carrying a kayak - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-22-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
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carrying a kayak

I'm starting this thread so Bob will tell us his story of what he's learned about carrying kayaks! And anyone else, too. I'm looking at kayaks right now and have been debating between putting one on top of the Highlander or getting an inflatable one that will fit inside the vehicle.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:25 PM   #2
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Mike,

We have an inflatable SeaEagle 370. It packs up about 4' long and 16" dia. We just throw it in the car or camper. It is tough, our dogs nails have not bothered it at all. It is actually a kayak/ canoe combo, it is good for lazy rides in the ocean or lake. If you are serious about kayaking it is not for you.

Also, I recently bought a SeaEagle SUP board. Once I get more comfortable with it, I should be able to use it on some small waves .

Art
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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the "J" racks work well if your kayak is light. Make sure you tie the front and back down whatever method you choose
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:33 PM   #4
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Ok, here's my kayak story: I'm a great one for fabricating or modifying stuff. When we bought our Honda from a friend it came with a Thule "ride-on" cross bar rack with two bike carriers. Between ebay and craigslist I acquired longer cross bars and two pairs of kayak saddles, the kind where the kayaks sit upright. We used this setup several times with no problem. Last August we took our Uhaul on it's first trip, destination the Adirondaks 4 hours from home, with two 12 foot kayaks on the Honda roof. 20 minutes out, on I 90 we heard a noise and there went both kayaks still on the rack off the roof and out into the passing lane. Luckily it was Sunday morning, no traffic, I quick pulled over, ran back, and pulled it all out of the road. No damage except a few scrapes on the kayaks. There are several causes for this mishap. 1] this rack has plastic clamps to hold the cross bars to the Honda factory rack and Thule says this rack is for bikes only. 2] The kayaks were only held on with bungees to the cross bars, not to the factory rack. 3] They were not tied down at the front & rear. After pulling the kayaks out of the road we removed them from the rack bars, bungeed them onto the car rack, and got off the next exit where I left Mary with the trailer and kayaks, went home and put on some Thule J type racks that I took in trade for making a rear receiver bike rack setup on a popup camper for friends of our daughter. Just dumb luck that I had them, never used them until now. Went back, loaded the kayaks, hooked up to the trailer, and continued our trip, watching the kayaks through the sunroof! I have since bought the under hood straps and ratchet rope tie downs from Thule. We were really lucky in that there was no traffic, and no significant damage. 30 miles up the road later there was a lot of traffic. A few weeks later our son in Maine sent us a news article about how someone lost two kayaks on the Maine Turnpike and caused a 7 car pileup. This was a valuable lesson, and hope others can learn from my mistake [stupidity]. We can laugh about it now, but it wasn't too funny when it happened. Bob
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:38 PM   #5
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That's a sweet looking yak, Alan. J racks are something I hadn't heard of before. If I mounted a single (probably rotomolded) kayak flat on the crossbars without J racks, would that be likely to damage the hull? I kind of guessed that flat on the roof without even crossbars would mess up the paint unless I could find something cushiony to put in between.

Art, I have to say you've piqued my interest and curiosity by mentioning SUPs. So I did some googling. I'm wondering why a person could not stand on a SOT kayak and use it like a paddleboard? I realize one would want to carry the appropriate type paddle, but other than that and maybe a rudder, wouldn't a kayak work just about the same?

I'm currently looking at a Perception Sport Pescador, an Ascend FS10, or (my first choice, but so pricey) a Hobie (Sport or Revolution 11 or i9s) Mirage Drive.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:50 PM   #6
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Bob, thanks for sharing that. Wow, glad no damage or injuries occurred!

My father took me fishing in Ontario for a couple of days most summers. The last couple of times we had a square-back aluminum canoe atop a '73 Chevy Vega. (We should have had a Scamp to go with that... ) Dad had 4 EPS blocks with custom cutouts on one side to fit the canoe's rails. We tied it down front and back with nylon rope.

I don't really want the yak on the trailer... too high up, hard to get on and off.

My Highlander has roof side rails but no crossbars (yet). I thought of using a nylon ratchet strap or two from rail to rail and across the top of the yak, then rope at the front (to a bumper pull ring) and rear (to hitch receiver) to secure the kayak. But whether to go across the roof itself (with some sort of protection pad maybe) or to use crossbars, I hadn't decided. Now I learn about J racks, that's a help.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:56 PM   #7
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kayak hold downs

Hello Mike! my wife and i go camping with a 2001 Suburu Outback pulling a 73 Trillium 13 ft. we carry 2 ten foot Old Town kayaks on top of car,with 2 pair of thule j racks.with rachet tie downs front and back,without any problems.good luck and happy kayaking.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
That's a sweet looking yak, Alan. J racks are something I hadn't heard of before. If I mounted a single (probably rotomolded) kayak flat on the crossbars without J racks, would that be likely to damage the hull? I kind of guessed that flat on the roof without even crossbars would mess up the paint unless I could find something cushiony to put in between.

Art, I have to say you've piqued my interest and curiosity by mentioning SUPs. So I did some googling. I'm wondering why a person could not stand on a SOT kayak and use it like a paddleboard? I realize one would want to carry the appropriate type paddle, but other than that and maybe a rudder, wouldn't a kayak work just about the same?

I'm currently looking at a Perception Sport Pescador, an Ascend FS10, or (my first choice, but so pricey) a Hobie (Sport or Revolution 11 or i9s) Mirage Drive.
Mike, I see no reason why you couldn't use one to stand up and paddle. The only thing is that the SeaEagle SUP is also an inflatable (just about the same packed size as the 370) but surprisingly stiff when inflated.
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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There are several different options for carrying kayaks, the simple one is the foam blocks that are sold that just set on the car roof with the kayak on them. Roof rack with no cross bars, my daughter just bought some on ebay that clamp to the factory side rails on her Honda. Some places do kayak try out days where they put various kayaks in the water that you can test paddle, Eastern Mountain Sports does it, LL Bean does too. Mary's brother bought a kayak at an independent dealer, and after using it a day, took it back and got a different one because he didn't like the first one. Ask about that option if you buy new. We now have 5 kayaks [for the two of us] and every one we bought used on craigslist. We have two Old Town Otters that are 9 footers, an Old town 12 foot Loon, a Perception 12 foot, and another 11 foot Perception. Should sell the 11, but the grandkids kayak with us sometimes so I'll probably keep it. But this has been another no end situation, because of needing different racks for different vehicles, better paddles, and covers when on the rack to keep rain out. Austin Kayak is a good place to deal with, that's where I got the covers. Note that there are different size cockpit openings, so you have to get the right size cover. Also note that a longer kayak will track better. I got a nice list from Kittery Trading Post in Maine that lists several different brands, what they are best for, such as touring or fishing or recreational use, and the specs, length, width, capacity, and weight. Note also that vehicle roof racks usually have a weight limit, it should be in your owners manual. Confused yet?? Bob
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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So they do sell foam blocks for carrying a kayak on the roof, eh? Any suggestion on who sells them?

My roof rack is 100 lb. limit. I want to keep it under 60 lbs. anyway for ease of loading... assuming I don't end up with an inflatable, that is. Inflatables seem great in some respects, but I'm leery of punctures, leaks, etc.

I'm heading to northern MN in June, and with all the lakes up there a small watercraft seems like the ideal thing to have on that vacation. I did try a Hobie Mirage last summer and I liked pedaling. It was faster and easier than paddling. But the $$$$....
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:38 PM   #11
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You can find the foam blocks on Amazon, search for "kayak block" or "kayak carrier kit" they are about $20, but now I'm not sure if that is for one block or two [you'll need two"]. Dicks Sporting Goods has them, Austin Kayak has them listed as "foam kayak saddle". I much prefer a solid carrier that mounts to the factory roof rack. The blocks can slide around but they are OK for short trips. There are several different types, but I prefer the saddle type where the kayak sets upright over the J type. There's another "post" type that just is a vertical bracket that attaches in the center of the cross bars and you secure the kayak on it's side against the post. I once saw that type on a car with 4 kayaks on the roof!!! If you want to be high tech, there is a rack system that slides off the side of the roof and down so that you don't have to lift the kayak very far. Out of my budget for sure! Thule makes nice straps for securing kayaks to a rack, I have some and would recommend them, and I also have some of their rope tie downs that have a pulley and tightener mechanism. They also have short straps with a grommet on the end that you attach to a bolt under the car hood and pull them up between the hood & fender for a place to attach rope to from the end of the kayak. I think I got that stuff from etrailer, but it may have been Austin Kayak where I got the covers. The covers are made by Seals, I think is the company name, but Austin Kayak is good to deal with. See what I mean that there is no end to it. Next you need life jackets, maybe a dry bag, and they sell a canoe/kayak dolly to wheel it to the water. And if I leave them by the water I have a cable & lock and lock them to a tree, which you should do with the dolly while you're out paddling. We go to a little lake in Vermont where they rent canoes and kayaks, and once someone took our canoe out thinking it was a rental! Bob
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:31 PM   #12
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That's very helpful info, thanks!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:29 PM   #13
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I have a 14 foot plastic kayak and a 17 footer--also plastic. They weigh around 60 pounds each. I have Yakima cross bars which I used to have on a Subaru. I mounted Hully Rollers on the back, and Mako Saddles on the front. The kayak rides hull down on them. I can load the boats by myself because the Hully Rollers roll the boat right on.

Now I have a pickup and it is harder to load because it is higher, but I can still load the boats on my own.

I hauled the 17 foot boat from Wisconsin to Warshington State. I had to stop in Nort Dakota for additional straps. The wind there caused some fraying. Somewhere in Nort Dakota, along highway 2 is a cockpit cover.

They are making some pretty good inflatables now. I want to try out one that a friend has. I can't think of the name but REI has them as do other high end outdoor stores.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:43 PM   #14
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We carried a plastic boat by using 3/4" thinwall conduit with "Funoodles" slipped in place over it. These can then be secured with nylon rope, either around the pipe or through it. The funoodles get good traction and protect both the boat and the surface to which it was tied. We had a luggage rack... but with a little creativity, a rack would be unnecessary.
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