Hullavator and subcompact

Is the Thule Hullavator appropriate for a subcompact vehicle with a roof height of five feet? How low do those Thule arms drop?

Also, is it standard practice to remove the roof rack from the vehicle each autumn if you live in a snow belt, as I do?

I’ve just made a deposit on a vehicle I’ve been searching for over the past five months (manual transmissions are difficult to find). It’s a Honda FIT and while I can lift my boat to just above my shoulders, that puts a strain on my wrists - something I’d prefer to avoid.

I initially planned on getting a Trailex aluminum trailer, but a couple of my favorite launch sites don’t have trailer parking available. Still an option, though.

As always, thanks for the help.

DONT buy a new Fit
Just replaced my 2008 Honda Fit Sport. That car was great. Hauled as long as my 18 foot QCC 700x kayak.

BUT the NEW Honda Fit 2015 or newer Roof is to WEAK to take a roof rack. I asked both Thule and Yakima about this. Ended up just getting last week a Nissan Versa Note.

There is a roof rack my by Inno BUT the load limit is 70 pounds. I know of one guy who tried to put a roof rack and used the clip kit of a 2014 on his 2015. he kinked the roof. The pressure was to great and kinked the roof!!! I also met a guy with a 2015 Honda Fit with the inno rack on it. he wasn’t even aware of the LOW load limit. Don’t buy a new Honda fit if you want to haul kayaks. Ignore if your looking at an older 2014 or older then your fine.

As far as a hullavator I paddle with someone with a Toyota Prius with Hullavator. Works just fine. that car is as low a roof if not lower than any year Honda fit.

Why are you lifting?
You should be sliding the boat up before it ever gets to above your shoulder, with rack and accessory combos that you can get before going to a Hullivator.

Don’t get me wrong, it does get old and a Hullivator or similar is in my future. But you should never be lifting the weight of a boat above your shoulders, there are ways around it.

Then why does Thule sell the kit
for the 2015 and the 2016 FIT?

I did ask two Honda dealers about towing; both assured me there would be no problem hauling a small boat trailer and kayak. Didn’t ask about the roof, though. Will do that.

My boat weighs 43# and my next one will not weigh much more.

Thanks for the roof info. If that’s the case, then I don’t have to worry about the Hullavator. Will go with the Trailex.

Because I was curious.

– Last Updated: Oct-23-15 3:31 PM EST –

I've been hauling my boat inside my Toyota Matrix. Will be really sad to give up that convenience (and security).

I had no idea if I could lift my boat to a car roof so after reading about the Hullavator last night, I went out to my back porch where my kayak is currently stored and lifted it to see how high I could go. No strains, sprains, or soreness this morning.

When moving it around, I usually carry it at waist height with no issues.

Sliding it
Not clear if you have figured out that you can slide it with the right accessories. Sounds like not.

If you find the Hullivator to not be a go for the moment, and the boat is at least 12 ft long, you can get accessories that will allow you to slide it up to the roof.

in theroy

– Last Updated: Oct-23-15 2:56 PM EST –

rack weight sits on the beams or beam/side rail intersections..

is best always trying for these positions wether a Brockway/Volvo or Honda Whatever.

the rack people would know this

many car dealers will lie

however, with a small car and correctly bought n mounted rack WITH an outrigger should be no problem.

place cut open cardboard from Wal n ground under yak esp to the stern.

place bow on shoulder then drag shoulder yak forward and onto the outrigger
as an I______

then swing stern up onto rack

shove bow over onto rack

temp tieing down upwind lines as needed.

Clueless about roof carry

– Last Updated: Oct-23-15 3:01 PM EST –

Never had to do it. I need a ladder to reach the top of the car. My 14-foot boat has always been carried inside my car, thanks to some great features the vehicle has (D-rings bolted to the frame and really cool adjustable cam straps with steel clips at each end). Stern sticks out a bit, but it's flagged.

Waiting for an answer from my dealer about roof strength. If a roof rack is a no-no, then trailer it is.

I was wrong
I just called thule they do now offer a roof rack.I checked less than 2 weeks ago with bot Thule and Rackaatack and they didn’t have one. Yakima said they would never offer one and thule told me that they may or may not. Well apparently they do.

Man Iam a kind ticked off. I would have bought another Fit had I known there WAS going to be a rack for it.Wonder why Yakima says no way and Inno says 70 pounds. True most kayaks don’t weigh over 70 but I want to be able to carry 2 at times.

But the Hullavator will work on it no problem if you go that way.

That’s good to know. My Fit won’t be in Michigan until November or December, so I can’t take delivery till then. First priority will be getting four snow tires installed.

Will have the winter months to figure out the best way to transport my boat.

In case you need this
I need a step stool to get the straps done securely on the taller vehicle, albeit maybe not the height for a truck. But those additional few inches wouldn’t make a difference in how I got the boat loaded, just would need to use higher on the step stool.

If you find yourself in a transition situation, like you decide against the trailer and need to go back to the roof option, keep this item in mind. Or, this would allow you to get the boat up on a roof, even if it was just on foam blocks, if you were going somewhere the trailer would be inconvenient.

Here is the item. The only quibble I have with their advertising is that you still have to get the boat to near the car… for me requiring a second cart or set of wheels. They downplay that part.

There is no need to lift the boat above your shoulders, or even above your waist. Set up your rack properly so the boat can slide up end-wise, and all the heavy lifting is eliminated. I know a mother-daughter pair of tandem canoe paddlers who load a very heavy tandem canoe onto a very high roof, and their hands are never lifting higher than waist level until most of the weight of the boat is already on the rack.

snow tires
I recommend General altamax artic snows. Highly rated by Tire rack plus I used a set on my 2008 every winter and there not even half worn. 6 winters. Plus there cheap. Walmart sells them online ship to store and have mounted 12 bucks a tire with balance.

They worked great on my 2008 Fit. Iam from Buffalo NY.

Get v saddles and then make your own rear loader

This DIY was on the roof member page

the rear strut for the FIT is fairly narrow. Can you feel it above the liner then mark the outside with a felt pen ? Possibly a 2 person work. Where a benchmark would be ?

Cool gizmo
Found a video of it in use:

The car is bare roof and has side curtain airbags, so I don’t think I could use foam blocks without a roof rack since the straps would have to go thru the car.

I like the concept of the Hullavator, but not the way the saddle looks on the car when not holding a kayak. I wonder if they can be easily removed from the rack and then reinstalled when you need them. Don’t want to look like Bullwinkle on my way to the office.

Will have to compare costs. I know the cost of the trailer, but not the cost of the hitch or the wiring harness, or installation fees. I know my way around a tool box, but not those types of tool boxes.

Thanks all, for being so helpful.

Interesting build, DK,
but can’t run straps through the car because of the curtain air bags.

Too many self-absorbed drivers texting, talking, taking selfies, reading, etc. to interfere with a safety feature.

I just hope the air bags aren’t Takata’s.

Necessity is the mother of invention
I know from experience that an application of 303 on the hull really makes it slide easy. Sometimes where you don’t want it to go.

Appreciate the snow tire tip, especially coming from Buffalo, NY.

I have…
…2 Hullavators on my Santa Fe and although they’re not cheap, they work extremely well. I can load two boats - they load at waist level - by myself in all of 10 minutes. And that’s with Thule ratchet straps and bow and stern lines all connected. About the only thing you need to do to the car is to fold the mirrors in when you put the boats on the cradles. It is just ridiculously easy. Consulting my car’s handbook showed me that the load rating for the roof was easily sufficient for two boats and the bars.

The Hullavators basically consist of two parts. The large cradles attach with a simple sturdy steel pin, and I can take all 4 off the car (or put them back on) with the aid of a step stool in 5 minutes. There is also another, much smaller and less obtrusive part, that bolts on to the cross bars and to which the cradles attach. They - one for each cradle - use a couple of allen bolts and take just a little longer to remove/replace so I only take them off during the colder months.

During the summer, my Santa Fe’s nickname is indeed “Bullwinkle”!