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How to Properly Lift, Carry, and Load Your Kayak

A Group of People Rafting on C

Kayaking is a popular outdoor activity that lets you explore rivers while getting in touch with nature. At first sight, kayak loading onto a vehicle or trailer and safe water exit techniques can seem complicated. However, it is a false belief that lifting, carrying, and loading a kayak calls for extraordinary physical strength dissuades a lot of people, though. This guide will dispel this myth and teach you the vital skills you need to manage your kayak effectively and safely on your own. From how to carry a kayak by yourself, to how to get in and out of a kayak, we will answer all the questions you might have.

1. Understanding Your Kayak

Kayaks vary in weight depending on what material they’re made from and how big they are. Knowing the fundamentals of your kayak is essential before you start your kayaking trip. Make a note of your kayak’s weight and dimensions so you can plan appropriately. If you are wondering about how to get on a kayak, it is essential that you get the basics of your kayak correct.

2. Preparation Before Lifting

There are two things to consider before lifting and loading your kayak.
  • Empty Your Kayak: Make sure your kayak is empty and clear of any extra gear before lifting it. An increase in weight might make lifting more difficult and risky.
  • Consider Your Environment: Take time to consider your surroundings. To provide a safe lifting environment, remove any barriers or tripping dangers.

3. The Fundamentals of Lifting a Kayak

When two people are present, lifting a kayak is relatively easy, and the trick is the same as when lifting any large object: bend your knees and lift with your legs, keeping your back as straight as possible, to avoid strain.

If you are alone, lifting your kayak requires a special technique. Follow these simple steps if you are worried about how to carry a kayak by yourself:

  • Rotate the kayak onto its side, with the cockpit facing away from you.
  • Bend your knees slightly to lower your body.
  • Grab the rim of the cockpit with both hands.
  • Slide the kayak up your thigh (right or left, depending on which side you will carry your kayak) and straighten up to a standing position.
  • If you are carrying your kayak on your left, reposition your left hand to the outer rim (if carrying on the right, reposition your right hand to the outer rim).
  • Rotate the kayak over, rolling it over your thigh until the outer rim is up at your shoulder.
  • As you lower yourself into a squatting position, bend your knees.
  • Keep your back straight and raise the kayak with the help of your leg muscles.
  • Once raised, move to the shoulder carry or, for greater convenience, employ carry straps.
  • Go slowly and avoid jerking motions, which can strain your back. In just a few tries, you will find the best place to grip and should have no problem lifting your kayak to move it around or carry it on a portage.

4. Carrying Your Kayak: Techniques and Tips

The correct strategy can make carrying your kayak easier:

  • The Shoulder Carry: The kayak is balanced on your shoulder using the shoulder carry technique. It transports your kayak in comfort and distributes the weight equally.
  • Balancing and Adjusting: Pay close attention to balancing the kayak as you are carrying it. To keep your balance and lessen the pressure on your body, adjust as necessary.
  • Kayak Carry Steps: Consider purchasing kayak carry straps to increase support and convenience of carrying. These straps are made to evenly distribute the weight and lessen fatigue.

5. Loading Your Kayak onto a Vehicle: Techniques

If you are wondering how to load a kayak, don’t worry. With the correct tools, loading your kayak onto a truck may be a breeze:

Prepare Your Vehicle: To make loading easier, make sure your car has the proper add-ons, such as roof racks, J-racks, and rollers.

Loading Techniques: Depending on your equipment, use J-racks for side loading or rollers for simple sliding. To guarantee safe transportation, attach your kayak tightly to the car.

When it comes time to load (or unload) your kayak, you want to take care of three things: your body (especially your back), your kayak, and your vehicle or trailer. Damage to any of these is to be avoided, so take your time finding the perfect technique.

Depending on the type of rack or trailer you have, you will need to adapt this technique somewhat, but the steps are basically the same:

  • Lift your kayak onto your shoulder as described above.
  • Stand with the kayak between you and your vehicle or trailer.
  • Rotate the kayak onto the rack (for example, a flat or J-hook roof rack or on top of a trailer).
  • Once the kayak is off your shoulder, it is easier to rotate it, if need be, to sit securely on your rack.

6. Safety First: Best Practices and Precautions

Always put your safety first. Follow these tips for a safer process:

  • Avoid Dragging: Steer clear of dragging your kayak on rough terrain as this could harm it. If you can, lift and carry it.
  • Regular Equipment Checks: Make sure your kayak straps, racks, and other equipment are secure and in good working order by routinely inspecting them.
  • Keep practicing: Encourage beginners to practice lifting, carrying, and loading skills to become competent kayakers by following the adage “Practice Makes Perfect.”

Final Word

If you’re afraid of lifting, loading, or carrying a kayak, don’t let it stop you from taking advantage of this fantastic outdoor pleasure. You can manage your kayak on your own safely and with confidence if you have the necessary information and skills. So enjoy the experience, hone your skills, and before long you’ll be effortlessly gliding through the water. Get in touch with Southeastern Expeditions for all the training you need for going on your next kayaking journey. Book your adventure with Southeastern Expeditions today.