kayaks on roof

I’m thinking about getting rid of my truck for a more comuter friendly car that will also carry my 2-14’ sea kayaks on a roof rack. My first two choices as of now are the Toyota Matrix and Subaru Impreza. My main worry is the width of my boats is too much to fit on the vehicles. Side by side, the width is about 42" total. Anyone know if this would be a problem with either of these vehicles? Am I overlooking another problem? Is there a better choice of vehicles I should be looking at? Thanks!

on the side NM

rotomolded? composite?
standard yakima/thule bars are 48" for a car…

i have 48" bars on my roof and have Malone Gullwings on the roof on the driver side…

i can have my Wildy tempest -glass- on the gullwings and then have my wife’s plastic tempest flat on surf board pads…with extra space to put up paddles etc (i have a 1 piece lendla that i love)…

but the nice thing about having the pads is that i can also toss the plastic boat on its side and have more than one in the space where it just was flat…

i am planning on getting another gullwing since the bottom of the plastic boat is bending a bit now…the gullwing is perfect for not changing the shape of a boat on a hot day…


Check weight
Width shouldn’t be a problem - but check the rated capacity of the rack vs. actual boat weight. Many systems have a low rated load. I was going to use a Mont Blanc rack with a load rating of about 80 lbs., but went with a factory rack when I found out it was rated for 160 lbs. Two composite or plastic boats can easily top 100 lbs. - my pair of boats (one fiberglass, one SOF) weigh 86 lbs. together.

Roof racks

– Last Updated: Sep-18-07 2:11 PM EST –

Need to check to total weight bearing load for the factory racks - even if you add third party towers the side rails on cars these days still have to bear it. Not sure that either of these vehicles have a terribly high number unless you at least go for an upgrade.
Also, the one thing that most unnerves me about the Matrix is how short the darned things are front to back. With this overall size of vehicle, it may be best to use Jbars (or stackers) on a third party rack so that there is less wiggle room available in wind. (as better described below)

stackers, J-saddles
You might consider an aftermarket rack for the Matrix for max spread between the bars. I’d lean to the Matrix or the Vibe version for long term lower cost unless you have to have awd.

Add on cross bars
You can with cross bars wider than your factory rack OR go with a system that lets you put them on their sides.

Vibe has roof rack, Matrix doesn’t
the problem is that the vibe rack is mounted far aft. But I’d prefer that as you could mount an after market rack on it and another up by the front door giving a wide position compared to the Matrix where it’s on the two doors.

Thanks for the correction
Tho’ I could swear that the Matrix has a (short) rack available for the right upgrade package and that I’ve seen one with it.

I was looking at the new 2008 Scion Xb thats bigger than last years xB. Silly thing doesn’t get any better mpg than my '97 awd Suburu wagon