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Forester roof racks/kayak carrier

saxysaxy Posts: 9
edited May 2014 in Subaru
I'm trying to determine what kayak carrier will work satisfactorily with my 2005 Forester.

The accessory rack OEM from Subaru is quite affordable but both the specs for the attachments and a good photo of the carrier are sadly lacking on the Subaru parts page. (photo larger than a postage stamp when printed woudl be good).

Just wondering if a Subaru owner could comment on the using the carrier offered by Subaru and if you HAVE TO GET THE SQUARE CROSS BARS TO HAVE THE 150LB CARRYING CAPACITY WITH A KAYAK, why can't subie give us better specs on the parts page shown here:

Any actual experiences with the rack attachments would be appreciated.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Subaru re-sells Yakima racks, so check the Yakima site for details.

    The OE cross bars can handle 150lbs, and Subaru sells clamps that mate up with Yakima accessories, I think they were $7 each way back when, when I looked years ago.

    That's surely cheaper than buying new cross bars. Good luck.

  • lmn908lmn908 Posts: 34
    I believe that the Subaru OEM kayak rack for 2005 is like the Yakima kayak stacker. (Thule makes a similar device). It is basically an upright pole one attaches to the cross bars to which one secures the kayaks. It is relatively inexpensive and you can use it to secure multiple kayaks, but isn't the easiest way to secure the kayaks, as they have to be balanced on their sides resting on the roof rack crossbars, which takes some effort to get them up there and the help of another person to keep them in place while being secured.

    For 2007, it looks like Subaru is now offering a type of J cradle as the kayak carrier. This is an easier kind of carrier to use, and as the kayaks are carried nearly upright, you can fit 2 on the crossbars and carry 2 boats. Both Yakima and Thule offer similar products, as do other manufacturers. As with any system, the boats should be tied down at both ends, but this is especially important with J cradles.

    We used the Yakima kayak stacker for a couple of years on our 2002 Forester, but then switched to a system from Yakima using saddles. We did have to buy the Yakima mounts and longer crossbars in order to carry two boats, but it is much easier to use.

    There are lots of choices out there depending upon how many boats you want to carry and your budget (foam blocks are inexpensive yet work well directly on the crossbars for one boat).

  • saxysaxy Posts: 9
    From the absurdly small image on the Subaru website one can't really tell how the OEM mounter works- I can't seem to find any central tie points under the Forester front and back- there's one near the right rear wheel and in front there is one over by each wheel, not exactly convenient to reach or tie, especially in back. Wonder if the plastic grill is strong enough to handle a tie- any suggestions where to tie in back or in front

    The picture they show kind of looks liek a cradle mount. Perhaps I'll just go with the foam blocks on the cross rails since I'm just going to carry one at first.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Finding tie points can be a pain. I had to put a short loop of perlon rope in my engine compartment on my minivan. It's tied off to a frame member so I now have something to tie my boats to up front. It hides under the hood when not in use.

    I do use the tow hooks on my Outback - there's three of them near three of the wheels. I've never had a problem having the boat painters tied off at an angle to the boat.

    I wouldn't trust the plastic grill unless you can find some metal support hiding behind it.
  • rjweissrjweiss Posts: 20
    I have an 03 Forester with factory aero roof bars, I'm curious if the enclosed roof carrier that they sell for the Legacy & Tribeca will fit?

    I have some unused Subaru Bucks that I can use for the purchase.

    Ron W.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I beleive they are different sizes... :(
  • rjweissrjweiss Posts: 20
    I kinda thought they would be longer, just curious if I could spread my cross bars far enough apart to make it work.

    Maybe I could get the specs somewhere?

  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Gee, I wonder where :confuse:

    Maybe directly from your Subaru Dealer? :P
  • I have Thule Hullaport kayak carrier.. it's a J-shaped carrier that fits the OEM roof bars on my 2003 Forrester. Works fine.
  • I bought a Yakima HullRaiser Aero w/ straps a couple weeks ago, liked it so much that I just picked up a second. Bought online, about $110, racksforall. This is a J-style, takes 10 minutes to assemble and install on a 2006 Forester. The mount fits just fine, using the shorter bolts. The strap with padded buckle is fine, little hard to thread until you learn to let off on the clamp to help "bend" the strap end around the clamp bar. My Pungo 140 is a little heavy, but I'm able to lift it up into the "J" without much trouble. So long as you can get your yak up to the roof on edge, this is a great rack. I don't bother with front/rear ties, just the two straps. I do see a little more flexing in the factory rack than I like, when loading, but it's OK and saves me $180 for bars.

    Also picked up the Yakima 6 pair ski rack, $100, but that will require "mighty-mounts". The Yakima site was a little ambiguous on that, might have been a model change, but th supplied hardware is only round or square, not factory "aero".
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I don't bother with front/rear ties, just the two straps

    Lots of boaters don't but racks/straps/ropes can fail. Then you have a nice flying projectile. Just takes a minute to add a "fail-safe." link

    I got a new Dagger Rival a couple of weeks ago to add to my quiver. :shades:

    Steve, Host
    SUVs & Speed Shop
  • timacntimacn Posts: 1
    Ok...I'm old and stupid.

    I want to buy a kayak and need a roof rack for my 2006 Forester. I have a factory rack on the car, just the basic rack, nothing fancy.

    Will the Yakima "HullRaiser Aero mentioned earlier work, or do I have to buy crossbars.

    Thanks for your help. Forgive my ignorance.
  • Yes, it fits as is, no bars needed.
  • BraeBrae Posts: 1
    We've never really used the roof rack on our 2005 Forester and now we need to figure out how to secure a big suitcase up there. The two adjustible crossbars are too wide for typical j-hooks that come on tie-down straps. Need to figure out a solution, fast!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The Outback Sport's rack had 2 little round holes that were perfect for this.

    Even my old '98 Forester had these handles at the front and back that worked as tie-downs.

    In your case, I would tie a loop on one end, then go around the cross bar and pull the rope through the loop. It's self-tightening - the harder you pull, the tighter it gets.

    Maybe some boy scouts here can offer more specific advice? I used bungees, as well, to take up any slack and things shifted.
  • onoffroadonoffroad Posts: 17
    Put two sit-on-top kayaks(one on top of other) on my cross bars ! Use two rachet type straps,secure tight to each other and cross bars ! Never had a problem ! Two hour round trip going 65 mph.! 08 Forester !
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