Loading my Sea Kayak onto the roof of my Van

I am often asked how I get my sea kayak on the roof of my van. Here is a video I’ve made on how it is done.

Fitting the roof bars to the van was not easy. You will note I don’t have much room on the roof with the various skylights,  vents, solar panel and the 85cm satellite dish! 

My van has four roof rack points. However due to all the clobber on the roof I am only able to use the 1st and 3rd of these mounting points. Even then is is a close call with the satellite dish. The dish closes like a clam, with the LNB arm closing one side of the roof bar and the dish on the other. In fact to get it to fit properly I had to bend the Thule roof bar slightly, to give about 1cm of clearance either side of the Dish and LNB arm.

It's a close fit
It’s a close fit

I fitted the rather excellent KCS v-cradles to the Thule Bars . These are extremely well made v-cradles, manufactured from 12mm polypropylene with 10mm of closed cell foam on top, to give your kayak a nice snug fit. Not only do these look good but they have minimal wind resistance and do save fuel over other more bulky designs. 

also make a rather excellent expedition trolley which I’ve been using for the last four years. Be sure to check it out on their web page https://www.kayakcarriers.co.uk

The extending ladder I use was bought from ebay for £34.59, which is a bargain. It’s had plenty of use with the van and has come in handy around the house too! Glueing some closed cell foam to the top rung of the ladder protects the roof from scratches etc.  

As for the aluminium rectangular tube used as a roof bar extension, this too was bought from Ebay. The size to fit the Thule Bars is 25 mm x 15 mm. I went for a 2mm thickness for extra strength. I found I needed to round off the corners ever so slightly, to get it to fit inside the Thule bar.  Approximately 75mm fits inside the Thule roof bar, which through testing, appears to support a huge weight, err me.  ie.  way way waaaaay more than a kayak! I have at least 2m of this tube left over. Let me know if you would like some.

The white block you see in the video on the end of the roof bar extension is just another piece of closed cell foam to prevent the kayak from flopping to one side and potentially falling off.

When the boat is loaded on the roof, the satellite dish works without being impeded by the kayak in anyway. But the large electrically operated roof vent can only be partially opened about 3-4 inches. So far, this has not been a problem in our lovely British summertime weather.


  1. Julie Bills
    10 August 2018

    Hi Simon,

    I’ve only just come across your blog. Thank you for sharing so much info. I cannot get your video ‘loading a sea kayak on my van roof’ to play, even with cookies enabled – it just keeps stating content unavailable. Do you have your video uploaded anywhere else online? I have a very similar challenge, trying to get a 25kg kayak onto my transit van roof, 2.3 meters high. I am trying to come up with an affordable solution. I am fairly strong, but not very tall!

    Thanks in advance.



  2. julie b
    10 August 2018

    Please ignore my previous comment, your video eventually played. Great solution!

    Many thanks,


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