I have a Honda Civic, and 2 Sit-on-top kayaks that are 30 inches wide (Emotion Spitfires). I went with the Hullraiser so I could fit both on the top of my car and have a rack that accommodates the width of the yaks. It works perfectly for me - once you use the straps the yaks are solid up there and I can drive without worry.
The only problem is the hooks turn - no matter how much you tighten them they turn to the side (but once the yak is in and tied down they are solid). I found I like the turning because I can push them down when not carrying the yaks and reduce wind noise. But-it's annoying when loading the yak to have to reach up and put the hook back because it twists.
I have had my Hullraiser for two years. I have a 2003 Chevy Astro Van which is the same height as a full size van. I have a 55 Lb Old Town 138 and a Pungo 140. I am 6' and 53 years old. I am able to put these two heavy boats on the racks by myself.
- I am 6 feet tall so loading is easier for me. I you are under 5'5 or have a tall vehicle - it might not be for you.
- Get the Boat loader. It halves the weight of the yak and makes it much easier to put it up without help. The Boat loader is like having another person there - who doesn't make comments or drink your cold water. If you can't afford the loader - get a solid broomstick and use it the same way.
- Tighten the hooks every time you load.
- Use the Yakima straps AND tie-downs (bow and stern) - it will make everything solid.
The racks do not stay in place and will slide along the cross bars laterally with only medium pressure no matter much they are tightened. The tighten nut is on the bottom and very hard to get a grip on for tightening. The screw down plastic nut should be on the top making it easier to turn, but it is designed with it on the bottom for some reason. This problem is compounded as the rack should be positioned against the side factory rack so loading the boat is possible. So with the tightening nut on the bottom and the rack pulled far to the side, tightening is almost impossible. Therefore, it slides.
Also make sure that the straps are on the top of the rack before the boat goes up. Attach the straps on the top of rack, throw the strap across the top of the car opposite the side the boat is on before putting the boat on. Once the boat is on, toss the connected straps over the top of the boat and then connect to bottom part of rack. If you do not do this, you have to actually climb on top of the SUV to get the strap around the boat.
The racks, straps,pads and ratchet rope device are great.
I think I am going to go to a hully roller/mako saddle combination for two reasons:I bought the hullraiser system based on the recommendation from a supplier in my area. I have had them for 1 season now and so far they are working fine. The pads are holding up just fine, along with all the other components, its only the bars that are rusting a little in places. I take them off and store them in my trunk after every use, i think that will help with its longevity. I must note that the hullraiser system is not compatible with the 2002 Malibu, and I found this out the hard way, I had to transfer my entire rack system to my fiance's Grand Am. The straps are great, the rubber around the metal protects my boats and my car and they always stay on tight. Its tough to load your kayak on by yourself though, I must admit. I'm 5'9 and I have a Seaknife SK17 Pro and it weighs 56 lbs and that can be a real pain to load on your own.
First on my Van the boat is like 11 feet in the air.
Secondly, it wobbles in the wind although the straps and ropes add stability.
Third, it may be easier to load boats without the Clean and jerk method I use now.
Fourthly, I don't trust the factory cross bars as I am going to start loading two boats on top.
Overall I'm happy with this product and I would recommend it to others, as long as its not going on a Malibu!I was going down I-72 with my Necky Manitou on this set up. It also has the Monster Mounts (Yakima) to mount the kayak to my factory rack on my Mazda Protege5. It was secured using both front and rear ropes to my bumpers.
The rack broke off of my car at 65 MPH! The bolt tore through the plastic mounts and I had a 13' kayak dangling from the side of my car. Luckly I was not killed or killed someone else. Not recommended.The Hullraiser is awful. If you are not tall, if you do not have a light boat, and if you have a tall car, do not buy this product. Under the aforementioned conditions, the Hullraiser is nearly impossible to load. If you use a step stool, you are unstable on all but the most level ground. The "J" portion of the Hullraiser is very high and it is impossible to lift above that threshold.
Today, with assistance (a taller person lifting the other side of the yak), it still was nearly impossible. Regardless of how tight you make the screws, the Hullraiser will rotate around a round rack.
I would give it a zero if there was such a rating. The only decent feature is that once tied down, the yak is secure.
It is difficult to get the strap through the teeth of the apparatus. It is equally as difficult to remove the yak from this configuration. I am extremely disappointed in this product which I purchased to prevent my yak from oil canning on the round bars. At this point, I'd rather oil can than use the Hullraiser again.
I will either go to my dealer or to Yakima for a refund or exchange. If an exchange is not forthcoming, I will throw it in the trash can to save space in the garage.