Lifting A Kayak With Pulley

How To Set Up A Pulley System To Lift A Kayak

A Pulley system is one of the best and safest ways to store and keep your kayak safe. Other storage means like hanger, racks, wall mount, or outside storage either require too many materials, too much space, or is unsafe.

The pulley system is convenient for people with limited space, and it enhances your kayak’s safety every day. However, before setting up the pulley system, you need to ask yourself the following questions – 

  • How heavy is your kayak?
  • How often will you need to use the kayak?
  • How big is the kayak?
  • Will the pulley only be used for storing the kayak or for all your garage functions?
  • How strong is your ceiling?
  • How big is your space?

What is a Pulley System and How does it Work?

When lifting something as heavy as a kayak, you will need to find a way to make lifting easy. A pulley system will make it easy to lift the weight of the kayak to the ceiling. A pulley system has a wheel with a groove on an axle and a rope in the grove. It is designed to aid in the movement and lifting of heavy objects. Considering your kayak’s size and weight, you will have a rough estimate of how many pulleys you will need.

You will have to choose the type of pulley system that works best for you. You can have a manual pulley system and an electric system. When using the manual system, you need to master the strength required to lift the kayak. The manual system is tiring especially for someone who regularly needs to use their kayak. On the positive side, it is quite cheap.

The electric pulley, on the other hand, is better and saves your energy. Lifting your kayak on this pulley is automatic and less tiring. However, you will need a constant supply of electricity, and it it can be a little pricy. Below is an example of a pulley –

Pully Detailed Information Diagram

Materials Required

When setting up a pulley system to lift a kayak, you need to consider the materials needed to get the job done. Some of these materials include – 

  1. Drill
  2. Screwdriver
  3. Drill bits
  4. Anchors
  5. Pulleys
  6. Eyehook screws
  7. Tie-down straps

You can find all these materials at your nearest hardware shop. Some of these materials like the screwdrivers are materials you regularly use in your garage so, you don’t have to purchase every single item. You can choose to buy the pulley system kit as a whole or buy each material separately. Purchasing the materials separately is more economical and saves you more as compared to buying the entire kit. Ensure you get the best quality materials to enhance the safety of your kayak.

Determining the appropriate place to place the kayak

Considering the space available and your kayak size, you will have a rough idea of the best place to set up the pulley system. However, it would be best if you got your facts right. You need to make sure that you have somewhere where you will screw. You will also need to get your measurements right to ensure enough space between the drilled holes to ensure your kayak’s balance. To get all these right, you will need a stud finder. He will check your ceiling and advise on the best position to set up your pulley.

The ceiling ought to be able to support the weight of your pulley system and the weight of your kayak. If you have doubts about your ceiling’s ability to hold the weight, get it checked by a professional to avoid any damages.

How to set up the Pulley System

The first thing you ought to do when setting up the kayak is to drill a pilot hole for the eye hook screws. The eye hook screws attach the securing eye to a structure enabling ropes and cables to be tied to them.

The eye hook screws must be firm since they will be supporting your kayak. There should be five eyehooks in total. Two placed at the front, two at the back and one is set a few feet back from the last eye hook.

The next thing you need to do is to attach the anchor. The anchor is important since it will be supporting the front of your kayak. It should be close to the first hook. Take your time when setting the anchor to ensure that it sits in the right position.

After the anchor is properly attached, its now time to attach the pulleys. Attaching the pulleys requires you to be keen and careful. You will need 12-pulleys and the knowledge of how to line them up.

How to line up the Pulleys

Lining up the pulleys might be a little complicated, but you will pull out just fine with the right instruction. Here is how you line them up.

  • The anchor has no pulley.
  • You attach the first pully on the first hook.
  • Hook 2 to 4, have two pulleys.
  • Hook five has one pulley.

You will have four pulleys remaining after this step. After this, you rope up the pulleys. To rope up the pulley, you need strong ropes that can handle the weight of your kayak.

Roping up the Pulleys

To rope up the pulley, you start from the fifth pulley.

  • The rope gets into the pulley attached to the fifth hook and backs out.
  • The rope then goes on to the next nearest pulley, which is to the fourth hook. Then it goes to a new pulley where you attach part of the supporting strap to this pulley.
  • The rope then goes back to the second pulley on the fourth hook. It then crosses the first pulley on to the third pulley.
  • After the above step, it goes to a new pulley where the second half of the strap is attached.
  • Then, you move the rope back to the second pulley on the third hook. It then jumps to the first pulley of the second hook.
  • You keep repeating the same process until every inch of the strap is attached to the pulley.
  • When the rope goes into the final pulley, tie the end of your cleat.
  • Finally, get your carabiners and hook them to the straps and fasten your kayaks straps.
  • The link below is a video on how to rope up a pulley system to lift a Kayak

How to install Hi-Lift ceiling hoist video tutorial

After roping up the pulleys and fastening the kayaks strap, you can elevate it. The kayak moves horizontally up towards the ceiling. When it gets to the ceiling, you can tie the rope at the end of your cleat. To effectively secure your kayak, you need to learn a few knot styles.


It is now clear that you do not need to shy off from buying a kayak simply because you have limited space for paddling lovers. The pulley system will help you set up your kayak safely, and you can lift and retrieve your kayak anytime. You are assured of the safety of your kayak no matter how long you leave it there on your ceiling. The other advantage is that you can carry on with all other activities without the limitation of space.

Scroll to Top