Car topping accessories Suburu Outback

-- Last Updated: Jun-24-09 9:18 PM EST --

Just purchased a 2009 wagon-style Suburu Outback with factory racks. Does anyone have any suggestions for car-topping accessories for hauling sea kayaks with this vehicle? I used to use the Yakima hully-roller in back/saddles in front. Too many problems with that. Steve F

hully rollers
suck, I got rid of mine. Just regular saddles for me.

Sturdy, attached to the cross bars with solid hardware, not plastic clips.

Roof Rack
I use the Hully’s with Saddles works fine for me. But they could roll a little easier.

I too has a Suby OB
Tried the Hullys and they were always rotating.

Malone J-cradles work great. I also used a Yakima Boat Loader which was very helpful for solo loading.


I found the hully rollers always
rotated - so I drilled a hole right into the crossbar and put some screws in. Shouldn’t have to jerry rig such expensive equipment. Thanks for all the suggestions. STeve F

J cradles
I use the Malone J-cradles on one side, and Yakimas J-cradles on the other (all on an '01 Outback). Both work fine. I prefer the Yakima, because they are easier to remove (I take the kayak racks off when not using) and it is easier to loop the straps around the top of the cradle to go over the boat (where Malone’s, you need to get the straps through this little slot - not as easy).

All this is on Yakima cross bars. I removed the factory cross bars. Yakimas are supposed to be able to hold more. For 1, and maybe even 2, boats, the factory cross bars should be fine.

Thule glide and set
On my '02 Outback, I took the factory bars off the first day I had it and put on Thule bars (never could understand how those round bars were supposed to keep things from rotating). I used the Glide and Set saddles from Thule for a couple of years and they were good - they hold the boats nose-down for good aerodynamics and let you slide boats on from the rear (with use of a towel to protect the car).

Lately, I’ve been using stackers, which hold the boat up on edge like the J-cradles, but allow two boats to be nested on each side (if your bars are wide enough). I carry 3 boats with my 58" bars, and put on 65" bars when I need to carry four (sea kayaks). Looking at the Thule website, it shows the stackers are listed for 165#, so that could be 3 sea kayaks rather than 4, depending on your boats.

I really like the on-edge position for kayaks, since you can get to the cockpit and hatch areas to use them for storage. With two boats on the car, it gives you lots of storage up top for light-weight items.

Cheers, Alan

great car!
first off, I would say to get rid of your cross bars if you are going to mount anything other than your kayak on them. I had my bike racks on mine and they ended up flexing too much on the road, and caused a failure in the rack.

That being said, I have Thule’s Rapid Aero Multipurpose Rack on my car, with the slipSream kayak rack. I love it but after getting it, I figured out that I could have put just about any rack system on the cross bars and saved some money.