Cartopping home built boats

Kari-Tek Easy Load Roof Rack
One of the problems that bedevil the home boat builder is getting the latest pride and joy to the water. Canoes and lighter dinghies are quite easy to cartop which neatly avoids the trauma of trailering. Many cartopping solutions have been developed over the years and a search of the various related fora will produce a variety of home brewed ones. One efficient commercial offering is the KariTek easyloader roofrack, which comes in a number of configurations. For our purposes the standard option with Canadian canoe brackets probably works best. The Roof Rack consists of a pair of base bars which attach to the existing roof cross bars (a variety of fixing kits are available for different profile roof bars), a pair of sliding spars which carry the boat and a handle which holds the sliding spars in alignment and give a purchase point. The kits are available in three widths (intended for different height vehicles) mine is the standard 1300mm version and was a tight fit for a 4’1½” beam boat. The boat is secured with webbing straps through slotted angle brackets attached to the sliding spars. For long distance hauls I also use an ordinary ratchet strap below the cross bars and over the boat – just in case – 4000 miles of cartopping later there has been no sign that this caution is needed. I also lash the ends of long boats to my towing eye at the front and the towbar at rear.
The loading process is quick and easily accomplished single-handed.


  1. Slide the rack off the top of the car so it hangs vertically. Thread the webbing straps through the lower securing brackets. If you have a folding wing mirror fold it out of the way, decked boats can foul it.
  2. Roll the boat along side the car (I also use the Karitek trolley which works well for dinghy hulls up to about 48″ beam), I have a small bit of sticky tape on the gunnels to line up the boat with the rack brackets
  3. Lift the boat a couple of feet and rest the gunnels on the securing brackets
  4. Loop the webbing straps over the hull and thread through the ‘top’ brackets and secure.
  5. Grasp the lifting handle, lift and slide over as it goes up, once rolled fully home secure the latching pins to stop the whole edifice sliding off as you take the first corner. 😦
  6. Tighten the webbing straps and do whatever other lashing you feel comfortable with
  7. Lash spars, oars, paddles etc alongside the hull.
  8. Drive off after final check of security.  🙂

After sales service has been outstanding, a part lost through my carelessness was quickly replaced and when I got the cross bars for my new car and found the old fitting kit was not suitable and rang them in panic (the haul to Barton Turf was that weekend) Anne managed to get the new fittings to me within 24 hours. My mpg deteriorates by 10-15% with a boat on top.

Although not cheap the rack is soundly made and works well for me – for full information and specifications visit the web site or call on 01292 571019. I have no connection with Kari-Tek other than as an extremely satisfied customer, grateful for having my back saved by this device.





Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: