Hauling a variety of gear atop the Subaru requires a little more than the average factory rack and crossbars. Those are good for starters, but if you’re serious about hauling your gear, it’s a good idea to get a set of RockyMounts Flagstaff Towers and Ouray Crossbars.
RockyMounts Flagstaff and Ouray Features:
- Flagstaff towers are sold in a set of four (lock cores sold separately)
- Compatible with Ouray Crossbars
- Offers seamless crossbar integration
- Aerodynamic crossbars minimize drag and noise
- Rated at 165lbs or the rating of your side rail, whichever is lower
- Crossbars available in 44-60″ lengths
- Crossbars are made from anodized aluminum — strong and light
- Lifetime warranty
- Full feature list | fit guide
- Price: $179.95 (Flagstaff Towers), $149.95 (Ouray Crossbars)
Step Up to RockyMounts
For many years, the rack market has been dominated by Yakima and THULE. The whole round versus square crossbar debate raged for many years until newer, more aerodynamic (and stronger) crossbars were introduced. During that time, RockyMounts was busy refining their ski and bike rack lines, but joined the rack system market in the spring of 2014. So, the Flagstaff Towers and Ouray Crossbars were born.
The majority of SUV’s and wagons feature open side rails of some shape or sort. While the ever-popular Subaru Outback continues to feature an ugly mousetrap of a rack system (it is still compatible with the Flagstaff’s), many SUV’s are staying true to the raised side rail system. As such, compatibility is pretty widespread across the majority of the vehicles driven by skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and road cyclists.
To determine proper fit, first of all you must know if you have raised side rails (my 2005 Subaru Outback indeed does). Next, you must measure the distance between the outside edge of those rails. Mine measure just under 39 inches, so I opted for the 50 inch width to easily accommodate a LiftOp 4 (by the looks of it, I could go with the 6 and still clear) and a BrassKnuckles bike rack at the same time. That width still stays out of the way when entering/exiting the vehicle. It’s about as wide as I’d recommend. The nice thing about the Ouray’s is they are available in smaller increments than the competition, so you can custom-tailor it to your needs without getting too unwieldy.
Installation is very straightforward and on par with what I’ve experienced with other systems. I do appreciate the extra durability built into the towers and the substantial-feeling all-aluminum crossbars. It’s no wonder RockyMounts offers a full lifetime warranty because these are the most solid rack systems I’ve installed.
Bikes, Skis, Boxes, Baskets or Lumber
Going aftermarket for crossbars and towers gives a ton of flexibility and takes factory rack systems to the next level. For me, the full 50-inch working span allows for crossover duty during the winter (something I need). While I prefer my hitch rack for hauling bikes during the summer, I appreciate being able to put it away but still be able to carry a bike on the BrassKnuckles, when needed. And, with the LiftOp 4, I can carry four pairs of fat skis or mine and all four of my kids skis — going winter mode is good!
Most modern ski and bike racks are capable of attaching to just about any crossbar. If you go full RockyMounts, you’ll have no problem. If you have other brands, be sure they are compatible (again, most of the latest ones are).
The only issue I had with the towers is they eliminate 6-inches of usable bar space on either side. That’s not a big deal for items that can span that distance, like ski racks, cargo boxes or carriers. But, it becomes quite a nuisance with upright bike racks because the space outside the towers becomes no man’s land. I’d either have to either push the rack out to one side or purchase the next larger crossbars to get the BrassKnuckles to fit on the outside of the towers. If you go with the Euro PitchFork, that problem is alleviated (but then you’ve got to store your front wheel inside the vehicle, or get axle adapters).
If you want to go for a cargo box or basket, the base rack system is equally up to the task. And, if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the nice wide surface for carrying a load of plywood or lumber from Home Depot. All it takes is an allen key and a few minutes to transform the crossbars into handyman haulers.
- RockyMounts knows how to make a solid and sturdy rack system
- Ouray crossbars are stiff, light and aerodynamic (quiet too)
- Adds usable width to carry more stuff
- Locks everything securely
- 4mm allen key is all you need to install
- Works with a variety of racks from all major brands
- Euro-style mounting channel adds to sleek style
- Will only work with vehicles that feature raised side rails (most European vehicles are out of luck)
- Towers take up about 6″ of usable crossbar space (hinders upright bike rack placement)
The Bottom Line: RockyMounts Base Rack System
For the right vehicles, the RockyMounts Flagstaff Towers and Ouray Crossbars will deliver the most durable and secure gear hauling on the market. Construction is superb with a lifetime warranty to match.
Buy Now: Go to RockyMounts.com