Kayak Owners Advice

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 13:29
ThreadID: 136450 Views:1632 Replies:15 FollowUps:10
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My wife and I are planning visiting some outback waterways in June and are keen to purchase a double kayak. We are in our early 60's so not as strong as we were a 'little while ago'.

We are looking at a kayak that weighs 32kg.

My query is - would we be able [under 'normal' circumstances] to lift it onto the roof of a 4WD? I have investigated a few lifter systems but don't know if that is overkill without asking people who have actually done it.

Thank you.
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Reply By: Member - Penski - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:24

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:24
Hi Gary,

I have a tandem that weighs about the same. I am also early 60's. I can't carry it solo as its awkward but my wife and I can carry it to get it to and from the vehicle. I also have a trolley if any distance is involved. I prefer to load it onto my camper trailer for a single destination but for a multi stop trip I load it onto the roof of my Pajero using one of these - Rhinorack Side Loader. Sometimes I rear load it by placing a towel on the car to protect it and straight onto the roof bars. Another option if you haven't already purchased is a good inflatable or two single kayaks. The singles maybe be more difficult to fit on the racks but easier to load. I also prefer paddling single than double but that's simply a preference.

Hope that helps, Ron
AnswerID: 617717

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:28

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:28
HI Gary,
I am a keen paddler and whilst mine is lighter than yours at 19kg, it is probably more cumbersome as it is 5.6m long. However I have to try to get it onto my roof racks by myself (lifted 80 series cruiser) and I am only 5'2 so have learned a technique that is what you would also use as it avoids lifting.

You simply stand at the rear of your vehicle and position the nose of the kayak onto the roof behind the first rack - put a towel across the rear roof edge so it doesn't scratch the paint. You can then push it up onto the racks - I can do it solo, but its much easier with two people.
Michelle Martin
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AnswerID: 617719

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:29

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 14:29
Oh and yes, as mentioned above get yourself a little two wheel kayak trolley to move it from the vehicle to your launch spot.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:06

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:06
Don't let any OHS nazi's see you doing that - at over 6 foot I find tying things off pain in arse despite my extra height.

Ended up getting a small foldable stool/table from Camec sits in rear of prado nicely weighs bugger all works a treat admit does groan n clcik abit when I load it up
FollowupID: 889485

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:13

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:13
For extra height to access the roof basket and tie off ropes and straps, I use a Rhino Rack wheel step (link) supplemented with a milk crate.

The wheel step folds flat and the milk crate is a closed one and part of our storage system.

Don't let the OH&S nazis see that in operation either :-)
FollowupID: 889486

Follow Up By: Member - bbuzz (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:31

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:31
I am 68, a single kayak (25kg) and have a Prado120 with a little lift, so it is a bit tall.

I have tried multiple ways to load it on my own and now use a system like Michelle.

I have a white pipe u-shaped thingy that I can pull out from under my roof racks that just hangs clear of the back door. (door open) It has a rubber cover on the back to protect the car. I can lean it on this and push the kayak onto the racks and by standing on the back step, I can lift it over the protusions that want to stop the kayak from sliding.
Comes off the same way.

Cheap, no welding and strong. Can post pics if you are really interested.

FollowupID: 889488

Reply By: Jackolux - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 15:26

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 15:26
We have a Hobie Odyssey tandem, 37kg

I use a Rhino T-Bar loader , I don't have any trouble loading on my own , onto the ladder racks on my Dmax , my Ute is not as hight as a lot of 4WD's .
I'm 64
AnswerID: 617720

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:59

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 16:59
Hi Gary

If you want to make the job easy, then you can not go past the Thule Hullavator Pro.

They are not cheap, but worth their weight in gold and we have had one for a very long time (at least 10 Years) and it has been into some remote locations just to get a paddle in, eg the Simpson Desert, yes that is right, when the Simpson waterways were in flood..

We have 2 Kayaks, a single Dagger, and a double Wilderness Pamlico 145T that weighs in at 33 kgs. if you have a look here and see just how easy it is to load a kayak onto the roof of your four wheel drive with the Thule Hullavator


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Reply By: Gbc.. - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 18:22

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 18:22
Look up ‘diy kayak loader’ on YouTube.

Or these are cheap enough.

AnswerID: 617730

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 18:52

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 18:52

Something you might want to consider is an inflatable kayak.

In my “fleet” of kayaks, which includes a sit-in for long range touring, two surf ski’s for the ocean, a K1 for racing, I also have an inflatable which can either be used as a single or a double.

There are very good quality inflatables that come in around the $1,000/$1,200 mark and that weigh in around the 15kg range. I have one because it is easy to store when touring and because it offers flexibility between single and double.

Mrs Landy likes to be out on the water, but not as much as me (which is usually a 10klm paddle most days…)

Our roof racks sit at around 2.2 meters off the ground and whilst I am accustomed to putting the kayaks on and off, it does take some effort. A double "plastic" kayak is going to weigh in at 30kg+ as you have indicated. Don't overlook the effort involved even with some of the assistance loaders available.

Take a look into an inflatable if you are thinking having a kayak would be a good addition to your touring equipment. You want to make it easy to handle and launch otherwise you might find you don’t use it.

As a footnote, we can have the inflatable on the water in less than 10 minutes maximum...

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

AnswerID: 617733

Follow Up By: Member - Penski - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:50

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:50
I see an Epic in your fleet. I just bought an Epic V8 as my first foray into an ocean ski. I have only used it once so far but expect it will be a while before I take on the ocean. I was a little wobbly but didn’t get wet.

I also like the inflatables now for touring. We have the Advanced Elements double although it’s 25kg’s. Only a few minutes to get ready although a lot more to dry.
FollowupID: 889499

Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:16

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:16
G’day Baz and all
Bit OT but , what do you do regarding drying your inflatable? we have a double, only used once so far, taking north sometime in June
FollowupID: 889516

Follow Up By: Member - Penski - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:51

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:51
Hi Shane,

Maybe they're all different but the one I have has the inner inflatable section, a removable floor and then a skin over the lot. If I am using it regularly I don't worry too much about it being perfectly dry and just pack it up. If it's likely to be a while I find I need to at least partially seperate the sides from the skin and remove the floor so the sun and air can get to it. A quick wipe with a towel helps too. The water trapped between the surfaces would take forever to dry if I didn't do this. When I have to pack it up wet for whatever reason I usually try to get it opened and in the sun within a few days. I haven't had any issues with this approach so far.
FollowupID: 889518

Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:59

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 14:59
Just treat the same as a tent basically..
FollowupID: 889519

Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 19:01

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 19:01
Hi Shane

I just leave it in the sun for about 15 minutes (or less) and it dries...

I use a Gumotex Solar...

Hi Penski

The best cure for curing the "wobblies" is to look at the horizon when kayaking, not the front of the boat" and don't stop paddling, a blade in the water is stability...

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 889525

Reply By: Iza B - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 19:18

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 19:18
Friend has similar. He and I can get it on the roof OK but his wife cannot handle the weight. Large diameter runners on the rear of the roof rack are in his future plus a small capacity electric winch on the bullbar.

An additional use for the winch is to recover the kayak up many of the steep banks you are likely to encounter on outback waterways.
AnswerID: 617735

Reply By: Steve - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:21

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:21
Whereabouts are you Gary?

There’s a kayak builder in NSW near Newcastle, specialises in very lightweight fibreglass yaks. I bought my first one from him 20 years ago and six different models later and after a few years serious paddling, I use my original one more than any of my four boats now. Why? Because it’s jst so much easier to carry and load. Make it easy on yourself and you’ll use it more. Only thing is, they are not very broad and stable plodders that you see in the camping shops, which weigh a ton. These are quite sleek and weigh 24/25 kg for a double.

(Ron) Elliott kayaks. He’s situated right on the Williams River near Dungog. He’ll let you test drive a boat.

One thing to bear in mind: if the missus doesn’t take a liking to it or doesn’t fancy a paddle on the day, you’re grounded. Not advisable to paddle a double on your own. My single is 15 kts so have a think about getting two singles. Costs a bit more but more flexibility with trips and two much lighter ones are easier to load than one big un. The big, heavy, plastic camping shop ones are very slow for exploring but more stable for fishing etc. Don’t underestimate this, because there are places you’ll easily reach in a touring kayak that you wouldn’t attempt in a broader/heavier one, although you might like the stability if you don’t want to learn to balance in a more “tippy” boat. Doesn’t take to much practice, though.
AnswerID: 617737

Reply By: Charles C - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:25

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2018 at 20:25
If you look at the youtube channel of Scott Lovig he does a comparison of most of the loading systems. I'm a bit vertically challenged myself so some type of step is virtually essential for 4wd.
The rhino T loader is very good except it might limit access to your tail gate,the way the strap provides just the right amount of friction to push the bar up is quite ingenious,my home built version didn't quite work..
AnswerID: 617738

Reply By: Member - David & Kerry W - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 13:29

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 13:29
G'day Gary.

People say I am too old to paddle! But.... We purchased a double approx 35 kg, it is difficult by myself but with wife no trouble. Rope on front over to the bull bar, put the kayak nose first on the back of roof rack, push it up to almost the point of balance, run round to the bull bar, one person pulls it over balance point then keeps it coming while wife guides it straight, slide into a custom built (diy) cradle at the front and tie down. Simple.

However we may well have been better off buying two singles - more fun in lots of ways. Cheers, enjoy whatever you decide, David
AnswerID: 617756

Reply By: GaryT53 - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 13:43

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 13:43
Hi to all who have replied.
There is some excellent feedback and definite food for thought.
We had thought about an inflatable but were unsure of their 'credentials'. Most seem to think they are a realistic option these days.
We have 7 weeks before we leave on our trip - so will let you know what we ended up purchasing.
Can anyone recommend a reputable inflatable brand as there are several online.
Thank you to all.
AnswerID: 617757

Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 18:57

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 at 18:57
Hi Gary

I've kayaked most of my life (well for the last 40 years+ at least) in all types of craft in lots of different conditions from ocean swells to fast-flowing rapids...

If you are looking for something to get out on the water whilst travelling, but don't want it to be too cumbersome (lifting onto roof racks) then an inflatable is the way to go for you.

I use a Gumotex Solar (price range $1,200). You can use this in a river or creek, or take it into the surf or moderate rapids. They are built tough but just avoid sharp rocks and edges. Mind you, that applies to all paddle craft.

Not sure where you are located, but take a look at Waves Overseas in Sydney, they specialise in this sort of thing.

Noting, the inflatable I have folds up into a backpack that can easily be carried and sits up in top of our vehicle all the time, even if I take one of my other kayaks.

Something else to consider, when buying paddles you can have them cut in two which makes them easy for storage in a vehicle. This can easily be done and they have a simple catch that joins them when in use. All my paddles are like this...

Good luck with it and enjoy your trip...

Cheers, Baz
FollowupID: 889524

Reply By: 810 - Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 12:29

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 at 12:29
Hi I have been travelling around Oz last 18months have been using an inflatable 2 or 1 man kayak. Weighs approx 16kg, stores away when not in use so can still run solar on the roof, paddles split into 4 pieces, takes about 5 minutes to set up and longer to pack up of course. Have had no issues can take 2 comfortably or 1 to do fishing. Works great for me . Mine is a Seaeagle Fastrack, goes well in the water. Many different brands out there now but stay clear of the elcheapo ones, like they say you get what you pay for
Good luck. Cheers Rod
AnswerID: 617763

Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Mar 23, 2018 at 15:15

Friday, Mar 23, 2018 at 15:15
We have one of these ..... Point 65n Tequila

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AnswerID: 617790

Reply By: Member - Penski - Sunday, Mar 25, 2018 at 12:06

Sunday, Mar 25, 2018 at 12:06
As mentioned earlier we have the Advanced Elements tandem. The negatives are the weight at 25kg’s and the need to help the drying a little between the inflatable sections and the skin. The positives are the tough skin and an overall rigid kayak look and feel. It paddles well but if you want a better experience you can option a high pressure floor which has the sort of rigidity you get with an inflatable SUP.
AnswerID: 617811

Reply By: Member - Min (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 25, 2018 at 16:55

Sunday, Mar 25, 2018 at 16:55
We also have an inflatable, bought 2003, tandem, clip on seats, two air chambers, weighs 15kg plus paddles. Continue to have great fun with it all over Australia. Spent several days last week paddling Lake Jindabyne. Not for fast water. Packs down well.

John 'n' Min

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