Today we are discussing one of the most well-known brand of kayak rack – Thule Kayak Racks.
Most kayaks are at least 10 inches long. Unfortunately, most vehicles do not have such a room. As such, transporting a kayak from your home to the lake is always very difficult. It can also be inconveniencing, especially when you have to ask your friends with trucks to help you transport your kayak to the lake or river. It is inconveniencing in the sense that your friends will have to cancel their schedule and help you out.
With all that said, if you are a paddler, then you should consider owning a Thule Kayak Rack. Thule was founded in 1942 by Thulin Family. It is, therefore, a company that has been around long enough to know exactly what its customers need. That’s why we are happy to introduce you to the following top 5 best Thule kayak racks reviews. Well, there are a lot of Thule kayak carriers on the market and these ones have made the cut. So, read on to find out what makes them so special.
Table of Contents
- Best Thule Kayak Racks – Review & Guide
- Our Thule Kayak Racks List
- 1. Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier
- 2. Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack
- 3. Thule 898Pro Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift System
- 4. Thule 830 The Stacker Kayak Rack
- 5. Thule Hull-A-Port Aero Kayak Carrier
- Buyer’s Guide for the Best Thule Kayak Racks
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Best Thule Kayak Racks – Review & Guide
Our Thule Kayak Racks List
1. Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier
The Thule Hull-a-Port Rooftop Kayak Carrier is designed around a couple of folding J-profile Hull-a-Port carrier assemblies. Ideally, each of these J-profile Hull-a-Port carrier assemblies is attached to a roof rack load bar and they contain 4 adjustable touchpoints of padding. Because of these J-profile Hull-a-Port assemblies, the Thule 835PRO Kayak Rack is able to hold kayaks of all shapes and sizes. It allows them to lean safely on their sides with their cockpits facing out. This vertical stowage position is highly recommended because it is safe and aerodynamic. It, therefore, will not cause warping to kayaks. Plus it does not make the vehicle tricky to drive.
Another benefit of the vertical storage position and transport is that it efficiently utilizes the valuable space on top of your roof rack. This allows for up to 4 of these Thule Kayak Holders to be used simultaneously in some vehicles or leaving room to use the rack with other accessories. The kayak carrier is easy to load and unload by around 1 – 2 people. The unit also features J-profile Hull-a-profile design that is padded and holds kayaks in place. Besides, this kayak rack comes with a limited lifetime warranty that protects it against defects in workmanship and materials. The rack is designed for kayaks up to 34 inches wide and weighing up to 75 pounds.
2. Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack
This rack has made it to our competitive list because of its dual position design, which can be transformed from a J-cradle to 2-boat stacker position. What’s more, we like the fact that this kayak rack has a universal mounting design that fits load bars of all types quickly and effortlessly. It is a convenient kayak carrier that every paddler should consider having because it will make your life convenient. To further prove to you that this kayak rack is built with convenience in mind, Thule ships it fully assembled. This means setting it up when you want to carry your kayak to the lake will not be a problem.
The kayak carrier comes with load straps, which, in turn, feature buckle bumpers and bow. It is 10 inches high and 10 inches wide plus it accommodates 75 pounds in the case of one boat and up to 130 pounds in the case of two boats. It has a high rating after a substantial number of customer reviews. And this only means one thing; the kayak rack is top quality. It is versatile and perfectly fit Thule SquareBar, Thule AeroBlade Edge, and Thule AeroBlade. To make this kayak carrier more effective, you can get Thule one key system lock cylinders to lock to load bars.
3. Thule 898Pro Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift System
Although this kayak carrier is more expensive than other kayak carriers we have reviewed, those who have used it, are impressed with how it works. In fact, one customer even wished that all kayak racks could be made like this one. It is made in the USA and imported. Ideally, it measures 7 inches high and 17 inches wide. The wider cradles of this kayak rack are capable of accommodating wider hulls up to 36 inches wide. The rack accommodates kayaks up to 36 inches wide and 75 pounds. Well, a lot of kayaks fall in this category, and this is another reason why you should get this kayak carrier.
The gas struts make loading and unloading kayaks much easier. It takes 40 pounds of the kayak’s weight, and this means you will be able to do the loading and unloading on your own. Furthermore, this kayak holder comes with QuickDraw bow and stern tie downs and 2 center straps featuring car-protective buckle bumpers. The length of the straps is 9.5 feet per strap. Apart from Thule Edge, this rack carrier fits Thule rack systems and round bars featuring both T-track and around the bar mounting options. The base and cradles of this kayak rack system are made of corrosion-resistant materials for enhanced lifespan.
4. Thule 830 The Stacker Kayak Rack
Made in the USA, this kayak rack is no doubt of great quality. It measures 5.5 inches high and 5.75 inches wide and accommodates kayaks up to 36 inches/90 centimeters wide and weighs up to 75 pounds (35 kilograms). In addition, this kayak rack has a smart design, which folds down for easy storage. The smart design has a non-scratch outer coating to help protect your vehicle. What’s more, this kayak carrier is optimally sized and leaves roof space for other accessories from Thule. The quick on/off hardware makes this kayak holder super easy to install and to remove.
Another great thing about this kayak carrier is the affordable price point. Compared to quality, the price of this kayak carrier is great. Also, before we go, we must say that this kayak rack is built with convenience in mind. It can carry up to four recreational kayaks simultaneously. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the kayak holder comes with straps for transporting 1 kayak.
5. Thule Hull-A-Port Aero Kayak Carrier
Another Thule Kayak Rack that is loved by paddlers is this one. And this is because of the great build quality. Like other kayak carriers from Thule, this one has a foldable design that allows you to store it away quickly and easily when you are done using it. Its ability to fold-down is enhanced by the convenient front release handle. Moreover, this kayak rack has easy-to-manage loads. And one feature that makes the load straps extremely easy to manage is the integrated Strap Catch. Besides, this kayak rack is not just built to transport your kayak but also it is designed to protect it while in transit. It has long-lasting and incredibly soft rubber padding that protects kayaks, thereby, improving their lifespan.
Additionally, this Thule Kayak Rack has a theft-proof design, which ensures that it is always securely attached to load bars. It is easy to set up directly into Aero Blade T-track or Thule Wing Bar, or around the Thule Square Bar using the tool-free and integrated mounting hardware. It is important to note that if you want to mount this kayak carrier on Thule Square Bars, you will need the Thule Square Bar Adapter 889704.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Thule Kayak Racks
Kayaking is an exhilarating activity that offers an amazing way to enjoy nature firsthand. However, carrying your kayak to the river or lake has never been easier. Well, this has made some kayaking enthusiasts to hire professional transportation services, which are very costly in the long run. But now that Thule kayak racks are in the market, spending money on professional kayak transportation service is bound to change.
All you need to do is to get it right as far as choosing a kayak rack is concerned. This is because the best kayak rack helps make a kayak really easy to move. Having it, therefore, makes life stress-free. Since not every kayak rack works the same, it is important that you consider some factors before buying a rack.
We have listed some of these factors below. Take a look.
The Dimensions of Your Car
It is easy to fail to get the right dimensions of a kayak rack that will fit your car perfectly. This is because different cars are designed with different specifications. That being said, if you want to buy a kayak rack, you should be keen to assess the width of your car both at the front and the back-end. This will help you settle for a kayak carrier that perfectly fits the rooftop of your car. And with a kayak carrier that fits perfectly, expect to have a securely attached kayak every time you are going to kayak.
Ease of Installation
You are buying a kayak rack because you are tired of inconveniences. It will, therefore, make no sense if you choose a rack that is difficult to install. This means prior to spending money on a kayak rack, you should be keen enough to only settle for those brands that come with assembly hardware and other accessories that help make assembly a breeze. It is not just installation that should be easy but also uninstalling your kayak carrier should be a breeze for ultimate convenience.
Maximum Weight Capacity of the Car’s Rooftop
Yes, your car’s rooftop perfectly fit a particular kayak rack. But before picking up that kayak rack, ensure that you are conversant with the maximum weight the rooftop of your car can hold. This will help prevent damage to the car – which is definitely the last thing you want to happen to your car. To know how much your car can hold, check with the manufacturer or go through the manual.
You have noticed from the reviews above that the prices of kayak racks are quite substantial. As such, the last thing you want when you buy a kayak holder is to use it for a few days and then boom! It’s damaged and cannot be used to again. So, when buying a kayak carrier, make sure it is made of durable materials that can take all the beating both from the kayak and the road.
Weight Capacity of the Kayak Rack
Different kayak racks have different maximum sizes and weights of kayaks they can hold. Therefore, you should put this into consideration as well. For convenience, you must go for a kayak rack with a weight capacity that exceeds the weight of your rack. You should also ensure that you only choose a rack with a width that will perfectly fit your kayak.
The Number of Kayaks the Rack Can Carry
This should also be in your mind when buying a kayak rack. Some racks are designed to carry up to 4 kayaks while others can carry just one. That being said, if you love kayaking with your friend or partner, you should go for a rack that carries more than one kayak.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A good kayak rack does more than just transporting your kayak to your favorite recreational spot. It will also protect your kayak from dents and scratches while you are on the go. That’s why it is highly recommended that before buying a kayak rack, you must do enough research to know exactly what you should pick.