06 subaru impreza wagon and kayaks

Curious what arrangements people have to transport sea kayaks on top of subaru impreza wagon with factory rack. I noticed that front bar is slightly higer that the rear.

great cars
we have had three of the little beasties so far - each one has been outfitted with a thule rack … we have carried 3 sea kayaks on them with an assortment of cradles and J racks. Love the car. Just the right size. Each of ours has about 200,000 miles on 'em. In a pinch, you can put the seats down and sleep in the back!

Stern first may make the boat level, if it matters. To me it would if doing lots of highway miles to reduce air drag. Any leading edge damage from rocks/debris would damage the rear, easier to repair than the bow- not as critical to performance if not quite perfect.

Had a …
2003 outback sport with Thule clamp on bars. They clamped on the existing side rails. Couldn’t get much spread,but never bothered my 18’sea kayak. Bow & stern lines a must.Probably drove with kayak 3000 miles,and never had a problem. The same bars now fit my 2005 outback wagon. Always drove bow first,and never had any road damage,and air drag will always be there either bow or stern first.I lost 1 mile per gallon hauling the kayak,and if I hauled 2 kayaks it got 3MPG less.Loved the car but needed even more room to haul aging parents,they had a real hard time getting into the rear seats,so we got the big outback.

Happy “Subaru” Paddling billinpa

bad karma
to carry your boat backwards

If that’s true…
…it must be REALLY bad to carry them upside down!

hey, they
are designed for rolling! :slight_smile:

Thanks for replies. I guess I’ll just have to put them on top and see what happens.

I tried …
just putting kayak on the factory crossbar. The hull was very easily deformed by pushing down. When bulkhead was placed over the bar, problem obviously went away. What is your experience with hull deformation using various cradles?

I use cheap foam blocks with aero bar grooves cut in the bottom that slide perfectly over stock crossbars. Price $25. That is if I am hauling 1 kayak. When hauling 2 I have to use the Thule clamp on crossbars,and foam blocks that slide on those square bars. Never had any hull deformation hauling poly,or composite boats.Used to have Mako saddles,but they chewed through gelcoat if dirt got on the saddles. Foam blocks do not do that,and are far cheaper. Comform to various hulls,and pop on & off quickly.Properly tied down boats do not slide around. You will not be able to put 2 foam blocks on factory crossbars,just not wide enough.Don’t have to worry about someone stealing your rack system,just slide them off ,and put inside your car.

Happy Paddling billinpa

OK, I would appreciate a few pointers.

Do you have pictures of your kayak on foam blocks?

What is the placement of bulkheads in relationship to blocks and crossbars?



– Last Updated: Jan-30-06 5:45 PM EST –

I have only 1 picture,and it was taken so far away you can't see the blocks. The blocks I have are 16-18" long,have a shallow V in the middle. Underneath the have a oval groove [aero crossbars of Subaru,and many other factory racks} cut so they can be slid on the factory crossbars.They are 4 " wide,and in the center only about 1" thick between the crossbar and the bottom of the V. The separation is dictated by the spread of the crossbars on your Subaru,and your boat design may dictate a different placement. In my case, my 18' composite kayak is ballanced on the bars the straps to the crossbars are in front & rear of the cockpit. The rear bulkhead is on the rear block,and the front block is about 16" behind the forward bulkhead. My boats hull matches the V in the blocks,and strapped firmly{not a death squeeze},rest nicely on the blocks with no deformation. A bow & stern line to the tow hooks located underneath car at the front & rear. You CANNOT use 2 foam blocks side by side on the Subaru factory crossbars{not enough room},and if you want to haul 2 kayaks you will have to buy longer clamp on crossbars. The foam blocks with the aero groove will simply drop down on the longer clamp on bars,and they will slide until you tie down the boat,and stay,but bow & stern lines ARE A MUST to prevent shiftng of the blocks on a heavy crosswind,or a truck passing. If all tied properly I have never had a problem with this setup. I have hauled 2 kayaks with this set up 3000+ miles,with no problems,and at speeds up 70mph. The first time you try to put the foam blocks on the Subaru factory crossbars they may be a little difficult. Spray pledge on the inside of the aero groove to help slide on. Remember they will slide side to side ,even on factory crossbars,until you strap the boat down. Using this method don't even think of not using bow & stern lines. Any rack system with a narrow span between the crossbars,and a long boat,should have bow stern lines to prevent straining the strapping with crosswinds.

Happy Paddling billinpa