Sea kayaks are quite possibly one of the finest things ever created by mankind, but they can be rather difficult to load onto the top of one's car – this is particularly true for people who are trying to do the job single-handed, or who have a tall vehicle. Australia's Steve Scott identified this problem as an opportunity, and invented the StrongArm Kayak Loader.
The StrongArm consists of a sort of Y-shaped adjustable-height aluminum bar that pivots on a steel base, which attaches to a vehicle's tow ball. The bar is pulled back to rest at a 45-degree angle from the back of the vehicle, and which point the user places the hull of their kayak (or canoe) on the bar's upper surface. As they proceed to push forward on the back of their kayak, the spring-loaded bar swings forward and upwards, levering the boat up to the roof of the car. Mechanical stops keep the bar from hitting the back of the vehicle.
When unloading the kayak, users pretty much just perform the process in reverse.
The bar can be strapped in place while in transit, although a simple Tee bolt hand-mounting system reportedly allows it to be removed from the tow ball within about 15 seconds.
"Many people love the idea of kayaks no matter where their interests lie, however have forgotten in their haste just how tricky, awkward and heavy they can be to transport," Scott told us. "We have had many females purchase the StrongArm Kayak Loader, as often they are alone and lacking that extra pair of strong arms to help out."
While the Kayak Loader can manage boats up to 6 meters (19.7 feet) long and weighing up to 65 kilograms (143 lbs), owners of heavier types of car-toppable watercraft can instead use the StrongArm Boat Loader. Basically a stronger, wider version of the Kayak Loader, it can handle boats weighing up to 80 kilos (176 lbs). An optional winch helps pull them into place.
The Kayak and Boat Loaders sell for AUD$495 and $795 (about US$507 and $814) respectively, and are available online via Steve's company, BoatHoist International. So far, they are only available to residents of Australia and New Zealand.