Need help choosing kayak please

Depending on the width of the boat and width of the car, most cars will have enough room so the kayak clears the antenna. Most antennas of this type are flexible, so you are unlikely to damage it if you bump it and do not bend it too sharply. Aftermarket crossbars can extend beyond the roof rails to give you more room as well.

J-bars will take up less width than saddles and should allow your boat to clear the antenna. The disadvantage with J-bars is that you generally can only load over the side which can be a problem with solo loading if you are short, the car is tall, or the boat is heavy. A boat on it’s side will be taller, so you have to watch your total vertical clearance a well.

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Though I own heavier , longer kayaks of both Sit inside & SOT, paddling when I chose to go about it solo was not working for me. I later acquired 2 smaller, much lighter Perceptions-a Conduit 9.5,& a Sound 9.5. I was amazed at how much lighter they are to haul around, & they both even fit inside my van! They are well-built & even in whitecaps & wind on the lake have never taken on any water. The seats in both are a newer “Zone” seat, which is comfortable enough & can always add waterproof cushions made especially for kayaks. It’s super easy loading one for myself, but as easy when 2 are going with the 2 of us loading them! Each one is about $400.00 each & sold both through Dept. stores, and at our Kayak dealership -(which speaks volumes for it’s reputation!) Have used these 2 the most past 3 yrs, while my other ,pricier, but heavier kayaks never make it out of the barn, but keep them for larger groups. The Conduit has a nicer glide to it, while the Sound is a Pontoon style so slower, but is very comfy with a larger cockpit & even a convenient dashboard. They still work well together! Try them out in the store-over lifting & sitting in them .Do what works for YOU! Attach the x-bars to your car -& tie it down -works fine! Best with it!

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You will have to remove that antenna. It unscrews probably like mine on my honda cr-v. You can buy a small antenna to put in after loading kayak or do without. Your reception will be okay around town but worse to nonexistent after leaving town, if no antenna.

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I have two Malone sea wings (v-cradle types) on my honda crosstour and have not had interference with the antenna. Boats (34 and 25 inches wide) are both slightly above and to the side

I’m perfectly happy with my cheap Pelican Argo that I got at Tractor supply.Sit in kayak, but weighs only 37 lb. I’m 5’2 female, and can easily get it on top of my small suv.

It unscrews and you can replace it with an aftermarket stubby attenae , they cost about 20 -30 dollars on amazon. Check online for what other people have bought to replace their factory installed version, and how good the reception is.

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I am middle aged woman 5’6", 162 lb. Live in Melbourne, FL. We always have a lot of kayaks on Craigslist, so used one is not a problem. I prefer not to spend over $700 on everything total.

This guy in Melbourne on Facebook Marketplace has 4 short sit on tops for sale and just dropped the prices to $200. Looking at the specs on this range of kayaks (9 to 12’ sit on tops) the lightest is going to be around 50 pounds.

This Perception Koho for sale in St. Cloud is 51 pounds but these are supposed to be nice boats for the size, maneuverable and faster than most of similar design. Only $250:

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Not to pile on, but consider loading the kayak over the hood instead of the back of the SUV. I’ve loaded a 70 pound 18’ kayak onto my full size Blazer this way for over a decade. As @willowleaf mentioned, short kayaks might be more challenging, but your Subie is way shorter than my Blazer.

Here’s how it works:

Buy some rubber backed carpet runner by the foot ($5/linear foot from places like Home Depot). Measure from the front crossbar down the windscreen and hood, allowing about 6” to hang down over the front edge of the hood. This completely protects your car.

Drape the runner over the crossbar between the saddles. If you are using one of the ‘V’ wing style racks, just cut a short slit into the runner so it fits around the base. This won’t work for J racks.

Lift the stern of the kayak up onto the hood - a much shorter lift than to the roof and generally more stable. Stand by the fender and slide the kayak up far enough that it is on the roof above the windscreen. This is important. Over zealous people who don’t understand the method I’m using have grabbed the bow, lifted and shoved the stern into my windscreen.

Then move to the bow, lift slightly and slide the boat onto the crossbars and into the saddles. Adjust the kayak front to back and strap it down.

The only extra piece of gear you need is the runner, which rolls up and stows easily.

You might want to look for a Perception Sport Conduit 9.5 which is around 39 pounds. It’s a sit inside, not a sit on top, but has a huge open cockpit, more than 4’ long, so just as easy to get in and out of it. You do need to stuff flotation bags under the stern and bow decks in that model since it has no bulkheads (so it could fill with water and sink if swamped). I see several on FB marketplace in your area.

Thank you. But I have a thing against sit-ins, it’s just me…

That is definitely interesting idea, about carpet! :slight_smile: I would never think about it. Are you sure I am not going to dent the hood by the weight of the kayak?

I would never attempt to load a kayak from the front of a vehicle. That may work for the average man (they tend to be taller, have longer arms and have more upper body strength. I am about your size and even though my CX-5 has a short hood, that is just a bad idea in my book.

If your vehicle is a station wagon (what are now ridiculously called “SUVs”) loading from the rear, where you are a few inches from the rear crossbar rack when behind the car (rather than 3 to 5 feet from the front rack if standing in front of the hood) is MUCH safer and more practical. Even side loading is safer and more manageable for somebody 5’ 6" than front loading.

If you are going to insist on a sit on top and low price, lightness is not going to hold up as a priority for you. All that plastic having to surround and enclose the empty space inside means more weight than an open hollow hull.

How many types of kayaks have you paddled so far? Just curious where your preferences come from.


I can’t guarantee what will happen with your car. Maybe ask a Subie dealer what they think?

I’ve been loading my kayak that way ever since I bought the truck and there’s been no damage from resting the stern on the hood or the roof just above the windscreen. But then my beastie is a 1992 golden oldie, from back when they built cars to be more substantial and not for maximum gas efficiency.

The only damage that’s ever been done is by well meaning people rushing over to help me. I get it, a 60+ woman loading an 18’ 70# kayak by herself using a method no one else seems to use, inspires the good hearts to help. There’s been two cracked windscreens as a result though.


I was kayaking for the 15 years at least, maybe a little more often during last 3 years. I tried canoes single, double. Kayaks SOT, sit in, same - single, double. I never really paid attention to names of the kayaks because at all rental places you just take the one they have. And I am sorry now :). And I always try to explore the new places so I’ve seen a lot.
About sit ins. Couple of times I was really sorry I am in one. Once I got under heavy rain and was sitting in small puddle because I didn’t know what to do. In SOT I could just open this little hole in the middle. You can hardly get cold in FL but still it was unpleasant. Another time I touched low hanging branch in a very tight spot and got a shower of tiny spiders on me. They ran all over my legs for the rest of the trip. I don’t like killing living things but on open deck I would blow them away close to shore or swipe with my clothes or something. With this one I was helpless and returned kayak saying “there are couple of hundred of small spiders inside” and the guy who took kayak looked kind of puzzled too. And I like to change pose on long trips and it is easy in SOT.

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That’s good information. And I get what you are saying about the bugs factor. The only time I ever visited Florida was 12 years ago when my boyfriend at the time insisted we fly down and do the grand tour of the Everglades. We stayed at Everglades City at a rented cottage along one of the canals and rented a tandem canoe to paddle around the Thousand Islands and then back up into the narrow channels of the northern Glades. I was paddling in the bow and had to use my paddle to knock the spider webs off in front of us to keep them from dropping into the hull.

Yeah, you need a sit on top. But you will have to learn to wrestle a heavy wide boat onto your roof rack. It’s doable but never pleasant. Best strategy is to get two boats and then always invite somebody else to paddle with you! I did that years ago in part so that I would always have a helper to load.

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Thank you. How do you load it?

I use one of these boat rollers; lean the kayak on the rollers and push it on top of my vehicle.
Seattle Sports Sherpak Suction Boat Roller Load Assist for Mounting Kayaks and Canoes to Car Tops, One Size, Silver, 1-Pack

This popped up on Craigslist in Tampa. This is a decent price for a quality kayak but, I have not seen it so I do not know what kind of shape it is in. The official specs say this weighs 50 pounds.

Eddyline Caribbean 14 angler kayak - sporting goods - by owner - sale - craigslist

If you load it as mentioned by some folks above you should be able to handle it. Or buy a used lift assistance device.

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