Get a trailer..
Posted by: old_user on Sep-20-12 1:10 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Oct-09-12 10:32 PM EST --
I am female too. 5'2" and my back isn't what it used to be so I feel your pain. A dolly is a big help but how to get it on TOP of the car? There are racks like the Thule Hullivator that come down from the roof to the side of the car but you still have to lift up the kayak a bit to get it on there.
Keep in mind that even an inflatable weighs something. My inflatable weighs about 35lbs (it's a lot cheaper than a 35lb kevlar boat!) and I can lift it to carry it when it's inflated without a problem but I don't think I'd be able to get it above my head..so that's where deflating it would come in.
It's an Advanced Elements Advanced Frame 10.5" kayak. I highly recommend it because it's a GREAT rec kayak as well as an inflatable. It's a tough boat that I've had in Class 1/2 whitewater and it tracks and steers great. I use it for river boating in the Pine Barrens and on the Delaware River. It's a tough boat that I've dragged over rocks, tree trunks, etc..without a problem.
Advanced Elements sell a lot of different types of inflatables, from smaller rec boats to whitwater kayaks as well as a nice folding/frame up. Check them out because their boats are not only well made and well designed but very affordable.
You can find reviews of the AE boats and the other boats mentioned right here on the Reviews section of Paddling.net.
My problem is that my car is a Jeep Wrangler with a soft top and it's very high up so car topping a boat isn't an option. So I went for the inflatable and used to carry it on a cargo rack that attached to the rear bumper hitch. Worked well enough.
But then I really wanted a longer, faster boat so I succumbed and bought a sea kayak and a Trailex kayak trailer.
BEST thing I did! MUCH easier to load/unload even a 16' sea kayak on and off the trailer than it is to inflate/deflate the 10' inflatable. Inflating the boat always took longer than I liked and after paddling I had to deal with a wet boat to deflate, fold and clean and dry out!
Plus, the kayaks live on the trailer in my garage! No unloading/loading from the car! I just pop 'em on the trailer and they are ready for the next time! The Trailex aluminum trailer is so light that you can move it around without a problem so if parking is a problem I just detach it from the hitch and put it next to the Jeep.
Look into this option because IMO it's much better than being relegated to just having an inflatable. I haven't deflated my Advanced Element inflatable in 4 years. I'd probably buy another one though because it's a really nice rec kayak so if you are wedded to the idea of an inflatable than look into the Advanced Elements line of boats. They have tons of options at great prices.
AE doesn't sell direct but Airkayak.com is the best place to get their boats and they have other brands as well with free shipping and lots of accessories. They have great customer service too.
However, armed with a dolly and a trailer you can buy whatever kayak you want/need and never need a man to help you again to load or unload your boat. Just another option that works for me.
4-place Boat Trailer
URCHIN Portable Anchor
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