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Assisted Kayak Racks: A Worthy Investment
Kayaking is a great recreational activity. You get to be out on the water, close to nature, and you can go with a friend or two. But after that long day on the water, will you have the strength to lift that 30-50lb kayak back on top of your vehicle? Heck, will you be able to lift it up before you go kayaking?
That’s where assisted kayak racks come in to help. There are a variety of options when it comes to help loading a kayak. From rollers on the rear of the vehicle, to side loader systems, and lift assists that help take weight away, we’ll break down all the options.
Rear load assist
Loading a kayak from the rear of your vehicle is great if you have a tall SUV, and the rear bar is close to the back. You can get roller type options where you can load one end of the kayak onto the saddles, lift up the other end, and push the kayak forward into place. Some options include Yakima’s HandRoll or Thule’s DockGlide.
If your back crossbar isn’t quite close enough to the edge of the roof to prop your kayak, there is always Yakima’s ShowBoat, the ultimate rear roller set up.
Side Load Assist:
Side loading kayak assist loaders are another great way to alleviate some of the weight when trying to load a kayak. Basic side loaders are a bar that extends out past the side of the car that allows you to place one end of the kayak onto the bar, then lift the other end onto your cradles. Some examples are Yakima’s BoatLoader or Rhino’s side loader. These are great basic helpers, but do require an aftermarket crossbar system to work.
If those don’t fit your needs, Yakima offers the ShowDown which helps stabilize the kayak when you are lifting it up. You do however have to lift the full weight of the kayak to the top of the roof, but it is much easier. The one other option is Malone’s Telos XL. This works with virtually any crossbar system, and truly helps in alleviating the weight, but it is a little slower process to load your kayak.
If these options don’t quite cut it for you, we have one more that is the Cadillac of kayak loaders. Thule’s Hullavator is the ultimate kayak holder. The Hullavator is piston assisted to help take up to 40lbs away from the lifting process. It does however come at a hefty price, but virtually no one regrets ever buying it. They are a bit on the heavy side as well, weighing in at 40lbs for the set. This can sometimes cause issues if you are trying to put two sets on. They also require either Thule’s car rack setups, or Yakima’s with their JetStream bars.
So the question, are assisted kayak racks worth it? Most definitely. It will save your back, give some peace of mind, and help you continue to go kayaking for many more years.
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