How to Load Two Hobie Kayaks on Roof Racks

Instructions for fitting a homemade "loading bar" to aid loading of two Hobie kayaks onto car roof racks, particularly such that one unassisted adult can load and unload the kayaks.

Steps

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    Fit conventional "square bar" or "aero bar" roof racks to your vehicle, as recommended by the roof rack supplier.
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    Purchase an extendable tent pole.
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    Purchase hose clamps.
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    Purchase a hollow "pool noodle".
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    In an unextended state, use the hose clamps to clamp the tent pole to one of the roof rack bars, with the locking screw and the bottom of the pole projecting from the end of the roof rack bar.
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    Loosen the locking screw and check that the pole can be extended and retracted freely. Lubricate it as necessary. This forms a loading bar for the kayak.
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    Cut a section of pool noodle to slide over the extended pole (now acting as a loading bar for the kayak).
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    Buy a locking pin, drill a hole through the inner tent pole tube (near the base with a plastic cap), and fit the locking pin such that the pool noodle won't slide off.
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    Fit "J bars" for one kayak and fit them to the roof rack bars. One kayak is supported by J-bars and the other loaded upside down, adjacent to the first.
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    Load the lightest kayak, such as the Hobie "sports" model, onto the J-bars.
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    To load a heavier kayak, such as the Hobie "outback" model, place it on the ground next to the car, parallel with the car, upside down if it is a Hobie kayak. Experiment to determine the optimum location of the kayak, relative to the car and loading bar.
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    Extend the tent pole out to act as a loading bar, to a length sufficient to load one end of the kayak onto it. eg 87 centimeter (34.3 in)
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    Fit pool noodle and locking pin to hold it in place.
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    Place some padding under the end of the kayak that will not be lifted (ie the end furthest away from the loading bar). This is to protect it when the other end is lifted.
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    Raise the end of the kayak and gently rest it on the loading bar. It should now be in a sloped position with one end on the ground and the other on the loading bar.
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    Adjust the kayak to ensure it is evenly balanced and stable.
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    Raise the other end to the same height as the loading bar.
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    Gently "walk" the kayak along the loading bar and onto the roof rack, by consecutively moving each end onto the roof rack bars. Adjust it into its final position.
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    Tie-off the kayak.
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    To unload, reverse this process.
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    Leave the tent pole permanently fitted to the roof rack.

Tips

  • Choose an extendable tent pole with a locking screw that clamps it into an extended position.
  • Select the length of the tent pole to suit the car width and length of roof racks.
  • The tent pole should be of a type that has an inner tube of steel that slides inside an outer tube of steel. Typical products have a 8mm-diameter x 75mm long plain spike in the top section and a plastic cap on the bottom section, and are made of galvanized steel tube.
  • Choose the strongest and most springy available. A 20mm diameter pole has proved to be capable of supporting an "Outback" model kayak.
  • Choose hose clamps that are large enough to wrap around both a roof rack bar and the tent pole.
  • Pool noodles generally come in two types: the solid type and the tubular hollow type, with a 20mm hole through its centre.
  • For a Hobie "Outback" model kayak, a section of about 87 centimeter (34.3 in) was found to be ideal.
  • Use a mat or carpet under the end of the kayak that is not being lifted to the loading bar.

Warnings

  • Do not over-extend the pole, as it will bend under the load of a kayak. It must have sufficient length of inner tube, inside the outer tube, to support the load. Experience has shown that an 87 centimeter (34.3 in) length of pool noodle is ideal.

Things You'll Need

  • Roof racks
  • Extendable tent pole
  • Pool noodle
  • Locking pin
  • Hose clamps

Article Info

Categories: Transporting and Storing Boats | Canoes, Kayaks, and Rowboats