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Old 11-03-2008, 06:27 PM   #1
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Thule Slipstream Kayak Rack

Here are some pictures and a description of the Thule Slipstream Kayak rack and loading system.

Basically, it is an all in one solution and contains the saddles, roller, straps, etc. The best way to describe it is that it operates on a "sled". The "sled" attaches to your crossbars and can be slid back for loading a kayak using the rollers. Once the kayak is on the roof, you slide it forward to get the kayak over the roof for travel.

Here is a picture of it in the driving/travel position.


Here is a picture of it slid back to the rear of the van for loading a kayak.


Here is another picture of it slid back for loading. You can see that the rollers extend past the rear of the roof.


It is very easy for two people to load/unload a kayak. It is also very easy for one person to get one end of the kayak into position on the roller.


I haven't had enough time to figure out the best way to load/unload the kayaks by myself yet. However, it shouldn't be difficult. Once the end of the kayak is on the roller, I should be able to stand on the roof and pull it up. I tried pushing it up from the ground by myself, but I'm too short to push it far enough past the pivot point. Besides, this is probably not a good method since you would have to trust that the kayak falls into the proper position.

We are definitely happy with this setup. For two kayaks, we use the slipstream to get the first kayak on the roof, then just transfer it to the second rack. The only downsides to the slipstream that I can think of are as follows: Since it sits on the "sled", it is several inches higher than if attached directly to the crossbars. It is also probably not as sturdy off road, although I don't believe it will be a problem either. Finally, it was not cheap, it costs about $300.

I will post again if/when I master loading/unloading the kayaks by myself.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:01 PM   #2
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Very cool! I've found that loading and unloading the kayaks isn't so much the problem.... it's strapping them down. No matter what, you have to go on the roof. Wish there was a way around that.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:09 PM   #3
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Can I ask the length and weight of your kayaks and do you think you could load and unload alone?
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for the pics SD! I think we will go for the Slipstream. We were also interested with the Hullavator, but the weight factor was discouraging. The Hullavator weighed in at around 50lbs. and the Slipstream is at 24 lbs. I believe. I will let you know once we get it. Thanks again.

Ray
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Ray, I hope it works out for you. It has definitely worked great for us.

Joanna, I haven't had a chance to truly test loading/unloading the kayaks solo. I should be able to this weekend and I will make another post with my "results". Our kayaks are between 15 - 16 feet and weigh around 50 lbs each.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:36 PM   #6
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I added the Thule Slipstream last week so we can test it out over the weekend for a Surf weekend at San Elijo. My wife and I were a little weary on placing surfboards on our safari rack due to our solar panel (damaging it) being mounted on the top bars of our rack. Every time we would put boards up there (above the built-in cross bars), it would be resting on our Kyocera panel. This is what we tried:

1. Installing another pair of Thule Cross bars above the top rail:
Cost: $228.00
Con: Eventhough it is a little elevated from the panels, it was still to close for comfort (just incase we have a board with lots of rocker).

2. Using the Thule Hullavator
Cost:$499.00!
Con:Expensive and heavy, weighing in at 50 lbs.

3. Thule Slipstream (suggested by sdwindansea)
Cost: $270 @ http://www.racknroad.com/
Pro: It works awesome!

Here are some pics from this weekend:






Solar Panel Clearance!




Had to clean the wax off!



Thanks again for your help everyone!
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:56 AM   #7
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Ray, I'm happy to hear that the slipstream worked out well for you. Nice looking board also. Were you able to load the board yourself? Also, what are you using to tie the board down? Enjoy the surf.

Geoff
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:51 PM   #8
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Geoff,

I used the strap that came with the kit. As far as loading it, yes, I did it myself. With the help of this:




Ray
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:01 PM   #9
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We have the little brother to that step..... stored in the door and ready to help anyone that has dificult with that first step into the van.

...and it has come in handy a few other times too.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:41 PM   #10
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Yeah our step is the one pictured in the inset, except green. Found it at camping world, but it does double duty in our kitchen at home.
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