The Subaru Outback has adventure in its name. It’s made for the Outback!
And most models will have side rails. So when you’re planning your next trip with a kayak or snowboard and you need to mount it, how?
Well, you need to get yourself a roof rack! They can also be called roof rack cross bars.
There are a few perfect options for you to choose from.
Let’s take a look at the 4 best roof rack cross bars for Subaru Outbacks:
1. CargoLoc 2-Piece 52" Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set – Fits Maximum 46” Span Across Existing Raised Side Rails with Gap – Features Keyed Locking Mechanism
A perennial best seller, the CargoLoc has earned its great reputation for a few reasons.
But the one that stands out most to us is the price. For a fraction of the cost of many popular brands, you get a similar product with a happy customer base.
And the great thing about it being so popular is that there is a lot of data on how it has worked out for people. The consensus is an overwhelmingly positive response. Is this perfect? No, but value wise it’s outstanding.
Since this is a universal design, you just adjust this to the width of your side rails and lock it into place with the included mechanism. The actual cross bars are aluminum and the ends that hold on to your side rails are plastic.
This isn’t flimsy either, and it can hold up to 150 lbs. For that reason, we think this is the best value overall.
2. Apex RLB-2301 Universal Side Rail - Mounted Steel Roof Bars
The Apex Side rail roof rack is for the most part made of steel. All cross bars do have some plastic, this included.
They’re at the ends, the plastic wingnuts are a twist turn feature to tighten this rack.
Steel is used to hold up skyscrapers, so we think it’ll be strong enough to hold a roof box or whatever else you may want to mount.
The listing has these being able to hold up to 130 lbs. Which is a little bit less than the CargoLoc, but it should still be adequate for most situations. They’re another affordable pair as well.
The choice between this option and the CargoLoc in our eyes comes down to two things. First, if you prefer all black to two-tone. And secondly, if the 20 lb load capacity difference is a big factor. For all other purposes including customer satisfaction, they’re both on par with each other.
3. BRIGHTLINES Steel Cross Bars with Lock System for 1995-2009 Subaru Outback
This option is for those of you with an older Outback between the model years of 1995-2009.
Finding a custom fit can be a bit difficult, and Brightlines meets the need with their custom cross bar system.
One of the coolest things about Brightlines is that they are a trusted brand that offers warranties on their products.
There is a 1 year limited warranty on this model. This does have a locking mechanism to keep it sturdy. Like in other models, the very ends of these are plastic and that’s where it will lock into place.
Getting something that fits your car like a glove might be worth paying a little extra. And these are a tad more expensive than our previous 2 choices. But, for custom designs they usually are going to run higher!
4. MAXXHAUL 46" x 36" x 4-1/2" - 150 lb. Capacity - NOT Assembled 70115 Steel Roof Rack-150 lb
We see you, shaking your head. What is THAT?
Well, this is an example of something you can mount on your Outback after getting some cross bars!
Turn your wagon into a beastly behemoth with this all steel setup by Maxxhaul.
This is perfect for any of you who want to throw a cargo bag on top of your car and go for a road trip. Or just to have on all the time. Maxxhaul even offers their own universal cross bars in that listing if you’d prefer to stick to one brand.
This can hold a good bit of weight at up to 150 lbs. And the whole setup is 25 lbs by itself.
What are the benefits of getting crossbars for my beautiful Subaru Outback?
Once you get a proper roof rack the possibilities are endless. You can mount a kayak, snowboard, skiis, roof box, or even a steel roof rack system like the Maxxhaul.
They’re perfect for turning your regular vehicle into an adventuring trail trawler. Maybe you have a tent that takes up too much space? Throw it on the rack!
Are there alternatives to getting a roof rack if I need extra storage?
Yes! If you still want some extra storage but you’d rather save some cash then you should consider getting a cargo bag. Cargo bags won’t stay put like a roof box would, but they are great for occasional trips.
Most options are waterproof as well, and tie-down nice and tight.
We hope this guide helped you make up your mind on the perfect roof rack for your Subaru Outback. There are plenty of choices and lots of them are surprisingly affordable!
We think that the best value overall is the CargoLoc. It’s affordable, has a great reputation, and can hold a good amount of weight.
If you end up choosing something from this guide, be sure to let us know how it works out. We love hearing from our readers and thank you for stopping by.
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.