Thulle Hullavator- lift assist kayak carrier?

5 years 2 months ago #24703 by BELINDA777


I have a pajero and I am 5 foot nothing, I find it very difficult to load my ski on the roof on my own. I have been looking for some kind of device to help and came across the Thulle Hullavator. Has anyone tried it and would it work with an Epic v10L?

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5 years 2 months ago #24706 by red_pepper
I haven't tried one personally, but a couple of gals in the recreational kayaking group I sometimes paddle with use and really like Hullavator. I don't see any reason it wouldn't work for a V10L.

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5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #24709 by PaddleFaster
Belinda, good afternoon...

I have quite a bit of experience with the Hullavator. I used to use it to carry my Kaskazi fishing ski, which was is a bit wider than a ski and weighs in at about 65 pounds. For that kind of boat, or the heavy, wide rotomold plastic kayaks that are very popular today, the Hullavator is worth it's weight in gold.

As for using with a V10L, or any lighter build boat such as a ski, personally I would not recommend a Hullavator.

When it comes to handing narrower, thinner hulled boats such as skis --and even some lighter build sea kayaks-- I would say that the Hullavator is way over-built for the task. When it is used with light weight hulled boats such as skis, it can be awkward and cumbersome to attempt to operate.

The Hullavator really works best when lifting a big, brawny, kayak that has a decent load of weight behind it that counteracts the units tightly-tensioned lifting struts.

Another problem is that the carrying arms of the unit are in my opinion, far too beefy to carry a thin hulled boat. Over time, the rigid arms of the Hullavator actually caused indentations to form in the edges/gunwales of my Kaskazi fishing ski, which are at least twice as thick as those on my ski.

With all of that being said...

Just to present an off the wall idea (because I am kinda known for having those from time to time), I was thinking that you might be able to use something such as these ramps shown at this link on Amazon.com, to help you whilst loading and unloading the ski.

www.amazon.com/RhinoGear-11909ABMI-Rhino...e-Ramp/dp/B0117EETEK

Putting them side by side on the ground would give you a foot and a half ( approx. 46 cm) wide ramp. Walking up onto the ramp would then give you another 8 - 9 inches ( approx. 22.5 cm) in height to assist you getting the ski up onto the roof.

Maybe it's not something you'd be interested in trying out, but I figure at a price of $35, what harm could it do to just throw the idea out there for those looking for a solution.
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5 years 2 months ago #24710 by rlh608
Most folks around here climb a stepladder so they can reach up to the roof of their vehicle.

Current ski: Stellar SR Advantage

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5 years 2 months ago #24711 by Fath2o
Don't know anything about the Hullavator, but, it looks somewhat complicated and costly which is something I try to avoid.
Your car looks fairly tall which makes loading a kayak more difficult.
I drive a full size van with a roof rack just over 7 feet high.
I simply hold my ski right side up over my head and place the nose on the roof rack pad and slide forward. Towards the end, I just let the ski drop a few inches onto the forward pad by letting go of the rudder. After it is up I can flip it upside down standing on the tailgate/bumper. Using a small ladder or bucket to stand on may help with the process.
To take it off, untie it, flip it from the tail gate, slide it back then step down grab the rudder and pull the ski down and finish sliding off the roof. Works for me anyway. The only problem I have is the venturis will take chunks out of the foam pads if I'm not careful. Good luck!

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5 years 2 months ago #24713 by BELINDA777
Thanks everyone for your replies, because my ski is so light and it's sometimes very windy, a step ladder is not a lot of help I'm afraid... I get very wobbly on them and my ski all but blows out of my hands!

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5 years 2 months ago #24714 by portmanm
Join a group, I'm sure people will help out - everyone helps in our group. Even taller paddlers have issues in windy conditions and ask for help.

Might need to think about home load/unload options. Sliding it on from the back, setting up a pulley/sling in garage or handy tree before lowering to a better height or get your partner involved in the sport :-)

If you don't like a ladder, you can get a milk crate style pedestal that's light strong and easy to throw in the car. Goodluck

Bio
- 90kg, 183cm, paddling 90+% in ocean conditions for 5 years. Prefer downwind.
- Epic V12 1G, V10 1G/2G, V10 Sport, V8 & V8 Pro
- Stellar SEI 1G/2G, SES 1G/2G, SEL 2G, SR 2G & S2E
- Vadja Hawx 43/46/52
- Think Evo II 2G, Ion 1G
- Fenn Elite S, Swordfish S
- Nelo 560M

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5 years 2 months ago #24715 by sAsLEX
An idea might be to break the operation of getting the ski on to your roof into stages.

Dad has done this with his heavy fishing yak as in this picture.


He lifts the front on to the mount there, then can move to the rear with the front secured as the front mount pivots/twists.
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5 years 2 months ago #24717 by BELINDA777
Hmmm this is something to think about... Thankyou SASLEX. I love the drawings by the way :)

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5 years 2 months ago #24718 by HankL
I have been using a Hullavator for my V8 for 2 yrs and it is the best thing since sliced bread. I have a F150 and loading my boat was a back killer until I purchased the Hullavator. I put the boat on upside down and it fits perfectly into the pads. I like it so much I bought a second one for when I take my 18X. Both REI and EMS put Thule stuff on 20% off a couple times a yr.
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5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #24724 by jonny250
another possibility might be using V-bars [maybe you already do?] - i am not tall but find it easy enough to load from behind the car, with the ski on your shoulder, just tilt the ski to get the nose into the [padded] vee and then slide forward. it works in windy conditions fine too as the vee holds it in place. i then climb onto the rear wheel tyre to do up the straps.
i made my own v bars but theyre like these:
goodboykayaks.com/


btw its nice to hear positive reports of the hullivator as i wondered if it might be too complicated and fragile. obviously not :)

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5 years 2 months ago #24725 by supsherpa
I've seen a lot of the rowing crowd using these with their carbon fiber boats. They also have a lower profile than some of the other racks which may make it easier to load.

www.burnhamboatslings.com/2014-ct-1x-sys...with-narrow-cradles/

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5 years 2 months ago #24726 by richardh

BELINDA777 wrote: Hmmm this is something to think about... Thankyou SASLEX. I love the drawings by the way :)


Hi Belinda.
One of the guys in our paddling group has recently upgraded to this setup. Once the nose of the ski is in the front V holder, it's a lot easier to complete the load even if you need a small ladder for a high vehicle.

This setup also provides great support for the ski while driving in windy conditions.

I have added a plastic covering to the rear bar between the cradles and use an old pair of socks on the cradles so I can put the nose of the ski in place and slide the ski on from the rear.

I've also seen people use a mat on the rear of their vehicle so the ski can be slid into place without damaging the paintwork.

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5 years 2 months ago - 5 years 2 months ago #24730 by Fath2o
Yeah, the wind can be a problem loading a ski on the roof. Here's a thought,
park your vehicle heading down/parallel to the wind and slide your ski onto your racks from the back to the front of the vehicle and don't let go till you get a strap on it. Set up your vehicle before attempting to put your ski on. A step stool, crate, etc is a handy item to have placed where you need it before hand. Obviously V shaped pads or racks help with this. Works for me and is absolutely required returning from a gale force downwinders. The biggest problem I have is finding a place to put my ski where it won't blow away while moving my vehicle. I have done things like wedge it between trees, park benches, rocks, etc. And don't let go of your paddle either.
Good luck!
Belinda, I thought I'd add this. You say your wobbly on a step ladder which is understandable, but, if you place the nose of your ski on the rear roof rack first, slide it forward and then use at step ladder, crate or stool of some sort you will be much more stable. And again, plan ahead for the wind.

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5 years 2 months ago #24753 by kiwi ski
Hi Belinda,
I too am 5ft 2" and know exactly what you're going through. I am not able to lift my ski over my head if there is any wind at all - so here is how I get my ski on and off my car..

I have Thule kayak cradles on my racks which the ski sits in upright. I carry 2 light weight, fold-up camping stools. I put 1 stool beside the car, the other about 1/2 a boat length behind the car. Standing at the rudder, I slide the ski back and sit the stern on the camp stool. The front of the ski sits in the rear cradle on the rack. Once here, I can hold on to the ski as I move forward to the forward end of the cockpit. Lift up the front of the ski and lift it down onto the camp stool.

To get the ski re-loaded I do exactly the same in reverse. I lay the tie-downs ready before I lift the ski up. If its a bit windy I have a piece of shot cord already on the back rack and I just flip that over to help hold the ski while I get it tied down.
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