Hullavator and subcompact

Fed standards
require side rails resistING 3x vehicle weight pressed (?) each side.

looking at the FIT roof beam image suggests removing headliner. Installing bolt studs in the cross beams at the side rails for rack mounts…eg deep angle irons (steel)

We read resistance to ‘remove headliner’

here…often in the ‘your pants are on fire’ area…cheaper stronger.

Yet, in Goo images there are photos of subcompact under 20’ hulls…one of the rack makers has a hitch strut

Allmy vehicles built with rain gutters now using Quick n Easy mounts from NRS on an E250

Thule works fine
I don’t think that Rookie is going to want to to a Mad Max retrofit of her new car roof with bolt on artificial rain gutters. The Thule 1751 Fit Kit will allow her 132lb carry capacity which will work fine for her Samba.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

DK, my Samba weighs 43#.
My next boat will be longer, but it won’t be much heavier and could even be lighter.

Marshall’s spot on about the roof. I don’t want to turn the car into a Fit-enstein with bolts embedded in the top.

I do appreciate your concern.

Thule Slipstream
It sounds like you are settling in on a solution, but you might consider a Thule Slipstream. I had one on my Golf: the roller made loading very easy for the vehicle height. I now have a Subaru Forester to go along with the bad neck that developed while I owned the Golf, and have the Hullavator due to the Forester’s height. One thing to consider about the Hullavator is that the cradles are on the heavy side, so if you have trouble with your shoulders you may have trouble/need help getting the cradles on/off. Though it certainly would be easier with a Fit. My Forester with cradles on is too tall for my garage, though you might be good with the shorter Fit. Good luck!

Problem with slipstream
the Thule slip stream if iam thinking about the one I saw on a mini cooper is that the roller on the back of slip Stream doesn’t go far enough back as the rear cross bar is too far forward from the back end of the car. I might be wrong maybe it would get far enough back to clear back end of car but I don’t think so.

You can always modify it.

– Last Updated: Oct-24-15 8:57 PM EST –

I used to have a rack with that problem, and I built an add-on extender which was attached just for loading/unloading, and took up almost no space inside the car otherwise. If you yourself can't envision how to design and build such a thing, your nearest welding shop can.

By the way, a good starting point is to include a lengthwise bar on each side of the rack. That turns out to be really handy in various ways and makes the whole setup stronger, but it also makes the attachment of a home-built loading aid a piece of cake.

Slipstream plus
No one said that you can’t remove the saddles from the slipstream unit and replace it with something else like Marco kayak saddles. It all depends on the shape of the boat and what works best with the hull profile.

By the way; the slipstream rearward extension depends upon the bar spread, front to back, of the crossbars. I seem to recollect that 18 inches was the maximum throw that the slipstream would allow with the ideal bar spread. What that bar spread measurement is I don’t recall off the top of my head.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


– Last Updated: Oct-24-15 9:49 PM EST –

there you go....the roof of your to be heap of junk is now connected to the GODHEAD.....

driving around town with a kayak and/or kayak rack on the roof is stylish.

driving a cheap Japanese subcompact with 4 or 8 small studs in the roof is unacceptable.

DK, now you’re being silly.

Not so sure how stylish the Bullwinkle look might be, but yeah, using a kayak roof rack will make me look like one of the big kids, as opposed to an oddity traveling with a red-flagged yellow kayak stern hanging out of the back of the car.

Am going to miss that, as I’ve met a lot of nice people this summer who’ve watched me load, then come over to the car to talk about it.

Thanks, fitch
You’re right: the more I think about where I want to go with my boat next spring and summer, the more I lean towards a roof carry. I hadn’t seen the slipstream before and will try to find a video of it in use.

The shipping weight of the Hullavator is 44 pounds, so am guessing each one weighs 22 pounds. I don’t think that weight will be a problem so long as I use both hands to lift it - not because of the weight, but to prevent wrist strain that can happen if using only one hand (a lesson learned while moving and stacking firewood). No shoulder problems and my garage has a pretty high ceiling.

Good technology lets me do things more efficiently. I like that and think good technology applies to kayak carriers as well. That’s why I’m so interested in the Hullavator.

The weight…
…of each Hullavator cradle has not been an issue for me at all. There is a little trick to quickly getting them on or off but it’s quickly learned.

The height of your garage ceiling may not be an issue but the door height could well be. With the racks on my Santa Fe is 7’6" and won’t fit through the garage doors. But I have a 2-car garage and 3 cars so the Santa Fe stays out on my driveway.

The Hullavator may work fine…
…but I’ll bet it does a number on gas mileage. Standard racks aren’t too bad, but the Hullavator is like mounting multiple sets of moose antlers on your roof!

its not
you, its your group. The vehicle roof and the other parts are not immutable, transcendent, eternal objects of desire no matter what your loan company sez

I like the blue one
With orange flames.

My Hullavator Experience
I use a Hullavator 897XT attached on top of my Subaru Forester. It works great for my 67# Hobie Kona.

The cradles are easily installed and removable when not in use. They are about 20 lbs each, so they take some effort to lift mainly due to the awkward shape and center of gravity. They simply attach to the permanently mounted bars by a U-pin. Honestly takes seconds to attach/remove, and height isn’t an issue as I just open the door and stand on the inside ledge.

I rarely remove my roof rack, but I always remove the Hullavator when not in use because its drag will kill your MPGs. I also prefer to transport my SOT hull up as it fits in the cradles much better that way, and I find it improves my MPG. Although SINKs might fit better by the traditional hull down.

I bought my 897XT from Eastern Mountain Sports because they had the best pricing. They constantly have 20%-25% coupons to knock down the MSRP quite a lot, plus their rewards give you 5-10% back to purchase other goodies. I also watched every Hullavator YouTube clip I could find, from authorized dealers or user reviews, to make sure it was the right purchase for me because it is a pricey piece of equipment, but well worth it.

I would be also
because I’ve driven a nissan versa.

they make a rack for the matrix
A friend of mine has a matrix with a rack that attaches in the indents covered by the black roof strips. Looks pretty tidy, he never removes it.

it’s very simple datakoll

– Last Updated: Oct-27-15 12:03 PM EST –

Some people don't want to reinvent the wheel and do greater damage to their cars and resale value, when there already exists another way that doesn't damage their cars. All this "your group" crap is rationalization.

Find a used rack and components and it becomes a cost equation of your time and cost to buy and install that, versus your time and cost to buy all the materials for your optio, and fit them to the car. I'm convinced that if you account for your time with a reasonable hourly rate (your time is worth something), the difference would be negligible.

I’ve had my Hullavator for over 5 years
and can load my 14’+ kayak by my self, but if you’re concerned about wrist issues, one does need to squeeze the handles just a bit to get it to release. It only takes a moment, then lift slightly and you can release the ‘squeeze’ motion and raise the boat.

As far as looking like a ‘moose’, w/2 on your car, it does but I’ve had so many people ask how it works and some want a demo, to which they are usually amazed at the ease of the unit to put your boat on the roof.

During the summer (Michigan) it stays on the car and it doesn’t fit in the garage. When cold, think snow, begins then it comes off the roof.

Perhaps, if you know/see someone with a boat on their car, ask if you can give it a try. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

It’s been a blessing and has allowed this Nana to continue to get out and go with friends.

Mine is 2003
Didn’t want to invest in a roof rack for a car I knew I’d be replacing soon.

While my Matrix has been trouble free all these years, it now makes reluctant sounds each cold winter morning.

Just like me.