How to Load a Kayak Without Scratching It

How to Load a Kayak Without Scratching It
Kayaks come in different types such as river kayaks and ocean kayaks, and most weigh 75 pounds or more. Lightweight kayaks are easy for one person to carry, but the heavier kayaks require multiple people to transport. When you load a kayak, you naturally worry about scratching it or otherwise damaging it because scratches are costly to repair.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak carrier
Step 1
Attach a kayak carrier to the top of your vehicle. Kayak carriers are specifically designed to transport kayaks over long distances, without damaging or scratching them. Sporting goods stores and specialty kayak stores sell these carriers, and it's easy to install one onto your car or truck.
Step 2
Locate the rack extensions on your kayak carrier and pull the extension rods toward you. The rack extensions stick out slightly from your vehicle but move back into place when pushed. The extensions make it easy for you to load a kayak without scratching it and even load a kayak by yourself.
Step 3
Set the kayak flat on the ground and find the center of the kayak. If the kayak has a cockpit, stand directly beside the cockpit. Then kneel down beside the kayak and turn it over. The cockpit or middle of the kayak should sit directly against your body.
Step 4
Hold the kayak by the top side or the cockpit and pull it up until it touches the top of your leg. Lean into the kayak and place your balance forward. Lift with your legs and pull up on the kayak until you have a comfortable hold on the kayak and you have your balance.
Step 5
Place the kayak onto the edge of the extension rod, which gently supports one side of the kayak. Then move to the other side of the kayak and lift that side up to the extension rod. The kayak should now sit directly on the extension rods evenly. Push the rods back toward the carrier until they slide into place and the kayak sits on top of the vehicle. Attach the cables or cords on your carrier to secure the kayak in place.

Tips & Warnings

If you have someone helping you load the kayak, each grab a side of the kayak and carry it to the vehicle. Then raise both sides at once to place the kayak on the extension rods and push the rods into place.
Heavier kayaks are naturally harder to carry and the risk of scratching is much higher.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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