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Want to go kayaking somewhere new but need to transport your kayak safely?
Looking to shortcut your decision about which roof rack to get for your Crosstrek?
Well we’ve put together this review of 8 of the best kayak racks for Subaru Crosstreks to help you make a quick, yet smart decision about which roof rack is right for your needs.
But don’t worry – you don’t have to trawl through all 8 Subaru safe kayak racks if you don’t have the time or want to do that.
For those that don’t want to do that, we’ve highlighted the top three options for the money – the best of the best Subaru Crosstrek kayak racks.
Either because of versatility, or the fact they are from highly trusted manufacturers of roof racks.
That’s why we’ve listed these as the top three and each suit slightly different uses, so you will quickly find the right one for you.
If you want to know the prices – just click the green buttons and it’ll show you the Amazon pricing right now.
- Best kayak rack for Subaru Crosstrek: Comparison at a glance
- 8 Best Kayak Racks For Subaru Crosstrek reviewed
- 1. HYPERAX Iridium M Steel Cargo Roof Rack Kayak Carrier
- 2.Thule DockGlide Kayak roof rack Carrier
- 3.Thule Hull-a-Port Rooftop Kayak Carrier
- 4. Malone Saddle Up Pro Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier
- 5. YAKIMA – JayLow, J-Style Fold Down Rooftop Kayak Carrier, 2 Boat Capacity
- 6. YAKIMA – BigStack Rooftop Mounted Boat Rack for Vehicles
- 7. SportRack SR5511 “J” Stacking Kayak Carrier
- 8. IKURAM R Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack of Bilateral Premier J-Style
- Subaru Crosstrek kayak rack information
- Roof rack types suited for kayaks
- Subaru Crosstrek kayak roof rack – buying guide
Best kayak rack for Subaru Crosstrek: Comparison at a glance
Best roof rack that carries kayaks and other cargo.
HYPERAX Iridium M Steel Cargo Roof Rack Kayak Carrier
8 Best Kayak Racks For Subaru Crosstrek reviewed
HYPERAX IRIDIUM is the next generation in the tradition of Khombu’s hyper-reliable cargo accessories.
IRIDIUM’s aerospace-grade carbon steel frame boasts a robust 80x80mm I-beam construction with integrated roof-rack mounting points for ease of attachment.
Through precise engineering, IRIDIUM provides a superior weight limit in combination with unprecedented durability for maximum performance in your outdoor adventures.
With a durable box-beam construction that creates a maximum load of up to 200 lbs, you can load up pretty much any heavy-duty equipment like a kayak, tent, or cooler.
The roof rack carrier features a sturdy yet lightweight steel construction and comes with all the installation tools you need to attach the rack to your vehicle.
The Hyperax Roof Cargo Carrier is a great way to have a lot of storage capacity on your vehicle without running a rack or buying a cargo box.
- Easy Installation, All Necessary Hardware Included
- Works with most crossbars, with various sizes of u-bolt to attach with
- Lockable for Extra Security
- Double-Lock Ratchet System with Micro-Adjustment
- Load Capacity for 200 lb
- Center Tread Plate for Extra Strength
- High-Quality Metal to Reduce Noise
- Universal Design Compatible with All Kayak Brand
- Simple Twist-and-Release Mechanism
- No Drilling Required
- Color: Black
The new DockGlide kayak carrier is a nice upgrade to that system because it makes it even easier to load kayaks onto the rack.
It has a load-assist strap that gives you extra pulling power when you are loading the kayak onto the carrier. Overall this is a great kayak carrier that is easy to load and unload and is built to last.
It’s got gliding felt alongside the saddles so the kayak is easy to load up and feels nice and secure in its place when being transported.
The saddles are lined with felt which protects the hull of my kayak, and the pivoting saddles mean that I can load my kayak either way. So much easier than my previous system!
- Quickly secures to most factory racks in two simple steps
- Independent, pivoting saddles adjust the kayak’s position in the cradle to accommodate different hull shapes
- Quickly secure kayak to vehicle with center load straps to safely transport your kayak
- Durable, powder-coated steel construction
- DockGlide is lockable in forward, middle, and aft positions.
- For maximum stabilization, use with Thule’s QuickDraw bow and stern tie-downs
- Flexible cushioned pads protect the kayak’s skin from rubbing against the cradle’s hard plastic
- Large, flexible, cushioned pads accommodate kayaks up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs
- Thule DockGlide is compatible with Thule rack systems and most factory racks
The Hull-a-Port is one of the easiest way to load your kayak on the roof of your car. The Hull-a-Port features an angled shape that makes loading awkward boats much easier.
The updated Hull-a-Port J-profile is simple loading and unloading for kayaks.
Furthermore, the Hull-a-Port has thick all-weather pads that wrap around boats to cushion and protect them from damage.
Durable straps keep your kayak firmly secured.
The Hull-a-Port comes with a patented rust-resistant coating and hardware.
This model fits Thule rack systems and most factory racks.
• This kayak rack is designed with a no-wobble fit for boats up to 18 feet long and 75 lbs.
• Ratcheting straps conform to the shape of crossbars for a stable, tight fit that is easy to load and unload – even with the help of a friend
• The angled shape of the Hull-a-Port extends across the entire J-rack without the need for a spreader bar
• Keeps your kayak above your car, out of the way of rear passengers, while still leaving plenty of room to carry other gear
• Includes Thule’s industry-leading 5-year warranty
Made in the USA, the Malone Saddle Up Pro Universal Car Rack works with any vehicle.
The custom-fit saddle adjusts to find the right fit for your kayak.
It includes bow and stern safety tie-downs and 2 – 12 foot cam buckle straps. Malone’s Saddle Up Pro Universal kayak carrier is perfect for the kayak owner with multiple kayaks to transport, allowing you to move your kayak around with ease.
The kayak saddles adjust to find the right fit for your kayak. JAWZ mounting hardware fits round, square, and factory oval cross rails.
- The Malone Saddle Up Pro waterproof universal kayak car rack carries 1 kayak up to 48″ wide and 90 lbs per boat.
- Get your kayak off the roof and onto the Malone Saddle Up Pro’s nylon platform for a safer, more enjoyable ride.
- The JAWZ mounting hardware allows this kayak carrier to fit round, square and factory oval cross rails.
- Includes bow and stern tie-downs and 2 – 12 foot cam buckle straps to help secure your kayak to your car.
The Yakima JayLow J-Style is the ultimate stow for transporting kayaks.
This rooftop kayak carrier holds one kayak in a J-cradle position or can carry two kayaks vertically, saving space when needed most without the hassle of disassembly.
This roof rack is the top choice for any enthusiast who needs to hit remote lakes or rivers. It’s compatible with Yakima® SteamLine® and round, square, factory, and aerodynamic bars with a minimum 24″ spread.
Includes all necessary hardware and straps (heavy-duty straps for security) to secure your vessels onto the roof.
An integrated cam lever helps you adjust this rack up out of the way when not in use with space-saving benefits when folded down flat when traveling.
All components are fully assembled right out of the box, no tools required! Tons of locking points mean everything stays secure while driving on rough roads or changing locations frequently.
80lbs / 36kg load capacity.
BigStack SUV Rooftop Mounted Kayak Rack for Vehicles Yakima BigStack frees up garage space and cleans up your vehicle’s appearance. When not in use, fold this rack up and out of the way.
Strong, lightweight, high-quality materials eliminate the tangle of straps and hardware. High strength composite frame. Easy to install.
Universal mounting hardware fits round, square, factory, and aerodynamic crossbars. Includes all components for complete installation.
80lbs / 36kgs load capacity.
Made with heavy-duty steel tubing, the SportRack SR5511 Roof Top Kayak Carrier is easy to install and remove, and features easy on and off bolt mounting hardware.
This J-style kayak carrier is compatible with most factory or aftermarket roof racks.
This easy installation kayak carrier includes two J-stackers, bow and stern tie-downs, and two heavy-duty side straps.
The SportRack J-style rooftop kayak carriers can be locked to the carrier, and the J-stackers can be locked to the car’s roof rack with locking straps and/or cable locks (all sold separately).
75lbs / 34kgs load capacity.
The IKURAM R Kayak Carrier is a J-style kayak carrier perfect for transporting your kayak easier and safer.
It mounts to your vehicle with three adjustable crossbars and is supported with oversized legs and rubber saddles to ensure a stable and safe ride.
The components of the product are manufactured from high-quality anodized aviation-grade aluminum and stainless steel and is designed for fast and easy installation and removal.
The package comes with everything you need to transport your kayak, and IKURAM recommends using ratcheting tie-downs with the carrier.
220lbs / 100kgs load capacity for two kayaks.
Subaru Crosstrek kayak rack information
The Subaru Crosstrek strangely is the only Subaru model that comes properly fitted with roof rails on all models. For some reason, many of the models don’t typically come with roof rails built-in.
This is odd because as an SUV, you’d assume that Subaru would’ve known that it was likely going to be purchased and used by adventurous customers who like outdoor activities.
Even Subaru’s advertising suggests that the car should appeal to those who enjoy sports like kayaking and canoeing.
Roof rack types suited for kayaks
There are multiple different types of roof racks that are suited to transporting kayaks on them. Here we cover the main types.
J-Cradle kayak racks
A very popular style of kayak rack. These are, you guessed it, shaped like a ‘J’.
The shape helps to snugly sit the kayak into the bend of the J and sit at a slight angle.
You can then use straps to fix the kayak securely in place so it doesn’t wobble when traveling.
Kayak Stacking racks
The stacking type of rack does as it says. It’s designed to fit kayaks on their side one by one next to each other, and you strap the kayak to the vertical arm.
This type of rack means you can carry more than one kayak easily. If your car and rack are wide enough, you may be able to fit multiple. A great benefit if you are a family of ‘yakkers!
Kayak Saddle racks (some have Rollers)
Saddle racks are smaller in design than the previous two and act almost as cups, or saddles for the kayak to rest in.
They are a slight ‘U’ shape to grip around the side of the kayak. Once strapped in, this is a very secure, minimal and lightweight option for carrying kayaks.
This design also allows you to carry more than one kayak – you just need to position the saddles closer together to fit them in.
Cargo roof racks for kayaks
Cargo racks are incredibly strong and can take a lot of weight on the rack itself. If you’re looking for an option that will not risk breaking and won’t fail you in carrying your kayak or other items safely on your car, then this is the option for you.
A little more expensive, but you pay for quality and durability.
Is the safety and stability of your kayaks worth taking the risk for cheaper kayak racks?
When you think about the consequences of a cheap kayak rack failing while driving, it’s immediately clear why it’s worth investing in the right type of roof rack for your kayak.
Temporary foam or inflatable Pads for kayaks
These are a great option for lightweight and infrequent use, or if you are traveling short distances to get your kayak in the water.
They are designed generally for cars that do not have roof rails to attach a roof rack to. You can strap on the pads, secure them through the door and then your kayak sits comfortably on the top.
You then use straps to secure the kayak down and you are away! Easy to set up and easy to pack down too.
Subaru Crosstrek kayak roof rack – buying guide
Kayak roof rack safety and stability. The number one factor you should consider!
Should you only think of yourself when picking a kayak roof rack that’s right for you?
Many would argue no.
When you’re carrying kayaks on the roof, you are essentially carrying bulky, solid objects, that if they were to come loose, turn into dangerous projectiles traveling as fast as you are driving.
The smart kayaker chooses a rack they know is going to provide not only themselves stability and safety while driving, but others, too.
The smart kayaker avoids simply opting for the cheapest or easiest option.
You surely want something you can trust will look after your precious kayaks, your car, and those people using the road around you.
Safety and stability is the top factor on our list to choose when picking the best kayak roof rack for you.
This is why you should consider the tried and tested top brands for kayak roof racks in your purchase decision.
Check roof rack bars on your Subaru Crosstrek
The great thing about the Crosstrek is that the roof rails on this vehicle are well designed to suit almost any type of roof rack – the range can be very wide in terms of options.
But, with that said, it’s always best to just double check that the fixings for the roof rack you are looking at, or the type of roof rack itself is suited to the Crosstrek’s rails on the roof.
One or two kayaks on your Crosstrek roof rack?
Do you have a partner, friend, or family member who will join you out on the water?
Even if there is only a small possibility someone might join you, is it not worth choosing an option that gives you that freedom?
Or, if your mate has a paddleboard and you a kayak – why not show off your new fancy roof rack system and chuck them both on top of your car for ease?
Roof rack load capacity
When perusing options, be sure to take note of the load-bearing capacity of the roof rack itself.
Then check how heavy your kayak is.
If you have two kayaks and want to load up both of them onto a rack that holds two kayaks, make sure the total load capacity is more than the total weight of your two kayaks.
Single recreational kayas might only weigh around 20-30lbs / 9-13.5kg.
Large tandem kayaks can weigh anywhere up to 80lbs / 36kgs.
The top kayak roof racks for the Crosstrek in this review have load capacities anywhere between 75lbs / 34kgs up to 200lbs / 90kgs.
Kayak roof rack loading – want it easy?
Arms a bit tired after paddling?
Is your back a bit sore after sitting for a couple of hours?
Well, luckily, some kayak roof racks come with either rollers or a handy extra metal arm to help assist you with loading your kayak onto your SUV.
So if you’re kayaking alone and are worried about hauling the weight of the kayak off and on the roof rack over and again, this might be a great option for you.
Best kayak rack for Subaru Crosstrek summary
There are some things in life where it makes sense to invest in quality.
Do you think finding the best kayak rack for your Subaru Crosstrek is one of them?
Who would you trust to carry your kayak safely while you’re hurtling towards the coastline for a paddling session?
In this article, we’ve reviewed some of the most reliable, well-known established kayak roof rack brands out there that are well suited to the Subaru Crosstrek.
If I were to place my money somewhere it would absolutely be on one of the top four options in this list of kayak roof carriers, and we hope we’ve made the decision a little easier for you as you decide on the right roof rack for your kayak and Cosstrek.