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Additional thoughts of best Small SUV for kayaking

Posted by on August 8, 2013



Subaru Forester

My choice for “Small SUV” is based on reliability, AWD, ground clearance and the ability to accommodate a wide bar spread for those of us who are sea kayakers. Over the past 25 years, my wife and I have had 7 Subarus. I have had a 2005 Forester and currently drive a 2011 Forester. The ’05 had integral roof rails and the 2011 has raised roof rails. Both have allowed a huge bar spread.


I considered a Honda CRV and ruled it out because for years they have narrow set attachment points that are fine for a white water kayak, skis or a bike. We have also had an Outback with raised roof rails that was equally good. Another plus for the Forester is that for a little more money you can get the Premium edition which has 8-way adjustable seats with a separate lumbar support & a molded cargo tray that welcomes sand and wet gear.

Boreal Alvik

2 Responses to Additional thoughts of best Small SUV for kayaking

  1. westernflyer2015

    Great review…the Forester is really the go-to choice for paddlers who want AWD, especially since Subaru came up with their atrocious rack for the Outback. What were they thinking? Subaru forums are full of comments about it. Anyway, the Forester is a great choice, new or used, raised rails or flush rails on the earlier models, you can create maximum bar spread easily.

  2. Steve Alexander

    The Forester is almost two years old and it continues to be a great choice for my needs. I sold the Boreal Design Alvik and went to a much lighter and narrower touring surf ski. This leads to a secondary recommendation for Thule “Glide and Set” kayak system. The feature I appreciate the most is the Hydro Glide rear felt saddle. Simply throw an old rubber backed bath mat for the floor on the top edge of the tailgate, place the bow of your kayak on it and slide it up to meet the rear Hydro Gide saddles. It makes loading and unloading super easy for the shorter person. While not as form fitting as the traditional front pliable rubber saddle surface; it has always comfortably supported a range of kayaks over the last 15 yrs. …So, for me the Subaru and Thule combo is one worth your consideration.
    -Stellar ( formerly known as Boreal Alvik).

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