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2013 Outback Limited SAP
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Driving cross country in my '13 SAP this summer for two months before we move to San Francisco. I was looking to pick up a cargo box (e.g. Thule Sonic XL Silver) but at 46 lbs, that only leaves just over 100 lbs for storage (Factory cross bars can take 150lbs) which can easily be eaten up by 2 - 3 duffels of clothing / gear. Aftermarket cross bars don't seem to offer much more than the factory cross bars, so doesn't seem worth the money for a few extra pounds of capability.

I'm trying to gauge more seasoned Outback owners to get a sense for whether this limit shouldn't be pushed at all, if gear weighing in at 150lbs is ok, or whether it's a conservative limit and it's safe going a little over.

What are your thoughts?
 

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All the various parts of the rack even the aftermarket rack are impacted by the weight. 150lbs is lots of weight for 4 small points of contact to hold. These giant roof boxes crack me up given large bulky light stuff works but smaller heavier items easily can be packed in these huge boxes and easily push the weight limit of the feet that hold each end of the bar in place.

I've run just a hair over 150lbs during a Triatholon trip. On Yakima bars and feet clipped to real rain gutters. Very bad storm and highway speeds we actually had the rear feet come loose. What happens is that the bar bends and stresses the feet and that is where your failure happens. For the stock bars 150lbs is for sure as far as I would go especially with lots of road miles involved. Every fuel up I would also suggest you do a very close inspection to all the fittings and brackets stock rack or otherwise. Wind - vibration etc can loosen up the fittings so checking them and remounting them or snugging them up isn't uncommon during long trips.

Make sure you have a allen wrench that fits the stock bar screw that holds the fixed side of the cross bar in place. Chances are you will never ever need to mess with it but the one time you find it working loose you will wish you had a random allen wrench laying in the bottom of the glove box.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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That allen wrench (actually it's a mini torque wrench) was in the spare tire area as apart of the OEM "tool" box in my car....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great advice, thanks guys. Admittedly I was being naive and thought I could throw a ton of gear up there. I still think it's definitely worth the investment, but need to change my packing strategy and throw lighter bulky items such as sleepings & pads up there.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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subiesailor: I thought billmang could not find it ... I agree it's better to have it in glove box...
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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I have a Rola roof top basket and I am happy with it! The price was right (cheaper than Thule or anything else and good quality!)
 

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2013 Outback Limited SAP
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a Rola roof top basket and I am happy with it! The price was right (cheaper than Thule or anything else and good quality!)
I would consider a basket for luggage, etc. but like the ability to lock a box as we're going to be on the road camping for about 2 months so there will be plenty of time that the car is left alone in a parking lot, etc. Also a box should help with aerodynamics.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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I would consider a basket for luggage, etc. but like the ability to lock a box as we're going to be on the road camping for about 2 months so there will be plenty of time that the car is left alone in a parking lot, etc. Also a box should help with aerodynamics.
I also have an OEM Subaru box, when I travel and park somewhere overnight = bought it from the dealer for $ 199.00... It's made for Subaru by Thule! The only difference (other than price) is that Subaru box is a "rear" entry box and the clips that attach to OEM cross bars are not "quick" connect like those on Thule....
 

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I would consider a basket for luggage, etc. but like the ability to lock a box as we're going to be on the road camping for about 2 months so there will be plenty of time that the car is left alone in a parking lot, etc. Also a box should help with aerodynamics.
Box is far superior to the basket in every way except one - hauling the chain saw and greasy yucky stuff and a stick or two of fire wood the basket is king.

The box for sure is much easier on the fuel budget - what one can't see they are less likely to mess with. Your stuff stays clean, dry etc. So your on the right path regarding the box.

I pack all the heavy stuff as low to or on the rear floor in the back of the car. If there are only two of you - keep in mind the foot wells behind the front seats make great places to toss small duffel bags. All the crazy camping and very loaded trips I've done I always found that I seldom like to have the rear seat down given it becomes much harder to secure stuff in the possible accident situation. The thought of that battery powered lantern trying to smash the back of my head in keeps my interest in having the seat back up as much as possible ;-) I've also strapped duffel bags into the seat belts on the rear seat on various trips also.

Sounds like water might be an item your hauling a bunch of. I found that I generally hauled two types of water jugs. The softer/flexible squareish larger 2gallon jugs I would pick up close to where our destination is and keep the transporting of these to a minimum given I always managed to split a corner on them when carrying them longer distances. For the longer distance back up water supply I like those tougher 1 gallon clear plastic jugs which are also less likely to taint the water taste if left in a hot car for a while etc. Those are also easier to stuff into tight spots in the back of the car.

I've used the solar shower and pending your type of adventure one of those might seem like a silly expense but could turn out to be the top favorite item you pack. So keep that in mind.

This might seem crazy but for your extended trip having off the ground sleeping could make the trip FAR FAR more enjoyable. You might consider adding a cot to the list of things your taking. I've spent 15days sleeping on the ground after about day 12 you feel as if your really not getting any sleep the cot would seem like heaven.

Sounds like a great trip! Post your adventures lots of us like to do trips and you might find a fantastic place that folks should add to their bucket list..
 

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2013 3.6R SAP BBP Outback
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There is another very important reason to keep the center of gravity low on any vehicle: emergency handling. Packing the heavy stuff low and the light stuff high is always better for handling. Even if the roof could "take" more than 150 pounds, I wouldn't put any more than that up there and when I do put a lot of stuff in my Thule box, I make sure I put even more low in the cargo area.
 

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This might seem crazy but for your extended trip having off the ground sleeping could make the trip FAR FAR more enjoyable. You might consider adding a cot to the list of things your taking. I've spent 15days sleeping on the ground after about day 12 you feel as if your really not getting any sleep the cot would seem like heaven.
Skip the cot and try an air bed. Super-comfortable! Just need a transformer to supply you with 120v off your 12 outlet to run the pump.
 

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Have you ever considered something like this?
Customer Image Gallery for TMS ALUM-CCR-2260A 60-Inch by 20-Inch RV Hitch Mount Cargo Luggage Carrier Generator, Aluminum
It can hold up to 500 lbs depending on the hitch weight of the vehicle. You can anchor some kind of bin to it (with U-bolts)
(Amazon.com: Plano 1819 XXL Storage Trunk (Camo): Sports & Outdoors).

The advantage of this setup is that you are not top heavy and it will hardly influence your gas mileage. You could place two bins on top of each other and it still would not do much to your gas consumption. Another method would be a samml, covered trailer (similar to a motorcycle trailer).
 

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Have you ever considered something like this?
Customer Image Gallery for TMS ALUM-CCR-2260A 60-Inch by 20-Inch RV Hitch Mount Cargo Luggage Carrier Generator, Aluminum
It can hold up to 500 lbs depending on the hitch weight of the vehicle. You can anchor some kind of bin to it (with U-bolts)
(Amazon.com: Plano 1819 XXL Storage Trunk (Camo): Sports & Outdoors).

The advantage of this setup is that you are not top heavy and it will hardly influence your gas mileage. You could place two bins on top of each other and it still would not do much to your gas consumption. Another method would be a samml, covered trailer (similar to a motorcycle trailer).
Weight limit with the hitch platform is very limited once you have the platform weight factored in. Mileage hit on the roof box isn't much till your running 70mph+ which case add head wind and you might see 3-4mpg hit worst case. I used the hitch platform once borrowed one hated it - very limited use and weight and it really caused the back of the car to sit low.
 

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Weight limit with the hitch platform is very limited once you have the platform weight factored in. Mileage hit on the roof box isn't much till your running 70mph+ which case add head wind and you might see 3-4mpg hit worst case. I used the hitch platform once borrowed one hated it - very limited use and weight and it really caused the back of the car to sit low.
That is why I linked to the aluminum platform. It is very light weight and still can carry 500 lbs.
 

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That is why I linked to the aluminum platform. It is very light weight and still can carry 500 lbs.
The hitch tongue is rated for 200lb, due to the stress it creates on the frame of the car. The platform and the hitch itself can handle more weight than that.
You do not want to go close to the limit and hit any bumps in the road with that weight hanging in the back.
 

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We've put a roof top tent and 2 full size guys on the factory bars ~600lbs

Shouldn't worry too much.
 

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That's a lot of weight on factory OEM cross bars... but then again, your car is 2011 so I am not sure if that year has higher limits on cross bars than those of 2013...
 

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That's a lot of weight on factory OEM cross bars... but then again, your car is 2011 so I am not sure if that year has higher limits on cross bars than those of 2013...
It is a lot of weight, and we were pretty nervous, but it felt pretty stable. Those limits don't usually say much. Yakima and Thule bars are only rated at 165lbs a pair...
 

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That's a lot of weight on factory OEM cross bars... but then again, your car is 2011 so I am not sure if that year has higher limits on cross bars than those of 2013...
Generally the roof top tents put the weight over the rails not on the bars. Maybe some terminology mix up here. The rails running front to back on each side of the roof rest on the solid cage structure of the car. So they will support considerably more weight than the basic cross bars will.

The only major risk to lots of weight over the rails is denting the skin over the structure if the foot / area spreading the weight load is too small for the weight your putting over each contact point on the roof rails.
 
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