Subaru roof rack options

My wife got a new Subaru Forester, so I get her old Honda (she drives a great deal for her work, I walk to work). My Yakima rack will transfer easily to her old Honda, but am hoping to use her Subaru for trips this summer. I already have an assortment of bike and kayak carrying accessories. I’m trying to decide whether to get Yakima Forester towers and bars to mount on the side rails of the factory rack, or just buy some universal mighty mounts. Seems like there are cost and flexibility advantages to each approach. I’d welcome advice from Subaru owners about what they chose and why.

Subaru w/ Yakama Hullraiser
When my best friend and I bought our first kayaks last spring we bought Yakima Hullraiser racks for her Suburu Forester and they work great for us. I was told that I could get adapters if I ever wanted to move my rack to my Ford Explorer, so I know that’s also and option. We just always use her Suburu because it’s lower, so easier to load.

~ Arwen ~

Subaru roof rack options
I have an '05 Forester, and just got a set of Thule racks. I have a PU with Thule saddles so this made sense. I also have a preference for square bars.

Thule makes a “Subaru speciality carrier” with 50" bars model # 440. Fits like a dream although there is some wind noise. Rack with adapter list at $170. Locks another $41.


same here
I have an 05 forester as well and my wife and I have explored some options, considering we will be making some long road trips with our kayaks.

One difference with my setup is that I have a loadwarrior basket on top and yakima viper fork mounts on top for my mountain bikes.

I’ll soon be removing the fork mounts and mounting some hullraiser type mounts to the crossbars on the basket.

I’ve read a lot of reviews, but I’m still unsure about the yakima yak carriers compared to the thule’s.

Subaru racks: Yakima + EZ-Vee
I am using Yakima racks on my Subary Outback together with different attachments depending on my needs: old kayak saddles, gunwale grabbers for canoes, or recently EZ-Vee from KayakPro for my racing kayak and outrigger canoe.

I have a picture of the EZ-Vee setup with my Sisson Nucleus kayak in my recent paddling weblog entry:

Thule bars on mine
I have Thule bars on mine with Crossroads to the roof rails. I have an old Thule bike carrier that is NOT compatible with Yakima bars although these days, most bike companies make carriers compatible to round or a rectangular cross-section.

When I was looking at various bike carriers, the one carrier that I found that mounted to the stock Subaru crossbars that was not an upright carrier (I prefer fork mounted ones) was Rocky Mounts. They sell a carrier that will mount to the Subaru crossbars but I would not recommend it. I found it absolutely unstable and the bike would wobble too much to my liking. A fork mount should be stable as a rock which the Rocky Mounts wasn’t. Because I also needed a kayak carrier and my kayak is heavier than my bike, I eventually bought the Thule crossbars and now I use my old Thule fork mounted bike carrier and Hull-a-Ports for my kayak. (My skis just go on the inside of my '05 Subaru Outback XT.)


Forrester Advice
Good luck with the Forrester. It’s a very good car. I’ve had mine for about six years now.

I only carry canoes, not kayaks, but here is what I have found. At first I got the Thule roof rack set with cross bars and canoe gunwale mounts. The boat fit in real solid but there was one problem. This was that with the size of my boat, the gunwale mounts needed to fit directly over the things that held the bars to the roof (towers?). This did not fit well and I sent the whole package back to Thule.

Since then I have putting the canoe on top of the factory rack, I use some old towels for cushioning and have not had any problems.

I also recently discovered something else that may be helpful. For about $12, I picked up from my Subaru dealer, a set of bike rack mounting clamps.

These fit directly over the factory cross bars and secure with a standard bolt that you can get for a few cents at any home center. I am thinking about using these to buid a “quick & easy” style rack with 2x4 lumber which will sit just above the exising factory rack.

I wonder if anybody has one this before?