yakima boat loader

Need advice from anyone having experience with the Yakima Boat Loader or similar device. I struggle trying to solo load my 45 lb, 13’ poly kayak on a Lexus RX, using the Boat Loader. When I lift the bow up to the loader bar, the stern on the ground keeps moving away from me…and the bow slips around dangerously on the bar. Tried placing the stern on various materials to keep it from slipping, but no luck thus far. Maybe i just need more practice…

I have one, and use it with my canoe. I’ve never had the canoe try to slide away though while the bow end is up on the loader. With a canoe, it’s upside down on the bar and I’m guessing a kayak would be right side up, I can see where that would slide. Can you have it upside down while on the bar and roll it over once you pick up the rear end?

Boat Loader
Here is a demo video of how to use the loader


The load bar would be a poor choice for a short boat on a tall vehicle. Other than that I find it’s pretty easy to use. Hope this helps.

Funny…in the video, watch the guy after he puts the kayak on the bar…he never takes his hand off until he starts lifting the kayak at the far end…probably to keep it from slipping away. Maybe keep one hand on it just until you walk down the length and grab it to begin upward lifting?

I used to use the Boat Loader

– Last Updated: May-14-09 2:22 PM EST –

with a 16'-10" touring boat. With that composite boat I always kept a hand on the hull to prevent sliding. A shorter boat in place would tend to slide more easily.

One possibility would be to attach a section of line from the stern grab loop to the rear crossbar. If sized just right, it would prevent any sliding.

I felt that the Boat Loader worked quite well. But I upgraded to a Hullivator.


Yak boat loader
"alg" is right: shorter the boat, taller the SUV creates a steeper angle and more slippage…probably wouldn’t be a problem with a 16 footer. The video is interesting because Yakima implies that you can set the bow on the load bar, briefly “unhand” the boat, and then walk to the stern and lift up.

Tying the bow to the load bar or cross bar might help a lot, I’ll try that, thanks.

Good luck!
FWIW, my Boat Loader worked really well - I just went with the Hullivator to give me full access to my hatch back.


You can with a canoe…no need to hold it. I can put one end up on the load bar, go in and take a nap, and my canoe will still be there the way I left it. I can see a kayak being more prone to sliding.

I have had one of these boatloaders for a few years & have never been able to get it to work.unlike the video mine is on front rack. Put the bow up & it really begins to slide back & when you try to put up the stern the bow slides all over. A waste of money. I have a sedan & just put a carpet over the trunk put the bow on the trunk & just push my kayak on the car.

strange…when using it to load a 75lb. canoe, I think it’s the best $65 you could spend.

I think if you load the canoe upside down there is less tendency to slide. I know My kayak is all over the place

Used it with a 10’ SOT
I made sure to keep one hand steady on the boat to keep it from sliding. I also checked the ground and tried to find a little recess or something for the stern end to sink into. Even so, the boat wanted to slide, so I had to be very careful. If there was wind, I asked someone else to help.

I’m selling mine because I sold that boat and the new one is short enough to fit completely inside the truck bed. No more rooftopping, unless I need to transport plywood or lumber.

The long boats (sea kayaks) go on a trailer.

As it turned out the worry was all in my head…had a friend today stand by to catch the boat in case of mishap while I practiced getting it up/down–after a few tries–easy! If you’re fussy about your car, which I am, helps to have a big blanket hanging down on side of car that boat can rest against while on the loading bar. Finally ready to get in the water, where the real adventures will begin.

thanks for all the comments.