Melba Kayak April 28th, 2018 - 11:36:34
Ok, you did your homework and got the right kayak - now you need to make another decision. How are you going to transport your new kayak? Some kayaks are heavy and cumbersome - especially rigged fishing kayaks. Youll need to put some thought into what will be the best transport method for you, your kayak, and your vehicle. Various vehicles will create different situations to contend with. For instance, if you have a very tall vehicle it may not be practical for you to load your kayak on the roof - maybe a trailer is the way to go, or a Hullavator. Maybe you have a health problem or an injury that will prevent you from lifting a kayak. Or maybe you just dont feel like lifting a 60+ lb kayak over your head. All of these issues can be addressed.
Lift Assist Accessories: Companies now make accessories to help you get your kayak unto your roof. One such product is the Hullavator by Thule, this hydraulic assist rack folds down the side of the vehicle where the kayak is loaded at waist height and the whole thing folds back onto the roof with the aid of mechanical assistance - Nice! Weve had many customers tell us that without this system they wouldnt have been able to continue kayaking because of physical limitations brought on by age or injury. Sure its expensive, but worth every penny. Roller Loader: This little device works to help you get your kayak up on your vehicle. It basically is a dolly that suctions on to the back of your vehicle and you just roll the kayak on or off. A very low-tech option that works particularly well with mini-vans, SUVs and station wagons is a rubber backed bathmat. Just to place the mat (with rubber backing down - so it wont slide) on the rear of the vehicle and place one end of the kayak on the mat and slide onto the rack. Here is a video clip of a kayak being loaded using a bathroom mat.
Tips for Transport: Always give the kayak a good push and pull before driving away to make sure you are secure. As a general rule if you can rock the vehicle without the kayak shifting on its perch than you are fine. If the kayak is sliding back and forth on the bars or in the carriers than you need to go back and tighten the straps. If using straps with auto-lock buckles, always put a half hitch in the strapping after tying down to insure that even if the buckle loosens the strap will not come lose. If using ratchet style tie downs it is very easy to over-tighten and do damage to the kayak. So make sure that the kayak is snug, but dont go overboard. When transporting in a flat bed pickup dont choose places on the kayak to fasten to that can fail - like the handles. We recommend passing the straps through the scupper holes of the kayak and tying that off in the bed of the truck. Some cars roof areas can compress/dent in when using foam blocks, these dents usually pop back out. Always try to place foam blocks on the strongest part of the roof (this will be the areas closer to the front and rear windows) Also, if you find that some part of your kayak is making contact with the roof after you tighten it down then placing a piece of rug or padding there is a good idea to protect the car from scratching.
An important option to consider is a rudder. There are pros and cons about the necessity of having a rudder. A beginner would consider having one while the advance kayaker wont. The argument is, if a rudder helps, then use it. Most would agree, that in certain conditions, such as when strong winds and waves are unrelenting, that a rudder should provide just the right amount of course correction necessary to allow the paddler to focus more on their stroke or the scenery instead of their tracking which is what the rudder or skeg improves upon. Price Last but not least pricing - the other most important factors. After you have decided on what style of kayak to purchase, price will be the biggest factor in determining exactly which model to buy (what you can really afford). An entry-level plastic kayak can be as low as $350. Other plastic models can run as high as $1800. Fiberglass boats will cost from about $1000 to $3000. Other more exotic composite boats will cost as much or possibly even more. Inflatable boats can start at about $200 and go up to $2000. Folding boats will set you back $1250 for an entry-level boat and up to $4500 for a top-notch two-some. There are some really good inflatable kayak manufactures and some of the best are Sea Eagle, Innova Kayaks, and Advance Elements. Point to Remember: One more thought. Inflatable boats and kayaks have been around for a while - your Coast Guard and search and rescue people use them all the time... So dont shy away from them. But like any boat or kayak you buy, common sense must always come into play. Join the thousands already enjoying their inflatable kayak and boat. Always remember to wear your Life Jackets when out on the water.