Fitting 2 yaks and a board on Forester

The family is getting the yak/board bug. We’re looking to buy 2 kayaks and 1 SUP. Does anyone have suggestions on rack and carriers to go on my 2015 Forester (w/ built in rails)?

I’m looking at Yakima currently but don’t have my heart set on them yet. Thinking SUPPup in the middle and two J-racks or one Stacker … but seems like I’d need 70" bar to hold all that. Does that sound right? That seems huge for my little Forester.

My Subaru owner’s manual says max weight for the roof is ~175 lbs (can’t remember exact right now). With 35+ lbs going to the rack and carriers… that leaves about 140 lbs for 2 boats and a board. Seems doable if I don’t get ultra cheap and heavy products.

But I’m spending more time just trying to figure out how to get our watersports gear to the lake than shopping for the actual gear. Any help?


I carry the same on 50" crossbars
I have Thule cradles on one side. I place the SUP on the other on board pads. After I strap that down, I tie the second kayak (upside down) on top of the SUP. It is under weight limit and rock solid. I guess a lot will depend on the shape of the kayak that needs to go over the paddle board.

My car is a 2010 Subaru Forester, so almost the same as yours. I need the extra width of the 50" crossbars.

2015 Forester

– Last Updated: Jun-21-16 10:57 PM EST –

Is what I have these days. I run 78" Thule bars just fine. Those are a bit of a carry over from the days of pilling on 4 canoes after a run. I run my hulls flat but with cradles or stackers you can get quite a bit up. Just be sure that everything is tied down well. I have found holes in metal on both sides under the front bumper.

Stacker with 50 inch bars
Board against the stacker bar, two kayaks on edge on each side - very doable. I have a 2013 Forester with factory side rails and 50 inch Thule bars.

bow and stern
if you’re going to tie down that much weight on your racks, don’t trust them too far. There is going to be a lot of wind resistance catching those boats, make sure you tie down the bow and sterns to your car. I have an older forester but it’s going to be similar. I made loops for under the hood and I made a pair for under the hatchback also. They are much easier to use than trying to find tie down points under your car. Not to mention I had a hard time finding straps that were long enough to reach from the kayaks to the tie down points under my car.

Had not considered
I hadn’t thought about putting the kayak on the board. Thanks for the idea!

“Board against the stacker”… So a board and kayak on one side of stacker then the other yak on the other side? No concern with a board transported on edge?

Good advice
Thanks Spider. I’ve seen some pictures of the result of not tying down bow and stern. Scary stuff on the highway!

In my mind, 78" bars look like the forester has wings! :slight_smile:

But good to know someone runs long bars. I’m not crazy for considering them. Thanks!

2014 Forester here
-with 78 " bars.

I carry two long sea kayaks and a 17 foot canoe.

I use a set of J cradles on each side for the kayaks and the canoe goes between them in the middle.

I don’t need or use front or rear tie downs since I shopped around when I bought the Forester with out the factory roof racks and just had the knock-outs for mounting a Yakima rack with “Landing Pads” directly to the car’s frame.

I wouldn’t want to be carrying much on any vehicles factory racks.

Jack L

Depends on SUP construction
I have a very thin surf SUP, made from epoxy-glass and it’s fairly easy to damage it. I’d be careful putting a quality SUP on edge between two stackers. You probably should post what board and kayaks you are loading to get relevant answers. If your board is thick and has a thick deck pad it might work to lay it on surfboard pads and tie the kayak down upside down on top, but I would be cautious and use extra padding between the board and kayak. Maybe some pool noodles over the straps between the two surfaces.

I agree
I do what Jack does, SUP (or 2) in the center, kayaks on J carriers at bar ends

Re: 2015 Forester
yeah man, I got me one of them too. I hope your enjoying your Subaru just as much as I am mine.