Thule Hullavator 898 Kayak Rack Review

thule-hullavator-kayak-lift

A Thule kayak rack that helps you lift!
The Thule Hullavator Pro 898 Carrier

Thule 898 Special Features (aka Side vehicle loading Kayak Lift assist)

  • Able to accommodate up to 36 inch wide hulls
  • Fits all Thule rack systems with the exception of the Thule Edge
  • Kayak rack includes gas struts, for one person loading and unloading
  • Kayak rack works with heavier fishing kayaks
  • Quick draw bow and stern tie downs
  • Can work as kayak rack, canoe rack, or paddle board rack

hullavator-kayak-rack

 

EASE OF USE

Ever lifted a boat onto a roof or wish you could? Your going to love this rack. Prioritizing your day can be stressful, and having to worry about doing extra work when you are just trying to get on the water is something we all like to avoid. The Thule Hullavator is quite possibly one of the most user-friendly kayak rack carriers on the market today. Utilizing waist level loading, the Hullavator can take approximately 40 lbs. of your kayak’s weight, making it even easier to load and unload. With its double extending arms, it can lower your Kayak up to 40”, causing it to be more ergonomically convenient. Most of the time when I go out, I go alone. With this device, you can knowingly go out on your own comfortable knowing that you won’t need help loading and unloading your equipment. No one likes to work harder than they have to, especially when they’re just trying to get outdoors to enjoy themselves. Using the Hulluvator is simplicity itself, saving not only time but any extra physical hardship when all you want to do is get out and have fun.

Take a look at how easy this is.

https://youtu.be/dUXM4stcyO0?t=9s

SECURITY

Being able to secure my equipment to my vehicle has always been important to me. The last thing I want is for my Kayak to come flying off in the middle of traffic. The Hullavator has a unique one key lock cylinder that facilitates locking it to vehicle, as well as very secure bow and stern quick draw tie downs. Also included are two center straps with car protective bumpers to give you peace of mind knowing that your equipment will stay securely fastened and not damage your vehicle in the process. Safety is of paramount concern when doing any outdoor activities. The Hullavator offers the convenience of a very secure locking system to keep your equipment and your vehicle safe so you can get on the road quickly.

PROS

  • Designed with ease of use in mind, the Hullavator offers speedy loading and unloading with its unique waist level loading design
  • Gas struts take the stress off up to 40 lbs. of the equipment’s weight
  • Easy-to-install design allows you to attach it to your existing rack systems
  • Comes with 8 touch points of padding to protect your equipment

Customer Reviews

One of my favorite parts of doing these research articles is reading the reviews for these products. It’s like looking into a crystal ball and seeing other people’s lives as they unfold, their likes, dislikes, etc. While going through the customer reviews for this product, I was pleasantly surprised to see very few negative comments. With a majority of people offering five stars and high praise, I dug a little further to see what was else might be out there. While the vast range of verified customer reviews were positive – such as how convenient the product is or how easily they can now load their equipment – there were a few negatives, mostly in the realm of small corrections they would like to see. Such as modifying the product for low profile boats, or slightly confusing directions. All in all, the people have spoken and the people seem to love this equipment. It’s always pleasant for me to find a product that is not rife with disparaging remarks from customers who have had nothing but bad experiences with a company. Thule as a brand in itself has done very well taking care of its customers historically with excellent warranties, well thought-out product designs, and most important of all, a good reputation.

CONS

  • Depending on your vehicle size and your individual height, it may be difficult to reach high enough to fully lock the equipment in without getting something to stand on
  • The price is above average for equipment of this same type, but you get what you pay for
  • Could damage your equipment if you don’t properly secure it or if your equipment is not rated for the Hullavator to properly handle it, but reading directions and manufacturer instructions can easily alleviate that headache
  • The Hullavator on your roof without equipment in it can be a bit of an eyesore, but is easily removed with one pin

hullavator-kayak-rack-beach

VALUE

If you’re anything like me – willing to spend a little extra to get quality equipment – then this unique lift assist device for you. Especial for fishing kayaks and heavier boats that one person simply can’t load solo. While the price is a little on the higher side, it makes up for it in all the features it offers, ease of use, secure attachment, and honestly, the customer reviews speak for themselves. While researching this equipment, I also wanted to see what else was out there. I like to understand the field when it comes to spending money on something that, well, let’s face it, is an investment.

The only other comparable equipment I came across was the Malone Telos Kayak Load Assist module. Catchy name, but that really was the only good thing I found about this equipment. While it’s definitely cheaper than the Hullavator, you get what you pay for with this. Going to my favorite area, the reviews, I realized right away there was a problem. Hardly any good reviews of a cheap product mean exactly that – it’s a cheap product. Vehicles reported damaged by the equipment! bad customer service issues, just to name a few recurring complaints I found.

When I spend money, I like to know that I’ll get a secure return on my investment, and this equipment is definitely an investment. You are investing your money and trust into a company, with the understanding that should anything go wrong that’s not covered under a warranty, it’s your responsibility to take care of it. I believe that you have to spend a little money to get quality equipment, and the Thule Hullavator is a innovative piece of equipment from a great brand, in fact currently the only product of its type.

BEST USE

The Hullavator really is a marvel of design. Able to accommodate all types of Kayaks for your outdoor needs, the only limit is your imagination (and the manufacturer specifics, of course.) So let’s talk about that. What exactly is the best use for this equipment? The Hullavator can accommodate kayaks up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs for full assist, kayak fishermen have reported it can take heavier rigged boats also but the percentage of the boat it’s lifting is less.

With a wider cradle, waist level loading, gas struts, and more, the ability to load more types and sizes of equipment are readily apparent. Another great thing about this equipment is that it’s not dedicated to Kayaks only. The Thule Hullavator can also accommodate Canoes and Stand up Paddleboards provided they do not exceed the manufacturer’s limitations.

CONCLUSION

Depending on your outdoor preferences, the Thule Hullavator can make your equipment transportation a breeze. I remember going Kayaking with friends one time, we had two very large boats and one small pickup to get to the river with. The pickup had a roof rack for lumber, so we used that to secure the kayaks to the vehicle. It was a mess, trying to find ways to secure the cumbersome boats to the rack was a major task in itself. Not to mention getting them on the vehicle in the first place. Once on the road, the whole time our driver was nervous, constantly checking the boats, ensuring they were still secure to the vehicle. It was way more stressful than it needed to be for a day out on the water. The Hullavator is designed for taking your mind off getting there and keeping your mind on enjoying your adventure. Making life easier is something we all look for in our purchases. Unlike other equipment, such as the Malone Telos beating up your doors, the Hullavator takes the worry out of enjoying your outdoor life.

Buy Thule Hullavator Pro

OTHER VERSIONS

The Thule 898 Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift Assist Carrier is an upgraded version of the Thule 897XT Hullavator which has a lower rated capacity for Kayak accommodation and does not include certain key features that the 898 version does. Some of those features include not having a One Key system, lower rating for Kayak size, and quick draw bow and stern tie downs. While sporting some of the same features with the exception of a few, the 897XT is around the same price as the 898 PRO.