Do I need a kayak loader?
This will depend on a number of things. The size of the kayak, the height of your vehicle, your physical ability, your age etc. You will know the first time you try to load your new kayak whether you need to invest in a kayak loader or not.
What tends to happen is when you buy your kayak the salesmen help you carry the kayak out and load it onto your car, then you are on your own. Who is going to help you unload your kayak at home? How do you get it back on?
Many people assume that because the kayak only weighs 35kg they should be able to lift it. The weight is only part of the problem. Imagine trying to hold a 4-meter-long piece of wet soap above your head while standing on one leg! Kayaks are awkward and slippery with nothing to hang onto. Trying to handle something with weight – especially if you are over 50 – even 10 kilos over your head has the potential of causing shoulder rotor cuff, back or neck problems that could leave you convalescing instead of enjoying your life.
There are many types on the market ranging from simple roof rack extensions that extend out over the side of the car, rear manual loaders right up to electric side kayak loaders. The best type will depend on the kayak size, vehicle height, your age and your physical fitness.
Rear tow ball mounted kayak loaders are a great way for a single person to load a kayak This type of loader will suit kayaks up to 65kg and can be used to load multiple kayaks. Electric side loaders are by far the best way to load a large fishing kayak as you can leave all your gear in the kayak and simply load the whole lot up onto your roof racks with the push of a button.
Another option is a light weight folding aluminum kayak trailer. This option suits people who want to leave their kayak setup ready to go and can carry one or two kayaks. These types of trailers are road registrable and will tow safely at highway speeds.
The whole point of buying a kayak is so you can get out on the water and enjoy your time paddling so invest in a loader that suits your needs and enjoy.