Kayak recommendation

I currently own an Old Town Dirigo 120 which I have been very happy with, except for the weight. I changed cars and am looking for a kayak that I can put on my car and drive into my garage where I have a pulley system. The Old Town(height 18.5 inches is just about an inch too tall. I mainly do Wisconsin small river paddling and some local lakes. Would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Just the weight?
There’s lighter options.

Lincoln Quoddy Light at 12’6" w/2 bulkheads starts at 33lbs and can be lighter.

How are you measuring 18.5"? Loaded in J-Cradle or hull down?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY




– Last Updated: Mar-19-16 1:03 PM EST –

The Perception Sport Conduit 12 and 13 each has a deck height of 12". The $500 model 12 has only a stern bulkhead but the $600 model 13 has stern and bow bulkheads which would make it more versatile. The extra 12" of length will make it a little faster but should not be a hindrance in the kinds of waters you favor.

As was already mentioned, have you tried hauling the boat you have inverted? That usually provides better clearance and is more aerodynamic. The listed deck height for your Dirigo is 14" so it should clear your garage if you flip it over. I have been hauling all my kayaks that way for years.

This is the measurement given in the Old Town Description. Thanks for your help.

Hmmmm. I have the Yakima Mako Saddles. I’m not very good at anything engineering, but are you saying the kayak will sit lower by flipping it? Is it hard to get the straps tightened? This would be so great if it worked. Maybe I can get some friends to come watch me pull it out… Thanks!

Dirigio 120
You miss read the deck height! It’s only 14".

Get a lower car! when I had my Jetta Sportwagon TDI I was able to drive right into my garage with my Placid Boatworks Spitfire 12(20lbs) pack canoe on the roof.

Deck height
I guess when I put the notice on this site I looked it up and somewhere it gave the other measurement. That is a moot point thought because I tried driving out with it on and it didn’t clear the garage.

I used to have a Honda Civic that made it possible to drive in and out, but I wanted a car to get my road bike in and needed more passenger space so that’s why I bought the Subaru Outback.

Again, what kind of rack?

Bill H.

An Outback?
Good luck with that. Without knowing how the height of your garage door opening, I can probably say that you won’t find any kayak that will meet your requirements. I have a 2005 Forester and my kayak just barely fits beneath the door. I have to place the saddles so that the boat sit as low as possible on the rack. The newer Outbacks and Foresters are gargantuan in comparison to my 2005.

Think about a canoe, which would ride upside-down virtually on the bars. I have no clearance issues with my SpitFire. I still don’t think it would work with a new Outback, though…they’re just so freakin tall.

Subaru Outback 2016
I own a Subaru Outback 2016 and have the Yakima Mako Saddles. REI told me which hardware I needed to attach them to the bar. Now in perusing different articles I am seeing that some people think the Outback’s built in rack is a piece of junk. I am concerned about safety as I don’t want to have my kayak fly off and hurt someone.

directly on rack
I don’t use saddles but carry my kayaks upside down directly on the racks, which in my case is a pair of Thule bars attached directly to the parallel bars on my 2015 Mazda CR-5. There are many reasons to carry boats hull up. For one, you avoid hull deformation if carrying a plastic boat for an extended period in hot weather. Since the cockpit coaming is dropped down between the crossbars there is less chance of it sliding forward in a collision or back when accelerating if the steaps break or come loose. (I also ALWAYS use bow and stern lines to the car bumpers.) And I suspect it is more aerodynamic. On highway trips I have cockpit covers on my boats to reduce turbulence. All my covers have webbing loops that allow me to secure them to avoid flying off.

I envy you having a garage. The house I have lived in for the past 12 years not only has no garage but has no driveway nor any area level enough to build either one – picture a house plunked in the middle of a ski slope. My kayaks (5 at the moment) live in a walk out basement and I have to carry them around to the front yard and up a flight of 6 steps to where my car is parked on the street.

An older Outback would have given you more clearance. It stinks that carmakers think that wagons have to be so tall. My favorite boat hauling vehicles were the old boxy Volvos. Tons of interior space and long low roofs.

You may want to experiment with various different ways to load your boat without the saddles. I share others concerns with the integrity of the Subaru factory criossbars. On my 2002 Outback I mounted Thule bars.

Yikes the problem grows
Ok so now I realize there won’t be another kayak to purchase and I will just have to carry my kayak into the garage and maybe extend the pullies to floor level to accommodate this issue. However, now the real issue is the safety of the rack. Are there lots of cases where kayaks have flown off on Outbacks? Is it when people are carrying multiple kayaks and the weight is too heavy? If anyone knows of a site where I can get more information, I’d appreciate it.

A light weight canoe
solves many of life’s problems, doesn’t it?

One shorter kayak
is according to Subaru not a problem for their factory racks.

This is all irrelevant to those of us who need to carry one to two sea kayaks of course, since that puts us way out of the Subie recommendations for the Outback cross bars.

Sure does! nm

one discussion on Subaru factory racks

One of my best friends bought a 2015 Outback last year and we looked over the racks on it together when she brought it home – neither of us felt we could be comfortable loading our kayaks on it.

If a kayak flies off
it’s because you didn’t tie it down correctly not because of Subarus rack.

How much do you weigh?
As others have mentioned flip the kayak over if you have clearance problems entering the garage.

A smaller kayak will weigh less than a big one, if you aren’t big get a smaller one.

Consider one of the Hurricane thermoplastic kayaks.

I agree
nothing like a lightweight canoe.