Kayak rear loading bar – Suction mounted

Leading on from my last article on the roller roof bars, I mentioned that I’d constructed a rear loading bar to prevent damage to my vehicle. This isn’t an original idea, in fact I first saw this general design posted on the Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. The design posted on there utilised a double suction cup mount with a V-shaped loading attachment. This was ideally suited to a vehicle using J-bars, however, it wasn’t suited to the way I position my kayak upside down on the roof bars.

The original design was perfectly sound, though it required modifying to allow me to mount the yak upside down onto the roller bars. It also had to support the weight of the Prowler Big Game kayak.

I decided to use four suction cups and a long horizontal loading bar, just slightly wider that the kayak itself. A quad suction mount was purchased off Ebay and within a couple of days it had arrived.


Unfortunately I failed photograph every step of the manufacture, though the final pictures show the basic design which is very easy to replicate. Initially the quad suction mount was cut in half. 32mm waste pipe plus a selection of 32mm joints from the local DIY store were utilised to construct the mounting bar as shown below.


If your roof has a curved profile, assemble the loader bar onto the roof and lock it down with the suction cups. Mark the position the the suction cup against the waste pipe T-pieces. This position will be different for most car roofs.

Once all measured and cut to size the joins were thoroughly glued with Araldite and allowed to set for 48 hours. Position the suction cups carefully to allow them to glue into the position previously marked. It’s no big deal if it glues solid and the cups don't sit flush to the roof (as mine did). The centre bar can be CAREFULLY warmed with a blow torch/heat gun and slightly bent to suit the roof profile of your vehicle.


I decided to cover the loading bar in lagging and gaffer tape as per my roller bars from my previous blog entry. It’ll add durability to the bars. In a perfect world a roller bar would have been incorporated, though after some though I decided this unnecessarily complicated.



The photos below show the finished article. Again, the tape ends were edge sealed to prevent them peeling loose over time.



The proof of the pudding, so to speak, was to actually put the bars to the ultimate test. I should have really videoed this, though you’ll have to settle for a couple of photos instead.

Here’s the kayak lying up against the rear of the car, something not possible without the loading bar, unless you were to use a blankets, etc. Unless they’re fixed it’s bound to come loose resulting in damage to the vehicle, hence the manufacture of the loading bar.


Once placed up against the loading bar it’s simply a case of picking up the end of the kayak that’s on the ground.

loader17 loader19

Once horizontal the kayak is sitting on the rear roller bar, clear of the detachable loading bar. The kayak can be rolled forward in this position and secured ready for the road.


Unloading the kayak is as straight forward, almost the opposite in fact. The kayak is rolled towards the rear and lowered onto the ground, the weight being taken by the loading bar. From here it can be lifted clear of the vehicle.


The biggest issue with mounting the kayak upside down is the possibility of damage to the roof from the rudder. What I’ve done to overcome this is to cut a slot in a section of rigid 40mm plumbing and to cover it in pipe lagging and gaffer tape.


This is used to cover the rudder (secured with a bungee) to prevent any damage to the car roof when loading or unloading the kayak. So there you have it, a simple detachable rear loading bar which ending up costing around £15. A rather cheap solution to a common problem.


Rob said...

That's a nice system! I put mine hull down with foam blocks though.

Unknown said...

Great setup you have going on! Why not just load it bow forward, so you don't have to worry about the rudder? I load my kayak very similarly to you (sans load bar, i use an old couch cushion) and load it right-side up, then when on the crossbars, flip it over and strap it down.

I didn't know you frequented the Texas kayak anglers site too! There is a wealth of DIY information on their forums.

Rob Appleby-Goudberg said...

I always used to before I fitted the rudder. I like to prop the yak up against the back of my car or truck when loading or unloading. You can't rest it on the rudder, it'll wreck it in no time, plus it'll slide.

The Texas site is really good, that along with KFS were the first forums that I joined over three years ago. They're full of top class info with literally thousands of experienced yakkers expressing worthwhile opinions.