Solo loading of kayak

I have a Toyota 4 Runner and want to know if anyone has any ideas on self loading my kayak to my J style roof racks.

We have no issue when my wife is around, but it may create some issues when I am by myself. I am 65, not in terrible shape but some minor back and shoulder issues. I am able to lift the kayak, it is the clumsiness and height of the 4 Runner that is the issue.

I have a Perception Pescador Pro 10 feet that weighs 57 pounds.

Thanks for any ideas

have you looked at the Hullivator?
It lets you load at chest height and then fold the whole thing over on the roof. Costly but very functional.

Friend of mine had that vehicle, and it is tall. I’m younger than you but still had difficulty. An option is to put one end on top of the roof spoiler on the back end, and slide it onto the rack from there, but if I recall that was about the tallest point.

Step stool/small ladder
Do you use a step stool? I found a small folding one quite useful when I used J racks on my Santa Fe. I’m also 65 and in decent physical shape.

Since then I bit the bullet and bought Hullavators. They let you load at waist level (at least on my vehicle) and make the entire process just ridiculously easy.

If not the Hullivator

– Last Updated: Apr-11-16 4:11 PM EST –

Cart and one of these. That way you can just slide it up.

Admittedly Jbars may be a little trickier than stackers or saddles, we always avoided then for that reason. But I suspect it is just a matter of improving your aim. Loading a boat up flat, at your age about and I suspect much smaller, I can get a 17 ft boat loaded by myself. I just set the boat on the cart an apt distance from the back of the car, get the front onto the roller loader then slide. Somewhat carefully with one of the boats, some hull shapes like to arc the wrong way on their way up. For one particular boat, I run a (very) long line from the bow toggle thru the inside of the stackers and back to my hands. In case it tries to misbehave on the way up.

Put some kind of ground cover behind if you are fussy about dirt on the boat. Getting that initial distance right can take more than one try at the start of a season. I usually experience a few slides backwards before I have it down.

That said, there IS a Hullivator in ,y future.

Yakima Boatloader
I do OK with the Yakima Boatloader - if you are using Yakima system. I do not use J racks, but it gives me a extra hand on getting sea kayaks up. Older than you with some back issues.

For what it is worth
I have seen a number of smaller women work well with the Yakima Boatloader or a home-made equivalent. On cars lower than the OPer’s, but it still makes it more of a sliding than a lifting action.

It may also be a good pairing for Jbars because of the angle, though I have no actual experience. That is just a guess.

a good option

– Last Updated: Apr-11-16 6:17 PM EST –

...and cheaper than a Hullivator. At least it lets you get under the boat and rack. I might have to rig something like that for my rack!

I’m voting Hullavator
I used Malone Seawing’s with the Stinger on our minivan and it worked great with the roof rack spacing. You dressed the straps and hung one set on the wind shield and one out the back. Once you got the boat on you could just throw them over and catch them. With the 4Runner the roof rack is set back behind the sunroof so you can’t do the windshield trick. When I dress the straps I put them out to the other side on the Runner then once the boat is on walk to the other side and throw them over hoping the buckle doesn’t leave a mark. For a cheaper option and ease of straps the J rack is a hard to beat option for the 4Runner but that’s a high lift for most folks. As mentioned the Hullavator loads at waist level but the real gem is that’s where you do up your straps. You completely tie off your boat, attach the bow and stern lines then squeeze the handles and it helps you lift the boat up there. These things make it easy for my wife to get out without me. She does need a stool to reach the handles though. The Hullavators mount high and look like moose antlers but they work.

The negative and my disclaimer here is we’ve just got them and the cradle doesn’t seem to fit well on the rear deck with it being lower than the front. That was with a normal sized Stratos S, I’m wondering about the fit on the LV boats in our fleet. I’m thinking I may have to add foam or rig something for the strap. Once the ice melts I’ll find out.

"The Hullavators mount high and look like moose antlers but they work. "

My Santa Fe’s nickname - for other than a couple of winter months when I take the Hullavators off - is Bullwinkle.

It makes it really easy to find the car in a shopping mall parking lot though!

A couple more things
Another downfall of the 4runner is the spacing of the crossbars. The rack is very short so even when the the front is all the way forward and the back all the way back it still just clears both ends of the cockpit with a Seals 1.7 size opening. This means that with a Seawing style when you are reaching for your straps you are doing so over the largest parts of the boat and that’s why I had to start throwing them. Even at 6’2 I had trouble reaching on my boats. With the longer bar spread on other vehicles it was a non issue.

Also that Hullavator will not work on factory cross bars so you’ll have to shell out for new feet and cross bars at the same time.