Roof loader, or trailer?^

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maryinoxford
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Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by maryinoxford » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:13 am

One of these days I hope to have a car, and be able to kayak more places than I do now. Since I expect to be mosly alone, I've been wondering about getting the boat on to the roof. My present kayak grosses about 18 kg, and I can - just - get it on to a shoulder-high boathouse rack. It won't get easier as I get older. I'd like the option to consider other kayaks that might have different things to offer, without having to say, "It's over 20 kg, so I can't manage it."

I see two options: a roofrack loading system that offers assistance, or a trailer. I've used the Kariteck loader on a friend's car once or twice. Very useful, but still has one or two quirks and requires care. A basic trailer would be easier to put a boat on, but it's got to be parked, both at home and at the paddling destination.

So my question is aimed at people who can't rely on either pure muscle, or helpful friends, to load their boats. How do you manage? What other loading systems are there besides Karitek, and how well do they work? Or, if you use a trailer, how much hassle is it, compared to the convenience of not having to lift the boat high?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

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Yakdiver
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Yakdiver » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:36 am

Hi i don't know what car you have, but i have a roller at the rear of my estate or you could do this
Image
I use to do this made mine out of 2x2 wood or you can buy one all ready made
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by gizmo » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:43 am

I would get a roof loading system no question. This is based mainly on the fact that in many of the places I launch from a trailer would make life quite difficult, even stopping for a bacon buttie would be made difficult. I have a Kari-tec system and wouldn't be without it.
Paul

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maryinoxford
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by maryinoxford » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:39 pm

Thanks, folks. It looks like a roof loader is the way to go. When I wrote the original post, I hadn't considered another trailer drawback, which is that ferries would charge a fortune for transporting it.

Yakdiver, I haven't bought a car yet - I'm waiting for retirement, when I'll be living in a region with less crowded roads. But when I go browsing for one, my first priority will be a strong roof and roof rails, with a vertical back end, to make loading from the rear easier. (Estate or people carrier probably - if I can sleep in it, so much the better.) Minor considerations like petrol or diesel can be thought about later.

Mary
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Robin Ashcroft
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Robin Ashcroft » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:55 pm

Check out some of the US paddling/sea kayak mags - Sea Kayak?

I seem to recall seeing a roller system which allowed you to slide the boat - along the keel/upright - from the rear. Haven't seen anything like it in the UK, but I suspect there's a larger paddling market in the US.

The Karitek system does work - and I'll probably go for one shortly - but I've noticed it works well for loading a single boat, but less well for 2+. Which wouldn't be a problem as if you have 2 or more boats, you have 2 or more paddlers and you can just load as you would any other roof rack.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by maryinoxford » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:34 pm

Thanks, Robin. Things I remember from my brief encounter with Karitek:

With J-bars for 2 boats, one set tended to migrate along the track, however much they were tightened, so that the bars ended up rather close together.

You load the boat on an even keel on the J-bars, but when you put it up, rotating it on to its side, it can settle to a different position on the J-bars, slackening the straps. However, I guess whatever system I use, part of my kit will need to be a step-stool, so I can get up to do a final tightening.

Doing the "lift and slide" to get the boat(s) up, you need to be careful to hold the lifting bar centrally, at the balance point.

Mary
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by swagstaff » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi Mary
Malone also do a couple of options which our customers like and these come into the country via System X so will be avilable locally to you.
http://www.maloneautoracks.com/
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Ian_Montrose » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:48 pm

Hi Mary

Have you looked at the Thule Hydroglide? It's designed (apparently) to be loaded by sliding the kayak on from the rear and has the marked advantage over the Karitek autoloader of being substantially cheaper. There are one or two videos on YouTube that show it being loaded and it is available in the UK. I haven't seen/tried one myself so can't offer any personal opinion. I suspect it's effectiveness would vary greatly depending on the style of car as you have to somehow get the nose onto the rear cradle before pushing the rest of the boat up.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by maryinoxford » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:12 pm

Thanks, folks, keep the ideas coming. I'll compile a library.

I just watched a video of the Thule Hullavator. It's seriously expensive, but more than that, the man demonstrating picked the kayak up in one go to set it in the cradles. Don't know if I could do that with, say, a 25 kg boat. I'm more interested in something that lets me lift one end and rest it on a support, then deal with the other end. I'll look into Hydroglide and Malone.

Mary
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Chas C
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Chas C » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Robin Ashcroft wrote:The Karitek system does work - and I'll probably go for one shortly - but I've noticed it works well for loading a single boat, but less well for 2+. Which wouldn't be a problem as if you have 2 or more boats, you have 2 or more paddlers and you can just load as you would any other roof rack.
The Karitek system works well with more than two boats, its just as good as standard width car racks - no difference.

I've seen two opens, sea kayak and normal kayak on one. ;-)

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Yakdiver » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Name Richard
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Dave28 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:48 pm

Keep it simple. Keep it cheap.

I have a 3mx1m(ish) length of rubber matting (obtainable for not much more than a song at any B&Q) which I drape down from just underneath the front roof rack bar over the windscreen and bonnet. Using this as protection I can slide my kayak on to the roof, starting with the stern of the kayak about half way up the windscreen, and the bow resting on the ground.

In fact the piece I bought at B&Q was twice the width and I cut it in half. Until I discovered the knack of carrying my sea kayak waist high, I used to lay the other half of the mat on the ground in front of the car. Bring boat on its wheels to the car and place in position; lift stern up on to bonnet (the matting on the ground protecting the hull from scratches) work it up on to the edge of the roof; then lift the bow and push along the roof rack.

Works a treat on Vauxhalls - look at a Corsa or Meriva, and it'll work with any car with a similar profile.

The joy of working from the front is that the initial lift is only half the weight of the boat to waist high.

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by jone » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:04 pm

I tend to use a Thule Hydroglide when I'm out on my own, as I find it easier than that final stretch lifting onto J bars.

However, it's pretty tricky to get the boat to slide along on just the rear supports (even with the roof bars as far back as they'll go on an estate). I need to get it up on a shoulder and walk it forward far enough to get sufficient hull between them.

My solution is to have a roll of pipe insulation between the supports, and some duct tape along the back edge of the car (classy!), and just slide the boat up on those until it sits on the supports. Works for me, but I may need to find a better way if I get a posher car (or boat)!

Jon

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by corryvreckanman » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:45 pm

I like this idea from dave28 of a length of rubber matting . I always struggle with loading and usually come close to scratching the car or the kayak

Next time Im using a roll of carpet offcut ( of which there is loads in the loft) and laying it on the bonnet or summat like that

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by Chas C » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:41 am

corryvreckanman wrote:I like this idea from dave28 of a length of rubber matting . I always struggle with loading and usually come close to scratching the car or the kayak

Next time Im using a roll of carpet offcut ( of which there is loads in the loft) and laying it on the bonnet or summat like that
I use the carpet trick for my estate when loading on my own - works very well.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by maryinoxford » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:05 am

Something I've seen recommended is bath mat, the type with a rubber backing and towel-type top layer, so it sticks to the car but slides the kayak. Possibly less bulky than carpet.

Mary
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by tribalecho » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:46 pm

Hi Mary,
Last year I bought the Thule Hullavator from the US after struggling to get my kayak on the car roof by various means. I haven't tried the karitek system. The Thule Hullavator is expensive, but I've found it worth every penny! Lifting my 22kg kayak onto the waist high rack is very manageable, the rest is a breeze! The rack is gas assisted so very little effort is required to lift onto the roof. I get a lot of people standing and watching with apparent envy.
Carol
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by garya » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:55 pm

I use a set of K1 V bars, I find these work perfectly for both my K1 and 2 as well as seaboats. it also supports them better more securley on the roofrack with less damage to the boat or flexing as the attachement points are set further apart.

The rear V projects over the back of the car so I can lift the end of the kayak into it with scratching or touching the car. I then slide the boat forward until i reach the balance point and can seesaw it down into the front V bar. I put some nylon jumper sleeves I cut off an old top over the rear V bar rubber to make it easier to slide the boat on which I pulloff once I have loaded it,


http://www.marsport.co.uk/Racing/Accessories/roof.html

http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/categories/ ... 3&item=176

Try Horis Karloff ?? too. I think he makes these and sells at a fair price, I think he has a side loading one too

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... 30#p527030

Gary A

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by CharlieS » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:58 pm

Looks like you've decided but since no one else had spoken up in favour of a trailer I thought I would.

We bought a small trailer (it was advertised on ebay as a windsurf trailer).
It's small enough to get 'I thought you were going to bring your trailer' jokes.
We mainly got it because of the amount of kit two kids seems to mean we take on holiday. But I've also used it for small club trips. I can just about get five sea kayaks on it.

Because its so small it's easy to shift around unloaded (with one hand). That means some of the downsides of a trailer are easy to avoid. If I get stuck down a dead end I just unhitch it, turn the car and reattach.

Ferry costs are higher, as you say, but otherwise it's normally been OK to find parking especially outside built up areas.
Loading a single kayak onto it involves a much lower lift, and you can carry a friend's the same way.

And if you own one you find loads and loads of other uses for it.

Charlie

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?

Post by MikeB » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:29 pm

This earlier discussion could be worth a look at - there's referecne to rear roller systems amongst other suggestions. One elderly pal of mine has an Astra van with a rear roller mounted right at the rear. With V cradles on the bars, she's easily able to get the boat on the roof.

It also mentions a German company, Zolzer, who make an interesting range of carrying accessories - the site's in German of course, but they make a variation on the Karitek theme which could be worth considering. It's a sort of "half a Karitek" and I know someone who used it to good effect. Clickety click.

The Karitek is very good indeed, and has the benefit of a rather more local (and excellent) service back-up. It's well worth talking to them to see what they can conjour up to meet a specific need.

IF you were ever able to get your hands on a KCS trolley, then they double as a removable rear roller system. Sadly no longer made as the wonderful chap who made them dies some years back. Well worth buying if you ever see one for sale.

All that said, if I had a garage big enough to take it, I'd use a small trailer on which I'd leave the boat. Just hitching up and going sounds like a good thing. With a suitable integral box, kit and paddles could be easily carried as well, keeping the car clear (and lighter) for the journey.

Ok, there's a penalty on ferries, and in some places it could be a pita to park it, but having had access to one years ago the benefits far outweighed the disadvantages most of the time.

This discussion shows some superb trailers.

Mike.

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by John M » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:17 pm

Hello Mary

I bought a Karitek rack 3 years ago because 1. I usually load & unload my 24kg kayak without assistance, 2. it helps prevent a recurrence of lower back pain which would 'lay me off' paddling for several weeks at least, 3. it avoids annoying and costly scratches to vehicle paint.
The initial purchase price was relatively high, and it needs careful set-up, but with the experience of faultless use I would make the purchase again.

Be aware that depending upon your choice of vehicle, most (?) ferries start with a height restriction of 2.4mtrs, and many UK urban car parks have barriers set at 2mtrs. Neither may be a consideration for you.

I'm based in Reading so if I can be of any help with this one, please let me know.

John M

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by John N » Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:38 am

John M wrote:3. it avoids annoying and costly scratches to vehicle paint.
A good point. The back of my Volvo 940 looks like crazy paving and was commented on only yesterday. Personally I'm not too bothered because I bought this with the intention of running it until uneconomic to do so. At 5' 4" I can't remember the last time I lifted my Capella RM into the 'J' cradles unassisted and I'm not prepared to try to prove a point.

I do like the look of some of the 'sport' trailers available to the American market. Take a look here, I think this might be the sort of thing previous posters might have been thinking of. KARITEK indicated they might be able to something similar to UK standards if I was serious. Have a look here for an example http://www.paddling.net/buyersguide/acc ... ca99ead682
Incidently, has anyone got experience of these - one option when the Volvo goes to wherever old Volvos go is a smaller car and a trailer similar to these.

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by maryinoxford » Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:05 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the input on this - and I see the thread is linked in the Almanac, so hopefully other people will find it useful. It's really good to read other people's actual experience of various systems.

I think my initial strategy will be a roof-rack with V-bars, and maybe a roller or mat system to help. Then try it out with my lightweight kayak to see how I cope, before thinking about a heavier boat. (I can see the attraction of the Hobie pedal-drive sit-on-tops, but they are fairly heavy beasts.)

Once I get some experience of car-topping my Feathercraft, I'll have a better idea of whether to invest in a higher-tech loading system, or look again at the trailer option. A small trailer to take one kayak and a storage box has a lot to recommend it.

Re some of the comments above:
Height - any ferry trips I make will likely be CalMac. They don't mind height - Andreadawn has used them with her kayak on the roof of her high-top campervan. But they do charge for length. Once, travelling with a friend and 2 kayaks on a Karitek rack, we met the height barrier at Lechlade car park. Didn't really want to unload the boats there, as we were still quite a hike from the waterside. After some discussion, we swung the rack down to the side position, she climbed in via the passenger seat, and carefully trundled the car under the bar with the boats on the side.

Trailer - it's a good point that manoeuvring a small trailer is best done by unhitching and moving it by hand. (I've never driven a car and trailer. I do use a bike trailer, and many years ago I spent a summer on a farm driving tractor and grain cart. A bit different!) While exploring my local paddles with the Feathercraft, I'll look around to see how easy it would be to park a trailer.

The principle is, start with the cheapest that will work. If cheap doesn't work well enough, then look for sophisticated.

Mary
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by Carbonius » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:03 pm

Any ideas for kayak loader for Fiat Ducato with extra roof hight?! We got standard Thule roof racks...

Image

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by Big Fish » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:44 pm

Carbonius wrote:Any ideas for kayak loader for Fiat Ducato with extra roof hight?! We got standard Thule roof racks...
Get a really tall and strong girlfriend

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by soundoftheseagull » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:06 pm

Dave

Rockpool GT

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Carbonius
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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by Carbonius » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:21 pm

Thanx for advices.
Bigger wife=bigger troubles :) KariTek is a bit expensive and I am not sure it doesn't make noise.
Found a cheaper way to put kayaks up :)

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by geoffm » Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:01 pm

It won't be cheaper when you try it on a windy day.....

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by rhysie » Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:58 pm

Thule make a rear loading rack called called the Slipstream. It has a roller and the slide style pads at the back. The whole unit slides about 450-600mm forward and back when the 2 locking toggles are released.
The loading sequence if you can't lift your kayak would be-
1). Release the locking toggles and slide the unit back so that the roller is hanging over the back of your car.
2). Lay your kayak down next to your car with your bow about 1.5m forward of the roller. Put a towel down where your stern is going to pivot.
3). Lift your kayak bow up onto the roller
4). Walk to the stern of your kayak. Lift and slide your kayak forward at the same time.
5). Tie your kayak down and then slide the whole unit forward and lock the toggles down.

I have a Toyota Landcruiser and there is no way I can lift our kayaks up that high without using a ladder. I tend to lift my kayak up on to my shoulder, put the bow on the roller and then just walk it forward.
My main problem with the Slipstream is that it bolts on to your existing racks so it sits quite high, about 2.25m on my car. Most under cover car parks in Sydney are 2.1m. Last weekend I learnt a new trick to lower the height from a mate in my Sea Kayak Club. If you move the kayak pads to underneath the mounting bars and then turn the whole unit upside down, the kayak pads will now be almost 200mm lower making kayak loading easier but with the added benefit that I can get into my local shopping centre car park which is 2.1m height limit (if I don't have kayaks on top).

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Re: Roof loader, or trailer?^

Post by truckturner » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:59 pm

:) KariTek is a bit expensive and I am not sure it doesn't make noise.
Found a cheaper way to put kayaks up :)

I used to do these head balancing tricks of a ladder when loading Kayaks on my van. I also used carpets on the back door and a roller

Over a few trips I damaged my van costing £500 hurt my back fell off the ladder damaged my kayak. It was a major undertaking loading up and did not make much difference if I had assistance due to the van height Aside from that I spent a lot of money on Thule racks and carriers for the van about £400. The best thing I ever bought for transporting my kayak was a Karitek easy load rack worth every penny. I regularly load 2 kayaks on my own with no fuss or drama As far as noise goes they do drum a little over 65 mph which is the same as Rhino Bars just drive below that

Peter

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