The transport of a kayak is one of the most frequently mentioned constraints when exchanging between kayak enthusiasts or even with beginners. This explains the rise of the inflatable kayak, for which transport and storage are no longer a problem: we dry, fold, store and hop: finished! But what are the solutions for those who prefer the rigid kayak?
From the garage to the car
A rigid kayak is bulky! Kayak owners usually store them in their garage, shed, cellar or other attic.
Loading the boat on the roof of the car or on the trailer can be complicated. Fortunately, there are loading assistants that allow a single person to easily install their kayak or canoe on the roof of their vehicle. The principle is simple. A telescopic support arm protruding from the side of the car is folded out (with a stop so that the kayak does not risk falling out). Leaving one end of the kayak on the ground, you can slide the other end on your arm. All that remains is to go to the other end of the kayak. Then lift the part still on the ground and slide it onto the bracket on the roof of the car.
All that remains is to fix the boat on its roof support and that’s it! And this system also works to unload the boat!
Of course, this doesn’t really make sense for a single-seater kayak weighing less than 20 kg. But as soon as we are dealing with larger, heavier boats, especially canoes, loading and unloading this type of boat alone would be a tour de force without this type of system.
Kayak transport by car
Carrying a kayak on the roof of a car requires a stand. At least roof racks, rigid or inflatable. If we stick to this type of support, we should not consider making too long distances. Always at moderate speed, and boats can only be positioned upside down. In order to benefit from the flattest possible support surface.
In the case of a sit on top boat, it is relatively simple but when it comes to a deck kayak, flat surfaces tend to be non-existent and it is then necessary to choose a support specifically adapted to the shape of the roof bars AND the shape of the boat.
There are oval supports, V-supports, J-supports, cradle supports, etc. The best thing is to ask the advice of a professional (in kayaking) to know which support is best suited to the shape of your boat.
Once the kayak is in place, it should not be forgotten to secure it with straps (ideally ratcheted for optimal tightening, or with a buckle). With the kayak secured in this way, you can take the road, not forgetting that the boat can exceed the length of the vehicle (so anticipate potential problems in bends or traffic jams by increasing the margin) and increase the overall height (beware of bridges, toll barriers, etc.).
From the vehicle to the water with a canoe cart
It is relatively rare that you can park by the water and simply have to carry the kayak for a few meters to launch. Dunes, forests, steep banks: many obstacles can still stand between the car and the water. As a kayak is heavy and cumbersome, the few tens of hundreds of metres to be covered may seem like Mount Everest, unattainable without the right equipment!
Fortunately, the canoe cart is there to facilitate this last step. Some trolleys are specifically developed by the brands for some boat models. We think of RTM and their “Kirool” trolley so the arms are fixed in the self-unloading holes of RTM boats. Most of the time, the trolleys are suitable for a large number of models. We can even go so far as to choose the type of wheel we want depending on the type of environment we encounter. In very sandy areas, we go looking for inflated wheels. In very low pressure to have a wide support, which does not sink. On the other hand, in steep areas we will look for lightness, and choose a trolley with rigid wheels.
It should be noted that some truck manufacturers even integrate a dual use into the product. Some trolleys can be used as a seat, or even as a seat + parasol. Finally, there are even trolleys to transport several kayaks at a time, in a modular way.