Gear Girl

Monday, August 10, 2009

Q: What is the best way to transport kayaks without lifting them onto your car?

What is the best way to transport kayaks if I don’t like to lift them to the top of my car? Heather M. Hillsborough, North Carolina

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A:

It sounds like you’re in the market for the Thule Hullavator ($549; thule.com). This ingenious device, which can be attached to any Thule or Yakima rack system, uses gas struts to do the heavy lifting for you, which reduces the power needed to lift a boat by 50 percent and the average height you need to hoist it up by 40 inches. Here’s how it works: With grip handles, rotate the Hullavator from the top to the side of your car and lock it into position. Hoist your kayak to waist level, place it snugly into the cradle, then strap it in place with the two included heavy-duty tie-down straps. Reach back down to the handles, release them, and guide the boat back up to the top of your car. The gas struts do all the hard work, you just need to guide the boat back into position when it reaches the top of your car. Lock in the pins and you’re ready to roll. Best of all, the Hullavator takes up only half the rack space on the top of the car, so you can bring your bike, too, and make for a well-rounded weekend out of it.

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