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Kayak Transportation

Dan_Millsip

Paddler
Joined
Mar 8, 2005
Messages
9,299
Location
Beautiful BC
So what do you use to transport your kayak?

A friend of mine stopped by with his SmartCar today -- I'd say the SOF fits on there pretty nicely. 8)

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The wife and I have been thinking about a SmartCar -- this could be the deciding factor. :wink:

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Hmmm... there's only enough room for one roof rack on there! You'd have to balance the SOF on a single rack and tie it down front and back :p

I'd love to see your double on there! People say my boat looks funny on my car...
 
Does the driver sit in the kayak and lean / edge to turn?

I have a pick up with a Yakima rack system with rollers. Saddles on the cab and a cross bar on the box spaced so support is under the bulk heads.

It is amazing how many type of rack and systems one sees on club events.
 
Mark_Schilling said:
Hmmm... there's only enough room for one roof rack on there! You'd have to balance the SOF on a single rack and tie it down front and back :p
There's actually quite enough room for two racks -- problem is that no one makes a rack for this model of SmartCar -- but having said that, I don't think it would be too difficult to fabricate something. The biggest problem is that the roof of this particular SmartCar is entirely made of glass! If I get a SmartCar, I'd opt for the metal roof. Second problem is that there's not very much room inside the car for packing gear -- a PFD in the back hatch and it would darned near be full. :p

I got to take the SmartCar for a drive (without the kayak) and was very impressed with how peppy it is -- you certainly get a lot of people looking at it as you drive down the street.

I'd love to see your double on there! People say my boat looks funny on my car...
My double is only a foot longer than the SOF so it wouldn't look too much bigger (in length anyway).

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tim_in_bc said:
Does the driver sit in the kayak and lean / edge to turn?
LOL. Actually, that's one of the prefered methods of turning in the SmartCar.

Apparently this method works without the kayak too -- Mercedes has hip and knee pads for the driver seat as an option. 8O

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That looks priceless....Mr. Bean goes kayaking :lol:

I think the rollers are a good system provided the position of your rack on your vehicle allows it. I've seen so many people driving around with rollers on that they can't ever use because of where they're positioned - must have been a good sales job.

My rack position won't work with rollers so I'm just using a Yakima rack with foam pads. Two ties downs holds my boat securely and I've never had to tie the bow and stern. I recently added a Yakima Boat Loader and it works great. I can now easily load and unload my boat on my own with no damage to myself or my truck.

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I use Thule racks on my Windstar with Yakima Landshark cradles. I can't say that I have any complaints about this setup -- I've even worked out a method for loading my double on it by myself.

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Mark_Schilling said:
Hmmm... there's only enough room for one roof rack on there! You'd have to balance the SOF on a single rack and tie it down front and back :p
If you can get one bar across the roof you should be ok if you also have a trailer hitch. I've seen rack systems with one roof bar and a pole that comes up from the trailer hitch to support the back of the boat.

Also, if you have a trailer hitch, I've seen ads in the back of Sea Kayaker magazine for small trailers that will hold one or two kayaks pulled behind a sub-compact or motorcycle.

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Dave_Barrie said:
I think the rollers are a good system provided the position of your rack on your vehicle allows it. I've seen so many people driving around with rollers on that they can't ever use because of where they're positioned - must have been a good sales job.

I have a pair of Yakima rollers on our rear Thule rack - gotta love those old style rain gutters - you can put the rack where ever you like.

I've seperated the racks as much as possible and position the boats so that their forward bulkheads are over the Thule saddles. I'd love to get one more set of rollers for the GTS in the middle.

Although the Trooper is pretty high, the rear rollers allow me to easily load/unload our boats solo.

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Nice looking setup. The outside boats look like they hang over the side of the vehicle quite a ways. It's hard to tell, but it looks like you strap them to the bar on the outside of the mount. If this is the case, did you have to reinforce the bars, and if so what did you use? Have you experienced any problems with this setup?

Just wondering how you do yours because I want to put my double and single on my car and I'm sure that the two boats will be too wide to get straps on the inside of the bar mounts.

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Dan_Millsip said:
Nice looking setup. The outside boats look like they hang over the side of the vehicle quite a ways. It's hard to tell, but it looks like you strap them to the bar on the outside of the mount. If this is the case, did you have to reinforce the bars, and if so what did you use? Have you experienced any problems with this setup?

Just wondering how you do yours because I want to put my double and single on my car and I'm sure that the two boats will be too wide to get straps on the inside of the bar mounts.

Thanks.

I upgraded the short Thule bars from a friend's 745 Volvo (to 58" I think); they stick out on both sides. Anytime you add something to your vehicle that sticks out wider than your fenders you've increased your chance of hitting something or having somebody's head hitting them. Hasn't happended yet, but it will. :?

For the outside boats, the outer half of the saddle and roller mounts are attached to the Thule bar outside of the roof mounts. It took me quite a while measuring and test fitting to work it out right. The rain gutters are not exactly parallel, the boats are all different widths and have different hull shapes, and the forward saddles need to be mounted closer to the boat centreline than the rear rollers. To minimize side stress on the boats, it is important to me that each boat's centreline be parallel to the vehicle's centreline (and I didn't want a huge air rudder pushing the Trooper around). The inner halfs of the front saddle mounts are mounted tight to the roof mounts. The bars stick out farther on one side than the other.

IMO, carrying a pair of boats, each stradling the roof mounts is less stressfull to the load bars than carrying the same boats between the mounts. Those Thule bars are pretty heavy duty; I don't worry about them at all.

My biggest problem with this setup is reaching the front strap for the middle boat, I sometimes have to step on the front passenger seat to reach it and my wife doesn't appreciate me stepping on her seat with muddy boots. I can reach the other straps easily by stepping on the running boards, or the rear tyres. I can't bring myself to cut the straps to length, so I have to run the ends into the vehicle to keep them from flapping in the wind.

The doors on the back of the Trooper are hinged on the side so they must be closed before trying to load/unload boats. Usually a "helper" will leave them open after carrying gear up from the beach, and when I arrive with a boat I can't get to the roller until the door is closed.

Overall, I'm happy with the setup, but I would be almost as happy with the bar-extender solution.

I wonder if this is Mark's new, improved setup?
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Steve_Shulhan said:
I wonder if this is Mark's new, improved setup?

Nope, nothing that fancy. Lifting the boat onto the roof is not a problem, as my car is very low. But the roofline is very narrow, and my roof racks are a low-profile design that don't extend past the 'towers', so you're limited to available space between the 'gutters' (which, in my case, is about 39"). So I couldn't get two kayaks (sitting on their hulls) on the racks - one had to tip on its side and rest against the other, which is far from ideal for anything longer than a 15 minute trip to the water.

So, I've fabricated a new kayak rack that fits on my roof racks, that extends farther out (the car is quite wide - it's just the roof line that's narrow). I could have gone up to about 58" wide and still not had the bars be wider than the car's track. For now, my 'new' rack fitting will hold 2 kayaks... just needs some finishing touches (padding etc.).
 
Gotta love those quirky little Smart Cars particularly when one considers the current price of fuel. That SOF is the crowning touch on an absolute gem of a car. :cool: Hmmm....now just have to find a place for all of my paddling gear. :D

Our 4 year old Volvo has taken us to all of our paddling destinations in the utmost of comfort and safety. I’ve also employed the same set of Thule H2GO saddles for the past seven years and they haven’t failed me yet. With the exception of a couple of cracked wing knobs, they’ve been virtually bomb proof. :)

BTW, there are, in fact, two Neckys up there . ;)
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