Latest on Outback Rack options

-- Last Updated: Oct-24-11 9:53 AM EST --

Until doing a web search yesterday, I had not followed the 2010-2012 Outback redesigned rack dilemma for long boats. The issue was crossbar spacing. My wife wanted to look at this car but it appears an inexpensive option still never materialized. The Landing pad 12s only give 30 inch of crossbar width. Other options of using a Subaru luggage basket, towing hitch bar, or Thule Slipstream were also read about. I told me wife that no way I'm going to spend $900 to remove the factory rails. Am I missing an option that recently materialized for 17 to 18 foot boats. (no matter who is happy with 24 inch spread and feels tying down the bow and stern compensates, it is not a pleasing option to me)

Thanks for the excellent summary

– Last Updated: Oct-24-11 10:35 AM EST –

regarding issues carrying long boats on the 2010-2012 Subie Outback. I went through this when shopping for a new 2011 vehicle. A number of sea kayak owners feel that the new rack system is lame:
Note: may require Facebook logon

However from what I have seen Subaru has either ignored or not acknowledged the issue. Furthermore, many 2010-2012 Outback owners do not believe there is any problem with the new racks. Why? From the comments these new owners have made they fall into Subaru's target group for the new rack. They like the 'sporty look' of the new system, and either they do not use the roof rack for transporting any gear or they do not carry sea kayaks/long boats.

I would have preferred the Outback, but in the end I purchased a 2011 Forester, with a proper set of roof rails. I can now rack two +17' sea kayaks and a Thule cargo box with no issues.

subaru doesn’t care
With this model Outback, Subaru gave up it’s niche to chase the Envoys, Explorers, and Durangos, not to mention the Highlanders and Venzas. I hope it works out for them but I’d take a Highlander any day of the week over the new OB.

Yeah, yeah, they used to be great and I loved mine too.

I didn’t officially do any of the following;

Removed the crossbars exposing the two 6mm threaded sockets.

Added four 3" tall black nylon blocks as spacers and 50" Thule Crossbars as rails

Drillied through said nylon blocks and screwing in 6mm ss threaded rod into the two factory sockets and noodled in a piece of holed galvinized bar stock as a spanner to provide purchase in the two empty sockets that the OEM bars used to click into.

Drilled corresponding holes through the Thule bars, now rails and bolted them to the vertical threaded rods with ss acorn lock nuts

New crossbars in the way of Thule 450 Foot Packs and reinstalled the Kari-Tek Easy Loader from a earlier iteration Subaru Outback and back in business with a far stouter rack than what Subaru originally designed for the new Outback.



The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of this mission. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds. (Yeah I know I’m mixing old TV series)

Cue theme music.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

pictures, not taken?
Would the person who did not do have pictures not taken?

I think I can visualize, but would love to see pics.

I was going to ask the same thing
(I wasn’t sure how not to phrase the question!)

I tried with no avail to explain to Subaru why I loved my 07 Outback. The low profile and superior rack strength were a major strength. The new Outback has lost me. Too high and crumby rack system for long boats.

I will go elsewhere. Perhaps the Impreza will be sized up and have a good rack system.

I also would like McGyver to post some photos.


Rackification Photos
Drop me an email.

MacGyver can access some photos via blind email drop sent through a proxy server in Uzguessitstan, printed photo negative with polarized yak milk ink.

In other words, pics ain’t going up for Subaru to see how a rack should be done.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

well done!

post of the month

Two thumbs up! (nm)

I Too
took one look at the cheesy ‘rack’ system and passed on by the new Outback. My wife’s '03 Limited was a far more secure mounting system. Thought the new OB drove quite well though, and could almost get over the blown head gaskets on three family Subies (SNA footed the bill on all.), and the O2 sensors that seem to continually be giving up the ghost. Not a single prob with my older CR-V and it accepted the QR Thule system-rock solid.

My latest RAV 4 V6 is quite a nice alternative. Au revoir Subaru.

Me Three
Gave up on Outbacks, passed on the Forester (nice, but pretty high lift to the rack). The Sportwagen diesel is nice and low. It growls along the road with way more power and way better mileage that the old OB.

I’m happy, but still holding a grudge against Subie NA.


I have been hauling long boats
on Subys with 30" spacing for some time now. First on a 2006 Tribeca with tracks I fabricated and now with Yakima landing pads on my 2011 Outback.

Many thousands of miles later and no problems. If my family responsibilities had allowed the time needed I would have made a "McGuyver: modification as Marshall described, but I needed a quick and easy set-up for my new ride. Still, as time allows, I may do some tinkering this winter.


How do you like the Kari-Tek
I see little info on this rack system, but looks interesting. Feedback?

Like the specs of the VW wagon but can never go back to sitting low and not having 4WD

Mod. Photos
Borris and Natasha just stopped by the Showroom to say that images were available with the correct password.

Once they left I think they were being tailed by a Squirrel.

See you on the water, (yeah too nice of a day to be indoors)


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


Subaru potential
Like most my Outback was purchased because of height, economy, and the great rack.

I stopped by the dealership today and saw a photo of the new Impreza that got my interest. Looked like the old Outback type racks, a little larger than it used to be and supposedly 36 MPG. I told the dealer to call me when a new Impreza Sport showed up. I will bring my tape measure and possibly my checkbook.

you must get
TDI Sportwagen envy from other folks

sitting low
is what was unique about the subaru legacy and outback.