Thule Hullavator car top carrier

Has anyone had any experience carrying a Wood Duck 10 or12 using a Thule Hullavator roof top carrier? I have a Volvo XC90 and am short, so a Hullavator seems like the ideal solution for getting the kayak onto the rooftop. Mike

7 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

I am sure the hullavator would work, it is expensive. Go to youtube and search for 'pvc kayak loader' you will find many clever ideas. Check out the Telos lift assist by Malone on this web site. I have Yakima bars and have used a Yakima boat loader for my plastic tandem so I only have to lift one end at a time. I put a pad on the ground to protect one end of the boat then lift the other end up on the bar of the boat loader. then I lift and swing the other end into position. I cut a tube of foam pipe insulation and fit that over the boat loader to keep the boat from sliding on the bar. I have the Yakima Sweet Roll for my CLC Chesapeake and it works very well. I just need a cloth on the back of the car to protect the paint. There are many options less expensive than the Hullavator but I have a friend who is in her 70s, she owns one and she loves it. Lots of options.


RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

   The Hullavator is made to mount only on the Thule bars. if you have them then all you need is about $600+ for the Hullavator. I have heard they are a bit finiky and prone to jamming. I checked a Thule display at EMS and the floor model had been knobbled by a youngster. Not a glowing endorsement. 

RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

The attraction of small boats and roof topping is keeping things simple. 

The WD 10 weighs 36lb. Is the the difficulty in lifting it or reaching the rack? If you're able to lift it you could just take along a sturdy footstool to give you the height. I load and unload a 50lb canoe all the time on the roof of my Toyota Sienna by myself. Not bragging, I'm just a regular every day IT guy. I hoist it over my head and gently slide it across the bars. Then I climb up on the rear wheel for the rear strap, and open the sliding door and stand on the floor to do the middle strap. It's all over in about five minutes.

Or consider a car with a lower roof? Lots of kayakers I know use a regular sedan to transport their gear. So much easier. I only have the van because we need the seven seats.

Don't know if you've built your boat, but CLC's Nymph Canoe is worth a look. Then you don't need the "J" rack. Much easier to load upside down on the crossbars. A superficially similar Hornbeck design is very popular in the Adirondacks.


RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

   Well, the XC90 is almost as tall as the Yukon Denali (70" Height) so it could be a stretch. That said, I'd probably get a folding foot stool or work platform and just step up to it. I use one of these all the time and they are very light and sturdy.

A step up with a light boat to the roof, tie it down, then fold and toss in the back.

RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

   I have owned two hullavators since they were first introduced to hoist 55 lb. boats on to the top of my minivan. It is the best thing since sliced bread. I have been through all the iterations of loading boats higher than shoulder level. It is MUCH easier to load at waist level and I would buy them again even at their current price.

RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

I just noticed the above post signed "John" did not get a "submitted by" tag. Well it was I.

My NE Dory is almost finished. We haven't got the rigging done yet, but as soon as the last coat of varnish dried we took it out for a quick row. My plan has always been to cartop it on the van, as I've done for years with my canoe.

I bought a Reese Towpower Canoe Loader. Basically it attaches to a trailer hitch and allows you to sort of pivot the boat onto the roof. I need to do a few mods to the setup, but I did one dry run and it looks very promising. 

It's a little hard to explain here, but when I get it all optimized I'll probably post a video of it somewhere.

RE: Thule Hullavator car top carrier

Here's a picture of my proof of concept with the hitch-based support. That's a NE Dory. The idea is that the "T" shaped support on the hitch pivots, so I load the stern end up there, the pick up the bow and swing it 'round on the roofbars. This way I can load it single-handed. I now need to replace the 2x4s with something more permanent, and get long straps, or some more permanent tie downs.

« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.