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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i 5spd MT Atlantic Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #1
Springtime is upon is, and here in New Hampshire, we're starting to thaw out and pull the snow tires off lol. Since it's warming up, my wife decided that we needed a pair of kayaks, which quickly translated into "here's the kayak I want, now figure out how to throw it on your car because my two-door Cavalier won't do it" lol.

Based on all the different threads I've found, I know there's been a lot of discussion about putting kayaks on top of a 3rd gen OBW, but I'm still not 100% sure of they best way to do this what my particular setup/required kayaks. Since this involves putting stuff on my car and driving down the freeway for awhile (thus safety), I figured I'd just ask and look dumb here on the internet rather than on the freeway....minus a few kayaks lol.

So, I was told to get a pair of Swifty 9.5 kayaks. Each one is 9'6" x 29" and 39lbs. I'd like to put both of them side by side on my 06 OBW, probably with a pair of Thule Hull-a-Ports (still not sure what the difference is between the 834 and 835PRO) on the stock crossbars. I'm still unsure on the weight for the Hull-a-Ports (most places don't list the weight for those), but it seems to be either 3lbs or 10lbs. The 10lb spec is shown for the overall shipping package, so I've been using that as my worst case scenario, thus the two kayaks + 20lbs of the Hull-a-Ports = 98lbs.

So my biggest questions are these:
1. With the max weight of the crossbars being 100lbs, is it bad for them to be right on their limit whenever I carry the kayaks?
2. Are the stock crossbars even wide enough for this particular setup?
3. I guess, what it really boils down to is, do I need a different set of crossbars?
http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2479600
 

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#1 avoid the roller racks where the hull sits on the rollers these dent and damage the hull over time. By the way its the same issue for big ski and fishing boats the roller trailers dent the bottoms of the hulls.

The J type racks are nice but are the absolute worst for gas mileage given the stick up and generate lots of drag on road trips.

The best racks are those where the hulls sit flat with fairly large pads that conform to the hull shape and support the hull with the largest surface area possible or largest pad you can find in the rack options.

Always know that the center section of the hull is where you snug it tight and you can crush a hull if you crank on the straps. So snug around the cross bar locations with straps then at minimum a bow strap that consists to two lines which are finger tight.
Check out the nylon hood straps REI and most kayak shops carry them. Simple little loop of nylon webbing with a grommet in it. You simply unscrew a bolt under the hood in the top of the fender and screw the bolt back in through the grommet on the webbing. Then you flip the strap out passing it through the hood vs fender gap each side of the fender and you have your bow tie down points. Finger tight this line keeps the bow from deflecting in high winds and lessens the hull stress and also keeps the hull square on the car. Rear strap isn't needed as much but doesn't hurt same deal finger tight
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i 5spd MT Atlantic Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the tips. Can I do two flat kayaks on top, or will I not have enough room? That's why I was looking at the J holders, especially if I can do that with factory crossbars.
 

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I like J racks for short distance stuff given they are easier to load for some folks and you can squeeze two hulls on the factory cross bars in most cases. But if your doing long road trips with the boats the J racks are a huge hit to mileage. Which case I like aftermarket cross bars for the added width and the sit flat hull pads type set up.

All sort of depends on how many miles you see your self running with the boats on the lid.
 

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Yakima and Thule makes a wide variety accessories to help you out. On my 01 forester, I chucked the factory cross bars and bought 60 inch Yakima cross bars as well as Yakima towers that attach nicely to the factory side rails. Now with 60 inch cross bars Ive got them sticking out several inches on each side of the vehicle. With some planning and diligence I get 5 kayaks on the car for the long haul (1000 mile trips). Ive never used a J rack as my kayaks always fit well on the cross bars. Lots of folks use the vertical tie bars with good success. This way you can tie 2 kayaks, one on each side of the verical bar. The Yak systems are well built and offer flexibility and peace of mind.
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i 5spd MT Atlantic Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #6
I looked at the vertical tie bars, but I'm sure my wife would have issues with it, and she needs to be able to solo this/do this if I'm still at work/do this while I play Counter-Strike lol. I will look into the two flat side by side kayaks.
 

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What about a small trailer? Easy to load, holds lots of boats, and minimal MPG hit.
I tried to talk my dad into the trailer idea. He has a three car garage so he could easily park the trailer in the garage loaded geared up and ready to go with the boats etc.

He wasn't into the idea however his boat collection has grown and he's getting tired of the load and unload process on the car. He is revisiting the idea. I sketched up a trailer idea based on the cheap $400 flat bed trailers you can buy at Northern Tool + Equipment.

The small sailboat racing folks at our YC club have some pretty awesome home made rigs built on these trailers.

My sketch was basically a storage box platform that fit rubber maid type bins then a rack set up above the box that he could easily mount bicycles and boats on. Target weight for a full load was around 800lbs. His idea being if - big IF he wanted to he could use the G35 to haul his kayak or canoe gear to local lakes for fun club paddle days which case the trailer would be more like 500lbs or so. On longer trips with camping gear in the bins he would take his old beater explorer.
 

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I worked in the kayak industry for years. No way are you getting two kayaks side by side on factory bars if they're sitting flat. You need 58" bars to pull that off.

[Edit: 29" is a seriously tubby kayak. You'll want to go up a size from 58"...]

The factory bars are junk. You can adapt the kayak accessories to them, but Thule and Yakima bars are cold rolled steel and up to the task. If you're hauling longer distances at freeway speed I strongly suggest you consider buying a "real" rack.

Plastic boats are best hauled on their sides, which are extremely stiff compared to having the bottoms rest on anything that doesn't conform closely to their shape. Stacked vertically you can also get 4+ boats on one car.

Always, ALWAYS use bow and stern lines. Besides additional security they serve as an instant visual indicator that things are amiss.

Learn how to tie a truckers knot for the middle section and a taught line hitch for the bow and stern.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6 Touring, which replaced '05 Outback XT
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The difference between the 834 and the 835 is that the latter folds flat when not in use. The reason a J cradle is desirable is that it is easier to get the load straps around the kayak. It takes more climbing and reaching to get the straps around a kayak carried flat.

What kind of water do you plan on paddling with the Swifty 9.5?
 

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2011 Tacoma TRD Sport Double Cab Long Box
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I'll just say I'm following this thread because I've always wanted a kayak. I bought my Outback sans roof rack crossbars, so I'll either be buying bars or I could use it as an excuse to get a nice trailer.

TBH, I'd be leaning towards a trailer because adding roof rack crossbars would sort of spoil the gigantic sunroof. At the same time, a trailer is a little less convenient because it requires that much more parking space, is that much more difficult to turn around on a narrow dirt road/trail, etc.

I might start poking around Craigslist to see if anyone is selling a decent used kayak...that way if I hate it I'll have spent a little less.
 

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I might start poking around Craigslist to see if anyone is selling a decent used kayak...that way if I hate it I'll have spent a little less.
Kayaks come in such a wide variety that it is very tough to choose the right one. They all fit and handle differently. The wrong one can lead to a bad experience. It needs to fit you well and match the kind of paddling conditions that it will be used in. Kayaks range from flat water "play" boats to sea kayaks that are at adept and safe in wind and chop. Paddling conditions often change suddenly and a little play boat on lumpy water can be downright dangerous.

I suggest finding a local outfitter that offers trips or classes to try kayaking. They will provide the gear and some instruction to get your feet wet with. If the bug bites, then learn some more before shopping.

Before you hit the water, you need to learn how to wet exit the kayak when it flips over. Assisted rescues and self rescue (with a paddle float) to get back into the boat are essential skills.
 

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I will second radar's advice.
 

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Along with what Radar is saying, kayaks are very niche specific. Sea kayks are from 14-18 ft, genrally being 17 feet and longer. Whitewater boats are anywhere from 6-10 feet long. General recreation kayaks are 9-15 feet long and designed for paddling on small lakes. Then there is fishing kayaks which have their own design and accessories. General rec kayaks are likley the most popular and most often seen in sport stores run from $300-$1000. Whitewater and sea kayaks require safety training and some athletic coordination
 

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Along with what Radar is saying, kayaks are very niche specific. Sea kayks are from 14-18 ft, genrally being 17 feet and longer. Whitewater boats are anywhere from 6-10 feet long. General recreation kayaks are 9-15 feet long and designed for paddling on small lakes. Then there is fishing kayaks which have their own design and accessories. General rec kayaks are likley the most popular and most often seen in sport stores run from $300-$1000. Whitewater and sea kayaks require safety training and some athletic coordination
Thanks for the advice everyone. I was out once a couple years ago and liked it then, I could have seen myself doing a lap around the lake in the morning before work then, but I don't want to bank on what I remember from that long ago. I have a few friends and relatives that are into it so I may ask them more.

No whitewater type stuff around here (at least nothing that you could conceivably bring any sort of boat down), and I can't imagine ever going out into the ocean with one (besides the fact that it's relatively far away). Almost everything is small lakes and ponds, mostly between 150 and 600 acres in size.

We have a 14 ft fiberglass canoe that I took out a few times, but it's a bit overkill for one person and I found it difficult to maneuver in comparison to how I remember the kayak.
 

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jp said:
No whitewater type stuff around here (at least nothing that you could conceivably bring any sort of boat down)
You seriously underestimate the lack of self preservation some white water boaters have :gasp:
 

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You seriously underestimate the lack of self preservation some white water boaters have :gasp:

Ha, maybe :D

Most of our more violent brooks have a lot of large rocks in them that I suppose you could maneuver around if you're really good, but there are at least a few uncharted (not marked on a map, very few know of their existence) 30+ foot waterfalls that might come as a surprise if someone doesn't know the brook they're on.

Not something I plan on trying, to say the least!
 

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You seriously underestimate the lack of self preservation some white water boaters have

For better and for worst, I can vouch for the accuracy of your statement. I had to leave the sport while I was still in one piece, but I will miss it for the rest of my life. :cool:
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i 5spd MT Atlantic Blue Pearl
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Discussion Starter #19
Glad to see I spawned such a lively conversation lol. I was hoping to avoid trailers....not really sure where I'd put the trailer, and towing would freak my wife out. She gets freaked out enough driving my car as is (she is still learning to drive stick). I would probably be driving within an hour driving radius, two at most. I'm less concerned with the gas mileage....just as long as it's safe, secure (I'll be sure to do the bow and stern tie downs), and easy.

As for type of kayak, I've used the Swifty before for calm lakes on a warm day, which is probably all we'll end up doing. It makes a great kayak for a relaxing day, but it can still clip along pretty well if you work it. Plus, it's only like $300 lol. I've done some white water rafting in the Truckee, and my wife went down (up?) the Nile, but neither of us have done white water kayaking, and I don't really know if any of that exists in New England. I don't think we're planning on doing any ocean kayaking, but I should double check.....not sure how well the Swifty does on the ocean (but hey, she chose the kayak lol).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, I figured that I should post an update to this thread, because I hate reading threads where the OP asks a question and never posts their solution. I apologize if it sounds like I'm rambling, but as long as someone finds this useful, I don't really care lol.

Today, I found that EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports for those not familiar) had racks on sale for 20% off, so I grabbed a pair of the 834s. I still don't have the kayaks yet, but I figured for the discount, I'd grab the 834s, stick them on, and see how much space I had (just to see if I needed new crossbars).

First off, yeah, the stock crossbars suck. They're way to thick at the ends, so there's not much crossbar on which to actually mount the 834s. Thankfully, they mount snugly, and it appears that there is just enough room between the racks (4 inches). Based on what I remember of the Swifty (and reviewing pictures of the side of the hull), the bottom is very flat, so I don't think the hulls will touch at all while they sit in their cradles. It's almost as if these crossbars were designed to just barely be able to hold two small kayaks. Thankfully that's exactly what I need.

I had also brought up the question of weight. I didn't actually weigh the racks on my scale, but it feels like each pair is 10lbs, as I originally suspected. Looks like I'll be going right up to the 100lb limit. I'll play with it more when I have the kayaks to see how much faith I have in it. But honestly, if they're saying 100lbs, that means that's their very conservative suggestion (I'm sure they give a lower-than-it-should-be number to avoid lawsuits).

I went ahead and attached a picture so it's easier to see what I'm talking about. I only mounted the two front racks (no need to mount the rear ones).
 

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