Thule Hullivator

Now that I am thinking of buying a fiberglass boat, maybe I should consider a different rack system for easy loading and unloading. Specifically, I am looking at the Thule Hullivator.

Anyone have experience with this? I’d like to hear your comments.



Mine is fine
Loading and unloading is a breeze. I am able to kayak more often because getting onto the water is now never an issue. When they first came out, Thule had design problems (latches did not always hold the arms down, locks did not work, and padding was too small). They corrected all this and sent me a new one. I had to wait before they could ship it. They rushed two cable locks to tide me over the two months! Great product. Amazing company.

It works.
Cradles sit up too high though to fit into my garage, so those need to be removed each time.

2 on a car?
On my Element, I have the Yakima setup with 59" crossbars, currently using the Hullraisers to carry our Impex boats.

Question: Will TWO of the Hullavator setups fit on 59" round crossbars with room to fully deploy and stow without the hulls coming into contact with each other in the middle of the roof?


Good invention
I’ve been using it. It works like the lift-gate of a mini-van. The trick is to lift both sides at the same pace or you will get into trouble. The lift gate is rigid because of the gate. The Hullavator doesn’t have a rigid part that keeps both sides in sync. Practice a few times and you will get the hang of it.

More information
Two on a vehicle is fine. The kayak is carried on the very edge of the vehicle because the cross bars have to extend at least 4 inches beyond the rails. You should not exceed the recommended weight limits of the rack on your vehicle. You have to add the weight of the kayaks and the weight of the Hullivators.

When raising the kayak, the two arms stay in sync because the strapped-in kayak acts as the firm connector of the two arms. At least that has worked well for me.

It is very easy to remove the cradles: raise them a bit and remove the pin. I found it helpful to apply a tad of white grease to the connection from time to time.

I don’t own one
but I was thinking pretty hard about it this year since my boat weighs about 80 pounds. In the end, I decided to gut it out for another year and do things the typical male way (i.e. the most difficult one :)).

I was able to check it out at the local Rack N’Road shop, where they had one set up in the store. It seems pretty easy to use and pretty solid. One thing, though: there are a lot of bargains out there - like on E-bay - for the “regular” Hullavator, but you may want to make sure you get the Hullavator XT. The XT is supposedly the “improved” version over the first model, with a heftier rack set up, smoother motion, and just a genmerally better product. Not to say that the first incarnation was “bad”, but I’d pay the regular price to get the current, beefier model.

Not a problem.
I carry two also.

I have an XT
Bought it last year when Thule was offering discounts to get some new ones on the market. My understanding is that the original model had some glitches with the locking mechanism which might allow the extended arms to snap up when bumped.

I am pleased with mine, mostly because they allow me to fully open the rear hatch once flipped to the “first” position.


too heavy
Two Hullavators plus boats will put you way over your weight limit. A Hullavator weighs 40 pounds so two plus base rack would put you at about 90 pounds before you even load a boat.

this has been very helpful. The XT it is!