lifting half the weight of the boat at one time. They’re about $60. I picked it up at the local bike shop.

Chaep door mats from Wal-mart