2015 Subaru Outback Racks

We recently purchased a 2015 Subaru Outback with the factory roof rails. My local dealer says that Subaru didn’t consult with the major manufacturers, and there are no rack options other than the factory racks. Frankly, this would have been a deal breaker, and I would have bought a different car entirely.

Has anyone come up with a solution to carrying two kayaks on a 2015 Subaru Outback with factory roof rails? I’d like to be able to use something other than the factory J-racks.

My outback as the cross-bars that swing out 90 deg to clip in the opposite rail. I purchased some thule saddles to mount on the cross bars. It works ok.

Look at 2013 Model Landing Pads
Yakima finally came up with modified landing pads that fit 2013 and later outbacks. If you google for discussions of Outbacks and landing pads you can find a Subaru user group where someone explains how to modify landing pads to work. Contact Yakima directly, don’t use info from webpages because most of it is wrong regarding the outback.

I do not know for sure that the 2013 version works on 2015 cars but I think this is correct. I installed them on my 2013 and they work fine with an elavated yakima rack and extended round bars.

Possibly call Yakima customer service
They might be able to share when their solution for the 2015 Outback will be ready. Please share what you learn. I bought a Forester over an Outback in 2009 because of the Outback rack design.

I would love to upgrade to a 3.6 Outback, but won’t do so until someone has a solution for aftermarket crossbars…

another website
subaruoutback.org for Subaru enthusiasts. You might get some good suggestions there.

I e-mailed Subaru earlier this year and got a form letter response that they cannot recommend non-Subaru accessories.

solution per versus weight bearing

– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 6:17 PM EST –

Subaru made this basic changefor 2010, it is not new. Subsequent to that they added a slot in the rear that allows the owner to swing the rear bar sideways and slot it in further back. I measured it, the linear distance it sets up is almost exactly the spread of the pre-2010 models.

The Yakima landing pads mentoned above are the only solution l know of, but l know people who are using them and they are satisfied.

If you ask Subaru about carrying two sea kayaks using their cross bars, they will tell you no. The only thing they will support is the weight of a couple of whitewater or otherwise small boats. If something goes horribly wrong while you are carrying two sea kayaks using their cross bars and some third party jbars or saddles, you will be outside of manufacturers recommendations.

In fact if you officially ask them about using what most of us have, towers on their rails for third party cross bars with saddles or ehatever, they will also say you are out of specs.

The difference is that, prior to the redesign, the owner could make a decision about what alternatuve system to trust, with choices. Now there is just one.

Whatever you do to carry more than a couple of whitewater boats on a post-2009 outback you are outside of manufacturer recommendations, maybe by more than was the case before those stupid new racks. Pick your most comfortable option and go from there.

I guess the good news is they did not put them on the forester when they redid that. If you go back, you will find Subaru saying they were going to.

I disagree with your local dealer though. It's not like Subaru forgot to check with the rack folks. They wanted to make that use of their cars go away. They did succeed in a way - most long boat kayakers l know went to a different car.

Wonder if…
…the 2015 being 9" higher than my 1999 has anything to do with the factory discouraging roof top cargo.

I have been told…

– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 8:10 PM EST –

By a fellow paddler that the forester roof is considerably higher than the (oops, l meant) post-2010 outbacks. I have to say it looks like that, but haven't measured it. Same rack design as before, so same as the older outbacks.

I really have to move on a car in the next 12 months, l can't nurse my high mileage workhorses much further. Aside from knowing it has to be one of the muddle suv cars, rav4 or crv or forester to get the cargo size l need for summer travels, l am still totally stumped. Like the prius 5 except for the ground clearance, just not working for mE for a lot of my driving.

Landing pads for '15 are in …
according to the user group webpage …



Hi Celia

– Last Updated: Jul-05-15 9:11 AM EST –

With the canoe and kayaking paddling we do, I buy my vehicles(car and truck) based on their ability to be outfitted with a yakama roof rack that can be bolted directly to the roof.
last year when it was time to up grade, after much research, we found out that the basic stripped model of the 2014 Forester, with no roof rack was the way to go.
It has little pop out covers and then the Yakima landing pads get screwed directly to the frame.
They have been rock solid, and we are quite happy with it.

I am not sure about the 2015. It would have to be checked out.

The odd thing about the 2014, is that the same model, but with those stupid factory side rails, cannot be converted the way the ones that are stripped can.
A friend has one and thought he could convert it, and then found out that the side rails cannot be removed and are installed differently

This is our first Suburu and so far we are quite happy with our 30 MPG gas average with two long sea kayaks on it, and love the variable speed drive transmission.

Time and mileage will tell the final tail though!

Jack L

thanks jack
I’ll think on that. I also like the middle package doodads like heated seats and no glare rear view mirrors. Might be hard to combine with a bare roof. But I like yakima, so worth seeing I can get this combo custom.

Outback 2015 Racks
In general, dealers don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to kayaking. Typical J-hooks and Cradles will fit the crossbars that are on the Subaru. The Thule Hull-a-Port, and the Yakima JayLow work great because they fold down, so you can leave them on all season. Get a small step stool if you’re loading these alone. Be sure to change the stock Outback crossbar position to the widest setting for proper support. (check the manual) Get the Seattle Sports Hood Loops to avoid rubbing your paint off with your tied downs. Use the tie down bar that’s stored over the spare tire for your rear bumper.