Hullaport Thule straps and issues help

I am not the bravest person and sometimes not the smartest. Please do not make fun of me.

I wanted a shorter vehicle, which I now have.

I wanted my kayak up off the roof further.

I do not wish to damage my new vehicle.

I’m worried that I will not be able to load an unload easily by myself with the Hulleport and that this may have been a mistake. Although my yak rides well - someone else helped me load it. I plan to paddle alone next month and I’m not sure I can manage without tipping kids passing by to help me.

Getting the strap up and over the top bar of the Hulleport to wrap around my kayak is one of the things I didn’t take into consideration. I’m thinking of buying one of those arm reach things for handicapped people.

I think I will be able to put towels on the side of my car, stand the kayak up and nose the front into place and then lift up the back into the rear Hulleport. That was sort of how I loaded my Dodge Van…but I hate to scratch up a new car. The Dodge wasn’t going to be reliable or I might have kept it just for paddling. I had a system with it.

The Hulleport seemed so simple until I brought it home and now I’m afraid I can’t handle it on my own. I should be able to but I have good days and bad days, fibromyalgia or whatever.

One I load it then there is the top strap thing. I have even thought I could put the front strap around by going up through the sunroof.

Anyway - ideas would be helpful. Sarcastic remarks I am sure are out there. I’m already having anxiety attacks over this and wishing I was someone healthy and strong and young and not dumb. I am having load and unload anxiety. Worse comes to worse I will load it from the back on the other side and just tie it to the rack. It should be simple but I am afraid it isn’t going to be.

Where do you live ?
you don’t have a profile, so no one knows.

I’ll bet if you posted the general area, someone would stop by and perhaps come up with some ideas.

I know if you were any where near where I am, my wife and I would stop by.

Keep in mind- Where there is a will there is a way!

I wouldn’t worry about “sarcastic remarks” if I were you. Your problem is a legit one, and if any one makes any, they would be a mighty small person in my estimation.



step stool
I have the same problem. I got one of those one step stools that folds flat. I put the strap on the the rack and then step up with the kayak using the step stool. this allows my legs to help with the lifting, and increases my height and reach. Then throw your strap over the kayak and strap it down as usual.

some questions
I am having difficulty following your loading procedure, so bear with me. Naming the car would help as well.

Both Thule and Yakima have cross-bar extension bars. It looks like a rod that sits inside the cross bar. When extended they give a place to temporarily store your boat.

Some people would load their kayaks like this:

  1. Extend the bar, at the front.
  2. Lift the bow on the bar - lifting only half the weight
  3. Lift the stern into the J, again lifting only half the weight.
  4. Put the bow into the J.

    Step stool is good idea for attaching straps.

I have felt that kind of anxiety
over similar stuff, so I can imagine what you’re going through with this. A suggestion: get someone to come over and just spot you while you mess around and figure out your system with this new rig. A little moral support and an extra hand just in case something slips while you sort things out is probably al you need. It has kept me from falling apart or giving up a number of times.

I wasn’t sure what a Hullaport was so I watched the demo video. Of course they have a guy who just hoists the kayak over his head and plots it in the rack. These companies need to start realizing a lot of their customers are women and some of us are not very big or strong.

Good luck! And enjoy paddling alone next month. Nothing like it.

A Rabbit in Columbus Ohio
It has a VW Rack on it. VWS are very solid, I might be able to cover the door with a big beach towel use the door like the extender bars.

I will look for a stepstool tomorrow night. I had one but I let it go as it brought back bad memories of my mother.

Thanks for the good ideas. I may be able to go out with the local group Wednesday night.

I have not paddled yet this year and I have anxiety of all kinds. I have not lost enough weight and so on. I always paddle well once I’m launched and I love being on the water. Sometimes I freeze up with panic and anxiety and that is what I’ve been doing. Summer is half over.

Thule extender bars…
I am vertically challenged (aka: short) so I have problems similar to yours.

The Thule extender bar worked great when loading a 14’ Tsunami on my Corolla, but Thule doesn’t make one for the Subaru Forester rack system…go figure, since the Forester is taller than the Toyota.

As for the problem of reaching the straps…I now have a step attachment that fits over the tire, but I have also used a sturdy Rubbermaid step stool…works great.

Good for you that you are committed to keeping active and doing what you love, despite physical issues. Once you get back on the water, you will likely feel your anxiety slipping away. A rubber back bath mat may give your car more protection than a beach towel. The stepstool is a great idea to give you the extra height to attach straps. Some vertically challenged people find saddles easier to load then J style carriers, since you can then slide the kayak up from the back. Earlier post of having a friend come over and spot you is an excellent suggestion. You found a system that worked before for you, and you will find a new one!

If your car is taller, consider the
Hullavator. I used it on my SUV and loved it, now with my Flex it is right on the edge of usefulness. I am taller, so it is a long way down to the handles when the boat is in the down position. That kind of bending over could hurt my back more than the lift. A taller vehicle is best. Also, you strap the boat before putting it up. Bill

some suggestions
do your straps have rubber hoods? If so, hang the straps down the side of the car away from the kayak, feed a bit of the loose end thru the buckle, pull the rubber hood down and toss over the kayak. The buckle & hood are heavy enough to toss smoothly without being affected by wind.

I load my kayak on my Hullaports from the rear of my Jimmy. I put carpet on the rubber pad so the kayak slides easily. If you turn the kayak so it faces inward it’s less likely to roll off as you push it forward. I’ve found most kayaks sit in J-cradles better if they face inward so the deck, not the hull, is against the tall part of the cradle.

I like Malone’s J-cradles better than Thule’s, but you have to live with what you’ve got. It’s just that Malone’s cradles have a little ramp on the outside of the low part, so if you do load from the side you can slide the kayak up the ramp and over instead of having to lift it all the way over the Thule ends. If I ever replace my Hullaports I’ll get the Malone cradles.

Hey WetSandyFeet,
how are you coming along with this? I’m sure if you don’t have it worked out yet, you will soon.

Be sure and let us all know, cause you might be helping someone else with a similar problem.

Before touching the kayak, thread the straps through each of the hullaports. Use a stool or open the car door and stand on the car frame and thread the straps, laying the two ends the front strap over the windshield and the two ends of the rear strap over the back window. Then load kayak.

I am going to try trilliumlake’s method of connecting the strap to itself and then tossing over the kayak.

Jelson (five ft tall)

Thule straps
Even though my car is fairly short (Volvo wagon) I also found getting the straps on the Thule j-bars over the boat a hassle until I came up with this system. Before loading the boat, thread the straps through the top loop of the J-bar (easy if you open car door and stand on the edge) and fasten the end and buckle together so the strap is a big loop. Take the two cords with the cams and hooks and hook one in each strap loop and stretch them out to lay on the hood in the front and the trunk in the rear of the vehicle. Slide your boat up on the J-rack, then go grab the front cord and lift it up over the bow of the boat and walk it over to the side of the boat. There you can easily reach the strap and pull it through the lower j-rack loop and tighten it.

Sorry to hear you have “good and bad days.” One suggestion (maybe it doesn’t belong in a paddling forum, but since your health affects your ability to enjoy paddling, perhaps it’s appropriate). I’m a middle-aged female who had thought my increasing tiredness and muscle aches was simply due to being out of shape and getting older. I hated feeling that way – it made me feel insecure about my ability to lift heavy things and take the kind of trips I loved.

SO just out of curiosity, I asked my doctor 6 months ago if I could experimentally stop taking Lipitor (which I had been taking daily at a very low dose for over 15 years for borderline high cholesterol.) I had no other indications for heart disease so he said it was OK to try to stop taking it for a while. Within a week of stopping I no longer felt muscle weakness and pain after exercise or exertion. And I haven’t had muscle pain since, even after days of hard paddling and other effort. I also lost about 15 pounds without changing my diet. I feel 20 years younger. So many people over 30 are automatically put on statin drugs just because doctors figure “better safe than sorry.” And I know they are useful for people with high risk of heart disease BUT, after my experience and that of a few other people I’ve talked to, I think it is worth checking out whether you are experiencing a common side effect of those drugs (muscle degeneration) , if you do take them. It makes me wonder if some of what seems like an epidemic of “fibromyalgia” over the past decade isn’t somehow related to mass ingestion of statin drugs.

Sorry, I don’t usually “rant” but this was such a revelation for me – it transformed my ability to kayak more often and more adventurously.