($199; 5.25 x 3.5x 5.5 inches; includes lifting hook and pulley kit, mounting bracket and hardware, AC adapter/power supply, mount, and cord, plus a 15-foot extension cable; mylifter.com)
Ready to transform your garage into a paddling Batcave? Start by taking advantage of that unused space above your reach. The crew at myLIFTER saw that empty void and started thinking big to come up with one small solution: a 3.1-pound personal winch system that’s simple to install, easy to run, and capable of lugging away your kayak for you after a long day on the water. Alone, the myLIFTER has 50 pounds of pull, but with the included pulley — if you remember some lessons from either your high school physics classes or from the mechanical-advantage rope systems learned in a swiftwater rescue situation — it lugs up to 100 pounds of your soggiest aluminum canoe. Crowdfunded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $106,394 to bring myLIFTER to market, nearly 600 pledge-backers saw reason to support a smarter system to suspended storage, and myLIFTER delivered. Not only does the 25 feet of stainless steel nest inside a grooved spool to avoid any necessary tangling, jerking or jumping, but the 12-volt, 6-amp device can be controlled with a Bluetooth LE (4.0) tether to your (iOS or Android) smartphone or tablet device, which even allows you to preset high and low points to raise and lower. Once you get to water, however, there’s no ‘easy buttons’ for your paddle.