Kayak Carrier for 2011 Subaru Outback

Does anyone know if any Thule or Malone kayak carrier mounts will fit the newly designed folding crossbars of the 2011 Subaru Outback? Subaru sells their own J-style carrier, which requires additional special mounting brackets from Subaru. My wife would like to put low-profile saddles on her new car, rather than the J carrier.

New Subaru racks
I have a 2010 Outback with the new style rack/crossbar system. I was worried about everything I had been reading, but in the end, I have my Yakima Bowdowns and a set of Yakima Mako Aeros on my Subi and have not had any issues or problems with those mounts. I have a 16’ sea kayak and have carried SOT Ocean kayaks with no problems.

Thule - I think so
I saw a new Outback with two J-cradle sets on it the other day. I think they were Thule Hull-a-ports. You should go to a Thule dealer and try them for fit.

It looks like the factory bars will be limited to carrying two kayaks. The Thule Fit Guide says their regular 450 Crossroads and bar will fit that car, but it sure did not look like it to me. If that does fit, it would let you put Thule bars on the car and opens up your options. You still can’t get much spread on the bars, though.

I hope Subaru comes to its senses before my 2002 dies.

Cheers, Alan

Subaru rack
I just got home from the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City & Yakima will shortly have an adapter for the 2010 Outback worthless rack. It essentially will add about 6-8" of crossbar spread through the elimination of Subaru’s crossbars. The system will mount fore & aft of the factory side rails on the ‘hump’ part of the rack the current side rails are connected to. The only issue I saw with Yakima’s modification is that the crossbars will now sit about 2-3"s above the existing crossbars, making for a slightly higher rack, but the system looked well thought out and stout. I’ll admit, the new system has made me reconsider the purchase of a new Outback, which I had written off because of the lousy rack. Funny thing is, the Euro outback has the older style rack installed, not the junk we got in the U.S.

Or pull the factory racks
I did a quick check on one of the third party sites yesterday, I think it was Yakima but don’t bet on that, and their pictured solution had a new Outback with no factory rails at all. They showed towers mounting directly into the slot that the factory rack uses, very much the same as we did with one of your earlier Ford/Mercury wagons. It was a nice system for our needs, though it does require that you have all your own stuff.

not quite that easy
Yes, Yakima’s Landing Pad #12 will finally offer a good rack option for that car.

However, removing the factory rack completely is more difficult than the average person can accomplish. The Pods can be removed from the roof with a few tools, but it will leave protruding bolts above the roof line. To remove those, one must access them from the underside, which means removing the headliner. Once the pods and the securing bolts are gone, then one has to order the cosmetic strips to fill the rain channel from a Subaru dealer in Europe where an Outback without a rack is available. Once those are installed, you are at ground zero for a roof rack. Then you can install a Yakima or Thule track, bolting through the roof and attaching your aftermarket racks to the tracks.

Kayak Carrier for 2011 Subaru Outback
My thanks to everyone for your replies. I was able to mount a set of Thule Glide and Set saddles on the Outback for my wife. The fit could be better, but is acceptable on the factory crossbars. I am replacing the original mounting bolts with stainless steel carriage bolts (1/4-20 x 2) and nuts, as she wants to leave the carriers on until late fall each season. I have had previous rust problems with Thule mounting hardware for carriers on my trailer, but quickly solved that with stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts. Its puzzling why Thule doesn’t use stainless steel mounting hardware.