Monday, December 14, 2009

THULE Kayak Rack

I meant to post this back in August when we were in New Hampshire. Now, with Christmas fast approaching, I figured I'd go ahead and post it for anyone who needs to find a present for the kayaker in their life.

My wonderful wife bought me a THULE rack (model 883 glide and set) for carrying my kayak on the roof rack. It consists of two front and two back pads on which the kayak rests.

The front two pads are a type of rubberized non-skid material that prevents the kayak from sliding forward or aft.

The back two pads are have a type of felt-lining, so the kayak slides smoothly across these pads.

However, the back pads also pivot. If you pull down on the back of the kayak, then you lift the bow up off the non-skid front pads and can slide the kayak on or off the top of the car.

Tilted up off the front pads.

Down and resting on all 4 pads.

This is a GREAT present for someone who goes kayaking solo (or with small kids) and doesn't really have anyone to help put the kayak on top of the car. Back when I rented the same model kayak in Hawaii and was trying to put it on the car by myself, I imagine it was comical to watch me getting the kayak on the car. I would lift the bow up onto the back of the car, then go back and try lifting the back end and pushing it up on top of the car, and it was very tricky trying to keep it from just sliding off one side of the car or the other.

Not so with this THULE rack. Now I lift the bow up onto the back of the car, and when I go back and lift the back and push it onto the car, the back felt pads guide the kayak into place and keep the kayak from sliding off either side of the car.

We bought my THULE rack at EMS in Dulles, VA, and the staff there were very friendly, professional, and helpful. After we bought it, they came out and installed it on our car for us. Plus, they taught us the trick of twisting the straps.

There is one lingering question in the back of my mind: What will I do when my boys are old enough to have their own kayak and we need to carry more than one kayak on top of the car? I suppose then we'll have to shift to something more stackable that holds the kayaks up on their side, but in the meantime, I REALLY like my THULE kayak rack.

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