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Thule Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack Review

Thule Kayak Rack

Thule is among the leading global car rack manufacturers. With complete solutions which are durable, effective and easy to use, the Swedish manufacturer has made a lasting impact for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

When you want new adventures on water, carrying your kayak can be a real struggle. With a size which doesn’t fit regular cars and a shape which can be difficult to lock down, the kayak rack was born. Thule’s Hull-a-Port XT kaya rack has been made to carry up two kayaks dealing with one of the most pressing issues for adventure seekers and their logistics.

Click Here to See Our List of the Best Kayak Roof Racks.

Design and Capacity

 

Thule Rooftop Kayak Rack
Dual Position

The kayak rack comes with a specific J-cradle design which can hold one or two kayaks. The dual position design is easy to use and it represents a practical alternative to simple racks which are not specific to kayaks.

 

As you may already expect from Thule, the practicality and ease of use are among its core values. This is not different with their kayak rack. Made with the StrapCatch easy strap management, it offers a versatile lockdown solution. This works for kayaks of different sizes and it also represents one of the fastest ways to lock and unlock your kayak. The straps are part of an approach which makes Thule renowned not only for the durability of their racks but for their ease of use as well (iF Gold Award 2017 winner for design excellence).

For the times when you do not use the kayak, you can simply fold the upright. This comes with reduced wind resistance and a top clearance which allows you to enter garages or parking spaces. A simple lever makes this possible.

Installation

The rack comes fully assembled out of the box. As all Thule racks, it comes with everything you need to get going. Of course, to install it, you will need to have roof rails or load bars preinstalled. These are the foundation for the rack which then locks into position. If your car already has roof rails, you can simply install the rack and even lock it to protect it against theft. This can be done by additionally purchasing the One Key Lock Cylinder.

If your car doesn’t have roof rails, you will need to purchase them separately if you want to transport your own kayak. It is here that you need to find the design to fit your car and the best part is that you will be able to find a system which is also easy to use. Once your roof rack is installed, regardless of its size or shape, it can then hold the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack. It is also worth noting that both the roof rack and the kayak rack can be unmounted during the colder months of the year when you are not kayaking.

Thule-Specific Advantages

There are a few characteristics which make the rack appealing, especially when compared to its alternatives. Apart from Thule’s out of the box performance, the rack comes with a design which fits most load bars. The bars which are up to 80mm wide area recommended a solution for easy installation and they all work with the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack.

The load straps are unique to Thule as well. They come with buckle bumpers. Stern tie-downs are included as well. The strap system is still popular in the niche of kayak racks due to its adaptability. Even more, the straps work with one or two kayaks. One kayak can be up to 75lbs but the rack handles twice the weight at its 130lbs limit. All of this has actually been achieved with a rack which is only 12.5lbs. There are a few advantages when it comes to a lightweight rack.

Thule Rooftop Kayak Rack Mount
Upright Mount Position

The most obvious advantage comes with its ease of maneuverability which makes it uncomplicated to mount on unmount. But the lower weight also means that the load of the car doesn’t need to be as high. In terms of fuel consumption, this can only be seen as a major advantage. At the same time, the reduced weight doesn’t put extra pressure on the already higher center of gravity when the car is loaded with two kayaks.

For storage purposes, the foldable rack is also a major advantage. You can keep it in the garage when not in use without requiring too much space. At the same time, you also have the freedom to keep it in the car if needed.

Another major Thule roof rack kayak advantage comes with the versatility of the lock down mechanism. The kayak rack can be fitted on square bars. Although square roof bars are not the most modern solution as they hinder aerodynamic performance, there are still being sold today. It is good to know that these bars can also be the foundation for the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack.

Reasons to Consider the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack

When it comes to making the right decision, it is always important to see the most important benefits a rack comes with. Since you also want to protect the roof of your car, it is always indicated to start with the load capacity. The load capacity of your car’s roof can be found in the owner’s manual. If you do not find this information, you should contact your car’s manufacturer directly. If your car can support the weight of two kayaks, then you can consider purchasing a rack to carry them. There are a few good reasons why the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack can be a recommended solution.

Ease of use

With a pre-assembled design out of the box, the rack represents one of the most interesting solutions to work with. It comes with plenty of benefits which include the ability to install it yourself. If other racks require extra muscle power and help from a friend, the Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack can be mounted by you. At the same time, it proves to be quite recommended for the durability of your car’s roof as it comes with a weight of just 12.5lbs with the two straps compared to the heavier Hullavator Pro with its weight of 39.7lbs.

Lockable and Foldable Design

Thule Rooftop Kayak Rack Foldable
Folded Position

The rack doesn’t come with an included locking mechanism, but you have the liberty to purchase Thule’s anti-theft solution which can be integrated with the lock. It allows you to secure the rack to the roof bars. In case you decide to make the purchase, it is also recommended to have your roof bars locked to the car so that you can rely on a true anti-theft system.

Another good reason to consider the rack comes with its compact size, especially when folded. In many cases, drivers know the struggles of trying to enter a parking space with a mounted rack. As long as the rack is folded, you have extra clearance to ensure you can fit in most parking spaces. At the same time, it is also made to offer a real storage benefit, especially if you own multiple racks.

Carry Up to Two Kayaks

There are many racks on the market. Some of them can work with one kayak while others work with two kayaks. Thule’s design works with two kayaks, one on each side of the car. One of the common questions drivers have asked refers to the best positioning for weight distribution if you are carrying a single rack. While most people will argue that a central position is best, the racks are actually made so that they allow easy access to the kayak. So in order to avoid damages to the roof of your car, you should still install the rack in a way in which it keeps the kayak on one side.

Aeroblade and Squarebar Compatibility

There are a few roof bars and roof racks on the market. Thule has its own Aeroblade and Squarebar designs which are recommended when it comes to most sporting equipment. The Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack is compatible with both racks. So whether you have rounded aerodynamic bars or square roof bars, you can still mount the rack with its strap system to most roof bars. The good news is that if you opt for Thule bars, you can use a single key system to lock both the roof bars and the kayak rack for the ultimate practicality.

Conclusion

Finding the best kayak rack is not easy, especially with so many unsafe designs which are hard to install and which can even damage your car. Since Thule’s Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack fixes this problem, it is recommended for most cars and most kayaks.

Its main pluses include the ability to mount the rack yourself and to secure the kayaks with a simple strap system. Another major benefit includes the compatibility of the system with most roof bars. If you can go beyond the drawback of not having the One Key System Lock Cylinder out of the box, the rack can be a good solution for your car. In the end, Thule is known for their emphasis on safety and the adventurous spirit, where the focus is on the kayak and not on the rack. As long as your kayak comes with a weight of up to 75lbs, the rack can be a reliable solution.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Thule Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Rack
Author Rating
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Rack Maven

I love the outdoors and I'm fortunate enough to be able to spend most of my free time exploring it with my mountain-bike. In my spare time I write reviews and guides for bike racks.

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