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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:57 pm 
Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:56 am
Posts: 822
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Actually, this is a continuation of an earlier post of mine on Kayak Loading Bars (now in the KFS Articles section): ... rticles=37 .

Although mine is home-built, KFS now sells its own version of the same idea for a reasonable price. Plus they even have a short video demonstrating how to use it. ... ry_Code=kc

As you will note from the first link above, my DIY version is based on the Thule rectangular bars, since that is what I happened to have. You can also DIY based on the Yakima round bars. However, there are a couple of additional points that might be helpful to folks either buying the KFS version or making their own, depending on the type of vehicle you own. Probably the easiest way to transport a moderate-sized yak, however, is to have a pickup truck and simply toss it in the bed, secure it with some line, straps, or bungees, and off you go.

My problem in having a tall SUV (older model Isuzu Trooper) is that with two rotator cuffs and lower back problems, it turned out to be a real chore to get my Outback onto the roof. That is the main reason I went the trailer route for my OB (or when I transport both my OB and my wife's Sport). ... 1461030751

However, the lighter weight of the Sport compared to the OB prompted me to go back and try the roof rack Kayak Loading Bar again for local fishing, but with a few differences. As a refresher, the basic idea here was to use two 58 inch long, standard Thule bars, side by side with three 3/8 inch SS U-bolts (from K-Mart) as guide and support structures. This pic shows the right side U-bolt that is secured to the fixed bar just forward of it.


This shows the entire roof top with the loading bar fully extended to the right. Note that the loading bar is attached to the rear crossbar. This permits one to lift the stern onto the rear loading bar first while balancing the yak on its bow. Then when you lift the bow onto the forward cross bar, the bow is pointed forward instead of aft, and the rudder assembly is not being buffeted by cross winds. This arrangement works well for kayaks with rudders, since you will not be balancing your boat on the stern that could damage the rudder assembly. Although traveling locally at moderate speeds with the rudder forward should not cause any problems, I would prefer not to travel at Interstate speeds that way.


This pic shows the left ends of both rear crossbars, with the U-bolt secured with wing-nuts for traveling. Note the white region on the underside of the right-hand bar. This is where I had to cut off the bottom of the Thule end cap to permit the sliding bar room to move between the threaded portion of the left-hand U-bolt.


The next pic below shows the type of tie-down strap that seems to work best for securing yaks to either a trailer or a roof rack. It has a simple spring-loaded, toothed clip that holds the strap very securely, yet permits one to tighten or loosen it very easily. You will need two 12 foot straps and one 6-footer. The 6-footer is useful as a little extra “insurance”, and is run thru a scupper opening and around the crossbar. Or in the case of a Hobie OB or Sport, you can run the strap thru the Mirage drive well, and then under the crossbar. This ensures that even if your main straps loosen, there is very little chance that the boat will slide fore or aft.


Another excellent use for the 6-foot strap is during loading or unloading. With a high vehicle and a somewhat “slippery” hull, the yak may tend to slide off the extended load bar when you try to pick up the opposite end (in this case, the bow). I use the 6-foot strap as an additional safety line, both for loosely securing the stern to the extended crossbar, and as an easier way to lift the boat (at least easier on my rotator cuffs) onto the load bar to begin with. Here you can see the 6-foot strap thru one scupper and looped through or over the extended load bar. Although this pic shows the strap thru the corner bracket, it is easier to just lift the boat and drop the strap over the corner bracket. With this strap in place, even if the yak slides when you lift the bow, there is less chance of the boat slipping, and the rudder assembly being damaged by falling on the crossbar.


This last pic shows one of the other key tools for loading a yak on a tall vehicle-a small, yet sturdy, stepladder (from W-M, Lowe's, or HD). Even though I am about 5-11 in height, it would be impossible for me to load even a small yak over my head onto a tall vehicle without further damaging my shoulders. The stepladder (which fits crossways behind the front seat) allows you to not only lift the yak, but also to reach, and much more easily secure, the tie-down straps on a tall vehicle.


Once you get to this stage, you are almost home free. The next step is to lift the bow onto the front cross bar, undo the wing-nuts and slide the extended rear crossbar back into position, as shown in the third pic above, re-tighten the wing-nuts, attach the 6-foot strap thru the scupper around the rear cross bars, secure the hull with the 12-foot straps to the crossbars (one strap forward and one aft), and off you go.



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