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I currently drive a 2009 XT. At just 61 1/2 inches it's easy to load my sea kayak on and off the j-hooks by myself.

I load the boat onto the car from the rear, drop the bow onto the rear hook and push it into position.

And to offload, I do a one-had press to dismount the boat, then haul away.

I'm been thinking of switching to a 2019 Outback, but the extra 5 inches concern me. So much so that I'm thinking of switching to BMW!!

Has anyone dealt with solo mounts / dismounts on the '13 and later Outbacks?

What are your tricks and tips?

Thanks

Bob
 

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My MDX was taller than the Outback. Loaded 12' SUP's, 18' outriggers and my 6ft surf kayak solo all the time. I usually carry it overhead and slide it on from the back and situate it from there.

They also make rollers you can use for the rear roof mount and just get the front up and on the rollers and slide it.

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I typically just heave my boat onto one of my shoulders, set the bow on cross bar, then start pushing to get it on. Reverse process to get off. I use horizontal hull supports, but I imagine you could do it the same with J hooks.

If you are loading/unloading from the side, there is a step inside the rear passenger door frame you can hop on if you need it to help you reach.
 

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Brucey
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I'm 5'11 / 6'0 depending on if I stand up straight.

But I have no issues loading two. Stack one on top of the other.

Standing on the extra wide door sills is a big help plus the tire is a good foot point.
 

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I'm short 5',5" and I don't have an issue sliding it on from the back. For strapping, I step on top of the rear tire and for the front I open the driver/passenger doors and stand on the rocker. I needed to find a way to make it work without a step because I won't have something to stand on at the lake!
 

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"V" cradles and load form the rear

I don't have my kayak cradles setup on my Outback yet (so no photos) but it will definately be having cradle type carrier---NOT J hooks--- on the vehicle. Put a carpet pad on top of gate to put one end of kayak on...lift kayak and slide upright onto cradles. Same to unload. This system has worked well for me on other vehicles including our full size chevy van. A small step stool may be needed for straps. J hooks can be tough unless you are tall (and/or young and strong).

I happen to use some DIY cradles that were custom fit to our kayaks but there are some manufactured versions available. We have two 45-48# 10 foot plastic kayaks and two 40# ABS 12.5 ft Hurricanes. We paddle a lot.

Photo is of boats on old Camry. Same setup will be used on OB. The only drawback to loading boats upright is that you really need to have cockpit covers if rain is expected. they also cut down wind noise. I should also note that side by side kayaks need a longer cross bar so that might an issue if you are just using the Subaru bars...not long enough if using two boats.
kayak on camry.JPG
 

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I currently drive a 2009 XT. At just 61 1/2 inches it's easy to load my sea kayak on and off the j-hooks by myself.

I load the boat onto the car from the rear, drop the bow onto the rear hook and push it into position.

And to offload, I do a one-had press to dismount the boat, then haul away.

I'm been thinking of switching to a 2019 Outback, but the extra 5 inches concern me. So much so that I'm thinking of switching to BMW!!

Has anyone dealt with solo mounts / dismounts on the '13 and later Outbacks?

What are your tricks and tips?

Thanks

Bob
I'm guessing you are using J Hooks. For saddles, I just throw my PFD on the rear spoiler, rest my 18 or 23 foot sea kayak on the PFD, then push it onto the saddles. Simple.
 

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Malone seawing & stinger

I use the Malone SeaWing with the Stinger extension. I put the bow of my Hobie on the Stinger, lift the other end and slide it on. The Hobie is 13´and 70 lbs. I am 71, 5´9¨and 145 lbs. Not the easiest, but doable.
 

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I use the Malone SeaWing with the Stinger extension. I put the bow of my Hobie on the Stinger, lift the other end and slide it on. The Hobie is 13´and 70 lbs. I am 71, 5´9¨and 145 lbs. Not the easiest, but doable.


That is probably the best alternative. Down side is the hardware is a lot of stuff on the roof, which my kayak guru called gingerbread. If you are going frequently it’s worth it. Leave it up there. Otherwise I’d use the plain full wings and a removable mat on the back.

Ultimate solution is a trailer.
 

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A friend of mine is looking at a 2019 Limited. Whe wants to fold down the seats and load the kayak in the back with a support mounted into the trailer hitch. Question is, what about the auto closing rear hatch. Will it hit the kayak and then re-open. In other words, can she partly close the rear hatch, tye it down with a bungee chord and travel that way?
 

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I’m 6’5” depending on which convenience store I’m leaving and find like others here that loading my Canoe from the back to the rails is easier for me.


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I have Thule aero cross bars and a pair of Thule Hullavator Pros on my Outback. The Hullavator drops the cradles to waist height, and has gas struts to assist in lifting the kayak to the roof. It makes loading and unloading an easy, single person job.

The Hullavators fasten to a bracket on the bar with a big, beefy pin. I just take pull the pin and take them off when I'm not hauling the boat. The brackets are not obtrusive and they stay on the cross bars.


The whole system is not cheap, but I'm not risking dropping an expensive, fiberglass kayak or injuring myself. No trips to the chiropractor. I thinks it's worth every penny. The Hullavators come with all the straps and ropes to secure the boat.
 

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A friend of mine is looking at a 2019 Limited. Whe wants to fold down the seats and load the kayak in the back with a support mounted into the trailer hitch. Question is, what about the auto closing rear hatch. Will it hit the kayak and then re-open. In other words, can she partly close the rear hatch, tye it down with a bungee chord and travel that way?

I would be concerned about exhaust fumes. I've ridden in an SUV with the back window open, and the exhaust gets sucked right into the vehicle. You may not smell it, but it can harm just the same.
 

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I have Thule aero cross bars and a pair of Thule Hullavator Pros on my Outback.
Do the hullavators have enough clearance on the 47" cross bars or did you have to go the 53"? I've thought about getting a set (especially after paddling around). Pricey, as you mentioned, but perhaps one less mental barrier to getting a workout.
 

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Do the hullavators have enough clearance on the 47" cross bars or did you have to go the 53"? I've thought about getting a set (especially after paddling around). Pricey, as you mentioned, but perhaps one less mental barrier to getting a workout.
I have the stock 47" bars. They have to be adjusted almost fully toward the side with the Hullavator, so that it clears the side of the vehicle when it's down. It flexes, so you want ample space.

If you put two sets of Hullavators on the car, then you'd need the 53" bars.

I agree completely on eliminating the barrier. The easier it is to load up, the more likely I am to go. It also helps if someone is expecting me to show up.
 

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My strong recommendation, rather than buying two hullavators, is to purchase a light trailer. Putting and keeping all of that stuff on your roof is a PITA (I’ve done it) and it makes wind noise, plus isn’t cheap. Still takes a lot more time and effort for older folks or anyone else, IMO. If you are young and strong and always go with a friend then two j rack sets on crossbars is perfect, and two people can lift the boats up easily. One person not so much.

If you have the funds, buy a trailer!! Again, buy a trailer! It will take any size canoe, any type kayak, long or short.

An especially good version is the Rack and Roll from Yakima, although pricey. It’s incredibly light, folds up, and works like a charm. The boat lift is about two feet from the ground up, and one can add a storage box in the middle for your boat stuff plus two boats in j racks.
Find one slightly used, I did.

EJ


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I have a 75-80 pound, 15-ft tandem kayak and Thule Dock Glide rack on the Subaru crossbars. You have to lift one end onto the back, then lift the back of the boat and slide it on. I didnt feel comfortable resting the kayak on the Outback's rear spoiler so I made a compact roller of my own. It is a 2x6 on edge scribed to the roof shape with rubber on the bottom and skateboard trucks & wheel on top that pivot. The pivoting allows the wheels to follow the shape of each side of the boat. It also has arms that hook on the rack so I don't have to worry about it tipping over. I attach the back rope to the tow hook (the hook is stored by the spare tire and screws in). The front is attached to Thule Hood Loops that are secured on fender bolts under the hood. I put some 3M "no residue" duct tape where the loops rub against the hood edge. I also use the Thule straps attached to the crossbars, too. Doing it all over, I'd get the Thule Dock Grip racks since I have a good roller. The Dock Grip is more secure than the Dock Glide.
 

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My strong recommendation, rather than buying two hullavators, is to purchase a light trailer. Putting and keeping all of that stuff on your roof is a PITA (I’ve done it) and it makes wind noise, plus isn’t cheap. Still takes a lot more time and effort for older folks or anyone else, IMO. If you are young and strong and always go with a friend then two j rack sets on crossbars is perfect, and two people can lift the boats up easily. One person not so much.

If you have the funds, buy a trailer!! Again, buy a trailer! It will take any size canoe, any type kayak, long or short.

An especially good version is the Rack and Roll from Yakima, although pricey. It’s incredibly light, folds up, and works like a charm. The boat lift is about two feet from the ground up, and one can add a storage box in the middle for your boat stuff plus two boats in j racks.
Find one slightly used, I did.

EJ


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While this in no way should prevent someone else from using a trailer, my experience is that they are a pain. I have a trailer that I use to haul 4 big tandem sea kayaks. But I only use it for that use case because I have to. Even the longest Yakima bars won't work to hold all 4 on the roof. The trailer is a pain in the butt when parking at the put in. Many of the carry-down put-ins around me do not have the room for trailers. People get nasty when you take up limited parking space with a trailer. And the roads are typically very narrow out and back with a very small space to turn around. That being said, others may have a lot more space to work with so go for it!
 

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While this in no way should prevent someone else from using a trailer, my experience is that they are a pain. I have a trailer that I use to haul 4 big tandem sea kayaks. But I only use it for that use case because I have to. Even the longest Yakima bars won't work to hold all 4 on the roof. The trailer is a pain in the butt when parking at the put in. Many of the carry-down put-ins around me do not have the room for trailers. People get nasty when you take up limited parking space with a trailer. And the roads are typically very narrow out and back with a very small space to turn around. That being said, others may have a lot more space to work with so go for it!


Yes, circumstances matter. Your parking and put ins are different than around here in North Florida Gulf coast. When I toted my 17’ Chatham Sea kayak it would be a launch from the beach or frequently a boat ramp with lots of other trailers. Can’t remember a time when the trailer was an issue. Most of my launches were on the Gulf of Mexico or fairly large streams and rivers.

Actually, my guide friend tells me that sea kayaks are not popular right now as most folks are going to pedal fishing kayaks or SUPs. At least the fishing kayaks are so heavy that either one uses a pick up truck bed with an extender or a trailer. Too heavy to lift to the roof for most people, who often go solo. Many of them use carts from the vehicle/trailer to the water.

If I had to traverse a two track to the water I’d have to roof rack it, too. But, I’m out of the business, anyway.

EJ


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