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Melba Kayak April 07th, 2018 - 12:07:32
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.
Your experience as a kayaker Counts An experienced kayaker when shopping for their kayak, will most likely look for different qualities in a boat than a beginner kayaker would. An experienced person will usually look for what they call a kayak with good final stability, while the beginner will more or less value good initial stability - less tipsiness. The tipsiness that is normal for all kayaks with low initial stability makes beginners uncomfortable and shy away, but it is this tipsiness that generally indicates a kayak has greater final stability, something advanced kayakers value when theyre handling bigger waves. [Further clarification on stability: Initial stability is the tendency of the kayak to lean or shift away from an upright position. Final stability is the tendency of the boat to actually tip over. A boat with good final stability that seems tippy will be more forgiving by staying in a leaning position instead of tipping over. A boat cant have both good initial stability and good final stability - its pretty much one or the other. The hull shape will determine what kind of stability the boat has. Another issue with stability is its comparison to speed. A highly stable kayak will usually not be the faster kayak on the water. Typically, the stable kayak will be wider and slower than the narrower faster kayak].
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.
Trailex makes a single kayak version that is light enough to unhook and use as a dolly to get right up to the water. For those who want to carry more than one kayak they also make multi-kayak trailers. Rack Accessories Rack Pads Rack Pads were originally designed for surfboards but work well for kayaks. The pads wrap around your factory or after-market bars and are held in place by Velcro straps. Rack pads are a very good choice if you transport you kayak face down (the seat area facing the roof), by carrying face down you are placing the load on the gunwales (the strongest part of the kayak) and it is the way many kayak companies recommend to carry the kayak to prevent distorting or damaging the hull. Pros: Like foam blocks, it can be a very economical set up, especially if you already have bars on your vehicle. Unlike foam blocks rack pads cant fly off the vehicle.