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Carrying Plywood Sheets on a 2011 Subaru Forester

Question:

Hi, I have a 2011 Subaru Forester and am interested in getting a roof rack that will hold 4x8 sheets of plywood or panels. I do not need to carry large quantities/weight and I only go a few miles between home and the hardware store. I really like the idea of a basket that I could load and have it contained and only have to tie it down to keep it contained inside a basket. It looks like you do not offer anything long enough in baskets though. I look forward to your recommendations. Thanks.

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Expert Reply:

I have a solution for you, but we do not carry large enough roof baskets for this application.

Instead, I'd choose a rack that is at least a little wider than the lumber you're intending to carry. This will give you ample room to support the sheet itself, and give you additional room for the tiedowns you'll need in order to keep the panels secure. I've included a link to the range of 54 inch and wider bar kits that fit a 2011 Subaru Forester, but I have a recommendation based on compatibility with similar ladder-rack add ons that can help with this application. I've grouped them by if you don't have factory installed side rails or if you do have factory installed side rails.

If you do not have factory installed side rails:

I recommend the Rhino Rack Heavy Duty Kit, consisting of the following parts:

- Rhino-Rack Heavy-Duty Roof Rack 54-inch Crossbars, part # RB1375
- Rhino-Rack 2500 Series for Heavy-Duty Legs, part # RRRLKHD
- Rhino-Rack Custom DK Fit Kit, part # DK186

You will then also want to pick up two sets of the Rhino-Rack Load Stops, part # S602. This will give you two stops on each bar to put the lumber between to increase its side-to-side stability. From there, you'll need a simple tie-down kit like the SmartStraps Tactical Ratchet Tie-Down Straps - 1" x 10' - 500 lbs - Qty 2 # SM54FR. This will then let you cross over the plywood to prevent it from flying off of the roof of the car.

If you do have factory installed side rails:

For a crossbar set, I recommend a Malone AirFlow2 kit, part # MPG215. This is an all in one kit that mounts directly onto the side rails.

You will then want to add two sets of Rhino Rack Load Stops, part # S602. This will help create a basket like effect and keep the plywood from shifting side-to-side. From there, you'll need a simple tie-down kit like theSmartStraps Tactical Ratchet Tie-Down Straps - 1" x 10' - 500 lbs - Qty 2 # SM54FR. This will then let you cross over the plywood to prevent it from flying off of the roof of the car.

Either of these setups will allow you to get the quick-loading effect of a basket and the side to side reduction of motion.

I've included video of all of these parts in action so you can get an idea of what they do in practice and how they mount to vehicles.

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