Monday, May 21, 2007

Nice Rack!

Most kayak damage, according to expert sources that escape me right now, comes from attempting to get the things from your home to the water on top of your car. I will confess to nearly breaking my Aquanaut in half last summer but thats another post. Everyone remembers the days of lashing the canoe to the roof and the gray foam pieces tied down with that cheap nylon rope. Back in the days of cars with rain gutters you could get a fairly economical rack that would actually hold your skis/bike/boat on your roof very solidly. The advent of the gutter less car, in my opinion, was the event the fueled the rise of the $400 Yakima and Thule systems. I have friends with factory racks on their vehicles and you can still rig a decent carrier using the foam and straps with that type of setup. Most of us however, get to choose between round and square, the Thule and the Yakima. Which is the best? I'd like to hear some opinions. Hully rollers vs the Thule slide system, vertical unit vs the standard setup......? To me its kind of like like Schlitz vs Pabst, Ford vs Chevy, or any other mass marketing induced preference. I've heard people cite differences but I just can't seem to get my arms around them. Is there any enlightenment from rabid fans of one system or the other? I own a Thule simply because they were on sale when I decided I needed a high end rack. And that, I suspect, may be the case with most people.


Ron said...

I didn't know much about the many different racks when I first started. I bought a Yakama with the rollers, the system has worked well over the years, and never has any part of it broken. It wasn't cheap! But its proven to be good equipment. I also got it at 20% off during one of Hoigaard's sales.

Michael Collin said...

First off, I work with Thule- just getting that out of the way first off. Both companies have come a long way with their watersports carriers. The best thing for everyone is that you aren't necessarily stuck with round or square per se, as you can mix and match carriers on each others cross bars, with a few exceptions.

The real difference comes when you are looking for a little extra help. Thule offers load assist options with its Hullavator (gas strut assisted carrier that loads from the side of the vehicle) and Slipstream (new rear loading and sliding system). The Hullavator can only mount to a Thule or Yakima system, while the Slipstream can be mounted to most factory racks as well.

The Hullavator isn't inexpensive, lightening your wallet by some $469 (not including base system). but your back will thank you later. The Slipstream runs $300 and is a complete system, but doesn't add extra muscle just ease of loading.

Best of luck with your decision- most important thing is to travel safe and get out there and enjoy paddling-