Kari-Tek Easy Loader vs Thule Hullavator

-- Last Updated: Aug-07-12 8:17 PM EST --

Greetings All,

I am in the market for something to assist me with lifting 2 kayaks on an SUV.

I need to put two kayaks on the roof of a Jeep Liberty - right now I am using a step ladder with Malone Stax system - not much fun if there is wind, and dealing with a 15'6" sea kayak.....

From my research, it looks like the Thule Hullavator and Kari-Tek Easy Load Roof Rack may fit my needs.

From what I can see:
** Thule Hullavator **
- Really cool operation
- Looks near effort-less
- Can take off/on the modules somewhat easily?

- Expensive ~ $480-550 per unit, will need two of them -> $920-$1100
- Lots of things going on when in use - seems overly complicated = more likely to break?
- Just have this feeling stuff marked "Thule" = "Steal Me"
- Each "quick attach" module (2 per set) weighs around 20 pounds - still kinda heavy
- Each Hullivator set weighs 40 lbs = putting me slightly over the roof weight limit
- Racks don't fold down - so stuck with "Moose Antlers" if I do not take the modules off.
- Maximum can only fit 2 kayaks on roof with 2 hullavators
- Will have to change my 50" bar to a 58" to fit 2 hullavators

** Kari-Tek Easy Load Roof Rack **
- Most Simplistic Design of the two = Less likely to break?
- Most Affordable of the two - $525-$575 w/o J racks
- My choice of J racks (or whatever bars work)
- With folding J racks - it would fold down flatter than the Hullavator
- Can mount up to 4 kayaks on this system
- Not Marked Thule = Less Likely to get jacked?

- No Power Assist in loading
- Wobbly when in use
- Doesn't look as easy to attach/ remove as Thule's system

In addition, Marshall from the River Connection added

"The ELRR is not for doing squats. While it does not make
kayaks lighter it puts leverage in your court. I use the smaller one on my
Toyota Landcruiser where the bars are at 6'4" in altitude. The smaller
unit can carry 3 kayaks but is a bit harder due to the steeper angle of
attack. The longer unit is easier due to the shallower approach angle.
Additionally, the ELRR1600 has a second stop pin so you simply load the top
boat, grasp the handle and step back/swing outward to hip height/walk
forward till the top kayak clears the pivot. Insert the stop pin and the
unit keeps the top kayak above the pivot allowing it to be a counterweight
for the bottom boat which you use the same step/swing/walk sequence to

I carry Thule here in my showroom so as long as the Malone bars
aren't wider than the Thule bars (they don't appear to be) it will work

The Hullavator is a good unit but limits it to one boat per unit
and when not in use you do have moose antlers on your vehicle.


Synopsis :

ELRR1600 more flexible with higher carry capacity but requires a bit of
technique and more compact on the roof when not carrying boats. Also works
great for lumber runs to Home Desperate.
The Hullavator is a more
automated option and works best on plastic kayaks as the support arms
anchor to the housing arm with raised plastic knuckles. Not the best with
composite hulls."

Any additional insights? suggestions?

Right now, I am leaning toward the Kari-Tek System, but the wobbliness is real turn-off (see video), and making me really have a second look at the hullavator.

If I go with the Kari-Tek - Any suggestions on a folding J cradle? Better Alternatives than the Thule Hullaport?

Thanks in Advance!,


Maybe add the Malone Telos to the list…
At first, it didn’t look like the Telos would fit my needs, but after reading a few more reviews, it looks like it deserves a second look. - It is the lowest cost of the three, and beyond if your car is dusty - it should work well?


– Last Updated: Aug-18-12 2:42 PM EST –

After looking at everything I went with the Hullavator. Definately pricey, but made begetter and works well. Will post after a few months of use.