Kayak rack for Subaru Crosstrek?

Last year I replaced my 2002 Honda Civic with a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek. I’m short - 5’3", and normally do a lot by myself. It was so easy to lift kayaks on the Honda but this little Subaru is taller, plus looks like I’ll have to haul my kayak (s) sideways.

What’s the best/ easiest rack for a short person to use?

Have you looked at the Amagansett Roller Loader? Costs some but makes it much easier.
As to racks, anything that does not require much aiming. Which takes Jbars out.

not cheap but some thing like this… but there are other options

cheaper way

Hi, acy,

We use Yakima HullyRoller saddles, now called the SweetRoll and it works pretty well. My wife can lean her kayak up against the rear of our Crosstrek (using a protective mat) and slide the kayak up over the rear rollers and then set it down on the front saddles. It’s fairly easy to readjust the position of the kayak once it’s up on all four saddles. She also uses a folding step to gain some height advantage.

We thought about the extension arms but the roller saddles and a protective mat work well.


Have a Crosstrek as well, and use the Yakima Timberline set up with it (towers that attach to the factory side rails).

For shorter folks, the Yakima ShowDown side loading device is also helpful, and quite a bit lighter (and less expensive) than the Thule Hull-a-Vator.

I use a homemade device similar to the Inno Kayak Lifter:


that looks like a good option but they’re out of stock everywhere :frowning:

Was it easy to make?

Yes, it was easy to make. I used PVC plastic pipe. Here are a few photos:

There is a PVC “bar” on each side of the car connecting the ends of my Thule load bars. Some pipe insulation foam covers the PVC. A loop of rope with some bungee cord tied into it spirals around the Thule bars and pulls the PVC pieces together so they don’t just fall off.

The short, vertical caps at the front of each PVC bar can be removed and replaced with a taller piece. The taller vertical piece helps guide the kayak up onto the rack from the side. The kayak is loaded from the side, and then spun around to the normal front to back orientation using the guide bar. Photos would help explain it better, but I don’t have any right now. Note that the Inno device has a horizontal guide bar while I made mine vertical.

The tees in each PVC piece slip over the ends of the Thule bars. There’s a short piece of plastic pipe inside each tee that has four corners filed out to be a tighter fit on the rectangular Thule bars. The next photo shows it better.

All PVC joints are glued except where the vertical loading guide bar slips in for loading.

Here’s another option, the Yakima Showboat

Hi Acy, if you haven’t had any luck we recommend the Wash Rider Y Rack.