Thule Hull-A-Port XT Kayak Carrier Review

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Review of the Thule Hull-A-Port XT Kayak Carrier

Speaker 1: Today we're gonna be taking a look at the Thule Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Carrier with tie downs. Part number TH848. The Thule Hull-a-Port XT is a versatile kayak carrier where it enables you to carry not just one kayak on the roof, but with a slight adjustment, you can put another on the other side. And we'll show you how to do that later.In the one kayak configuration, you can see that there's plenty of space to store other accessories on your roof rack system. And even when we have a second one put in place, you would still have enough space for at least one. And a lot of this is because of how the kayaks are set on the roof racks themselves where they're set on their sides to save the most space.Both the bow and stern tie downs as well as the hull tie downs are included with the kit.

And the buckles for this tie downs do have this protection on the outside of it here and that's to help protect the hull once you install it. It also has adjustable pads along the backside here to accommodate different kayaks as well. And it also has these ramps here at the front, which is gonna make loading and unloading a lot easier.On the bottom here you can see the padding a little bit easier and that's where the kayak's gonna rest, again so it doesn't scratch up its hull once it's being installed. And this will work well with composite and plastic hulls. It also has an integrated tightening tool on the side here to tighten it down and when you're finished using it it does have a plastic knock out, which can be replaced with the Thule Lock Core that's sold separately to secure it to your vehicle, but also make it possible keyed alike with your roof rack system as well.The kayak carrier has three positions.

We have the angle position right now for one kayak, or pulling out the handle you can put it up vertical and this would be for two kayaks. And then, finally, we have the folded down position for when it's not in use. The steal portions of the bars have a coating on it to keep them corrosion resistant and the carrier itself has a max capacity of 75 pounds. Right now we have it attached to arrow bars, but this will also work with square, round, elliptical, and most factory roof racks as well.Measurements for this rack is gonna be five and a half inches tall with it folded down, 19 inches long, and eight and a half inches wide. With it folded up in the vertical position, it can be as tall as 20 inches.

When comparing this with other kayak carriers, one that comes up is gonna be the Malone Downloader, part number MPG114MD. The biggest difference between these two is the fact with the Thule Hull-a-Port XT that it is designed to work and carry two kayak carriers, one on each side, while the Malone is only designed for one. With the Hull-a-Port XT, it does have a lockable point here, while with the Malone, it does not.Now that we've gone over some of the features of the Hull-a-Port, let's go ahead and show you how it installs. We already have our first one installed on our front bars and we'll simply put this on the rear bars. Before we place it onto the roof, we're gonna open up the handle like so so we can remove our integrated tightening tool, like so.

You wanna go to the two screws on either side and just make sure they're open all the way by turning the tightening tool to the left. That looks good. And now we're ready to install this.When installing this on arrow bars, you wanna just be careful that you go with the back hooks first and push the front hooks over like so. That's how they install. You wanna make sure this is even with our front mount here. And we'll go to our tightening down point or screw. Then just turn it to the right to tighten it up. Get it nice and snug. And we'll do this for the rear as well.With that done, we can now reinstall our tightening tool. Now we'll open it up to take our first kayak. Just pop it open like so. And since we're only putting one on for now, we're gonna have it at the angled portion. And you just close it up. Next, let's take our strap and we'll place them up at the top here. See it has this buckle part here. Put our strap through there. We'll actually put it off to the side for the time being until we get our kayak in place. And we'll do this for the rear as well.Now we can install our kayak, utilizing the ramps to help us push this up into position. Once you get it to the ramps, you push up and it fits into place like so. Now we'll bring our straps up over our kayak like so. We'll do this with the rear as well. Make sure that our straps are up out of the way here and then we'll wrap it underneath our roof rack system. We'll pull back the rubber protector here around our clamp like so, thread our strap through, then pull it nice and tight. The rubber protector's gonna help protect the hull of our kayak. Then we'll take our access and tie it off and repeat this for our front strap.Final step before we're ready to hit the road is gonna be attaching our bow and stern tie downs. We'll first take our black loop and we'll put it through our handle here and we'll create a loop ourselves like so. Now, on the other end, we'll attach our carabiner. Now we'll take our tie down bracket, making sure that the end where this is opened is gonna be on the opposite side here.We'll thread our first line through and at the other end here we're actually gonna make a knotted loop like so. Make sure it's nice and tight so it can't get through and then we'll continue threading through our tie down bracket. Go in through the other side here. This is when we install our hook through the eyelet. Then take our free end and we wrap that through the top here and just get it loosely started for now. We'll take the open end here, but that on our carabiner as well, like so. Then we'll take our hook and we'll attach it to our hitch.So we'll attach it to our hitch here. Then we'll tighten down bow and stern tie down til it's nice and tight. Then coming up to our front here, we'll pull the rope down so we know it's gonna stay like so. Then we just simply tie off the excess as we did in the front.For our front tie down, we didn't have a particular place where we could put the hook underneath the vehicle, so what we ended up using was the Thule Quick Loops, part number TH530, which shut underneath the front hood. You can utilize this for other applications as well.Now we can show you how to load up two kayaks. We'll first unfold it and put it in its vertical position. And then we'll grab our straps. Putting them off to the side. And we'll repeat this for the other side. And with our second strap you just reverse that and again put it off to the side. Also, I would like to remind you that these straps are separate and you need to purchase them separately on have our second kayak installed first and, as you can see, it installs slightly differently where it wraps around the top as well as the bottom side of our carrier here. Once that's done, you just install the second kayak as you did before.Now you can see we have both kayaks installed and, as I said earlier, we still have plenty of space on the other side here to install other accessories. And there you have it for the Thule Hull-a-Port XT Kayak Carrier with tie downs, part number TH848.

Questions and Comments about this Video

Konstance K.

Is it best to install the second Kayak first? The strap goes through the top of the stacker bar and the Crossrail, correct? The video says the top and bottom of the carrier. Do you have a video of loading and tieing the second kayak? Thanks

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

@KonstanceK I would personally install the second kayak first. It will be easier to get to the straps and to the carrier to secure the strap if the secondary kayak is loaded first. It is kind of hard to tell, but you can see that the strap is also looped around the inside carrier upright arm when there is a close up of the carrier at the 9 minute mark in the video. This is how Thule instructs the kayak to be loaded on page 12 of the instructions - the strap needs to be looped around the top of the upright, come down under the crossbar and wrap around the inner upright arm. We don't currently have a video that further details the loading and strapping of this secondary kayak.

Gregory W.

Are the bow/stern ropes necessary?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Yes, very much so. The wind can catch the front and backs of kayaks which can then cause quite a bit of movement. The bow/stern straps help to keep that from happening as well as the bow/stern of the kayaks level.

Beth C.

Can you tell me which straps i should purchase two attach the second kayak? Thanks!

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Absolutely - you'll just need the Thule Load Strap # TH521 and Bow/Stern Kit # Y04031 .

Paul L.

Thank you for the video. You didn’t show what it takes to get the first kayak on the roof when loading 2. It just appeared there. Makes me think it’s no very easy. I’m not sold.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

When loading a couple kayaks onto the roof using a post style carrier (which is the orientation the Thule Hull-A-Port was in for the video), the first one isn't particularly fun. I wholeheartedly agree with you there. You're reaching further across the roof and lifting over the post itself. This is why for 2 kayaks I actually recommend going with two sets of J-Style carriers (one on each side of the roof) for easier loading. You could use two of the Hull-A-Ports or a more economical option like the etrailer # e98878 .

Reply from Paul L.

@ChrisR Thank you for the response. I’ll check out the other options.

Toots D.

Excellent video- when buying a roof carrier that with the locks is getting close to half the cost of a lower end kayak, knowing what you are getting is critical. I watched about 6 videos from several vendors and this one is exceptional in explanation. thanks.