Today I will be reviewing Thule’s Hull-A-Port 835XTR and 835PRO Kayak Carriers. These are both J-style roof top cradles designed for all kinds of kayaks and canoes. The difference between the two models is that the 835PRO is a foldable version of the 835XTR and is a little more expensive (the PRO is about $30 more). Aside from that the racks are nearly identical.
There are a few very nice features about these racks that have made them extremely popular among enthusiasts. First of all, they will fit on any kind of bar. This includes stock bars that came from your vehicle’s factory, Thule bars, even bars from other manufacturers like Yakima. All the hardware needed to install is included. Second, these come with heavy duty straps as well as bow and stern tie down straps. Another great feature is that everything is fully padded so you wont scratch your vehicle or your boat.
The way it works is you load your kayak into the cradle and then throw the padded strap with buckle over the top of the boat. You then thread in the other side of the strap through the buckle and tighten. Strap in the bow and stern lines and you are ready to go.
The Thule 835PRO has a couple extra benefits that I would like to quickly discuss.
So the main difference here is that the 835PRO folds down with Thule’s P.F.D. (Pull. Fold. Done.) rapid folding system. This is good if you want to leave the rack on your vehicle as it should help reduce wind resistance and overcome one of the major disadvantages of a roof rack (reduced fuel efficiency).
Another consideration is that the fold down carriers can help fit your vehicle back into your garage. We have all heard of the stories where the guy forgets he has a roof rack on and rips it off when he pulls into his garage – hopefully his kayak wasn’t attached! Anyhow, my point is this could be a major consideration if you want to keep the rack on your car, and for an extra $30, it’s probably worth the convenience.
A final consideration for these kinds of carriers is that they don’t take up a lot of space. You can easily carry 2 kayaks with this system, even on a smaller car. All in all, this is a very well thought out solution that has received a lot of praise among the kayak and canoe community.