Best Roof Rack Crossbars for Subaru Foresters


When someone buys a Subaru Forester, they don’t get it to only get to & from work. They get it because they’re going out camping, kayaking, and just being nomads in general. They fully intend on hauling their gear on every adventure they can dream up, and in order to do so they have to add a few aftermarket parts to their rides. With all the options out there, it can be downright impossible to determine what products are good, which are bad, and which are simply overpriced. For that reason we came up a list of the best roof rack crossbars for Subaru Foresters.

Best Roof Rack Crossbars for Subaru Foresters

1. Universal Roof Rack Crossbars by Vault Cargo Management

If you’re looking for a combination of quality & a reasonable price, these crossbars from Vault Cargo Management are about as good as it gets. Intended to be a universal crossbar solution for vehicles with raised rails, these are an absolute perfect fit for the Subaru Forester. We actually gave these to my sister in exchange for letting us test so many different options on her Subaru Forester, and she absolutely loved them.

To be clear, these clearly aren’t intended to go head-to-head with the super high end solutions like Thule & Yakima. However with that being said your really don’t lose much at all for functionality, and you save yourself around $200. Seems like a pretty easy choice for us!

Vault Cargo Management has proven to be a great company over the years, earning recognition as one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. My sister a set of Vault’s folding kayak carriers to put on these, along with their metal roof rack (obviously not on the vehicle at the same time). She’s been very happy with their customer service, and she also mentioned that their shipping is always free.

Note: Vault appears to have their prices set lowest on their own site, so it’s worth checking out. Shipping is still free, just like Amazon.

2. Rola 59898 Cross Bars

If you’re looking to upgrade from Vault’s crossbars (these are an additional $130 while I’m writing this article) but not quite go all the way to Yakima or Thule’s price point, these Rola crossbars work with Subaru Forester quite well. They have the same general look as Vault’s, but the crossbar itself is streamlined a bit more. We didn’t notice a huge difference in wind noise between these & the other ones on this list, but they are a bit more quiet than a few of the options.

Rola does have multiple size options, and from testing we found that the 47.25″ version of these roof rack cross bars seem to fit the Subaru Forester the best. Aside from squeezing into a price range that’s between Vault Cargo Management’s crossbars & the options from Thule & Yakima, there really isn’t too much more to say about this set from Rola.

3. Brightlines 2014-2018 Subaru Crosstrek Crossbars

The Vault Cargo Management & Rola crossbars are meant to be more temporary crossbars that can be removed when they aren’t needed so you can decrease wind noise & increase gas mileage. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution that stays in place at all times, you should definitely look into the Brightlines roof rack crossbars for Subaru Foresters. While Vault & Rola’s crossbars mount outside of your existing side rails, these Brightlines crossbars actually mount between them.

Many people have speculated that this style of crossbar actually causes less wind noise & creates better gas mileage. I would like to note that we didn’t necessarily find the wind noise portion to be true, and the gas mileage came out so close after 100 miles that it is really up in the air. The reality is that if you are mounting something horizontal across the roof of your car you should expect some wind noise. I’m sure there are certain cases & vehicle models where there is absolutely zero wind noise, but those are likely few and far between.

All told we did like the Brightlines roof rack crossbars for Subaru Foresters, assuming you want to keep them on your vehicle. If you don’t mind spending a few extra minutes to pop your crossbars on & off, we’d suggest going with a different style like Vault’s.

If you liked this article for the best roof rack crossbars for Subaru Foresters, be sure to check out our article on the top kayak racks here!

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