How to Carry Your Kayak

A No-Tools Hitch Extender and Saddles

I have a ladder rack for my truck with Malone Rack Pads, and it works great, I even still use it when I am hooked to the RV, or I am bringing a bike along. However, It is tall for me (I’m 5’7″), and I am not getting any younger. My 14.5ft Touring Yak at 50 pounds is a beast to load. For that reason alone, I started looking for an alternate solution. I didn’t want a trailer, its too much of a hassle and I have nowhere to store it.

Not long ago I had seen a truck at Home Depot that had some weird contraption mounted in the hitch allowing for him to load longer lumber than what he would have been able to do w/o it. It got me thinking, why can’t I use something like that for my kayak?

After some looking around on the net, I saw that several companies were making these for Kayaks, but they were quite pricey, upwards of $200+. I took the word “kayak” out of my search, and I started getting results below a $100, now were are talking. After further searching, I found the Ecotric Pick-Up Hitch Extender for under $60 bucks! I like this one a lot because it breaks down into three parts making storing very easy.

One of the big things I don’t like about loading my yak on the ladder rack is that I have to load it upside down and then strap it with ratchet straps which can lead to “oil canning,” especially in the heat. This hitch extender, as is, also means that I have to load it upside down. But, the crossbar is a 1 3/4 inch square tube and that my friend means I can use roof rack saddles! Again, $200+ seems to be the norm! And yet again, digging deeper I found some inexpensive Chinese saddles for under $45, and now I can load my yak upright and use regular straps to hold things down.

Note: Since you only need two of the four, if you have a buddy that wants to do the same thing you guys can split the cost of the saddles and save a bunch!

Chris Sgaraglino

Over the past 35 years of my adult life, I have gained a very diverse portfolio of adventures from which I have been blessed to be a participant. This wealth of experience and knowledge has defined my character, my morals and values and my healthy respect for people and the great outdoors. It is a true definition of an Outdoorsman!

Hitch Extender & Saddles














Ease of Use


Kayak Protection


What I liked

  • Solid Construction
  • Breaks down for each storage
  • No tolls needed to build
  • Comes with Safety Flag
  • 750 lb capacity
  • Heavy duty steel tubing
  • Will not crush kayak
  • Saddles are adjustable for different kayaks
  • minimal wind drag

What I did not like

  • A little wobbly before strapping down

All Trails Lead to Riches!

All season long, I am outdoors testing new products and consider them for reviews, some I keep, many I don’t. For the ones I don’t keep, once reviewed and photographed, I give them away to followers of The Outdoor Life blog who have subscribed to my newsletter! Products are typically for Biking, Hiking, Backpacking, Kayaking, Camping, and other outdoor activities. Once I accumulate 3-4 items, I use an online random picker and select a name for each item, email you for your address and send it on its way. No strings attached!