Amanda Berrent is one of our staff experts from the Houston store that started off as a frequent customer trying to fuel her kayak angling hobby. Her focus is on salt water fishing and she was actually featured on the cover of Texas Salt Water Fishing back in January of 2012 (see it here). During her time here, Amanda has become a very strong member of the staff but she admits that she is still learning a few things. Recently, she shared her story of loading a kayak onto her vehicle on her own for the first time.
So there I was, waiting on my boyfriend to show up to help me load a kayak onto our Jeep for a weekend of fishing. At the time, we did not have a garage to store the kayak in so we had it in our storage building, 25 minutes from our house. There was some sort of misunderstanding (probably on his part since guys don’t listen!) and he was still at home when I got to the building. He said, “don’t try doing it alone. The boat is too big for you to handle so I’ll be there in a bit.”
The boat at hand is a Hobie Revolution 13, thirteen foot, five inches and weighing around 70 pounds. I am 5’8”, weigh about 125; slim and somewhat fit, but not athletic in the least bit! The Jeep I was working with is a beast! With a six inch lift and thirty-three inch tires, it stands about two foot taller than I am. This was my first attempt at lifting and loading a kayak by myself, and I knew it was going to be a challenge but when he said “don’t do it, it’s too big”, it was a challenge I had to accept!
Before I get into details, let me tell you that there was already a boat on the roof rack, a Wilderness Systems Ride 115 that the guys loaded before I left work, so the room I had left was very limited. My first attempt was the ultimate fail. I tried lifting the boat with the side cut out handles, directly over my head and onto the jeep from the side. Not only did I almost break my back, I also came close to busting a few windows (I will need to work on bench pressing and weightlifting before I try that again)! My second idea, although it took a little time and was nowhere near graceful, got it up there! I ended up sitting the nose (bow) of the boat onto the back of the jeep, stood under the boat and got into many awkward positions trying holding it in place while shimmying to the end in order to push it up on the Jeep. It took a few tries due to the width of the two boats but I knew that strategy would be my best bet and it worked, plus gave the passerby’s a good laugh!
I had only been employed at ACK for a short time, but when I got back to the store on Monday I immediately inquired about other ways to load kayaks and found out about some load assist options that are available. Don’t hesitate to check them out!