12ft or 14ft kayak?

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Fun2BGrey
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12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:25 pm

I am about to buy my first kayak and have identified a 14ft 'touring kayak that I think will suit me. I am going to check it out this week. However, I am having second thoughts, wondering if it will be too big for me to manoeuvre onto the roof of my car. Would a 12ft kayak be a lot different ? I'm a woman in my 50s. I need to be able to put it on the car on my own, it weighs 24kg.
Any opinions welcomed.

Chris Bolton
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:51 pm

24kg is quite hard work to lift onto a car by yourself, but not impossible. As a man in my 60s, I can just manage mine at 22kg. It would be easier to use something like a roller behind the rear roof bar so that you only need lift one end at a time.

A 12ft kayak could be significantly lighter than a 14ft kayak, all other things being equal, but there is a big weight range within kayaks of the same length. If you can say what model of 14ft kayak you're looking at, and what kind of kayaking you plan to do, that will help people advise you.

charleston14
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by charleston14 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:04 pm

Not much different weight wise

Get a side loading arm for your roof rack and it’s easy as you will lift half the weight.

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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by charleston14 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:06 pm


Fun2BGrey
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:20 am

Thanks for your responses.
I am planning to do some coastal, estuary and river paddling, possibly lakes too. I want something that is going to be easy to paddle and that tracks well. I'm looking at a Dagger Stratos 14.5. I was initially looking at the Perception Expression 11 but was told that I need 2 bulkheads, which I do agree.

I was all set to buy the Stratos but when I measured out the length on the car, I started panicking! I think its the length that I worry about rather than the weight, whether I will be able to manoeuvre it onto the roof rack even with one of those side loading bars - which look brilliant by the way.

Mac50L
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Mac50L » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:44 am

My most used kayak is about 18 kg and 16.5 feet. My partner's is slightly longer and about 25 kg. I load them easily single handed and and am heading toward 80 years. See -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.co ... a-vehicle/
If side loading (as said) you are lifting half the weight of the kayak. A longer kayak will be easier to load as it won't be so steep when half is on the rack.

NOTE - the Youtube is correct, the extender goes on the back rack, not the front one.

Did I mention I'm usually loading on to a van, Ford Econvan if you want the specifics. And yes, been doing it for decades. I'm happy to load a double the same way and used to do so.

Incidentally the kayak I most often paddle was designed for short, light, women. I fail on two of the parameters and only succeed on the light-ish weight ~70 kg.

A longer kayak will be easier to paddle at a reasonable speed. Speed and waterline length are related.
Last edited by Mac50L on Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mac50L
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Mac50L » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:46 am

Fastening to the vehicle. It is more important to tie the ends of the kayak to the car than to tie it to the roof rack -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.co ... a-vehicle/

Fun2BGrey
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:46 pm

Right, I'm all set to view and hopefully bring home my first kayak tomorrow. I have all the padding and ties for the roof rack, even managed to get hold of a second tow hookie thingy, as the car only comes with one - I suppose they think you are going to either be towing or being towed - they don't reckon on you tying down a 14 ft kayak at both ends.

I will see how I get on with loading it once I have it and will then look into what I need to buy to make it easier - e.g. side loader bar.

Thank you all for your advice and helping me to realise that I will be able to load a 14 ft kayak, I just need to be a bit more imaginative. It's great to know that this forum is here to assist and inform :)

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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:54 pm

As a temporary approach if you're stuck, a possible way to load a kayak without a side bar or roller is to lay a folded blanket on the back of the car roof, lift the bow onto the blanket then go to the stern and slide it forwards.

Fun2BGrey
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:04 am

Chris Bolton wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:54 pm
As a temporary approach if you're stuck, a possible way to load a kayak without a side bar or roller is to lay a folded blanket on the back of the car roof, lift the bow onto the blanket then go to the stern and slide it forwards.
Thanks Chris, I thought this was the best plan, but the car ariel gets in the way!

So drove 150 miles and back to collect the kayak yesterday, thrilled to bits with it...however, since getting it home it has doubled in length and trebled in weight!!! :D

I think I need to start going to the gym to build muscles. I bought a side bar loader while I was there, but not sure I am even going to be able to lift one end onto there!

I'm wondering if my husband would notice if I saw the ariel off the car roof as that method seems the easiest? It is only a short ariel, may not be missed.

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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:28 am

On most car aerials, the aerial itself will unscrew from the mounting - worth a try! Assuming the aerial is in the centre of the car, is there not enough space on one side? You don't need the whole kayak width to line up with the roof bars, and you can push it slightly diagonally, or push it across once it's on.

To make it easier to lift the front end up to the car roof, you could try lifting the back end first, while it's on the ground, and putting a box or something ender it, about a quarter of the way towards the front. The when you lift the front, it pivots on the box rather than the end, which means the front is effectively lighter.

Fun2BGrey
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:04 pm

Aerial doesn’t come off :(
I’m away at the moment but will have a go when I get home. I like the box idea, thanks :)

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jet
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by jet » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:03 pm

Get a deck chair and a flask of tea or other favourite tipple.

Sit down, wait for someone to come along who looks vaguely interested in the boat, then ask them to give you a hand.

It's amazing how you can get the boat on your shoulder and that sudden gust of wind makes you feel like a giant weathervane.


I apologise for my poor poetry in advance.

I used to lift canadians and kayaks all alone
It didn’t matter what it was I’d do it on my own.
The occasional car window gone a wing mirror here or there
I’d randomly swing a boat around and never have a care.

But now I’m growing older and my shoulders aren’t so stable.
I like to think I can lift the same, but I’m not sure that I’m able
A sudden gust of wind will cause a wrenching of my back
And If I don’t set up just right, my knees will surely crack.

So if you feel you’re not to sure and have a little doubt
Don’t be afraid to look around and give someone a shout.
A single phrase I give to you, my passing little gift
“Excuse me please, would you mind, helping me with a lift”

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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Northern Blue » Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:30 am

Fun2Bgrey.... it’s great if you are managing to get your kayak on to the car at the moment, but if you start to struggle as you get older, consider a Karitek roof rack system which slides over the side of the car and allows you to load/unload at a manageable height.

My partner has one fitted to her Skoda and manages her 17’6” sea kayak no bother by herself. I have one fitted to my motorhome and it has transformed loading for me.

We are both in our late 50s.

Fun2BGrey
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Fun2BGrey » Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:51 am

Fantastic poem Jet! Thanks for those words of wisdom. I did think that if there are other kayakers around, they would probably be very happy to help. I have found it to be a very friendly and helpful community :)

Good advice too, Northern Blue, thank you. I have looked at those and think that in the future, as you say when I can't manage the kayak easily, it is something I will probably invest in.

At the moment I have a technique which is working for me, using the side loader. Leaving the kayak resting on the transport wheely thing (as suggested by Chris) I find that it is fairly easy to lift up onto the side loader and there is very little strain on my back as I'm using mostly upper body strength. Very pleased to be able to take off independently when I choose.

Mac50L
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Re: 12ft or 14ft kayak?

Post by Mac50L » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:20 am

A really good poem and I've asked and been given permission to use it in a mail-out to our kayak members. Thank you Jet.

Loading, a few hints here -
https://canterburyseakayak.wordpress.co ... a-vehicle/

Note the link about half way down on how to make a side loader bar (goes to the DIY section on that site) - cheaply. As with most things, one key item, the bit to stop a kayak sliding off sideways.

A lot of Youtubes showing the side loading and the bar should go on the back rack for a long kayak but they all show it on the front rack and to add a sexist comment, all the users are blonde. Oh??? :-(

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