It’s a common question and a particularly prudent one, as there aren’t many vehicles that will fit a kayak in the boot!
Here, we’ve discussed the available options to help you decide which works best for you.
Thule Hullavator Pro 898
Not cheap, but if you’re a regular paddler and find yourself constantly lugging your boat on and off your car, it’s well worth the price tag. The gas-assist struts lift and lower up to 18kg of the kayaks weigh, allowing you to load and unload on your own and with ease. The double extending arms lower the kayak by up to 1 meter, meaning you can strap and unstrap your kayak at waist height.
The cradles are corrosion resistant and provide 8 touch points of padded support to provide maximum protection for your kayak. Once the kayak is loaded the Hullavator Pro locks into place, leaving it safe and secure.
The Hullavator Pro 898 can accommodate kayaks up to 80cm wide and 35kg and includes all straps to transport one kayak. You can fit two Hullavator Pro’s side by side to transport two kayaks.
Be warned that Thule recommends fitting the Hullavator Pro 898 to ProBars only, to provide the correct strength and ensure there is enough clearance for the kayak to be lowered.
All in all, if you’re an avid paddler and can afford/justify the price tag then there is no comparison for ease of loading and unloading. If you’re still unsure, take a look at this video from Thule to see what you’re missing!
The Thule K-Guard is a good alternative if your price bracket doesn’t stretch to the Hullavator Pro. Fast to fit, tilt-able for ease of loading and unloading and the first kayak to be lockable – both kayak to carrier and carrier to rack! The straps have a steel core, adding extra safety and a rubber pad around the buckle to prevent your car or kayak scratched during loading or transport.
The kayak is further protected by rubber supports which are designed to adapt to differently shaped kayaks and provide good pressure distribution on the hull.
The K-guard is comparable with pretty much all of the Thule roof bars.
You can witness for yourself the ease of fitting the carrier to the roof bars and securing the kayak, plus both locking mechanisms in this video from Thule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbnIIQhfEzw.
Thule Hull-a-Port Pro 837
As you would expect from Thule, this is a solid, well constructed kayak rack. The Hull-a-Port Pro 837 is a J-style cradle that folds down when not in use, so you don’t have to worry about removing it from the car to fit in the garage or to improve aerodynamics.
The steel construction of the cradle combined with the powerful strap provide maximum carrying strength and keep the kayak firmly in place, whilst the thick, adjustable, all weather padding and the rubber Buckle Bumper on the strap provide maximum protection for both your car and kayak.
The Hull-a-Port Pro fits most Thule roof bars but may need an additional adapter depending on which model you have. The angled design allows more room for another boat or carrier alongside.
Thule Kayak Carrier 874
The 874 is one of the simplest and cheapest kayak carrier options, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do the job perfectly. It’s a functional carrier that adapts to the hull of the kayak, with four adjustable supports to keep the kayak stable during transport. Powerful straps keep the kayak firmly secured and a rubber pad around the strap buckle protect the kayak and your vehicle from scratches during loading and transport. The 874 is easy to mount on both Thule SquareBars and bars with a T-track.
In conclusion the 874 is easy to store, easy to fit and allows you to mount your kayak with ease, with a little bit of muscle or a second pair of hands to lift the kayak onto your roof.
You can click here to see our full range of kayak carriers – if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.