2011 – 2010 Subaru Outback Roof Rack on Factory Side Rails

15 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 – 2010 Subaru Outback Roof Rack on Factory Side Rails

2011 2010 subaru outback rack blog | car rack on 2010 2011 subaru outback roof rack factory side rails – thule 450 yakima railgrab

ATTENTION: This was originally posted in 2010, however the information still applies to the most current 2013 Subaru Outback wagon models etc.

The 2011 Subaru Outback factory rack and 2010 Subaru Outback factory rack is a radical departure from previous year models. There is much confusion regarding what is and isn’t compatible with the new 2011 2010 Subaru Outback roof rack. While it looks and performs differently than many other factory rack systems, the 2011 Subaru Outback roof rack and 2010 Subaru Outback roof rack still offers excellent configuring flexibility for all your transport needs.

And if you are considering purchasing a 2010 or 2011 Subaru Outback, rest assured you will be able to transport all kinds of gear.

You can use the factory crossbars or an aftermarket multi-purpose roof rack system from Thule Racks or Yakima Racks to transport all but the very longest of equipment (i.e. long canoes or very long ocean kayaks, and in these cases you have additional transport options, see bottom of this blog posting). However, for 2011 2010 Subaru Outback roof mount bike racks, ski-snowboard racks, cargo roof boxes, surfboard racks, stand up paddle board racks, most kayak racks, roof baskets, luggage roof bags etc. you can attach them to the 2010 – 2011 Subaru Outback factory rack cross bars.

Additionally, if you are attaching several gear carriers and/or need longer crossbar length you can attach an aftermarket multi-purpose base rack system to the side rails. For this option the best system is any of the Thule Crossroad roof rack models ( Thule 450 Crossroad . Thule 450R Rapid Crossroad . Thule 45050 Crossroad Kit . Thule 45058 Kit ) as they offer 24 inches of distance between the front and rear crossbar, while the Yakima RailGrab roof rack system offers slightly less at 21 inches. The 24 inch crossbar spread, when using the Thule Crossroad roof racks on the 2011 – 2010 Subaru Outback side rails, has been tested rigorously by Thule Racks and is determined to be thoroughly safe for gear transport, even when using two 897XT Hullavator carriers mounted to the Thule Crossroad base rack cross bars to transport 2 kayaks!

Below is an ORS Racks Direct customer install featuring a 2010 Subaru Outback kayak roof rack that is configured with the Thule 450 CrossRoad car rack system mounted to the factory side rails and a Thule 897XT Hullavator connected to the pair of load bars on the 450 Crossroad base rack system:

2010 Subaru Outback kayak roof rack

More ORS Racks Direct customer installs using base rack systems:

2012 Subaru Outback roof bike racks

2010 Subaru Outback bike roof rack cargo box

2010 Subaru Outback roof rack 5 bike racks

Below is the testimonial from Nick LeFort, chief fitting specialist for Thule Racks:

As the Fit Specialist for Thule North America, I design, test and engineer most of the rack components throughout North America, and in some cases world wide. There has been a lot of noise regarding the construction of the factory roof rack on the 2011 Subaru Outback wagon and 2010 Subaru Outback wagon. Though the design – having side rails that can convert to crossbars – is innovative, many people feel that it fails when it comes to durability and stability.

With that being said, Thule decided to do some in-depth homework and over test the rack. The results, we feel, were remarkable.


Thule 450 Crossroad roof rack (with 58 inch cross bars) mounted to 2010 Subaru Outback roof rack side rails


Two Thule 897XT Hullavator kayak racks mounted to the 450 Crossroad 58 inch cross bars


Liquid Logic Sylva / Wilderness Systems Tempest 165

Testing the limits of the rack, we loaded and unloaded the kayaks on the Hullavators – and made sure to cycle the Hullavators with the boats on them multiple times. During this phase of the test, there was no deflection in the factory rack.

For the second phase of the test, we drove the vehicle – fully loaded – at the recommended driving speeds, and at speeds upwards of 85 mph. At the end of this phase of the test, the boats and racks were:

1. Still fully intact.

2. Had not shifted on the vehicle.

3. Still fully functional.

For the third and final phase of the test, we removed the kayaks, Hullavators, and Crossroads system and cycled the factory rack; making sure to switch the side rails to the crossbar position, lock them in place, and then return them to the side rail position and locking them in place. We did this numerous times – in the end, the rack still functioned as it was designed to.

PLEASE NOTE: It is important to adhere to the suggested weight rating of 150 lbs. on this factory rack. For testing purposes we over loaded the rack and tested it in conditions that it usually wouldn’t be used for, thus eliminating our concerns – and hopefully yours.

Our goal in re-testing this rack was to not only try and disprove some of the noise that has been going around the industry regarding this factory rack – but to also instill a level of comfort and confidence in this rack system. In 15 years of selling, modifying, designing, and repairing racks I have seen it all and though the design of this rack leans towards a level of extreme – I can confidently say that the factory rack on the 2010 Subaru Outback Wagon exceeded my test expectations and is more than suitable to be used with our Thule Crossroad base rack systems and gear carrier accessories.

Another very popular alternative to mounting a complete multi-purpose base rack system to the 2011 Subaru Outback factory side rails and 2010 Subaru Outback factory side rails is instead attaching a cargo-luggage basket to the factory crossbars. This is proving to be very popular with Subaru Outback owners. The main reason is because the roof baskets have integrated crossbars that will then allow you to connect any gear carriers to the integrated crossbars on the basket. Below are some ORS Racks Direct customer installs using this configuration:

2010 Subaru Outback factory rack basket bike rack

2010 Subaru Outback factory roof rack basket

Of course many gear carriers will attach directly to the factory rack crossbars on the 2011 and 2010 Subaru Outback wagon. Here are some examples of gear carriers mounted to the factory cross bars:

2010 Subaru Outback factory rack mount kayak racks

2010 Subaru Outback factory rack mount surfboard rack

2011 Subaru Outback factory rack mount bike rack

2010 Subaru Outback factory rack mount bike rack

Finally, if you are transporting ultra long items such as canoes, the longest of kayaks etc. you have a couple additional options. Your first option is to use the Thule 997 GoalPost on a rear 2 inch trailer hitch (you may already have on your 2010 or 2011 Subaru Outback wagon, and they are also easy to install). You will use the Thule 997 GoalPost in combination with a Thule Crossroad roof rack mounted to the side rails.

This provides a great platform for carrying ultra long equipment. Your second option is to use a canoe-kayak trailer . This is a superb alternative to roof mount gear carriers because the convenient low level of the trailer makes it easy to load and unload gear. Trailers work on all types of trailer hitches, 1.25 and 2 hitches included.

Hopefully all this information has been helpful for you in selecting the proper rack system for your 2011 or 2010 Subaru Outback wagon and gear transport needs. However, if you have any additional questions whatsoever do not hesitate to contact us .

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