DIY – Kayak rear loading bar

DIY – Kayak rear loading bar

I while ago I purchased a Mondeo estate for my wife to run about in. It does manage over 40mpg with the yak on the roof at ‘motorway speeds’ and as a result it’s ideally suited for those long road trips. However, I find getting the Big Game on and off the roof a pain, more so the getting it off. With the rudder fitted, the centre of gravity is no longer based around the carrying straps. I can’t prop the yak up against the rear of the car as I do on my Discovery due to the rear roof bar is positioned well forward. I did manage to remove a lot of paint courtesy of the rudder one cold evening so a solution was required in the form of a rear loading bar. This isn’t an original idea, in fact I first saw this general design posted on the Texas Kayak Fisherman forum. The design posted 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. Below is a photo of the final product.

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 failed to do). 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 roof roller bars.. 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.

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.

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 bar itself can be fitted and removed in seconds for the loading/unloading process.

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  (not the plain piece of lagging that can be seen in the above photos, that was the Mk1 version which last seconds!)

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.

Parts required:

  • Quad suction cup mount
  • 32mm waste pipe
  • 32mm 135 degree bends (x2)
  • 32mm T-piece (x2)
  • Pipe lagging
  • Gaffer tape
  • Ty-Wraps
  • Araldite
By | 2018-03-23T08:51:23+00:00 December 28th, 2010|Kayaks, Tackle, Clothing, Extras., Pimp My Kayak|1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. Simon Knight June 6, 2010 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this great idea. Having just loaded two sit-on-tops on to my V70 for a journey north from the south coast I realise I need a better way of loading. I have some suction cups from a DIY window change so have the basis for a copy of your system.


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