1. 1. Reasons why I didn’t like the Hullavator and returned it:
  2. 2. Why the Malone Channel Loader Didn’t Suit Me

On April 3rd, 2022, for the first time, I managed to load and unload my boat with the Yakima BoatLoader EVO. I have been trying different types of kayak loading systems for a few weeks because I want to load kayaks by myself so that I can go kayaking more often. I have tried the Thule Hullavator, Malone Channel Loader, and Yakima BoatLoader EVO. I failed so many times, and they all didn’t work out well for me. Maybe it’s because my car is too high or my boat is too heavy. Or it’s just because I didn’t know how to load kayaks with the minimum effort. Anyway, last Wednesday, I tried loading the Tempest 165 by myself, and I finally succeeded. I bought three types of rubber mats to prevent the kayak from sliding when loading or unloading. One of the Costco car floor mats works perfectly. I think the rubber mats are a key part of this system.

Here is a video of me loading a kayak using the Yakima BoatLoader EVO.

Here is a video of us loading a kayak using Thule Hullavator

Some specifications:

  • My height: 5’4”
  • My car (Honda CRV SE) height: 5’4”
  • My boat (NDK Pilgrim) weight: 50lb
  • My boat length: 15’8”

Price comparison

More photos of these systems in the Google Album:

Reasons why I didn’t like the Hullavator and returned it:

  1. Difficult to Operate : The new Thule Hullavator required both of my hands to constantly squeeze the handles; otherwise, the system would lock. This made it challenging for me to push the boat flat after lifting it up. My husband had to use his head to push the boat down on the crossbars.
  2. Expensive : The total price, including tax, exceeded $1000 (if you buy locks, it costs more)
  3. Heavy : Weighing 39.7 lbs, it’s almost as heavy as a fiberglass boat, which posed issues with my Yakima crossbars’ weight limit of 165 lbs, leaving limited allowance when carrying two kayaks.
  4. Too tall to fit into garage: With the Hullavator installed, my car couldn’t fit into the garage, but taking it off and reinstalling it each time I needed to use it became a pain due to its weight.
  5. Challenging to Load : Lifting my kayak onto the Hullavator’s racks from the ground was tough, as I struggled to lift it high enough to the racks.
  6. Weight Distribution : The Hullavator’s installation positioned the kayak’s weight center close to the outside the car. I have concerns about the stability.

Why the Malone Channel Loader Didn’t Suit Me

  1. Sedan vs. SUV: The Malone Channel Loader works better with sedans rather than SUVs. The vertical truck glass on SUVs, combined with their higher roof, makes it less compatible.
  2. Challenging Installation: The curve shape of my SUV’s truck glass made it difficult to securely attach the Malone Channel Loader using the suction cup.
  3. Kayak Stability: Positioning my kayak on the loader required me to use one hand to hold it in place; otherwise, it would fall to the right or left side.
  4. Difficult Lifting: With one hand occupied in securing the kayak, lifting it up and pushing it to the top of the car roof from the back became very difficult.
  5. High Risk: Due to the challenges mentioned above, there was a significant risk of the kayak falling down during the loading process.
  1. 1. Reasons why I didn’t like the Hullavator and returned it:
  2. 2. Why the Malone Channel Loader Didn’t Suit Me