One of the key issues many paddlers face is getting their favourite paddling craft from their garage to the water. And, in the world of fishing kayaks, this is no exception. Fishing kayaks are usually well fitted out with comfortable seats and numerous accessories which all add weight and can make them difficult to manage on and off the car. And, as we all know, if we can’t easily manage our kayak out of the water, then we will never paddle!
However, this process can be made easy with the right boat and a little technique. In the video attached, we show how easily a 12 foot fishing kayak, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, can be loaded on and off a car in under 1 minute, by one person – even if the car is tall (and the person is not!). The Tarpon is a great fishing kayak, it is at home in every environment, from shallow flats to open water swell and surf. It is fitted out with loads of storage, an exceptionally comfortable seat and can be set up to accommodate any fishing scenario – and all of this at well under 30kg, making loading and unloading straight forward.
Apart from the right craft, some key hints that might help in this process are:
- Set up the kayak next to the car first, take off all your gear, rod holders, paddles, etc. before loading.
- Ensure all drainage plugs are open and all the water is drained out.
- Strap down any loose straps, hatches and seats before loading.
- Ensure cradles are set at the right width
- Always deal with one end of the kayak at a time and don’t try and load the boat in one hit – this is crucial. Avoid bending and putting excessive pressure on your back. Use leg and arm muscles and utilise the vehicle to support the kayak.
- Protect your car by using towels or mats where the kayak may slide or rest during the process.
- Use some of the great loading aids available. In the video, we utilised Thule Hydroglide cradles and a Thule loading mat for the back load and a Rack N Roll removable bar for the side load.
- Practice the process a bit before heading out to find out what works best for you and your boat.
Still having issues? Come and see the team at JBK and we can help. Enjoy the video.