Simple Trick To Loading A Kayak On An SUV By Yourself [VIDEO]


I still remember my very first fishing kayak that I bought almost 15 years ago…

More specifically, I remember coming back to the boat ramp barely able to move my arms after the 4-hour paddle in windy conditions…

I also remember my new Chevy Tahoe I had recently purchased, and I vividly remember struggling like crazy to get the kayak back up on top of my Tahoe without scratching or banging up either of my toys.

My arms were like jello, and it made it even worse that my kayak had taken on some water due to me forgetting to completely latch down the back hatch.

I can only imagine that the people eating outside in the marina restaurant all got a good laugh watching me struggle for so long before finally getting the yak up on top of my Tahoe’s roller bars (without damaging anything).

If you’ve ever had a kayak loading experience like mine, then this blog and video is for you.

Who Needs Help Loading A Kayak?

how to load a kayak on a suv

For those of you scratching your head wondering why anyone would need help loading a kayak, here are just a handful of reasons that many anglers need some extra assistance:

  • Instances like mine when you are too physically exhausted to lift a 100+ pound kayak over your shoulders and safely get it on top of a high SUV like a Tahoe
  • Any angler that drives an SUV, van, or any other vehicle with a high rack and a heavy yak
  • Any angler that has trouble lifting a heavy kayak over their head such as younger yakers, some females, some males, and some senior yakers.
  • Anyone with a nice car or SUV that they don’t want to take a chance getting scratched up

Here’s What You Need

how to load a kayak on your suv

The great news is that this kayak loading trick doesn’t take much.

In fact, you should probably already own (and travel with) each of the following items if you are a serious kayak angler.

Here is all that you need:

  • Kayak cart/trolley
  • Roof strap or any strap strong enough (and long enough) to hold your cart in place (this attaches to the roof rack and the kayak cart that will rest on the back window)
  • Short rope (about half the length of your kayak)
  • Foam pad or thick towel to protect the kayak cart on the back of your window
  • Two small towels if you use kayak cradles

Here is what it looks like once it is all ready to load your kayak
kayak loading tips

As you can see, it doesn’t take much, and it’s super easy to set up.

If you don’t have kayak cradles, you can skip a step, and many of you will probably skip the small rope step as well.

Check out below how Salt Strong’s very own Tony Acevedo uses this kayak trick to load his yak on an SUV.

Kayak Loading Trick [VIDEO]

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At some point in every kayaker’s life, there will probably come a point when you need a little assistance loading your kayak by yourself.

Whether it be old age or a new vehicle that you don’t want to get scratched, this simple kayak cart loading trick is pretty sweet.

Try it out for yourself and watch how easily your kayak loads up on your roof rack.

Do you have any other unique ways to load a kayak?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Tight Lines!

Related Post: “11 Essential Kayaking Fishing Tips For Newbies” (see all eleven tips here)

how to catch redfish

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would enjoy seeing this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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8 months ago

Any ideas for hauling a kayak behind a motorcycle I live in northern Idaho and want to access high mountain lakes and streams. Some paved and others trails.

8 months ago

Great. Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan Cole
9 months ago

Wow, perfect for me (honda element, 5’7″ and a back injury). This tip might be what gets me out there this year. Thanks very much!

Carlos Fernandez
1 year ago

Great idea. Very simple and efective. Unfortunately is impossible to find one of these cart/trolley in my country, so I will have to fnd some other way. Carlos Fernandez – Argentina

1 year ago

excellent. thanks for posting

Jeff Chancellor
1 year ago

Just found this. All those years and scratches later. I have been using a large piece of square foam from a furniture box for the back window. I have a RX350 with a rather large rear window “spoiler”, and have practiced using the trolley. Just simply one of the best loading/unloading procedures ever.

Ron Herr
5 years ago


James Riepe
5 years ago

I’ve been there done that. After about a year, I bought a kayak trailer and love the easy loading.

Jacinda Rose
Jacinda Rose
5 years ago

Ingenious!! ?

Jimmy Terry
5 years ago

WOW ! Great video Tony. Thank you very much!! This has been 1 big reason my Yak stays in the garage instead of getting used. I can’t wait to try this out. Thank you Salt Strong for listening and acting on comments and questions from the Tribe!!

Tony Acevedo
5 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy Terry

Thanks for the awesome feedback! Hope this tip can help you out Jimmy! if you run into any issues testing it out leave a comment and I’ll give you any pointers you may need.


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