Top Three Subaru Outback Roof Racks

What Are The Top Three Subaru Outback Roof Racks? 

If you're new to the Subaru Outback community and trying to navigate the options for a roof rack setup then hopefully this blog will take some of the guesswork out of what you need vs. what you want and at the same time give you the information you need to make the best decision for you adventure rig. Everyone has a different intended use for their Subaru, so there is no right or wrong answer. 

Roof racks can be a bit complicated because you may think you need more than you do, or maybe, you find out that you really don't need all that much. Below are a few questions to ask yourself before we dive into the different options and how to make your roof rack system complete.

  1. Is it for looks or for purpose?
  2. What NEEDS to go on your roof instead of in your car?
  3. What's your budget? 

Now that you've answered those questions honestly, we will talk about the three different systems you can choose for your roof rack on your Subaru Outback. Each one comes with different requirements for installation as well as varying price points, that's why we asked you the questions ahead of time so you can think about them as we dive into the topic. 

Platform Roof Rack



A platform rack is a great option for those who are looking to increase their cargo space, but don't want to remove the factory crossbars on the Subaru Outback. This is especially important for those who drive a Subaru Outback Wilderness and would like to maintain the bronze color covers that come installed. The platform roof rack for the Subaru Outback also allows for the mounting of a rooftop tent as well as other off-road and overlanding items that may be crucial to your time spent outdoors. The two best options for this kind of rack are made by Front Runner and Rhino Rack. Both companies have a great reputation in the industry and allow you to add up to 300 lbs on your roof. Along with increased carrying capacity, the Subaru Outback platform roof rack maintains the factory cross rails as mounting points and this makes for a seamless install that should take the below-average DIY'er about 4 hours in their garage. The platform-style roof rack comes with endless mounting options making them the top pick for anyone who needs to beef up their ride and pack in all the gear. The biggest drawback for this kind of roof rack for your Subaru Outback is the fact that it protrudes off the top of your crossbars making for a less aerodynamic vehicle, that will be a common theme with all the roof racks we talk about today, but this style of roof rack does the worst for your fuel economy due to the height it sits off the top of your rig. 


Aluminum Bolt-On Roof Rack 

If you're looking for put style and don't mind putting in the work, the aluminum bolt-on style roof racks like that from Prinsu, then this ones for you. These roof racks hug the body of your Subaru Outback making it appear like they were installed that way from the factory. The lightweight aluminum frame and sturdy crossbars can carry a ton of weight and are nearly bombproof. 

After reading the first paragraph you may think that picking a roof rack for your Subaru Outback or Outback Wilderness just got easier. Think again, that great look and those sharp lines come at a cost. That cost is the fact that you have to drop your headliner, remove your factory roof rails, and use a sealer to keep water from getting in over the years. Yes, these roof racks are a beautiful design and come with just about every attachment you could think of, but what they don't tell you is that if you're not careful and don't have time for routine maintenance then you will end up with water on the inside of your vehicle over time as the seals provided erode and you have a swimming pool inside your car. These styles of racks must be installed with precision and work has to be done over time to ensure that your vehicle stays watertight. It may sound like a huge undertaking but it's truly not that bad, but that's a reason we spread caution into the wind before someone decides to go this route. 


Crossbar Style Roof Rack

This last one doesn't particularly qualify as a roof rack, but it does provide you an option to place items that are generally too large to keep in the car like a kayak or mountain bike. 

Different from a roof rack, the crossbar style setup can be found across just about any vehicle platform and work nicely for those who just need a little bit of extra space and want to maintain as much of the Subaru Outbacks' natural look as possible. Don't be fooled by their small size, these little guys can pack a punch and also do the job for those of us who require a tent or other heavy items to be on the top of their car from time to time. Additionally, much like the platform-style roof rack, the crossbar style also connects to the factory crossbars of your Subaru Outback keeping the factory look and style in place. The crossbar-style roof racks are much easier to install than the other two options and can be assembled by anyone who can read within an hour. Their price is more than what you would expect for the size you receive, but there's a price to be paid for the sleek and gas-saving design. You can pick a pair of these up at your local REI pretty much seven days a week if this is the route you wish to go. 

With all the options out there, we did our best to simplify the process and guide you to a decision for your Subaru Outback roof rack. It seems like every day we have another product on the market and we're trying to do our research so you don't have to. These three options will cover you for just about any use case you can think of, but with the questions answered and the information given, it's up to you to decide which route to go. 

Happy Trails!