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It's about time to part with my beloved 2001 Outback with 248 k on it. I have been looking at later models. It appears that the roof rails are about worthless H would I attach my Yakima rack system? I see that Forrester racks are still okay
 

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2020 Onyx
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15,396 Posts
The Touring versions of some Outbacks have a more traditional but low-profile roof rail if you don't want the ones that swing-out.

I think Yakima makes "landing pads" that work on the Subaru rails that have the integrated crossbars.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring
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249 Posts
I like the traditional / low-profile look of my rails on my 2019 Outback Touring.

The Thule bars are close to worthless to me. If you're not clamping down one of the Thule carriers it seems like something from Prinsu would be a whole lot better.

The Prinsu roof rack (granted, a bit of trouble to get it in as you have to remove the headliner) makes way more sense in that now I can put things on the rack and tie it down in a much easier way. You can also clamp things to it a bit better as you have something to clamp to.
 

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2018 Outback Limited, 2.5 litre, automatic
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32 Posts
It's about time to part with my beloved 2001 Outback with 248 k on it. I have been looking at later models. It appears that the roof rails are about worthless H would I attach my Yakima rack system? I see that Forrester racks are still okay
We bought our '18 Outback Limited a few months ago and I was really impressed with the utility and robustness of the roof racks. I particularly liked that they fold out of the way when not in use. Granted I haven't had an opportunity to use them yet, but what is it exactly you find objectionable about them?
 

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2021 Outback Touring
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34 Posts
I have mixed feelings about the roof rack on my '21 Outback Touring. It's elegant as roof racks go and cleverly designed with the swing out crossbars... perfect for baskets, attached racks and cargo containers. However, one small complaint is when I threw my Xmas tree up on top to travel to the recycle site. The crossbars were in place and that left zero tie points along the sides to lash it down, except for the ends of each. I have been used to cinching down loads on past wagons without the benefit of a basket, so I use a lot of rope! This did not work, although a bit more use of it may likely help. further, the bars and end points are way too thick to accept most bunnies or other hooking tie downs, in my brief experience. When we ever start to take road trips, I'll look seriously at a Thule cargo container.
 

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2017 2.5i Premium Lapis Blue
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4,944 Posts
I'm a fan of the fold-out crossbars. I acquired both of my rooftop boxes while traveling, and without the integrated bars I wouldn't have had a way to mount them to the car. I like knowing they are always there if I unexpectedly need them.
 

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I have folding racks on my Gen4 (previously had a 2001) and they are handy most of the time. The criticism from some, myself included, is the limitation on distance between the cross bars. I would spread them farther apart for my large roof box and especially when transporting my 17’ canoe. I recall later generations have more adjustment options in this manner but can’t recall the details.
Consider your use of the rack…
If it’s standard bike, ski, etc I think you’ll be fine.
 

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2021 Outback 2.5i Premium
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536 Posts
I’ve had my Yakima Skybox mounted on the factory rails of my 2013, 2019, and now 2021 Outbacks. Works perfectly. Don’t need any aftermarket stuff. I’ve also strapped/Bunjied many pole saws and other tools to the factory crossbars.
Plenty useful, and well designed.
 

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2018 2.5i Limited; "Wanderlust II"
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580 Posts
The Prinsu roof rack (granted, a bit of trouble to get it in as you have to remove the headliner) makes way more sense in that now I can put things on the rack and tie it down in a much easier way. You can also clamp things to it a bit better as you have something to clamp to.
It theoretically also holds more weight, provided you correctly install the threaded inserts in the roof. Not that I'd advocate overloading it or carrying a ton of bricks that high, but having lived with my Prinsu for half a year, I can vouch for its solidity... Solidness... Whatever; you know what I mean. It ain't goin' nowhere.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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7,783 Posts
I really like the roof rack on the Gen 5 I have and think it's the right choice for probably 90+% of buyers.
And with the crossbars stowed ... probably more than 95% of the time for most people ... there are significant fuel savings at highway speeds due to reduction in aerodynamic drag, as well as less wind noise.
 
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what i dislike about them is their appearance. having the gen3, they are abit better, but only because they fold into themselves. the larger rubber profile is entirely unnecessary, yet it is what most of the ob have, touring excluded. full disclaimer, have a gen5 touring myself and specifically sought the smaller roof rails, much better looking to me.
 

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2017 Outback, 2.5L, Auto; 2018 Forester, 2.5L, Auto (for Mama); 2005 Baja, 2.5 Turbo, Manual
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809 Posts
I have mixed feelings about the roof rack on my '21 Outback Touring. It's elegant as roof racks go and cleverly designed with the swing out crossbars... perfect for baskets, attached racks and cargo containers. However, one small complaint is when I threw my Xmas tree up on top to travel to the recycle site. The crossbars were in place and that left zero tie points along the sides to lash it down, except for the ends of each. I have been used to cinching down loads on past wagons without the benefit of a basket, so I use a lot of rope! This did not work, although a bit more use of it may likely help. further, the bars and end points are way too thick to accept most bunnies or other hooking tie downs, in my brief experience. When we ever start to take road trips, I'll look seriously at a Thule cargo container.
On my 17 Premium with the swing out cross bars, there's an eye in the roof rail next to each end of the cross bar. That's big enough to fit the hooks on my ratchet straps.
 

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2017 Outback 2.5i Limited
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197 Posts
I have an easier time loading and securing a canoe on my 2017 than I did on my 2003. The eyelets work perfectly. It's a plastic canoe so I can compress it with ratchet straps unlike a fiberglass or aluminum canoe.

I have also left my crossbars setup for a canoe since April 2020. I didn't noticed a fuel economy dip.

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