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2019 Forester
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2019 Forrester and need some extra storage for an upcoming trip. I have side rails but no cross bars. are cross bars needed for a soft roof bag? obviously I wouldn't put anything on the moon roof.
 

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2022 Forest Green Premium
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73 Posts
We have twice used a soft roof bag with our current sedan and a roof pad to protect the paint. That worked fine. However, I am planning to get cross bars for when my Forester comes in. Since it has roof rails, may as well not risk the paint. Also planning to get a luggage rack and box that attach via the hitch to expand on how much we can haul on our annual vacation.
 

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2017 Forester XT Touring
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1,270 Posts
Most soft car top bags that I've seen or used have straps at the front and back to keep them from sliding. Without crossbars, the bag is likely to slide, unless you really strap it down using the side bars. Sliding is going to scratch your roof, so you might want to think about some sort of pad under the bag.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,001 Posts
Hi @dmicek

First - welcome to the forum. Please take a moment and read through the "rules" thread and also fill out your public profile details - for more see the threads.


Second, do you need the cross bars? No. But they do help because as the side rails keep it from sliding side to side and give you a place to hook up to strap it down. The cross bars will keep you from sliding forward and back. You will want to put up some soft material to keep it from scratching the roof paint.

I added a cargo basket and that holds my soft-side back even better and keeps from scratching the paint.
 

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2012 Forester 2.5X
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1,171 Posts
Rooftop cargo bags are meant to be used in conjunction with a basket and have straps sewn on to retain it as well as to tighten it so it doesn't flap in the wind when it's not stuffed completely full.
 

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2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,001 Posts
Well, no, Natedog, not really. While they work GREAT with a basket or other roof-top cargo piece, you don't HAVE to have a basket to use them. You can just strap it down to the side rails on most SUVs, wagons and the like. But they've been around so long, they were originally marketed as a "roof-top trunk" type of solution to carry stuff that didn't fit in the trunk and provide protection when strapping stuff up there.

A lot of them are sold to those without roof rails and the straps go into the doors

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2021 Forester Limited
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1,432 Posts
If just putting clothing in the bag, it should be fine. But the roof panel is pretty flimsy on my '21. I would be hesitant to toss anything directly on the roof that had any weight plus rigidity. It might make some slight dents if cinched down snuggly enough to keep it from sliding. Maybe I am a little over cautious.

A cheap set of crossbars and a basket are probably going to add $200to $250ish. But I guess that's cheap paint insurance.

You wouldn't need a high dollar basket to hold a soft cargo bag with under 100 pounds in it.

I personally wouldn't want to put more than 40 pounds spread out over the roof on my '21. It is a pretty large flat surface compared to some cars. Other than the structure underneath, it doesn't have much strength.

A formed panel is less likely to deflect than a flat one. The roof panel on my '99 Cherokee wasn't much better as far as material thickness. But it had channels formed into it. It was a little more resistant to deforming when pressed upon.

Edit: Actually, they sold vinyl strips as an accessory that went into the channels to help protect the paint. Not that you would want to stick a bunch of strips up there. It makes it a pain to wax...

I guess it comes down to just what you are storing up there, and how concerned you are about the roof appearance.
 
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