10 Best Kayak Roof Racks for Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback is an awesome Station Wagon that offers the utility and cargo-carrying ability of an SUV. But when you are going kayaking you will be stressed out over how to carry the kayak. You will need a roof rack for your Outback and there are hundreds of kayak racks on Amazon. So, to make your job easier and less time-consuming, we have listed the 10 best kayak roof racks for Subaru Outback according to your need.

Subaru Outback Kayak Racks Guide
  • Foldable, sturdy & portable
  • Can be used as a stacker for 2 kayaks
  • Comes in fully assembled form
  • SKS locking system
  • A bit pricey

Our Verdict

Yakima Jaylow is a model with all the characteristics to be the top j-rack available on the market. It is loaded with helpful and practical features, along with a stunning design. It is the best roof rack for Subaru Outback and it fits like a globe.

What type of Roof Rack do you want for your Outback?

What is the best roof rack for Subaru Outback?

The best roof rack for Subaru Outback is the YAKIMA JayLow.

What is the best Subaru Outback roof rack at a low cost?

The best Subaru Outback roof rack at a low cost is the TMS J-Bar Kayak Rack.

What is the best Saddle rack for Subaru Outback?

The best Saddle rack for Subaru Outback is the Malone Seawing.

What is the best Stacker rack for Subaru Outback?

The best Stacker rack for Subaru Outback is the Malone Stax Pro2.

What is the best J Cradle for Subaru Outback?

The Best J Cradle for Subaru Outback is the Thule Hull-a-Port XT.

What is the best roof rack for carrying 2 kayaks on Subaru Outback?

The best roof rack for carrying 2 kayaks on Subaru Outback is the IKURAM R J-Style Folding Kayak Rack.

Best Kayak Roof Racks for Subaru Outback (Comparison Table)

  • Foldable, sturdy & portable
  • Can be used as a stacker for 2 kayaks
  • Comes in fully assembled form
  • SKS locking system
  • A bit pricey
  • Quality product
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Low-profile
  • No locking system
  • Budget-friendly
  • Can carry 4 kayaks
  • Can be folded down
  • Aluminum-built
  • Easy Installation
  • Lifetime warranty
  • No locking system
  • Have to buy additional straps
  • Low price
  • Easy Installation
  • Is removable when not in use
  • Very sturdy and durable
  • No folding option
  • No locking system
  • Lift-assist
  • Instant remove
  • Load kayak from waist level
  • One key locking system is sold separately
  • Aluminum-built
  • Expensive
  • Only works with Thule crossbars
  • Foldable, sturdy & portable
  • Can be used as a stacker for 2 kayaks
  • Comes in fully assembled form
  • One key locking system is sold separately
  • Integrated StrapCatch
  • No compartment to carry the paddle
  • Can be folded down
  • Can carry your paddles
  • Budget-friendly
  • Very versatile
  • No locking system
  • Have to buy additional ratchet straps
  • Foldable for overhead clearance
  • Easy installation
  • Very cheap
  • Durable, Sturdy, extra padding for safety
  • No additional compartment for paddle or straps
  • No locking system
  • Durable, Sturdy, extra padding for safety
  • Easy Installation
  • Very low price
  • No folding option
  • No locking system
  • Quick and easy to install and remove
  • Versatile
  • Good carrying capacity
  • Temporary solution
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not durable like crossbar racks

Best Kayak Roof Rack for Subaru Outback

yakima jaylow

Yakima JayLow’s Folding Rooftop J-Cradle Kayak Rack is our number one option from our Subaru Outback Kayak roof rack list, due to its convenience and practical features. It’s elegantly constructed and very durable. It’s the perfect type of j-cradle made by an established brand on the market.

The JayLow is a traditional J-rack that comes with an added feature in stacker mode. In j-rack, the arm is locked into an angle of 45 degrees and can hold one kayak. When you switch to the stacker mode the arm is locked in 90-degrees, meaning it is possible to carry two kayaks on both sides of the arm in the stacker model. It can hold a boat that weighs 80 pounds or two boats of 110 lbs together.

It’s suitable for Yakima SteamLine as well as round or square, factory, and aerodynamic crossbars. it has adapters for Yakima round bars. However, it is also compatible with other round load bars too. Be aware that you must have at least 24 in. of the distance between your crossbars for you to utilize the JayLow. The JayLow also comes with durable, contact points with padding that offers safety and grip during travel.

One of the most convenient aspects of this rack is it’s completely assembled right from the box. We don’t need to waste our time in assembling it. It’s also very easy to put together, you just need to connect the rack’s clamps to your bars, then close the thumbscrews. We should also note that JayLow is equipped with high-quality bow and stern tie-down straps that secure the rack.

Another useful feature that’s convenient is the SKS (same keys) security system Yakima offers. One key is used to lock and unlock everything on your Yakima equipment. It’s a solid security measure. While it would be good to have it as part of the package, however, it’s sold as a separate product.

We love our Yakima JayLow. It may be designed to make life easier. It’s not the most light on the cost, but you will surely be happy with it.

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  • Foldable, sturdy & portable
  • Can be used as a stacker for 2 kayaks
  • Comes in fully assembled form
  • SKS locking system
  • A bit pricey

Best Saddle Rack for Subaru Outback

Malone Seawing

The Seawing from Malone is on the market for more than 15 years. In these years, they have built trust and authority on the Saddle rack market among users. It is a great classic saddle-style kayak carrier, so that means you can only carry one kayak.

These Seawing saddle blades are made of quality plastic and stainless steel. The plastic part can be flexed with the different shapes of your kayak. They are very low-profile, so you will have plenty of overhead clearance. And the saddle is easy to set up and remove (no tool needed). It has JAWZ mounting hardware, so it will fit all crossbars including round, oval, square, etc. It also comes with bow-stern and straps. But you always should buy extra straps just in case.

The Malone Seawing has everything you need, it is easy to use, durable, and more importantly, it’s budget-friendly.

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  • Quality product
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly
  • Low-profile
  • No locking System

Best Stacker Rack for Subaru Outback

Malone Stax

If you are looking for an ideal stacker for your car, then Malone Stax Pro 2 will be the best choice for you. It’s an aluminum-made stacker that can hold 2 kayaks on either side properly. But if you have crossbar space for 4 kayaks, you can carry 2 kayaks on each side but you have to buy additional straps and secure them properly.

There are many features on this stacker. One is it can fold down for overhead clearance and lower your drag and fuel cost. Another one is, it has foam padding on your crossbar to protect your kayak from damage. Although it will not be of any use if you are carrying 4 kayaks on your roof. And it has JAWZ Universal fit mounting hardware to fit round, square and oval crossbars, tool-free assembly, and Malone also gives you a lifetime warranty.

And most of all you will be happy when you check its price. But you also have to be careful because Malone doesn’t provide any kind of lock system to keep your investment secured.

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  • Budget-friendly
  • Can carry 4 kayaks
  • Can be folded down
  • Aluminum-built
  • Easy Installation
  • Lifetime warranty
  • No locking system
  • Have to buy additional straps

Best Low Cost Rack for Subaru Outback

TMS J-Bar kayak rack

If you are looking for a rack that is easy on the wallet you should try this rack from T-Motorsports. It is very popular amongst kayakers. It is tough, made of alloy steel, and is easy to install. The best choice for occasional kayakers.

This rack is renowned for extra strength and durability. This wide-mouthed j-shape rack even can carry a larger boat, such as a sea or touring kayak. It can carry a kayak about 36 inches wide and 75 lbs weight. It also has adjustable pads on the carrying arms to protect your boats from damage during transit. And this rack can be mounted onto any type of crossbar.

You need to do some assembly after taking it out of the box. All the parts that you need are already in there. There are some people who complained about the instructions for assembly that come with the rack. But the assembly process is not that difficult. (see the video)

It has universal fitting clamps like most other j-style racks. You can load your kayak easily from the side of your car. The j-cradle will hold your kayak at a 45-degree angle which leaves space for other stuff like a bike, luggage, cargo box, etc. It comes with two loading straps included, but we suggest buying additional straps for a more secure tie-down.

The features this rack lacks are the folding option and a locking system. In this budget, this is the best choice we have. With its features, this tough steel rack will surely convince you to use it.

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  • Low price
  • Easy Installation
  • Is removable when not in use
  • Very sturdy and durable
  • No folding option
  • No locking system

Best Lift-assist Rack for Subaru Outback

Thule Hullavator

Basically, Thule Hullavator pro does what this name suggests, it elevates your kayak. That means it reduces your kayak weight by 40 lbs while loading your kayak because of its gas struts. Not only that, but It also makes your life a lot easier. Let’s talk about that-

While loading your kayak, you don’t have to worry if you are short or your kayak is heavy. You can load your kayak from the waist label. It’s so much easier to just sit the kayak on the rack and strap it securely. Thule also provides you with straps and bow-stern. After securing the kayak on your rack from your waist level, you can simply drag and guide it to the top of your vehicle. You can also adjust its width according to your kayak width. It can carry a kayak up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs weight.

Hullavator is made of aluminum, so you know how durable it can be. You can also remove the rack in seconds for overhead clearance or when you are not using it. The removal of this rack from the crossbar is very easy so you have to buy Thule’s one key lock system which unfortunately is sold separately.

The most difficult thing for Hullavator is its assembly. It takes around half an hour to assemble, but you have to do this only once. So that’s a relief. Another thing is it only mounts on Thule crossbars. Another thing to look out for when buying this rack is, do you have crossbars that extend 4-8 inches beyond the rail anchors, or else it will damage your car.

We all know Thule and its desire to make its product perfect. The only thing I would have wanted extra on this rack is the Locks to be included. With its price, then it would have been very fair to us.

Note: If you have factory crossbars it won’t work.

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  • Lift-assist
  • Instant remove
  • Load kayak from waist level
  • One key locking system is sold separately
  • Aluminum-built
  • Expensive
  • Only works with Thule crossbars

Best Advanced Folding J Rack for Subaru Outback

Thule Hullaport XT

This Hull-a-port XT j-cradle is from Thule, one of the most trusted brands in the automobile storage industry. There are no features in any j-cradles from any brand that this Hull-a-port XT doesn’t have, except the paddle carrying system. It is very useful and convenient.

The Thule Hull-a-port XT is a traditional j-rack with an additional feature of stacker mode. In j-rack, mode its arm is locked to a 45-degree angle and can carry one kayak. And in the stacker mode, the arm is locked into 90-degree, so you can carry 2 kayaks on both sides of the arm like stacker style. It can carry around one boat of 75 lbs or two boats weighing 110 lbs combined.

It is compatible with round, square, factory, aerodynamic, any type of crossbars because it has a universal mounting design. It also has durable padded contact points that provide protection and grip while traveling. You can also fold it down for overhead clearance and fuel efficiency.

One of the convenient features of this rack is that it comes fully assembled out of the box. We don’t have to waste our time assembling it. It is also easy to install, just simply attach the rack’s clamps to your bars and tighten with the stardriver. And we should also mention that the Hullaport XT comes with heavy-duty securing straps and bow/stern tie-downs. It also has an Integrated StrapCatch helps to easily manage straps while loading kayak.

Another convenient feature is the one key locking system like the SKS system from Yakima. One key lock and unlock all your Thule gear and presumably anyone else’s. It is a decent anti-theft system. Although it would have been nice to have it included, it is sold separately.

We all know about Thule and its product quality. The Hull-a-port XT is also no different. There is no doubt that it is a top j-rack on the market.

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  • Foldable, sturdy & portable
  • Can be used as a stacker for 2 kayaks
  • Comes in fully assembled form
  • One key locking system is sold separately
  • Integrated StrapCatch
  • No compartment to carry the paddle

Best Kayak J Rack for 2 kayaks for Subaru Outback

7. IKURAM R J-Style Folding Kayak Rack

IKURAM R folding kayak rack

If there is a rack that can tempt you with its functions and versatility, it’s the Bilateral Premier j-rack from IKURAM. In just a few years of its release, it has become renowned amongst kayakers. It has everything you need in a kayak carrier except the locking system.

This rack, from an emerging brand IKURAM, has many functions. Like it can carry one kayak j-style, two kayak stacker-style vertically, and two kayaks saddle-style horizontally. You just have to adjust the degree of its arm, like 45-degree, 90-degree, and 0-degree.

It is easy to install, fits almost all kinds of crossbars. You just have to look for your crossbar-height, because the bolts of this rack are long. So, if you low-profile crossbars, the bolts might make a dent on your roof. But if you have a high-profile crossbar, you are good to go. It also has rubber padding to keep your kayak safe. A great thing about this rack is that it has cradles to carry your paddles.

Now let’s talk about things you need to know before buying this rack. Firstly, the instruction manual from the company is technically non-existent (check the installation video down below). Secondly, the included strap might not be enough, then you have to buy additional ratchet straps. Thirdly, it doesn’t have a lock system.

This product has some limitations. They had an idea, but couldn’t execute it properly. With that being said, you will not find a rack that has these types of functions at such a low price for 4 j-cradles.

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  • Can be folded down
  • Can carry your paddles
  • Budget-friendly
  • Very versatile
  • No locking system
  • Have to buy additional ratchet straps

Best Basic Folding J Rack for Subaru Outback

Leader Accessories Folding

The folding rack from Leader Accessories is an average kind of j-cradle with a fair price. It’s an alloy steel product that is powder-coated to prevent rust and corrosion. It also has a Foam Padding and Rubber Pedal design to reduce the scratch of your kayak.

Except for the round bars, it is compatible with most other crossbars. It can carry up to 100 lbs. It is easy to install and more importantly, it has fold-down technology for more overhead clearance. You just have to check the measurements of your crossbars.

What it doesn’t have is the locking system, an additional compartment for extra straps, and paddle storage.

If you are on a budget and looking for nothing fancy, you might like this rack.

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  • Durable, Sturdy, extra padding for safety
  • Easy installation
  • Budget-friendly
  • Fold-down technology
  • No locking system
  • No additional compartment for paddle or straps

Best Basic J Rack for Subaru Outback

Ecotric J-rack

If you are looking for a basic j-style rack that is cheap you should try this rack from Ecotric. It is very minimal but has the necessary functionalities. It is tough, made of alloy steel, and is easy to install. It can be the go-to choice for occasional kayakers.

This rack has extra strength and durability. This wide-mouthed j-shape rack even can carry a larger boat, such as a sea or touring kayak. It can carry a kayak about 36 inches wide and 150 lbs weight. It also has adjustable pads on the carrying arms to protect your boats from damage. And this rack can be mounted onto any type of crossbar except the round and the oval crossbars.

It is easy to install. You can load your kayak easily from the side of your car. The j-cradle will hold your kayak at a 45-degree angle which leaves space for other stuff like a bike, luggage, cargo box, etc. It comes with four loading straps included, but we suggest buying additional straps for a more secure tie-down.

The features that you might miss are the folding option and a locking system. In this budget, this is the best choice we have. With its features, You can get by using this rack.

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  • Durable, Sturdy, extra padding for safety
  • Easy installation
  • Very low price
  • No folding option
  • No locking system

Best Temporary Pad for Subaru Outback

If you are looking to carry your kayak but don’t have a crossbar then you should check this inflatable roof rack by Handirack. This straightforward rack will fit any vehicle. You can install it very quickly and easily (no tools needed). And not just kayak, you can carry many other things like luggage, furniture, skis, snowboards, etc.

The rack has two inflatable pads made of 420-denier nylon with air chambers inside. And no, you don’t have to fill the air chambers with your mouth because a double-action pump is included to fill the pads with air. You can simply store them in your trunk when not in use for more durability. The Handirack says it has a carrying capacity of 175 lbs, but these are air pads so go easy on them if you are going through highways or bumpy roads.

The Handirack is for some basic hauling, without the need to assemble, install, wrench, drill, or tighten anything. So use it as a temporary roof rack, not a permanent solution.

Note: If you have factory crossbars on your Subaru, you shouldn’t buy this as it is an alternative to crossbars.

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  • Quick and easy to install and remove
  • Versatile
  • Good carrying capacity
  • Temporary solution
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not durable like crossbar racks

Visit our kayak rack section for more kayak rack guides.