Just got a subaru outback and I’m heading on a long trip with two kayaks and probably a luggage bag tied to the top. To fit everything onto the top of the car, I’m thinking about 2 Thule J cradles with the luggage bag in the middle. The boats are about 50 pounds each (OK Scrambler and a plastic sea kayak) and the max load are the rack is 100 pounds. I also read where the J cradles give a little more clearance in opening the back door of the wagon witht the spoiler. Has anyone used 2 J cradles on a subaru factory rack? Was there enough room for anything else in the middle of the two boats? Any experience or ideas?
We do that all the time on a Subaru…
Our Forester routinely carries 2 boats and a Yakima cargo box. We use the Malone J cradles, similar to what you are using, and we have had no problems with that set-up.
I would get Malones before Thule. $87 shipped. instead of $137
Actually I just reread your post, do you already own the Thules?
I’m sceptical, based on the crossbars
which came with our '97 Outback. I would recommend that you spring for a Yakima, Thule, or Saris setup. Those crossbars are level and very strong, while the fittings for cradles are excellent.
I haven’t looked closely at the newest Outback crossbars. Maybe they’re stronger. Not that the '97 crossbars were flimsy, but I have my own instincts about materials and construction, and my instincts said Yakima.
I have one set of Thule J cradles and if I go the route of sticking with the Outback’s factory rack, I’ll need to purchase another set of J cradles. I really like the Thule’s, but I’ll definately check out the Malone’s before I buy another set. Thanks.
I have an’05 Outback. Love the car. Handles great, smooth and quiet ride and good gas milage. However, I did replace the factory oval crossbars right after buying it. I just wasn’t impressed with their apparent lack of durability. Peace of mind is everything when you’re hauling 5k in boats going 65mph down the freeway. I changed my rack out with Yakima towers and cross bars and use the Malone J-cradles with that set up. Boats ride solid up there with plenty of room and I feel confident going down the highway. Have fun with the car.