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This is an ongoing project to haul our kayaks on top of the Promaster. I got stopped last fall by multiple events and cold weather. My roof rails are a different construction than what is normally seen. I thought I'd share that portion.

Low profile rails... I choose the Unaka Gear Company roof mount brackets. These are about as low as you can find, are well made, and don't trap water underneath. The rails are 1/2" x 2 x 12 ft long aluminum bars. It's possible to find these bars in a 12 ft length BUT... you will pay dearly. I ordered (4) 6 ft bars from Grainger at moderate cost and tapped holes for a splice plate. The rails were drilled to match the mounting holes in the roof mounts. Longer bolts were required. Caution is advised as the tee bolts in the PM are not in a straight line. These rails are good and rigid. I eventually drilled holes to mount the crossbars.

Hauling kayaks on a Promaster

Besides being too high, we have an air con, solar panels and vents to contend with. After many iterations I settled on the lowest roof rails possible, custom made crossbars and Thule Hulavators. The Hullavators have gas springs that counteract 40# of weight and lower the kayaks 40" down the side of the PM. That puts the cradles still high enough to require a ladder but then I need a ladder for the final tie downs anyway. I did get as far as actually hoisting the boats up to check the fit and function. One (expected) disappointment was that the cradles that come with the Hulavators do not fit our kayaks. Our boats are lightweight design and must be supported well. I will make some custom fitting cradles and finish this project come Spring.

Crossbars... I have a stockpile of steel tube 20mm x 34mm x 2mm wall and about 3 foot long. The tubes were welded together and have mounting feet and plastic spacers to raise them about 3/4" to clear solar panels. Some creative mitering had to be done to clear the rear roof vent.

Thule hardware... The Thule mounting foot bolts to the crossbar. The brackets for these feet were a pain as they were right up against the solar panels. Once fit up though they stay on the crossbars. The main Thule assembly hooks onto these feet and is held on with a pin. They assembly with cradles can quickly be removed for storage.

The Hullavators end up being 67.5" center to center... further than my reach. Normally you grab both "handles" and release the locks to raise or lower the boat. I need a temporary strap to hold these open.

fwiw... The crossbars with the Thule bracket did not make any noticable wind noise at 70 mph.

Part two... Build custom cradles and make some special tie down straps. Stay tuned. --KenA

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