help loading kayak on suv !!!

i just got a new nissan xterra suv, bought 2 sets of thule hulla ports for our kayaks. i need help on how to load these atop my suv, what are some tricks that anyone has to offer, i’ll try anything, also i needed to get these hull a ports today because i’m going away, they came with shorter bolts had to make trip to hardware store, once the bolts are tight does the rack move at all, this is a factory nissan rack that is extra wide, seems that their is a little play in the hull a ports once on the rack. thanks

It’s probably too late -
but I would take them back and get the Thule glide and set instead. That way you throw a old piece of carpet or an old doormat up on the back of the car to protect it, prop the kayak up on it, go lift the stern and slide it up.

Some other folks have run into the same problem - some have used step stools with some success.

Can’t speak to the rack issue.

Not sure about the hulla ports
I have an Xterra with Yakima low riders and 58" bars, landshark saddles on one side surfboard pads on the other. As stated above, simply pad the roof with a piece of carpet or closedcell foam pad, put a pad under the stern of the kayak on the ground, lift the bow up onto the pad then lift it up into the rear saddle or onto the rear pad and slide forward. With a little practice it’s pretty easy, especially with longer boats.

depends how tall you are. i am 5’10"
and have hullaports on my grand cherokee w/1" lift. I simply lift the yak so its upside down over my head and set in in the “J” as I’m bringing the yak onto its side. If its a tupperware boat you can pretty much just kinda throw it into the hullaport from this position.

good luck

solo load a long boat on Xterra
I have an 04 Xterra and just bought my first sea kayak, a used perception sealion. I have Malone j cradles {$80 per pair} that bolt directly to my factory rack. I made an L shape out of fir 1x4. I place the 65" long end of the L over the near side rack rail and under the off side rail with about 20" hanging over the side of the roof and the 6" leg sticking up. Leaving the stern on the ground,I lift the bow onto the L shaped projection.I then lift the stern into the rear J cradle,and slide the bow up into the foward`cradle, adjust to best balance, and strap and tie the boat down.Next I remove the L shaped helper,stow it and the rest of my gear, and drive off. It’s effictive, low tech and, best of all, cheap! I’m 60,and in good condition but the Xterra is a tall rig and the sealion is a heavy boat and this makes loading solo doable.

I hope this helps,


Do you have a second person…

– Last Updated: Sep-02-06 7:22 AM EST –

with you?
I have them on both of my vehicles and the way I do it is:
From the rear of the vehicle. I pick up the bow, and my wife picks up the stern. I set the bow on the rear cradle, and she just holds and balances the rear of the kayak, (we have the yaks on their side facing out). Then I stay under the yak and little by little pick it up and push it forward while all the time she is just balancing the rear. When I have reached the fulcrum point, (front up in the air and back still down, I tell her to let go, and I gently let the front down onto the front cradle.
Then from the side, I get under it and push up slightly while moving it forward into it's final position.
You can only do it this way if you have the J cradles near the outside of the racks, and I don't know if that can be done on your vehicle factory racks.


Hopefully not too late
Abbear had the right idea. Take 'em back and have them credited towards a pair of Hullavators. Not cheap, that wasn’t one of the parameters, but it’s awfully nice at the end of the day to have someone or in this case something load the kayaks back up on that roof for you.

See you on the water,


remember stealing cookies?
all you need is a stool.

As far as play in racking, with two straps, front and back tie downs- they’re not going anywhere.

get a rollerloader and all your problems will disappear

The crossbars on the Xterra rack
have a very flimsy connection to the rack, at least on my wife’s 2002. I use lowriders and either saddles or foam blocks and carry the boats hull down. When loading, I throw a towel over the back and slide the boats up.