Yakima Showdown vs Thule Hullavator

Just curious if anyone on here has checked out the Yakima Showdown kayak lift assist carrier. I currently have the Hullavator, but saw Yakima is coming out with their version. I’m a little intrigued, due to it’s lighter weight and the lack of the gas struts. I’ve read about the Hullavator gas struts eventually giving out, so long term, wondering if the Yakima Showdown would be a better option. I’m sure you’d have to put a little more work into it as opposed to the Hullavator, but not sure how much.

So anyone out there have any hands on experience with the Yakima Showdown? If not, any thoughts on it as opposed to the Hullavator (both pros and cons) just by reading about it or watching videos?

Marshall Seddon of The River Connection and a Thule dealer (where I purchased my Hullavator) posted here in October 2016 that as of 2007, Thule enacted a lifetime warranty covering the product. So long as the load max is not being exceeded and the mechanism is kept clean, don’t see why the gas struts would give out. When I replaced my 14-year-old Toyota Matrix the gas struts operating the tail gate still worked perfectly.

I did watch the Rack Outfitters video on the unit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LswFsZONG_o
It doesn’t look like the carrier provided any assistance other than stabilizing the kayak horizontally, which I think would make it easier to shove up and over. But you’re still lifting the full weight of the boat. I wish they had shown a 16-foot RM kayak being loaded instead of that Swifty.

The clamps attaching the unit to the rack scare me. I’d worry that they would loosen during travel. Would also add padding over the felt where the carrier makes contact with the hull.

REI sells the Showdown for $360 and the Hullavator Pro for $518. Personally, I’d gladly pay the $158 difference for a rack that lifts 40# of my kayak’s weight versus one where I have to do all the lifting.

At $350 its much cheaper. BUT it doesn’t look like there is any type of gas piston assist to it? So no gas piston I wonder how much help it gives on a heavy kayak. I like the way kayak sits on the hull, looks better that the hullavator on that part of it. Much less wind resistance since it folds down. But I always take my hullavator off when not in use. Looks like it will attach to any type of cross bar which is good too.

Interesting. It’s similar to the Kari-Tek ELRR. It won’t work on factory bars as it requires 3" of bar to extend past the tower. From my experience with the ELRR once you hit the full extension, the swing is going down so don’t fight it, just squat down with it. They should show it with a kayak that pushes the 85lb. load limit. That should make the raising look more like a weightlifting clean and then walking it forward. No gas struts = a bit more technique and muscle on the user end of things.

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Thanks for the feedback all!! Interesting, I was not familiar with the lifetime warranty on the Hullavator, I’ll have to look into that (just in case I need it down the road). I think I’ll just wait and see what reviews are like on the Showdown. Really was only considering it since most places have it at 20% discount right now. I’ll probably just wait another year and see what other people say about it and maybe look at it again next year when the sales happen again (or until I can get hands on experience with one). I echo Rookie’s comment…it would really be nice if in these review videos they used a heavier kayak and not one of the lighter ones in which you really don’t get much benefit of the lift assist (assuming you are capable of lifting them yourself of course).