Gear Review

Thule 883 Glide & Set Rooftop Kayak Carrier

Thule 883 Glide and Set Rooftop Kayak CarrierThe Thule Glide & Set Rooftop Car Rack is as smooth and simple as the name implies. When it comes to choosing a kayak rack for your vehicle it comes down to how easy it is to load and go.

What We Like:
Two of us at chose Thule over Yakima because of the design of the cradles and ease of use. Thule’s design is a little sleeker but that doesn’t mean you’re merely getting form over function. The Glide & Set system was hands down the winner versus J-Hook style carriers (and some of the higher priced roller systems). This is really all you need to get your kayak loaded, unloaded and into the water (and vice versa) in moments.

How does it work? Set the nose of your kayak onto your load bar in-between the felt cradles. Then you push (glide) your boat up and into the front rubber cradles. You have your kayak on right when your cockpit is positioned evenly between the front and back cradles.

Full Disclosure:
Thule includes blue straps but they are quite lengthy. The longer your straps, the longer you’ll spend tying the loose ends. I have yet to find a way to cut and melt long straps for a clean edge (I don’t recommend trying*). I do however highly recommend the Sherpak Over-The-Hull Strap. Not only are these quality nylon, but they are crazy affordable. I use 9′ straps which is generally all the length you’ll need.

*Friend of Miles Paddled, Allen, has offered his suggestion on how to cut straps: “The quick clean way to cut nylon straps: Find a big kitchen knife you don’t care if you mess up. Find piece of scrap wood. Mark strap at cut point and lay on board. Heat knife with a propane torch to dull red hot. Press hot knife down through strap. Nice clean cut. Be careful with hot knife.” Thanks Allen!

The Final Word:
The Thule system is expensive but like most kayaking gear you buy it once. It’s well worth the investment to spend more time in the water than lashing your kayak to the roof of your car with foam (and your back will thank you too).

Thule Key Info:
Manufacturer: Thule
Load Accomodation: Kayaks up to 36” wide and 75lbs
Rack Fit: Thule rack systems, round bars and most factory racks
Fit Guide: Thule Racks
Accessories: Thule Load Bars

Sherpak Key Info:
Manufacturer: Seattle Sports

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