The traditional method of transporting a kayak via an SUV is to install a roof rack and lift your kayak up on top of your vehicle. It’s safer this way. However, if you don’t know how to lift up a kayak properly, there is a chance that you might damage the hull of the kayak or scratch your vehicle in the process.
So, in this article, I’m going to show you how to load a kayak onto an SUV without scratching the boat or the vehicle. This is how I load my kayak on top of my truck. This is something that I’ve struggled with in the past and I kind of resorted to loading my kayak into my cargo trailer.
And every time I go kayak fishing, I would just bring the cargo trailer out to the lake. This is great in a lot of cases, but sometimes it’s not so convenient. This was when I looked for an alternative way.
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Loading A Kayak Onto An SUV Without Scratching
The main problem when transporting a kayak is the sheer size and weight of the boat. This is something a lot of people struggle with, including me. With a larger kayak, it becomes difficult to load it on top of the vehicle, and it’s certainly not a job for a single person.
However, for a single-person kayak like a 10ft kayak, this method I’m about to show you might come in handy. Now you may wonder whether a 10ft kayak is big enough for fishing.
After doing some research and watching some videos online, I figured out a simple way to do it without having to buy a kayak lifting system for my Thule rack.
If you don’t know what Thule is, it’s a popular brand known for its high-quality roof rack system. Their rack systems are low-profile and allow for an exceptionally quiet ride. Okay, back to the main topic of this article.
So, anyway, what I wanted to share with you here is how I came up with a neat little trick that allows me to lift up my kayak safely without scratching my SUV. Maybe this will help you out, as it certainly did help me out.
So, when I found this technique online, I was shocked. I didn’t know why it took me so long to find this. It’s really simple. The challenge I had usually been that I don’t always have somebody around to help me load the kayak.
So, finding a way to do it on my own is a really nice option to have now. With that being said, let’s get right into the steps.
Things You Will Need
There are three things you will need to load the kayak onto the jeep—some of these items you might already have at home.
The first thing you will need a blanket. This should be a large blanket, and you are going to through this over the bar of the roof rack to protect the door and the window from sliding the kayak up over.
You will also need a little towel. This will come in handy when you are in gravel or a parking lot or asphalt or something so that you can put this towel under the backend of the kayak to protect it from getting scraped up or getting holes in it.
And then, of course, whenever I go kayaking, I bring a step stool which makes strapping the kayak down a whole lot easier. This will help you get up on top and throw the straps over and things.
So, when you are doing things by yourself, you might as well have these tools to help you out.
The first thing you will need to do is take the blanket and just drape that over the side of the car and tuck it behind the rails.
The idea is, you will bring the forward of the kayak up onto the top, where you draped the blanket and rest it against the front bar of your roof rack system. After that, you will need to bring the backend of the kayak around.
Now that you have the basic idea, it’s time to get into action. The towel needs to be set in the general area where the back of the kayak is going to land. Now, if you have wheels under the kayak, it’s time to get them out of the way.
Position your kayak and line it up to the first towel that is over your SUV. Now, lift the front part of the kayak and set it on the car. Now, you just grab the backend or the back handle and life it up.
Now, you align the kayak with your vehicle and place it properly onto your roof rack system. The idea of the towel is to keep the back part protected. Okay, so you have successfully loaded your kayak onto an SUV without scratching. How do you get it back down?
Unloading The Kayak
To get it off, do the same thing in reverse. The first thing you will need to figure out is where the back portion of the kayak is going to land, and that’s where you will need to put the towel. The kayak will come off just like it went on.
Use the front crossbar to kind of guide the front of the kayak to pull it back down. Once you feel like the kayak is between the bars, gently bring the kayak back down. Now, safely set the back of the kayak down onto the towel on the ground.
After that, it’s just a matter of guiding the front of. It’s really not that hard to do so. The only thing you have to take into consideration is where you park when you get to the lake so that you have enough room to do all of this.
The process I’ve shown you here can be modified a little. However, I’ve done this a couple of times on some day trips. It’s turned out to be a real game-changer. As long as you have enough room to load and unload, you can easily do this on your own.
It works great and a lot more convenient than using a trailer. In a lot of cases, there are days when the trailer is nice to have. Anyway, I hope this helped, and thanks to guys out there who posted their method and how they do it.
Now, even though you have the racks installed, there are places on your SUV where the kayak comes in contact and can easily scratch your vehicle. This is why the towel is a must. You would want to make sure that you have a well-padded towel to cover that area.
Also, if you want to prevent your kayak from slipping, you can use a rubber mat instead of a secondary towel. Make sure to properly tie up your kayak before you start driving and check back to make sure the kayak is strapped properly after you drive for 5 to 10 minutes.
And that’s all there is to it. Make sure to use straps to hold down the kayak. It is easier to tie down a kayak on a truck bed than on an SUV but if you have an SUV and are not interested to hire a truck for carrying your kayak all you have to do is written in this article. And that concludes our article on how to load a kayak onto an SUV without scratching.