ok, pNet poll: hulivator or roller loadr

-- Last Updated: Nov-07-14 11:48 AM EST --

I saw the advice in the "loading tandem kayak" thread. I have an elderly friend who is struggling more every year to load his boat, but is too stubborn to look around for easier ways.

So: which system do you prefer, and why? I'm asking so that I might provide advice, suggestions or general help for this friend.

Or Marco’s
Instead of a roller a Marco Kayak Saddle may work quite nicely and be less $ than some Thule options.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Never, never rollers. Especially if you actually use them.

What type of vehicle?

There is no way I’d buy a Hullavator, given that it costs more than some kayaks I have owned.

If lifting is really an issue, the easy route is a trailer. Does add issues about parking and such, though.

1 Like

Care to elaborate?

What type & weight of boat?

X’s 2
They are way too expensive

Jack L

Tell him to marry a strong wife
Jack L

I’ve not tried a hullavator yet I was eyeballing one in a parking lot yesterday. I use a seat of seawings with a stinger, works fine for loading. The key to me is straps. With the hullavator the straps are done up when the rack is in the down position. With my new vehicle the seawings are close together so the straps are fastened over the highest volume part of the deck. I am a big guy and can barely reach, no chance for my wife.

So my vote would go to Thule based on the straps.

Two different kinds of solutions
The roller loader is just a detachable set of wheels that makes it easier to get the boat up and down, but is still a fully manual operation. The Hullivator is a major mechanical investment that takes over most of the work, and has to integrate well with the rack system on top.

It really depends on his circumstances.

for discussion’s sake let’s say
expedition single or double sea kayak.

why do you think he’s struggling more
every year?


they mark boats,

– Last Updated: Nov-07-14 3:08 PM EST –

Offer needless pressure on the bottom of hulls, and stop rolling after a while.

I think I'm realizing slush is talking about something else. But still no rollers on the rack.

Both that you mention…
…give precious LITTLE surface area contacting the hull…spider cracks, deformation, etc will likely result.

One more option
I like saddles, but Malone makes a much cheaper loader (side mount Telos) that I’ve heard good things about. If your friend can lift the kayak just above waist level, the Malone system may be an option. The price is listed as $260 at Amazon, vs over $600 for the Hullavator.

(of course, it should be investigated mail order from the River Connection as a way of acknowledging Marshall’s advice to all of us casual paddlers.)

I have gull wing saddles from Oak Orchard kayak they look just like those Marco ones posted about above. I wonder who had them first? Anyway they have a very large surface area way more than most. You wont get spider cracks with that type of saddle. Way more surface area than ANY of the Thule or Yakima holders.

Now is it better than a Hullivator, I would say no. The hullivator only needs you to lift the kayak up about 3 feet or so. The V-saddle that you use a roller on back of car you need to pick the front up to roof level. Definitely harder than a Hullivator BUT not hard but just harder. So if you want the least strenuous I would go hullivator. I have helped people with hullivators many times to just carry the kayak over and set it into the saddle holder then they take it from there as its quite easy after that.

Thanks for the clarification.

Hitting rocks and dropping boats and with plastic overtightening can do things to a hull. The Roller Loader and Hullivator don’t do any damage. I suppose if you stopped the loading partway then purposely did something to stress the boat… but that would be silly and take up extra time between getting off the water and into a nice warm pub.


– Last Updated: Nov-07-14 5:38 PM EST –

Radiomix, I agree with everything you said about marks, rollers that quit rolling, etc. My question is, when you load your boat does it "slide" thru the back saddles with no problem? I'm thinking of getting rear saddles for next year.