08-16-2012Submitted by: neilsprice
Reviews for Thule Roof Rack
Based On: 28 Reviews
- Rating: 8 of 10 Thule "J" bar style racks clamp on to factory rack (on factory cross bars)
My vehicles: Jeep Grand Cherokee and GMC Acadia
I've had the J racks since getting our two Old Town Dirigo's a few years ago. They have performed perfectly. Just completed 4200 mile trip with them with no problems, but you should be aware of a few things and use common sense. I had concerns about stability and wind resistance for the long trip. The Dirigos are beamy and not super light (45# +). The Js held up to the task just fine and at hwy speeds.
Two areas of caution: These boats on their sides create a high profile and resistance. If your speed is 70 and you have a head wind of 20-30 (as we did) that's the same as 90-100...a bit much; I'd keep air resistance to 75 or so combined maximum. If the wind is to the side you'll feel strong buffeting at times, slow it down. Without wind we felt comfortable at 70. Kayaks were strapped according to instructions around J and under factory cross bars. Also had bow and stern tie downs to prevent sliding forward or aft.
Secondly air pressure will try to push the boats apart from the bow. The Js are attached to the crossbar in a clamp fashion tightened with two thumb bolts. These can slide on the crossbar. The edge of your factory rail will stop them in the front, but then the rear racks will tend to slide together (toward the center of the car), making a bigger air dam. I cut and taped a strip of wood to the crossbar between the opposing rear Js so they could not slide. (I saw another car with Js and the rear racks had come together making huge air resistance and although not separated one of the kayaks had lifted from being seated in the cradle....yikes I would not want to be behind that guy!) Check all tie downs every time you stop or if you here or feel anything unusual.
Caveat: I was thinking of replacing the Js with a rail rider or something that I could put an extended crossbar on in order to lay the boats flat. Figured less wind resistance would equal better gas mileage. I was surprised to find on this trip my mileage was better than expected (19+ with a big hemi V8, not great but hey, it goes!)I attribute this to mainly reduced speeds on many of the non interstate highways where we were running 60-65.
11-27-2010Submitted by: PECo
- Rating: 10 of 10 I own and use two Thule 815 Kayak Cradles that were purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG). Interestingly, there is no information about them on Thule's website. Apparently, the 815 is made to DSG's specifications. One I bought used off of eBay for $75 plus $13.25 shipping. According to the seller, it was used for three seasons before I got it. The other I just bought at DSG for $79.99 ($99.99 less a $20 off coupon) plus $4.80 tax. The box indicates that it was manufactured this year.
I compared the parts list for the 815 with the parts list for the 835XTR Hull-a-Port that appears on Thule's website and they're almost identical. The only differences are that the carriage bolts and end caps, while the same size, have different part numbers, and the 815 does not include the two 1/4 inch Rope Ratchets that are included with the 835XTR. While the Rope Ratchets are nice for tightening and securing the bow and stern tie-downs, they're not really necessary if you can tie a decent knot.
I must confess that I've used the 815s without bow or stern tie-downs, but my two kayaks have not budged at all. I peek at them through the moonroof on my car from time to time, and they've never shifted. It's important that you read the directions on how to secure the two strap assemblies. If you do it correctly, they will not loosen. Thule's buckle bumpers are pure genius for protecting your car and your boat. When I get home one night with only one kayak on the roof, I entered my garage before the door had fully opened. The bow of the kayak hit the bottom lightweight insulated aluminum panel of my garage door and crumpled it, but the kayak didn't budge (nor did it get damaged, phew!). However, in the interest of safety, I have resolved to use bow and stern tie-downs in the future. To this end, I have purchased and installed bow hood loops from Riverside Cartop Carriers on my car.
Anyway, happy paddling everyone!
07-20-2009Submitted by: kayakgal2
- Rating: 5 of 10 Re: TK8 fit kit for Honda CRVs
The covers for the the TK8 fit kit do not sit flush on the car. There is a rather substantial gap on the inside edge of the cover. This allows water to get under the trim. Thule recommended smearing a heavy layer of grease on the metal under the rail twice a year so that the metal does not rust. This is a problem. The gap is obvious and also does not look good. Thule has been aware of this problem for a couple of years and have chosen not to rectify it.
If you are going back and forth between Thule and Yakima rack and you have a Honda CRV 2006 model or older--which means using the TK8 fit kit--you may want to look at the Yakima rack.
08-01-2008Submitted by: kozmikarl
- Rating: 6 of 10 I can't comment on J carriers because I don't use them, but perhaps I should. The design weakness with Thule is the square bars, which only becomes a problem on curved roofs, but as the roof curves so must cradles cant away from each other, reducing contact between boat hull and cradle to inside edges. The cradle faces are absurdly small to start with; this rotational deviation from level makes it even smaller. Couple that with Thule's comically inadequate détente angle fixing clamp (for holding the saddle in the shape of your boat hull) and for support you are probably better off using foam blocks. So J carriers may work better on a curved roof, if I can lift that high. I've seen some people use them for composite boats so it might be OK.
Don't get me wrong. I use Thule racks and locks and cradles and locking cable and straps… the whole kit. That's because security and convenience and bicycles and protecting the roof of my car are also important, and because I started with a used Thule rack, gradually accumulating a closet full of proprietary extrapolations and substitutions as needs changed. And it does work. It all works. It's just that every single bit of it is clumsily engineered and imprecisely manufactured, requiring brute force as well as wiggling and finagling to get it just right. Some parts fit loosely, some tightly, some are robust and some flimsy. Every change, every adjustment to a Thule rack is a project and a series of compromises. Admittedly, I change things around a lot, but as familiar as I've become with my rack, I still spend an inordinate amount of time getting all the parts straight and tight and solid before I reach for my boats.
If I had it to do over I would definitely get Yakima, which has different problems but at least it acts like the parts were all designed by the same team, and round bars are simply stronger.
Please, whatever you use, tie down the bow and stern. It doesn't matter how many times you haven't and nothing bad happened. It doesn't matter how little it shifts in the wind. It doesn't matter that you're 15 minutes from home and only driving on pavement. The point is that if a strap breaks you could easily kill someone in a following car. I read somewhere that no boat is ready to drive away until it has 6 lines on it: two each across the midsection, triangulated from the bow and triangulated from the stern. Take it to heart.
Also, poke holes in dead tennis balls and jam them on the ends of your bars. It will keep your passengers from clonking themselves, not just because they are softer and rounder than factory caps, they are bright. It's easy to lose track of exactly where black-on-black bar ends are in space, even when you're looking for them; it's hard to overlook glowing lime-green spheres. You'll have to replace them each year as they fade; remove the factory caps beforehand so you won't pull them off inside the tennis balls.
03-07-2006Submitted by: Patrick Stoneking
- Rating: 9 of 10 I originally purchased my Thule rack system in 1985 (for use on a Land Cruiser) and ‘upgraded’ in 1990 to the new style Thule racks (for a 4Runner), so I have a fair amount of experience with these racks. Although I have not purchased much new Thule gear lately, all of my 15-20 year old accessories work great. I use the 58” bars in the winter to hold my ski carrier and box. In the summer I use 78” bars to hold 2-3 canoes or kayaks, plus bikes. Given that most of my gear is so old, it is made of solid aluminum and steel and hasn’t given me one failure. Sure, I broke a fairing when I hit a flying rock at 60mph. And, I’ve lost a few of the nuts and nylon bar ends but these were easily replaced. But never have I had a fear of the rack coming off my truck. I’ve even caught a tree with one of my 78” bars, which bent the roof of my 4Runner pretty good. Still, the rack did not budge. My rack has spent a lot of time in Alaska and Minnesota winters and rust has never been much of a problem, either.
Last year I bought a Suburban (now I have two racked vehicles) and bought a set of Thule #450 Crossroads to mount to the factory rails. I was little concerned about the rack coming loose. Not that the rack would have a problem, but rather the factory rails would rip out of the Suburban’s roof. Happy to say, after several 1500 mile trips to Maine and Hilton Head my concerns have been but aside. This thing is as rock solid as I was used to.
If I have anything negative to say about Thule it would be that fewer dealers seem to be carrying them than when I bought mine. Sure, I can buy off the internet but I prefer to support my local dealers.
In my honest opinion, you can’t go wrong with a Thule rack.
09-27-2003Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 One year ago, I purchased my Thule rack with four H2GO saddles to support my two sit-on-top kayaks. So far 3 out of the four rubber saddles have torn where the pin that passes through the rubber and attaches to the plastic. Even though Thule has graciously replaced them, I feel the H2GO saddles are poorly designed. Thule has replaced my saddles with their new SET2GO saddles.
03-24-2003Submitted by: sotyakr
- Rating: 9 of 10 Earlier this year (2003) I purchased two sets of Thule Hull A Ports to carry an Ocean Kayak Scupper Classic and Scrambler XT on my Subaru Forester. The first used the older plastic mount clamps, and has the 'exposed' foam saddle pads. The other set featured the new metal plates and nylon covered pads.
After reading the reviews here by some users who had issues with the older clamps, I contacted Thule support and they offered to send me a set of new metal hardware at no charge. The support rep. said that most of the problems with older design were probably caused by non-use of bow and stern tie downs, and strongly recommended doing this, even with the updated mounting plates. A few weeks later I received the plates, installed them, and everything seems to be solid but I think I'll still be using tie downs just to be on the safe side. Just noticed Yakima is now making racks similar to the Hull A Ports and also recommend securing the bow and stern. Guess they're playing "C-Y-A", too.
In any case, thanks to Thule for acknowledging the potential problem and making good on it. Oh yeah, the racks are great!
02-14-2003Submitted by: lance430
- Rating: 8 of 10 This is a addendum to all the posts on the Thule Hull-a-Port and saddle style kayak carriers . After seeing a number of posts on the possible fragility of the plastic clamps on the hull-a-port carriers we became concerned about the clamps.
I contacted Thule's tech services and was told that the aluminum mounting clamps would not hit the field until March 2003 and that it might be late March at that. They will still have the capability to clamp to bars up to 2.5" wide. They will still ship with 50mm and 60mm screws. They also stated that some (maybe all?) of the saddle type carriers would get a four position locking set-up that would allow them to lock nearly vertical for a shell on down to flat for a windsurfer.
After a lot of looking and web browsing we came on Oak Orchard Canoe's Deluxe "J" cradles. It's a couple of hours to thier store and we went up and bought two pairs. They are nearly 3/16" thick brushed stainless steel and very well padded. The cradle is wider than the Thule. At 22" high they're 4" taller then the Thule and since they are, essentially, vertical they double as kayak stackers. They are even padded on the back. They come with straps that have sewn on buckle pads. The mounting bracket fits Thule or Yakima bars and some other racks. All-in-all, these are a little more money than the Thule but they appear to be as close to "bombproof" as any accessory I've seen. I'll post a review as soon as we've used them enough to do a fair appraisal.
The "8" rating is subjective, I've never owned the Thule carrier. It's purely a reaction to the thought of trusting an expensive hull to plastic clamps.
10-25-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 Well I dont even trust factory racks because of the loads I often carry and for this reason I bought a Mit. Montero with gutters-could have had a newer Monte but the gutters are gone as with most newer SUV's, the gutters allowed the use of Thule bars attached to gutters and not factory racks with stated capacities of around 100 pounds, since I am often carrying two Brittish boats and a fully loaded Thule box in the middle I felt better ultimately attaching to the gutters...using this system I have traveled to Canada and to Key West and to the OBX with the load listed above (with at least 70 pounds of gear in the Thule Box...and have had no problems (yet!)...I do tie down the kayaks from both stern and bow for these trips of 500-1000 miles and also tie down the boats to the bar...I use a combo of Hully Rollers and H20 Saddles...and at every stop check the boat straps.
I have used Thule Products since the beginning of my yaking (1985) and am overall pleased-and still love the square bars for unknown reasons.
10-23-2002Submitted by: Greg Weddle
- Rating: 1 of 10 I bought my hull-a-ports along with the Aero-Bars from the Rack Warehouse in the spring (2002). Five weeks after I put them on my car, I had the lower plastic brackets snap on one of them on the freeway which was very disconcerting at 70 mph. Thule sent me new plastic brackets but after reading postings on this and other sites about kayaks flying off cars all over the country - I decided not to risk it. I commonly have to drive 500 x-way miles to paddle. I sent the hull-a-port back to the Rack Warehouse asking for a refund. They said Thule looked at it and because it was "used" (mangled is a better word after the product failure) they couldn't give me a refund. They admit that the plastic brackets are prone to failure and because of that - they are re-engineering them in steel and will send me my hull-a-port and new brackets when they are available. It is now almost November and I have not had the use of it all summer. Apparently it's sitting in moth balls at the Rack Warehouse until God knows when??? If only I would of bought them at REI or some other retailer that stands behind what they sell and will wrestle with the manufacturer for the consumer. Live and learn...
10-11-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 7 of 10 I have used a Thule to haul my kayaks for a while. Must rate the Thule parts folks as friends. They have been great.
Using the locking wheels on the footclamp for gutters I have had the bolts get out of shape and not been able to unscrew them. Got new bolts and wheels, used old locks. Yep free stuff. Sure look funny sawing off the bolts while the rack was on the car. Need stronger bolts. I do remove my rack at the end of the weekend or each trip.
The H2O saddles rubber breaks on the underside. You can see this when it starts to split. Again free replacements. Now I have an extra set. And each new one appears to have more rubber where it splits. Someone mentioned they wish they could set the angle, that would solve a lot of problems.
The hull a port I like it because it fits almost every rack. And like most of the reviews wonder why it has plastic mountings. Well, figured that out one day when driving under a garage where the door was a little low. The clamps under the hull a port broke. But then don't think they were designed to drive into a roof. Have tightened those hex bolts pretty tight, so the plastic bends but doesn't break under designed usage. But the hullaports do shimmy and shake when there isn't a boat attached. The angle of the j-shape fits one of my boats perfectly (Chilco) but on my Quest it isn't deep enough, I would like a better fit.
Around town and short hauls I use the H2O saddles because the boat is lower and I can get it into garages including mine at home. But like the idea of boats traveling on edge, so use the hull a ports for long trips. But avoid garages including my own when the boats are on the car.
Thule has to be listening and continually improving their products. Because each version I get has improvement. I would give them a 10 along with REI for getting replacement parts and warranty parts. But like other reviewers, lets get stronger bolts, and metal to give us the strength we need. Let's face it there are very strong forces on the kayaks, accessories and rack (cross bar and mounting to the roof).
I'll stick with Thule as long as they stand behind their product.
08-08-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 I am posting the response I finally have received from Thule regarding the 835 Hull-A-Port rack system. I am including their comments unedited for your review and as you can see for yourself, Thule really is just passing the buck onto the user.
I would like to tell you that I have been using the Thule on my Durango and I secure the boat by going around the factory rack (not using the Thule securing method of securing your boat to the rack only). I find that that when you synch down the Kayak the pressure is pushed down through the Thule kayak racks and onto the factory roof rack which "flexes" and therefore allows the Thule rack to do the minimum which is to hold your Kayak on its side securely. Also once the Kayak is loaded this way it would be rather difficult to dislodge that baby unless your doing 70MPH and slam on your breaks even then it may not go anywhere..it is pretty darn secure.
In addition to looping the synch down straps around the factory rack, I run them through the rigging on my boat deck and through the bottom part of the "J bend/brackett" of the rack to get to the factory roof rack. I figure that this way if the Thule rack does give away at least it and the boat have a better chance staying with the truck longer until I can pull over. I hope this helps, overall I think the rack is really a good affordable option that requires some added attention and caution when using but overall it is well worth the money.
Okay here is Thule's response....
"I have read reviews online on our product before, and fully understand your concern. For the most part I have interpreted that the people that have had bad experiences were not using the product correctly. Thule recommends using a 4-point tie-down. This is so that you equal out the pressure on the carrier, as well as, on the vehicle. I've seen reviews of people stating that they do not use any bow and stern tie-downs. These are the people that end up having their kayaks fly off. If the product is used correctly, there should be no problems while you are driving. So long as you use the product correctly, Thule will stand behind it. If you have any further questions on the matter, feel free to contact us. Thank you."
07-31-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 After reading this product I was hopeful but also a bit concerned based on some of the negative reviews. So I wrote Thule and Rack Warehouse and forwarded these reviews. Below is the response I received from Rack Warehouse along with a contact number!
Dear Phil, I have read over the reviews you sent us regarding the Thule Hull-a-Port. Being the manager in charge of returns, warranties, and exchanges at the Rack Warehouse I have had some experience with the problems noted in the reviews. The problem of the plastic mounting hardware breaking has happened before, but it is not at all common. Since we have sold the Hull-a-Port, we have had two sent back to us for warranty of this problem. Both of these racks came back last year (the first year this product was available), and this year's Hull-a-Ports have not been any problem for us. We have sold hundreds of units this summer, without one call about this problem. Usually people get back to us right away if there are problems with the system we sent them. I suggest the Hull-a-Port as an option for many people because of its ease of use and flexibility. If you are worried about the mounting brackets, I would suggest following one of the reviewer's advice and secure the boat down to the bar as well. I always use the load bar to secure my straps because the bars are always stronger than the accessory on top of them. Also, both the box the rack comes in and the instructions tell you that the bow and stern strap is required. To be on the safe side and ease your mind, use the bow / stern straps. Please call me if you have more questions or concerns. Thank you, Mary S., The Rack Warehouse 800-272-5362
06-10-2002Submitted by: aghs
- Rating: 10 of 10 Good News #1: They're great.
Good News #2: They fit on Thule AND Yakima rack systems.
You'll get a lot of interesting stares since these are NOT the saddles you're use to. Yes, they look like you should have four people sitting in little 'chairs' on the roof of your car, but fear not, these things are GREAT for holding kayaks.
Originally I bought them because our car didn't have the width for two boats to sit side-by-side. But they support our plastic touring boats (Necky, Looksha IV), very nicely. The fear of oil-canning the hulls by supporting them in traditional saddles is all but gone. The hull-a-ports hold the boats vertically and in even the strongest cross winds, the two straps (provided, with buckle bumpers) are enough to hold the boats in place with ease...and not so much pressure that you'll bend the hulls.
While you should always tie down your bown and stern, you'll be tempted to skip it. Note: we've travelled 700 miles to get to preferred paddling destinations - the hull-a-ports and our boats came through without so much as a wobble (okay, maybe when big trucks pass).
06-09-2002Submitted by: Seth
- Rating: 1 of 10 I recently put my Thule J-racks on for their second season of use, only to fine that the mounting hardware is not for its second summer of use. The mounting bars (plastic) are cheap and split easily. There is a bolt inside the mounting bar that is supposed to stay stationary so that the bolt may tighten the rack to the rack. When plastic mounting bar splits, which doesn't take much, the bolt moves around making the hardware useless. Also, the bolts included with the racks rust at the mere mention of water. (Probably not the best thing for a kayak rack). The upside is that the J-rack itself is great, its just the mounting hardware that stinks- which can be replaced. I've yet to do it so I can't speak to how easy that is. Its not a bad rack for $85, just be prepared to replace and be careful witht the mounting hardware aspect of it.
Ironically, after posting my review of the Thule J-racks, I just about lost a kayak this past weekend coming back from Maine, due to the cheap mounting hardware included with the Thule J-rack. One of the plastic mounting bars split- where the bolt is held in place by the recessed nut- and the front rack was only held on by the one remaining mounting bar. It was not pleasant to see my kayak sliding towards the outside of the roof rack, going down I95 in Maine. Unless Thule changes the mounting hardware from plastic to metal, this rack is a dangerous. Cheap mounting seems to be a theme with Thule.
05-28-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 6 of 10 The roof rack instructions are difficult to interpret. Here are tips from a sales person: The picture with the hand sqeezing does not mean completely secure, just means somewhat set in place. You completely secure,and hear the click, when on the car and screwing with the bolt/handle. Also, get the bolt/handle threaded properly into the foot before you shimmy it into the final position on your car, then tighten down. Also, Thule said that front and rear tie downs must be used on a verticle system because the wind force on long boats will tear almost anything off. Still, that piece of plastic is a crummy and dangerous attachment and needs replacing with something far more secure. Fyi Walden also makes a similar J system for kayaks but I haven't seen one up close.
05-21-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 4 of 10 I have been a long time fan of Thule racks and accessories. Then at sixty Mph my two week old Kayak departed the rack still attached to a new pair of Thule Hull-a-ports. Thule make a bomber rack system and the Hull-a-port is a great concept but why the plastic clamps?. The kayak landed safely in a snowbank but I worry about what might have happened.
04-12-2002Submitted by: triplehexxx
- Rating: 7 of 10 The hull a port system is unpredictable as far as safety goes.the PLASTIC clamp that allen wrenches in underneath your cross bars is not sturdy and should be made of some type of metal to make tis a reliable good system.i was driving 20mphs on a dirt road and i heard a crack and my boat almost completely came loose.can you imagine that situation but on a highway doing 60?tragedy waiting to happen! the closer to you roof you yak is the better.even though i have replacement parts coming and will continue to use the hull a port system.
04-01-2002Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 8 of 10 I already had a fairly sturdy factory rack on the roof of Subaru Outback Sport (the economy Outback) and was looking for cradles I could attach to that. I originally bought the Rollercoaster for the front and hydroglide for the back with the Fat Mouth Factory rack adapters. Regardless of what the salesman said, this didn't work (Fat Mouths only work with ski racks). So, I exchanged these for the Hull-a-ports (for about $120 less).
These attach right onto horizontal roof racks and hold the boat on its side to prevent warpng when tied down. It's very stable and makes it easy to lock the kayak to the rack with a standard cable. It can be pretty hard to load after a day of paddling and sometimes requires two people, even on my low roof. May not be the best for tall vehicles, but an economical alternative.
02-27-2002Submitted by: rwven
- Rating: 9 of 10 Thule Hull-O-Ports. Love them. Very secure and easy to load. Have carried a Seda Tango on them with no need for tying down the bow or stern. Down rated them 1 point because they do generate a bit of wind noise.
07-16-2001Submitted by: Arlene
- Rating: 5 of 10 Easy to install, perhaps too easy easy to remove, in a city . Wish there
was a lock of some sort.
Also we have 23 inch hulls and the H20go doesn't conform well. With our
light Kevlar boats we'd expect the craddle to remain in the position we
set it at, but road bumps cause the craddle position to shift, and the
boats require readjustment. Wish we could set the craddles in a fixed
position, like the old ones used to do.
Hard to imagine this is one of the better products around.
06-02-2001Submitted by: garym053
- Rating: 1 of 10 I initially purchased 4 #875 Hydra Glides to carry my kayaks on. However, the area of the pads seem too small and were putting dents in the hull when the boats were loaded. I decided to eat the $220.00 and install 2 Hull-A-Ports. They seem to carry more of the kayaks weight on the side as well as supply more area of contact. While installing, I noticed that the flange in the base where the base pad fits into, was broken on one of the Hull-A-Ports. I emailed Thule's support and asked them to replace the broken one and asked if I could buy a spare as it's obviously the weak point if it was broken out of the box! Thule's response was that I should take the Hull-A-Port to my dealer and ask them to call Thule while I am there! It's 100 miles round trip. My response to Thule was that this was CRAP and I asked if Thule was going to pay my time and mileage! I would rate them zero, but one is as low as this site goes!
05-29-2001Submitted by: Peter_K
- Rating: 6 of 10 Thule Rack mounted to factory rack on a VW station wagon. H2go Saddles in front, Hydroglides in back. Likes: Strength of system. Dislikes: All the saddles. Hydroglides can easily scratch the boat while you are getting the end on them, I need to set an ensolite pad on them to keep them open. The spring on one pad has broken in less that 10 kayak carrying days. I would much rather have used covers on standard saddles, see yakrackbooties.com (paddling.net sponsor). Also need to permanently fix a pad to the bar between the saddles. The H2go pads do not conform as well as they could. I bet the old ones with the three position locking tabs were better. They need more springiness. If Thule made the saddles as well as they make the bars and towers I would be a lot happier with the product. If they do not improve, I am not sure whether I would buy them again regardless of their superior strength. I have no affiliation with any paddling industry company.
04-01-2001Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 10 of 10 After much reveiw and discussion with others, I decided on the Thule system for my touring kayaks and my Honda CRV. I had initially planned to get H2GO Saddles, while debating on trying the Malone of Maine J saddles, when this year Thule came out with the Hull-a-port Part #835 at around $85 a pair), a J shaped kayak carrier, at a lower cost and intuitively more rugged design (ie bulkier) than Malone's. The Thule guy (at the NE Paddlesports show in Durham NH Spring 2001) did not recommend the fairing that Mike mentions below, but I had considered one for noise control. The rep said Thule is not recommending it for kayaks as it increases the lift forces on the kayak. The rack alone makes a boat-load of noise (no pun intended) so I can only imagine what it's going to soundlike with the Hull-a-port standing up there, let alone with a kayak attached to it. I may get the fairing anyway but it's expensive.
The rack was easier to install than I had thought, though I suspect your average Swede is much stronger than your average American... They show a one hand squeeze on the Aero Foot cam (that scrunches down on the cross bar, securing it). I had to stand and jump up and down on it (please don't void my warranty!) to get the darn thing to close and snap locked. It was almost a show stopper as I would not have been able to get it to close otherwise (I tried squeezing it for dear life with both hand and all my 205 lbs for over 15 minutes before I gave up and stood on the darn thing: closed right up and locked). Other than that, it went in likity-split, and exactly like the fit kit said it would! It took about 45 minutes, counting the isometirc exercises with the cam. I purchased the lock cylinders: I wanted to make those hard to install, but it could not have been easier. The installation instructions are well written and specific for my car (from the fit kit). I do think there should be no charge for the fit kits...
Highly recommend Thule. As Mike says, its Yakima versus Thule for the most part. The gear does roll off the Yakima round bar, but sandpaper or something of its ilk, between the accessory and the bar can slow that down a tad, so it's more of a minor annoyance. I think both are quality products that will last a long time.
10-14-2000Submitted by: McG
- Rating: 10 of 10 I own a 1989 Jeep Wrangler with a soft top. Awkward at best to find a roof rack. My wife and I are "Fun Hogs", the Jeep fills the bill but is short on hauling room. Thule to the rescue. The extensive listing of brackets and attachments have allowed us to fit the Thule rack to the roll bar. As we go topless during the spring through fall, we now can carry two kayaks & paddles and two bycicles w/spare wheels. As a testament to the durability, we have done the Rubicon two years running with bikes and our sea kayaks aboard. Routine trips into Baja, no problem. Thule's rectangular cross tubing is far superior to the competitions round tube. Although not recomended, at 220lbs. I've stood on the rack to scout trails and beach areas without fear of falling. One tough rack.
07-10-2000Submitted by: Michael Heikka
- Rating: 9 of 10 Thule v. Yakima - few topics bring about more angry debate. I've had my Thule system for about 5 years. I've hauled mountain bikes, skis, and three kayaks on my roof. It has worked flawlessly, albeit noisily. Yes, Yakima fans, the support bars will probably bend if you put three kayaks on them regularly. But if you are hauling that much weight with any frequency, you need a trailer, not a roof top rack system. Normal mortals won't have problems with bicycles, surf/whitewater kayaks, or one touring boat with an occasional second.
Thule simply makes the best-engineered accessories (with the possible exception of the wheels that Yakima makes for kayaks). If you use square Thule bars, your kayak will not push the saddles forward (unlike Yakima, with its round bars). Thule bike trays have improved (the old ones had junky, tricky mounting hardware), and their new kayak saddles are elegant and attach with only one screw and can be removed quickly (unlike Yak's ugly, plastic saddles that are high, noisy, and have two difficult to turn thumbscrews on the bottom). Compare them and you'll see what I mean.
In Yaks' defense, I believe their systems are easier to remove (in total) than Thule's are, so if you plan on removing your racks frequently, go Yakima.
TIPS: 1. Be sure to buy the ugly wind deflector so that you can hear your radio (or be willing to experiment with placement to eliminate whistling).
03-13-2000Submitted by: ---
2. Car owners: Cut the bar ends short on the passenger side, or teach your passengers to enter the car "butt first" so that they don't bump their head on the bar ends! I've had passengers nearly lobotomize themselves on the bar ends.
- Rating: 10 of 10 Great racks, last a long, long time...and haul anything. I got mine in 1983 and just recently needed to replace straps. This company does not expect repeat business...but makes lots of acessories as you change toys/sports.
02-10-2000Submitted by: Jimbob
- Rating: 10 of 10 I replaced my 89 Plymouth Voyager with a 98 Voyager and the roof rack stinks for my canoe and kayak. I replace it with the Thule rack. This rack is strong and sturdy worth every penny. The factory installed racks could slide back and forth and the Thule can't slide with loosening the bolts. I have no intention of ever moving them so I have no problem with this.
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