The cooler fall temperatures have definitely arrived, and it is time to get the Crosstrek ready to haul our boats. One of the reasons that we selected a Crosstrek was the availability of accessories to carry kayaks, bicycles, and assorted camping gear. In the past, we have been stuck with ill-fitting “universal fit” equipment because nothing was available for our exact make and model automobile. Most manufacturers have equipment specially fitted for the Crosstrek.
Our kayaks are 18 feet long. They are fiberglass sea kayaks that we brought to Florida from the northwest. Because of their length and the unique hull shape, we need to use special cradles. These cradles are older, and they were made for round crossbars. It was fairly easy to find Yakima crossbars that fit our Subaru factory roof racks. Also, since the boats are so long, the front-to-rear spacing of the bars needs to be as wide as possible to prevent excessive torque due to side wind. The Crosstrek allows us to space the bars at 38 inches, which is wider than almost every other vehicle that we considered – including other Subarus.
I am trying to resist making this sound like a Subaru commercial, but it really is an excellent vehicle for outdoor sports. We generally use our kayaks in places that have boat parking (Florida State Parks and the Canaveral National Seashore), but sometimes like to get into more remote locations. In the past, we used a trailer - which was fine for places with designated parking, but almost unusable for off-road travel. With the Crosstrek, we are self-contained; and the AWD assures that we will be able to get back out of any situation that we get in to.
A few side notes:
This is just a fit check. When we travel, the bow and stern lines will be more secure. I usually like to add small bungees to keep them taut.
The Crosstek, like almost every other modern vehicle, has no good place to tie lines. We use the trailer hitch for the stern lines, but needed to purchase Malone “Quicklash T-Style Hoodloops” for the front. They fit under the hood, and seem to be secure, but I am somewhat worried that they will deform the hood over time. I may look into installing a front light bar or bull bar for better support.
In the title, I stated that it was kayak season. Really, all year is kayak season – we just go more frequently in the late fall, winter, and early spring.