Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 53

Thread: Kayak Car Roof Rack Question

  1. #1
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, CT
    Posts
    2,784

    Kayak Car Roof Rack Question

    I am in the process of getting a kayak and roof rack for my car (Subaru CrossTrek) and had a question on the rack itself. Are the cross bars required to mount essentially usable for all brands of roof racks or is that a brand specific situation? The reason I ask is that my Subaru dealer only offers a 1 kayak rack (I think they carry Thule but don't quote me on that). I am thinking of having them install the cross bars for me provided that doesn't limit my rack options at another store or dealer. Would prefer to have a "factory" mount so there are no warranty issues. Never had a roof rack for anything and really have no clue how it all works. If anyone can shed some light on this it would be appreciated. Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

  2. #2
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    319
    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I am in the process of getting a kayak and roof rack for my car (Subaru CrossTrek) and had a question on the rack itself. Are the cross bars required to mount essentially usable for all brands of roof racks or is that a brand specific situation? The reason I ask is that my Subaru dealer only offers a 1 kayak rack (I think they carry Thule but don't quote me on that). I am thinking of having them install the cross bars for me provided that doesn't limit my rack options at another store or dealer. Would prefer to have a "factory" mount so there are no warranty issues. Never had a roof rack for anything and really have no clue how it all works. If anyone can shed some light on this it would be appreciated. Thanks.

    I am on my 5th Subaru, a Forester. I have used Thule roof racks on all of them, mainly to carry a canoe and also lumber from Home Depot. There are lots of accessories for Thule rack systems. I thought about having the Subaru dealer install their rack system on my newest Forester, but the cost was pretty high and I didn't like it as much as the Thule. I doubt that any of the roof rack systems from various vendors are compatible with each other. And the Thule rack system I have installed is bomb proof and will carry a considerable load. It is also lockable.

    I like the crossbars on the Thule systems better than those installed by Subaru, but it does look like you can use some Thule accessories on those dealer installed crossbars. But...I don't think they are anywhere as strong as the rectangular cross-section Thule bars.
    Last edited by maineguy; 06-04-2020 at 10:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,747
    I have a Thule + Hull-A-Port XT rack attached to the OEM rack on my 2015 Forester. I went with the Thule towers to attach to the OEM rack, rather than OEM crossbars, because I already had bike trays and other attachments for the Thule rack itself.

    If you're starting from scratch, you can go either way - it's ultimately a matter of what-do-you-do when you no longer own the car, and how much to you want to save the rack. Most of the time, it's a matter of changing the clamping system(s), and there are bountiful options from Thule for pretty much every car made. Subaru, being a favorite for outdoors folks, is likely to have an above average collection of accessories and options that work with it.

    I can send you picture(s) if you want... Don't have any handy.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TomK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Home: Northwest CT / Avatar: Madison 1985
    Posts
    116

    Yakima

    Others have spoke of Thule, I'll hold up the Yakima side.

    I have a Yakima rack which I have used with 3 different vehicles (Dodge Intrepid, PT Cruiser, Subaru Legacy).

    Yakima uses a "clip" which is the interface between the rack and the roof of the car. The "clips" are sold in pairs for about $35-$40 per pair, and since you need two pairs (one pair for each crossbar) that will set you back about $75 just for the clips.

    "Clips" are tailored to how they interface with specific points on specific make/model/year vehicles, so while a particular "clip" can work with various vehicles (for instance, the one for my 2009 Subaru Legacy says it will also work for some model/years of Camero, Mustang, Tiburon, Infinity, Mini Cooper, Saab, and certain other Subarus). But I was never fortunate enough that the "clip" for the vehicle I already had worked for the vehicle I was about to buy, so I've had to buy 3 sets of "clips", one for each vehicle.

    The rest of the rack system worked fine on each vehicle.

    I'd suggest going to a place where each brand is sold, tell 'em what you want to do, and have them explain how that rack system will work for what you want to do.

    Good luck,

    TomK
    Never loved your plains, your gentle valleys/Your drowsy country lanes and pleached alleys.
    I want my hills, the trail that scorns the hollow/Up, up the ragged shale where few will follow.

    High on my hills of dream, dear hills that know me/And then how fair will seem the lands below me
    How pure at vesper time, the far bells chiming/God, give me strength to climb, and hills for climbing. "Hills" - Arthur Guiterman

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Stamford, VT
    Posts
    1,357
    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    Never had a roof rack for anything and really have no clue how it all works. If anyone can shed some light on this it would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Check out the Rack Warehouse website for loads of information about roof racks, in one convenient location.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    New hampshire
    Posts
    2,681
    I own my first Subaru, the Impreza model. I learned the hard way what not to do. I first went to Kittery Trading Post to check out the kayak racks, I figured they were very knowledgeable and I knew nothing. They advised me to get the cross bars from Subaru as they were cheaper and then mount the Thule holders on those. So that's what I did and they work just fine, I saved a few bucks. Here's the problem that I came across when the dust settled. The cross bars from the dealer do not have locks on them. Basically if you know that and have the right wrench, you can take the whole system right off the car. I don't really leave my car loaded with my kayak anywhere, so I can live with it, but I can see where it would be an issue if you were traveling for a length of time and wanted to leave your boat on the car unattended. Go with the complete Thule set up, its quality and will do what you need it to do.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    449
    I have a CrossTrek and also a Thule roof rack. I bought cheaper (square) cross bars and got 2 pairs of generic J-shaped kayak carriers for something under $60 off Amazon. I have driven with two double kayaks locally in Adirondacks without a problem.

  8. #8
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,747
    As for locks, and as it true with most locks, they are a deterrent to keep honest people honest. I did have a rack forcibly removed from a car (one with the roof "clips") once... the clips are thin metal to sneak between the edge of the roof and the door seals. They can be bent enough to remove, locks and all.

    That said... the towers mounted to the Subaru factory rack are IMO are more impervious to theft.



    There is a lock cylinder on the front of the Hull-A-Port to prevent it from being removed from the rack as well.

    Tim
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2020-06-04_14-52-15.jpg 
Views:	388 
Size:	71.5 KB 
ID:	6445  
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 06-04-2020 at 01:55 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Stamford, VT
    Posts
    1,357
    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    That said... the towers mounted to the Subaru factory rack are IMO are more impervious to theft.
    The picture shows Thule 450 Crossroad feet attached to their square bars, mounted on factory raised rails. I use the same feet and bars on other cars with raised rails.

    https://www.amazon.com/Thule-Crossro.../dp/B07GXBCWCJ
    Last edited by jfb; 06-05-2020 at 08:01 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    319
    The only thing I would add to all this: The square Thule crossbars and feet add aerodynamic noise at high speeds. I leave my system on year round and above 65 or so mph, the noise is noticeable, but not intolerable. There are a couple of rack systems out there that claim to be more aerodynamic, the crossbars have a a winglike-streamlined cross section. I think the Subaru dealer installed systems are like that, but they don't look as strong to me.

  11. #11
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,747
    There is noise for sure. But I already owned the Thule rack and a pile of accessories so I kept it and got new feet, replacing the towers that fit the previous car.

    Tim

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Stamford, VT
    Posts
    1,357
    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    There is noise for sure. But I already owned the Thule rack and a pile of accessories so I kept it and got new feet, replacing the towers that fit the previous car.
    My bars are close to 40 years old and I've purchased several different models of towers over the years to fit on different cars, but now I only buy wagons with raised rails. I think the newer models use aero bars and would be quieter. In any case, they are so quick to install/remove that I only install them when I plan on using them.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Gorham NH
    Posts
    6,284
    Remember, noise equals drag equals lower fuel economy especially on smaller vehicles. It annoys me that folks on long trips to places like BSP leave the racks on with nothing on them. They are removable for a reason. I realize that to some folks its an image thing, leave the racks on and that implies that the owner is active outdoors person.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Woodstock, CT
    Posts
    2,784
    Thanks for all the information and website references.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ipswich, MA
    Posts
    492
    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Remember, noise equals drag equals lower fuel economy especially on smaller vehicles. It annoys me that folks on long trips to places like BSP leave the racks on with nothing on them. They are removable for a reason. I realize that to some folks its an image thing, leave the racks on and that implies that the owner is active outdoors person.
    Or a storage thing. I have nowhere to put my Thule Xsporter so it stays on my truck.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •