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PostPosted: February 7th, 2020, 6:49 pm 
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Anybody got a good solution for cartopping two canoes on a 2019 Outback with factory rails?

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PostPosted: February 7th, 2020, 7:12 pm 
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A suggestion based on the way I carried four kayaks on a Toyota Tercel. Two (one?) vertical towers middle of factory cross bars, four chine-shaped foam cradles over cross-bars. Canoes on edge gunnels facing out. A quick thought but may help stir some creative answers?


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PostPosted: February 7th, 2020, 8:02 pm 
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Hi Martin,
I have an Outback and found the answer to be two 2x4s cut a bit longer than the the combined width of the 2 canoes plus space for eye bolts at each end. You'll also need 4 Eye Bolts and 4 appropriate size U Bolts. The 2x4s are bolted to the Subie's opened rails. You can apply some kind of thin protection to the rails where the U Bolts will be placed to lock in the 2x4s. The canoes are then secured to the 2x4s via the eye bolts and elsewhere if deemed necessary. Sorry I don't have a photo.

PS: The rig is a bit wider than the car but I never encountered law enforcement problems.

GG

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PostPosted: February 7th, 2020, 9:21 pm 
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I car topped a couple of solo canoes on the factory VW Golf/Jetta rack. Put both canoes on edge, spooned. On edge canoes are not that wide. Tie down each canoe individually as well as tie down the whole load as one. Did something like 3000 km without an issue.

Otherwise, get a wider rack system by either adding a DIY set of bars or purchasing a rack system.

I like the concept of the Subaru rack.

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 8:59 am 
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I have made a DIY rack for a previous car using 2x4's and u bolts. That car had open side rails along the roof which made it very easy and secure to attach 2x4's with u bolts. I figured I would do something similar for this one. But on the Subaru I would have to secure the 2 x 4's to the Crossbars themselves (the side rails are closed) and the Subaru factory crossbars seem a little flimsy. They are also slightly curved and the chunky plastic side rails look like they might get in the way of a 6' 2x4. I haven't actually tried any of this yet. Gerald seems to have done it, so that is encouraging.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 10:22 am 
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At least one of the rack makers has a tower than threads into that crazy Outback rack. I think you probably remove the crossbar and use that attaching point. You can then use any width bar you desire. Hauled two canoes 3000K last summer in high winds. The only problem was the bar stops deforming in the cross wind. The the tow hooks can be inserted in the bumpers of the Subaru to add some tie down points fore and aft. They are off to the side but better than nothing. You pop out a little plastic insert on the facias to access the threaded hole for the tow hooks. The car only comes with one stored by the spare tire but another can be purchased. If you have a trailer hitch the rear hole is covered but the hitch is better anyway for a tie down point.

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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 11:22 am 
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I would much prefer to transport canoes gunwales down on wide enough crossbars, using adapted 2x4s or an aftermarket rack and crossbars.

With the canoes on edge that is a lot of “sail” sticking up in any crosswind (or passing semi trucks), and I’d want the boats strapped down very tightly, maybe cam straps through the doors and not just secured to the side rails or crossbars. But, with the boats on edge, I’d be hesitant to crank a cam strap so tight the racked hulls were immovable when test pushing or wiggling by hand for fear of deforming a gunwale or damaging the hull.

I’m a rope/truckers hitch and gunwale stop guy, with separate bow and stern lines and two belly lines per boat, and always give things a test wiggle to check.

Marten mentioned bar stops deforming in a crosswind. We had a gunwale stop break crossing the Great Plains in extreme crosswinds (so windy it was hard to get the van doors open when we pulled over).

Had the canoes been racked on edge that would have been a real adventure.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 2:47 pm 
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Your factory rack looks totally flimsy for anything over 50 lbs, especially as big as a canoe. You can get Yakima towers and 78" cross bars plus canoe brackets - that setup will fit may be two 34"-wide boats. Not cheap, but definitely safe.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 5:35 pm 
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The rack is rated to 150 pounds. I have mounted a 75 pound WW boats and it is secure. Width is the only issue I have. My other vehicle has a decent Thule system which I can extend. I'm just curious to see if anyone has a creative way to deal with the Outback rack.


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PostPosted: February 8th, 2020, 6:11 pm 
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Two 2 x 6, Rout out enough material to just rest snugly over existing cross bars. Drill holes with spade bit big enough to get hose clamp through and around factory bars.( keep a couple extra clamps in car) Tighten up and there you go. Yakima $600 or Home Depot for maybe $30 and half an hours work. I cut mine at 78", no issues carrying two boats.

Factory rack easily handles one canoe, very sturdy.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2020, 2:14 pm 
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scoops wrote:
Two 2 x 6, Rout out enough material to just rest snugly over existing cross bars. Drill holes with spade bit big enough to get hose clamp through and around factory bars.( keep a couple extra clamps in car) Tighten up and there you go. Yakima $600 or Home Depot for maybe $30 and half an hours work. I cut mine at 78", no issues carrying two boats.


I like that idea a lot, especially the $30 vs $600 part. The hose clamp removability won’t be as fast as some aftermarket rack designs, but I saw a new, very expensive, removable Yakima aero rack on a late model Forester where “Removable” meant, to Yakima, no exaggeration - installation manual/videos recommended - approximately 100 Allen wrench turns. Per all four towers. Well dang, I’m never taking those racks off and putting them on again.

That said, all of our current Thules (and past Yakimas), even our old-school Quick & Easy rain gutter racks, go on and off in literal seconds with no tools. We keep our vehicles for at least 10+ years (the Ford E-150 is now of legal drinking age). On more modern vehicles the expense of manufactured racks with easy on/easy off crossbars and towers has been spendy, but worth it. Probably saved some increased-aerodynamic’s gas expense. We keep our vehicles; times 250,000 everyday miles, with racks too much of a bother to take off and left on, that would add up.

Removable wood crossbars do have a lot of inexpensive DIY advantages. We still have (and use) eight 2x4x8 Quick & Easy crossbars for our van. Eight because we use four crossbars at a time along that 11 feet of flat, rain-guttered roofline; one four-pack designed to hold four open canoes all gunwales down, another designed to secure four decked canoes.

All of those wood crossbars have wood gunwale stop with adjacent eye bolts, positioned / \ to capture the bows, and \ / to hold the sterns. The boats are held perfectly spaced into the same position every vtime, and are un-budge-able in the fiercest of cross winds. Even with just two canoes on the crossbars the certainty that the hulls cannot shift and rub against each other on long drives is a boon, hence four wood gunwale stops per canoe.

Learned that secure spacing lesson the hard way when a boat shifted over a driver-unnoticeable amount and rubbed the head of a foot pedal bolt boat against its neighbor’s gel coat. For hundreds of miles. ARRGGHH!

Wood crossbars have other accessory advantages. You can drill and install strategic eye bolts for ropes or straps where ever you want/need. I like the belly line ropes pulling almost straight down against the outwale, not looped under the crossbar a foot away.

Need to carry a couple kayaks? Strap some custom carved minicel cradles to those wider crossbars and the foam will stay in place in high winds, panic stops (freaking Yakima round bars) or sudden accelerations. Sometimes the accelerator is as defensive driving as the brake.

Need to carry some 4x8 sheets of plywood from Home Depot, or help move a box spring and mattress?

At that 1/10th (1/20th?) the cost of Yakima or Thule racks making a 2-boat wide set of width and stops customized crossbars (watch your head getting out under the wide ones) would be an attractive alternative. BTW, price check Yakima or Thule gunwales stops. WFT, $100 for four pieces of clamp on plastic? HAHAHAHA.

I do miss rain gutters. And I kinda miss using wood crossbars on our more modern, rain gutter-less vehicles. My first two trucks had DIYed wood crossbars that fit over beefy construction racks, with a couple different crossbar sets for different boats and trips.

My only concern is how strong that Subaru rack actually is for toting two canoes with wind shear torque on the load. I have no idea what the maximum distance between crossbars is; carrying a 16 foot canoe on 25 inches of crossbar spread, with 7 feet of cantilevered hull unsupported in the wind, is a lot different than having only 3 or 4 feet of boat sticking out beyond the crossbars at each end. Crossbar spread also equals less wide two-boat ()() bars.

And no idea how Subaru’s plastic rack moldings are attached to the roof. On our old Honda CR-V there was a removable plate that revealed the attachment mechanism. Those rack posts were comfortingly beefy, especially when I binged a guardrail on black ice with 130 lbs of boats on the racks. Nothing even moved.

I recall some gnashing of teeth a few years back when Subaru weakened the roof rack design on some models. Subaru was, at the time, an American Canoe Association sponsor, with membership “discounts”, and had a cult paddler following for their roof racks. Suddenly several of their SUV racks were more appropriate for skis and snowboards.

DIY custom wood crossbars should work. With the usual security; two belly lines around to the rack crossbars, unless you can figure out an attachment to the vehicle; blessed were the tie down hooks on older pickup truck bed rails, so even the belly lines were attached to the vehicle.

And yeah, the van has stainless eye bolts through both chrome bumpers. The missus had questions when I started drilling eye bolt holes in the bumpers the day after I brought the van home.

Probably preaching to the choir, but belly lines, and bow and stern lines to sturdy tow rings/trailer hitch, or under-hood (under-tailgate?) webbing loops. If possible with bow and stern lines pulling in opposition.
\_______/, or /_____\
Not, as often seen, both pulling forward /_______/

Maybe even a safety cam strap over the boats and through the back doors at first, for some belt & suspenders action, ‘til you see how it all works at windy highway speeds.

If you go that DIY route, results and photos please.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2020, 2:25 pm 
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I was ready to upgrade my 2004 Outback, which had the old style rails with fully adjustable crossbars, the same year that they changed to the stupid rail system with fixed crossbars too close together. For that very reason, i waited a couple of years and bought a Forester instead, which still had adjustable rails and crossbars. Since then I have bought two more Foresters. I easily carry solo canoes (Hornbecks, & PlacidBoats) on the existing factory crossbars. For heavier boats, C2s and C4s, I bit the bullet and bought the Thule system as much more secure solution. But I think the 2x4s secured down would work just as well, and I have seen others use this method.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2020, 6:33 pm 
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"My only concern is how strong that Subaru rack actually is for toting two canoes with wind shear torque on the load. I have no idea what the maximum distance between crossbars is; carrying a 16 foot canoe on 25 inches of crossbar spread, with 7 feet of cantilevered hull unsupported in the wind, is a lot different than having only 3 or 4 feet of boat sticking out beyond the crossbars at each end. Crossbar spread also equals less wide two-boat ()() bars."

By using 2 x 6's the supported area is extended at least 6 -8 inches. Very stable with two 16' canoes, no issues at all on long hauls at 120 kph.


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PostPosted: February 9th, 2020, 8:37 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback. I like your idea Scoops. Will give that a try. The spread from front of front cross bar to back of rear cross bar is 42". I think that is pretty good.


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PostPosted: February 10th, 2020, 1:02 pm 
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Hi Martin,

Lots of great ideas here.

I have a 2014 Outback with same rack. My only suggestion to the above comments is to screw a 1/2 inch sheet of plywood to the 2x4s. The 2x4s are fastened at a distance apart such that they each lie against (not on top) of a factory bar. The plywood sheet is about 3' wide, and long enough to extend over the factory cross-bars (set at their maximum width). The function of the plywood is simply to stabilize the 2x4s from twisting (try tying a 2x4 to a factory-cross bar and you'll see what I mean...).

I then cut large holes though the plywood to allow the entire rig to be lashed at 4 points to the cross-bars using rope (the rope goes around the 2x4s, plywood, and factory bars about a dozen times at each point).

The two canoes are lashed to each bar in the usual way. This is done twice, independently at each bar, for each canoe. I also tie down the bow and sterns of both canoes to the frame or hitch of the car.

I used this rig to drive up to Killarney. It was very stable, even at 110 km/hr.


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