How I carry a canoe, kayak, or SUP on a tall Sprinter

engineerable

New member
This project started when I wanted to be able to carry a canoe or long kayak outside the Sprinter. Rooftop was not an option as that is already full of solar panels and vents. Another requirement was being able to load and unload without any help. I can lift the canoe onto a car roof rack by myself, but it is not an enjoyable experience. This is the rack I came up with. I attached L-track to the wall of the van (plan to extend the whole length to the rear). Crossbars snap into the l-track and the canoe rack attaches to the crossbars. The canoe rack pivots at the base, allowing me to lift the canoe in a controlled fashion up onto the side of the van. It's explained more clearly in the video.


For SUP board, I remove the canoe rack portion, attach some hooks large enough for the paddleboard to the cross bars, and strap the paddle board to the cross bars.

What's your canoe, kayak, or SUP carrying solution?
 

borabora

Well-known member
That looks like a well-engineered solution.
My concern would be if it is legal and safe for long drives to have something stick out that far from the vehicle. I am looking for solutions for my much longer ocean kayak an am resigned that I'll need to rearrange solar on my roof before I can fit the kayak on my roof rack. How to get it up and down by myself is another question...
 

GSWatson

2013 144
I did a similar on my build years ago; I used 80/20 and some SeaSuckers vacuum mounts for the bottom; the top attaches to the 80/20 crossbars that hold my solar panels. I can take the kayak off/on in about 5 minutes, easily. I’ll do a video one of these days when I remember to...

The kayak doesn’t stick out any further than my mirrord. I take the fin off the windsurfer, just in case.1CC68BE3-7D02-4235-8B7C-7BEA080943F5.jpeg
 

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OTG_Mike

New member
I did a similar on my build years ago; I used 80/20 and some SeaSuckers vacuum mounts for the bottom; the top attaches to the 80/20 crossbars that hold my solar panels. I can take the kayak off/on in about 5 minutes, easily. I’ll do a video one of these days when I remember to...

The kayak doesn’t stick out any further than my mirrord. I take the fin off the windsurfer, just in case.View attachment 160605
That's a slick setup!
 
Can anyone share their experience with the Hullavator?
I've had them on my cars before, they work great.... the thing is I would think you would definitely need a step ladder, and if you have a high roof that might get a bit interesting, as they are designed to swing your kayak up on top, then you have to insert a safety pin. On a side note, when I sold my car I kept the Hullivators... I stored them for a few years, went to use them and the gas struts had failed. Replacement is not an option through Thule (you had to buy the whole assembly - basically almost the price of a whole new one). There was a DIY strut replacement thread on the web somewhere, but it was a big job :-(
 
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Thanks, I didn't know that. I carry a 3 step ladder for getting in the back doors, but that might not be enough.
Just to be clear, the safety pin is on the outer edge after the kayak/canoe if up top. If you can reach the top corner of your van with your step ladder you should be able to put in the safety pin. Also this design adds significant height and windage to the vehicle.
 

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