Subaru Outback rack for 3 kayaks

Well, we went to a demo day this past weekend and found out that the wife and my boy both liked it after they said that they wouldn’t, go figue. Now I am going to have to haul 3 kayaks on my outback. All I have at this time is the stock rack from the factory. Looking for suggestions to haul 3- 12’ to 14’ kayaks. Thanks for any help

Don’t know about latest factory rack, but on our '97 the arched crossbars were not strong enough for three kayaks. So, I got the Yakima setup ($-ouch!-$) which now would mean the lowriders and bars. If you put the three kayaks on their sides, you may be able to get away with 48" bars. I have the uprights which make it easier to manage the on-the-sides arrangement.

Congratulations gunner!
I had an '05 Outback XT. It was a great car. I put Yakima racks on the Outback with 56" crossbars. In the middle I put Mako Saddles on the front bar and Hully Rollers on the back bar. I put Hull Raisers on each outboard side. I could carry three boats. If you’ll email me I’ll send you some pictures. It did great and didn’t look bad either. Best of all, no ladders!

Good luck!


factory crossbars won’t cut it
one boat ok but two is past it’s load ranking. Get Thule Crossroads footpack with 58 inch load bars and the Thule Stacker set with exta straps for the extra boats and you’ll be in business for a long long time.

Check your weight capacity
I used to haul 3 kayaks your size on my outback with a Yakima system. I had J hooks on the outside and a kayak stacker in the middle.

I found out that the Outback is rated for 100 pounds max. Lets see, my rack system weighs about 25 pounds, and 3 kayaks at 60 pounds each is about twice rated capacity. Although I never had a problem, I never carried in high winds or with an emergency move.

Now I have a Volvo wagon and lighter kayaks and I don’t worry. But do check the rated capacity. You could get a lightweight trailer like a Rack N Roll(?)

Second that
Yakima low riders attach easily to the siderails. You can easily place the 58 inch bars in places that are no threat to passengers getting in and out. I have assorted Yakima accesories I swap in and out–Hull raisers, Stackers, bike trays. I’ve had four rec boats on top of my Outback. Three is a piece of cake. But it will cost you.

That 100# limit was written by lawyers,
not engineers. It has no basis in reality. The factory crossbars are a bit cheesy, but with lowriders I would be willing to carry 200# on my Outback, at least on regular roads.

I once had 350# of plywood and sheetrock on Quick ‘n’ Easys, on a VW Dasher Wagon.

photo of 3 on an Outback…

Boats are a Necky Elaho, Necky Looksha IV, and a Necky Looksha Sport.

One boat (Yellow Elaho) is in a set of Yakima Hullraisers. The grey boat is upside down right on the rack, with the cross bar hooked in front of the cockpit lip. The orange boat is leaning against the gray. The orange was a rental which we picked up about 15 minute drive (back roads) from the put in, so was not as well secured as we would have done for longer drive or freeways.

Thanks for all of the info
I think I am going into the rack business

I have a 3rd gen Outback with Thule 450 Crossroads adaptor and the 58" bars. I can easily carry 3 kayaks using J carriers or perhaps 2 J-carriers with Hully Rollers in the middle. In fact, I have enough room on the outside of my Crossroads feet with the 58" crossbars to carry kayaks on J-carriers on that.


Yakima tests rack strength
When Yakima test the fit of a roof rack, they test it until it fails. They are actually destroying cars to find the best setup. Their system fails at 330 lbs. They halve that which is why you see a maximum load limit for most of their racks at 165 lbs. In vehicles like the Outback which Yakima lists as having a 100 lbs limit, the Subaru failed before the Yakima rack did. A lot of times those factory rails are held onto the sheet metal by a couple of screws. That is why it is crucial to secure the bows and sterns of boats to the front and rear of the car. This prevents the boats from generating too much lift which could rip the rack from the vehicle.