Trying to haul 2 kayaks on 2016 Subaru Impreza hatch

I have a 2016 Subaru Impreza hatch that I’m looking to get set up to haul two kayaks (45 lbs each, 115" long). The car does not have rails from the factory, just the mounting points to mount crossbars like this:

I was also given 2 sets of Thule Hull-a-port J style carriers. So basically I was wondering if I could use the OEM Subaru set linked above with the Thule J carriers without issues. I have been unable to find a rock solid weight rating for the Subaru parts and also want to make sure that the Thule’s will work on that style bar. Also, with these rails/the car be wide enough for two kayaks?

I have seen the Thule/Rhino Racks/Yakima/etc racks on etrailer as well, but I’m trying to avoid spending $400-500 on a set of rails.


Any chance you could see those roof attachments at a dealer before you have to order/buy them? If the towers are all plastic, I wouldn’t trust it. If the towers are metal inside with a plastic cover, you probably can just attach your Hull-a-port carriers to the bars and be fine.

I could call my local dealer and ask I suppose. Here is a video that shows them pretty close up. If I had to guess they are plastic, but hard to tell 100% or not.

(11) OEM Cross bar install for 2008 to 2011 WRX/Impreza - YouTube

Skip to about 1:30 for when he’s putting them on.

So Subaru has something similar to the Thule fitkit and footpad options, though the flip up cover rather than having to keep track of the original after you take it off is a nice touch.

I found the user manual for this vehicle online - you can pretty much always find it. Downloaded it, came to a page showing the cross bar system you mention and here is their quote re weight.
“Installing carrying attachments on the crossbars.
When installing any carrying attachment such as a bike carrier, ski carrier, kayak carrier, cargo basket, etc. on the crossbars, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that the attachment is securely fixed to the crossbars. Use only attachments designed specifically for the
crossbars. A set of the crossbars is designed to carry loads (cargo and attachment) of not more than 165 lbs (75 kg).”

(The weight bearing load is actually 15 pounds less with a raised rail, as opposed to the flush rails that are in the car you picture.)

So you should be OK on the weight. I have no idea on how securely the Thule equipment will affix to the Subaru cross bars . You might be close on the width - not exactly a big car - but if you can get the width of the bars and have your source measure the width of the spread of the J’s you should be able to figure that out.

Do you have a link for this?


I personally like the roof racks that bolt on to the roof in spots designed for it by the car manufacturer. These seem more secure to me than ones that clip on in one form or another. The fixed distance between bars isn’t always optimal, but c’est la vie.

The J racks may or may not attach to the Subaru cross bars. You might get lucky and find that the “genuine Subaru” ones are made by Thule (my “Genuine Audi” ones on my car were made by Thule), in which case the attachment may work as is. Or you may need to look into some sort of bracket to allow you to attach the J’s to the cross bars.

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Subaru had some Thule options when I bought my 2017.

I recall that the Subaru rack components are made by Thule as well. I also think that those J cradles have pretty universal mounting brackets - I think they would be OK as is, otherwise just a (relatively) inexpensive kit to convert them to the aero bars.

Should be no problem width-wise with two boats in J’s - friends of mine routinely put two 17’ sea kayaks on their '17 Impreza and can cram a third boat in the middle if needed.


I just googled “Subaru 2016 Impreza Owners Manual”. Not exactly an obscure search. There were a number of them but I think the one I found that in was the one on
2016 Subaru Impreza - Owner's Manual - PDF (594 Pages)

You might poke around and find one where you don’t have to crawl over 100 pages to find the part at the end about the roof mounts.