High roof van rack options

I recently bought a Sprinter Van the 170 wheel base with high roof which is 9 feet tall. Has anyone else added kayak carriers with lifting options? My wife and I have 17 foot touring kayaks.

I don’t have a Sprinter van, but I have seen the Thule Hullavator suggested by others here for this purpose. Here’s a link I found.

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I have seen that for low roof vans. “Waist height” define waist? Note where the mirrors are. I have seen a post somewhere I forget where now with them using this with a ladder to raise up to a high top van. 60 pound boat after a long day on the water on a ladder, I am having flash backs of the Darwin awards.

this is my van with the high roof.

From the link, it looks like the cradles would be about mirror height. Even for a 60 pound boat, not a terrible lift, especially if you’re in the habit of lifting one end of the kayak at a time into a cradle. I have to lift my WS Tsunami 165 that way to load it into cradles on the roof of my minivan, a good 6 feet off the ground. I’m 5’7".
With something like the Hullavator, you wouldn’t need a step ladder until the kayak is already in the cradles and strapped to it, and you would then only be lifting the assembly up and locking it into place. From what I have read, the system takes about 40 pounds off the lift, so you would only be lifting about 20 pounds the rest of the way to the roof. It looks like the best system for loading a kayak onto that high of a roof.


The Hullavator is your best option. However when carrying kayaks on that vehicle be very aware of your total height in terms of things like overhanging branches, parking garages, overhangs, etc.

I’ve put labels on the sun visors of both my car and truck with the clearance in both inches and feet and inches.


Kari-Tek Easy Loading Rolling Rack

I’ve used one for years. They make super high vehicle solutions but as @rstevens15 warns, don’t leave your roof mounted gear sitting on the asphalt after shearing it off on a drive thu.

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This might be a situation to consider a trailer. I use one and would definitely prefer it over loading anything up that high.

I’ll give a second on the Kari-Tek. I’ve had mine on a Ram Promaster for seven years. There’s no springs or gas assist mechanisms, it’s muscle-power, but it’s been a great product on my van. Two kayaks or one and a small row boat. I have no problems lifting 125 lbs up.

I don’t think anyones selling them in the USA anymore? You’d have to be willing to pay shipping from the UK.

As a note: I still carry and use a three-step ladder to put extra straps or security cables around things but can manage without it. Just makes it easier.

I have a Chev 2500, kayaks go on Hulivators mounted on racks about 7ft . Boats ride about 9’5"ft to top. When cradles are down the boats are " waist high" . Your roof is 9ft your boats would be 2ft higher. Are you tall enough to reach the release handle of the Hullivator at about 9’5"? Step ladder? Hole by side of road reach often makes that reach more.

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Trying to avoid step ladders. I do like your Airstream. Our van is an interstate that Airstream built out.

There is also an AC unit on the roof so the van right now is just short of 10 feet tall. No more dive throughs for me anymore. Need to keep the boats to the side of the AC. I have talked to local RV and Van customization shops and no interest to helping me out.

I have other ideas for the trailer hitch. Plus some of are launch sites are just for single car parking where the trailer will not fit. Need to build up.

I did find this while searching the web’s. ’ Gentilli Harrier’ https://www.fordtransitusaforum.com/threads/oc1-canoe-rack.26082/

Motor homes best to carry their boats on the “towed”.

Or…get one or two of those flat stitched kayaks.


Must have more toys.