My wife and I are into sea kayaking. We need roof racks that are easily removable, to reduce weight and air drag, when we are not hauling our 'yaks. A new Thule system for two kayaks lists for over $600 (towers, bars, kayak racks, locks for the towers), so we obviously want to share one set for both cars. The '06 Forester is set up to be towed behind our motorhome so we haul the kayaks on that for more distant trips. To avoid piling up the miles on that Subie and having to bear the expense of outfitting another "dinghy" too soon we use the other car (soon to be an '09 Outback) for day trips to closer paddling spots. From what I've found so far the '06 Forester is pretty challenging to outfit with an aftermarket rack system--using a system made specifically for it. The open rails on the Outback are much easier to equip. Do any of you know of one style of aftermarket (preferably Thule) towers that will fit both cars? If not, can you recommend a modification we can make to the Forester's rails?
Using the stock roof rack cross bars and removing the kayak rack attachments involves 16 wingnuts, so that's not likely to happen. Taking off four rack towers is not a show stopper. We've been doing that on our day trip car for years. (That car will be replaced in the spring.)
Consider this topic closed. I did get an '09 Outback in the spring. The Thule folding yak racks are on the factory bars on the Forester. We bought Yakima's new folding yak racks for the factory bars on the Outback. The Yakimas go on with just one lockable screw per rack. Two pairs of racks, four screws. Done. Of course this question will come up again in ski season . . .