I just purchased a subaru forester. One of the major problems is the roof is smaller theb my previous car. I own two sit on top kayaks. A wilderness systems tarpon 120 and ocean kayak mysto. My problem is which way to transport them safe abd efficiently. I dont nno if i should use j racks saddles or a stacker. They both way around 120 total. I tried the yakima land sharks but i can only fit one flat. And the j rack barely fits next to them. I currently have a 46in. Cross bar. I was thinking to adding a 58 in bar and using two sets of thule sport rack saddles b.c they seem leas bulky abd take up less room then the landsharks. Any suggestions?
Why not use 78 " bars ?
That is what I use on my little Ford Escape.
I can carry two sea kayaks on J cradles and a canoe in the middle, or two sea kayaks on saddles.
I just have to tell the mechanics in the garage to watch their heads!
I just put 58" on my '04 Forester
For what it’s worth, I finally put the Yakima 58" round bars that I purchased on sale back in December on my '04 Forester. Before this, I have used a Thule rack (shorter cross bars) with 2 sets of J-racks to transport 2 touring/sea kayaks. The reason I went wider was to be able to carry more boats when my wife and I go out with others (so we can use 1 car). The 58" bars allow my Thule J-racks to fit outside the pillars and leaves a bunch of room between – not sure yet how many of what kinds of boats will fit in between – easily a third kayak. I’m pleased to say that I have not yet bumped my head on the wider bars.
(The wider bars will also fit my little 60" wide raft better.)
My 58" bars stick out 8" beyond the pillars. This is wider than the roof, but not wider than the car. This would let me (you) mount 4 saddles (of 8) on the outdside portions of the bars and the remaining 4 saddles on the inside. I don't know how wide your boats are, but that might work well for you. I have no experience with SOTs (or with stacking boats); being heavy, it might be hard to lift the second SOT up to stack it -- I don't know your situation as far as height, strength, help. Personally, I would feel more secure with boats in saddles (than stacking), but that's me.
Another Forester owner
I also have a Forester and I have also put the 58” Yakima bars on top. Yes they do stick out a little but it has not been a major problem. Unlike Tetonjohn I have bumped my head a couple of times but no major damage that I know of was incurred.
I can carry two kayaks or a canoe and a kayak on my J rack without a problem.
I am using 50" Thule bars on my 2009 Forester. If you have a new model Forester I am surprised shorter bars even fit. If they do it must be close. I only have an couple inches past the footer – not enough space to attach anything.
I do wish I went for longer bars.
I use two sets of J’s and it works fine for hauling about the same load and slightly narrower kayaks then what you have.
Only downside is the roof is pretty high on the 2009+ Forester, so getting a kayak on J’s can be hard for some. I don’t have trouble benching a 60-70lbs kayak over my head and tossing it on the Js at the beginning of the day. At the end of a long day of paddling is another story…
Thanks for all the feedback. I am short and its a 13" forester so it is high but lifting kayaks is not a problem i cab overhead press 225 but i am more concerned with laying them flat versus up in j racks. Idk about the weight and if the j rack can support them plus wind resistence.
I will prob. Go with 58 in bars and two sets of thule sport rack saddles.
I appreciate all the feedback.
I’ve been leaving a stock rack bar on
I see you have some concern about the j-racks with heavy boats. My boats are not especially heavy but lately I’ve been leaving one of the stock rack bars in the middle of the car roof and attaching an extra strap there to spread the stress. Perhaps overkill, but it makes me a bit more comfortable for very little extra effort.
(By the way, I said with 58" bars, one could attach saddles outside the pillars/footers – that really depends on the specifics of the car and the necessary width needed to attach a specifc model of saddle – so I can’t say FOR SURE.)