Transporting a 21’ tandem kayak

We just bought a 21’ tandem kayak & are exploring the various options for transporting it. Since we are both 61 years old, a trailer seems the most reasonable way, but that is a LONG trailer. My man friend thinks we will have real problems with parking & getting around to some of the launching spots. We also talked about a roof rack for his F150 with an assisted lift add-on, but there were issues with connecting pieces & parts with his current bed cover. Looking for advice from anyone who has a real long kayak. Thanks!

Google Photos

100 lb. Empty

What did you get?

Technique to get it up there.

Trailer is a pita parking backing up if you’re not use to it. PITA to park.

Is the F 150 your vehicle of choice or do you have another option (or options) to throw into the mix?

Not sure if any assisted lifts handle 100 pounds. I’m 70 :scream: :laughing:

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The Thule Hullavator and the Malone lift assist are both rated at 75 lbs.

If you want to use the F150, maybe a trailer hitch mount in t-bone or goalpost style mount would work. That way you would not have to worry with the bed cover.

I load our 18+ foot 94-pound tandem on our 14 foot Subaru Crosstrek using the suction cup rollers. I do most of the lifting, my wife keeps it from rolling off while I lift. It is not that hard at 65.

And yes I did strap it down after taking this picture. I used 4 straps plus bow and stern ropes.


Agree with @raosborne on the F 150 - a hitch-mount rack may be the best option. Yakima, Malone, Thule, Rhino all make variations; others do too, no doubt.
I made this load assist contraption for my 4Runner out of a dock roller and a few other parts.
Because I am often loading without assistance, I strap the stern to a cart so it doesn’t tip or drag on the ground. Then I (1) lift the bow and place it in the roller, (2) walk back to the stern and detach the cart, and (3) lift and push the boat up into the saddles (which were not installed when this picture was taken). With this method I’m only lifting half the weight of the boat at any point in time.


We got a Current Designs Unity.


Wow that’s amazing!

We’re looking at a roof rack from Harbor Freight that also sticks out over the top of the cab. What cradle pieces are you using on your rack?


I wouldn’t use anything from harbor freight like a rack. I doubt there’s much quality in it or it would last long in the elements. Thule or Yakima stuff last and is easily resellable.

I use mako saddles but they don’t use them anymore. They make ones with saddle roller combo now. They make an extension bar but not sure if it’s rated for 100 lb. Kayak. I think your Unity is a bit lighter.

We have a Current Designs Unity. When I picked up a Malone trailer, it’s really been a game changer for us. It’s a very well-mannered trailer. I don’t feel it there even pulling it with the car. The advantage around here is we have a lot of wildlife ramps where most of the spaces are trailer only parking. Admittedly, I don’t struggle much with backing a trailer. I learned to drive on tractors on the farm, and backing things was an everyday part of it. But it truly does make loading and unloading significantly easier. And backing the trailer is something you can practice. the first thing I did when I put the trailer together was put a kayak on it and practice backing it into driveways and around corners so I didn’t have to get the knack of it in a time sensitive, space sensitive space somewhere.
We really love paddling tandem. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we do!

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We went with a Sea Eagle inflatable (Explorer 380X). It runs about 35 pounds and packs in the trunk. They also make a Razorlite which is more like a hardshell kayak. Good luck with the tandem boat, but that would be big even for me, and I’m almost 20 years younger and work a physical job at night. As you get a little older the inflatables might be a good option.

This is my Trailex SUT-350-S aluminum trailer. I bought it from someone who used it to haul a 22 foot tandem. The Trailer is 18 feet long, but a nice thing is that it’s so light that one person can easily lift the rear off the ground to move it around. That can help with parking.

I rigged up a temporary platform to haul a few non-kayak items, so just ignore those items in the first photo. The second photo shows a 17.5 foot kayak. I only had a one-mile haul to the launch, so I didn’t move the bow roller. Since the pictures were taken, I customized the trailer into a combo kayak/utility trailer, and shortened it to 15 feet as that’s enough for the single kayaks I haul (18 foot is my biggest kayak).

My heaviest kayak is around 60 lbs, and I’d be scared to try to get anything weighing 100 lbs up to SUV or pickup roof height. But that’s just me - my muscles are below average for a 6 foot tall, age 60-something guy.