Author Topic: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?  (Read 1338 times)

jeromedawg

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Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« on: August 27, 2020, 01:13:29 PM »
Hey all,

Recently got a pretty nice deal on a set of Thule Aerobars AND Podiums ($125 via FB Marketplace) to install on our CX9 (no rails at all). I still have to pick-up a fit kit for it but am curious, for those of you who have/use roof top storage, what cargo boxes, racks, or other options you would suggest. We will be driving out to the Grand Canyon in about another month to 'glamp' but I'm also planning to camp one night with the family at a 'regular' campground on the way back as well. Planning to bring a tent, cooler, grill and whatever else (including some fishing gear and a float tube possibly haha) and don't want to try to stuff/fit all of it in the trunk, even though it's relatively spacious in there. The cooler and portable grill are going to take up a good amount of space as it is.

Anyway, just trying to see what options you guys would suggest. The roof boxes are pretty pricey. The roof bags seem more affordable but perhaps not as durable or offer as much protection.

Thoughts and suggestions?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2020, 01:15:54 PM by jeromedawg »

Rocky Mtn FI

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 09:17:39 AM »
I bought my rooftop box off Craigslist probably 12-15 years ago.  I'd guess it was 5 years old when I got it.  It mostly hangs out in my garage now, but it was an important feature of my itinerant climbing bum lifestyle for a number of years.

This absolutely is an item you can buy used.  The brand new ones likely have smoother hinges and locking mechanisms and may be marginally stronger in Thule's wind-tunnel testing, but the basic technology on these things hasn't changed much over the years.  Plus, Thule and Yakima are great about sourcing parts for ancient products, so it should be pretty easy to fix a used box that may have one or two broken pieces.

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2020, 01:42:55 PM »
I bought my rooftop box off Craigslist probably 12-15 years ago.  I'd guess it was 5 years old when I got it.  It mostly hangs out in my garage now, but it was an important feature of my itinerant climbing bum lifestyle for a number of years.

This absolutely is an item you can buy used.  The brand new ones likely have smoother hinges and locking mechanisms and may be marginally stronger in Thule's wind-tunnel testing, but the basic technology on these things hasn't changed much over the years.  Plus, Thule and Yakima are great about sourcing parts for ancient products, so it should be pretty easy to fix a used box that may have one or two broken pieces.

Nice! Yea, I was wondering too about how the older boxes fit with the newer components, etc as well as fitting a Yakima or other box on top of Thule bars. I also started looking into the roof bag option as well, but it's a bit questionable as far as how well those things hold up long-term.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2020, 05:27:58 PM »
Hey all,

Recently got a pretty nice deal on a set of Thule Aerobars AND Podiums ($125 via FB Marketplace) to install on our CX9 (no rails at all). I still have to pick-up a fit kit for it but am curious, for those of you who have/use roof top storage, what cargo boxes, racks, or other options you would suggest. We will be driving out to the Grand Canyon in about another month to 'glamp' but I'm also planning to camp one night with the family at a 'regular' campground on the way back as well. Planning to bring a tent, cooler, grill and whatever else (including some fishing gear and a float tube possibly haha) and don't want to try to stuff/fit all of it in the trunk, even though it's relatively spacious in there. The cooler and portable grill are going to take up a good amount of space as it is.

Anyway, just trying to see what options you guys would suggest. The roof boxes are pretty pricey. The roof bags seem more affordable but perhaps not as durable or offer as much protection.

Thoughts and suggestions?

Before I even talk about roof boxes etc, I want to warn you about the "fit-kits." Our old Mazda 3 did not have a factory roof rack, so we had a rack "professionally" installed with a fit kit -  over time, it really mangled the paint. This was not a problem for us since we left the rack on 24-7 but be warned.  We were doubly surprised when we recently upgraded to a newer Mazda 3 (2014) and discovered that almost all Mazda's come with fixed mounting points for roof rack attachments - you just have to (carefully) pry up the rain gutter! We didn't need that ridiculous fit-kit after all - if only the "professionals" had done a tiny bit of research!

I installed a new Yakima roof rack onto our new Mazda (with the fixed point towers) in about 30 minutes - including removing the rain gutters and drilling out holes in them to pop the bolts through.

In terms of roof boxes, I will wholeheartedly second (third?) finding a used one. We did buy ours new (we have an Ascent 1500 on our Mazda 3 hatchback) and it has been awesome for many roadtrips and camping trips and has had a TON of use. It is now 13 years old, and we were able to easily replace some parts on it last year.

I think you need to decide whether or not you need something that will protect your gear from the elements/theft, or if you just need some extra storage space for outdoor type gear? If you need security and protection from the elements, then you probably want a box; if you just need some extra space for outdoor gear, then you might be better served by picking up a rooftop basket or bag - which are WAY more affordable!

red_pill

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2020, 09:26:29 PM »
We were able to buy a rigid hard top carrier used, but you can also rent them which might be a good way to try before you buy.  For me the question was rigid carrier or the open rack type version.  I heard that the open rack has way more wind noise, and it could be difficult to secure items in it, so we went with the rigid Thule.    It is lockable, fits tons of stuff, and we don't notice it when it's up there.  But, it can't fit large boxes or irregularly shaped items.

But, I'm also looking at a hitch receiver cargo carrier for that purpose.  But no experience with that.  They seem to be cheaper than the roof tops, and if you already have a receiver then there's that savings as well.  I suppose you could do both.

Ecky

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2020, 08:10:00 AM »
It doesn't sound like you plan to leave it on all the time, but be aware that roof racks alone add a small amount of drag and thus increase wind noise and fuel consumption. Leaving a cargo box on the roof full-time has a pretty large impact on fuel consumption. In some vehicles, the added fuel used by leaving a cargo container on the roof, over the life of the vehicle, can be in the thousands of dollars.

Fishindude

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2020, 08:25:13 AM »
I really dislike the hitch cargo haulers, they prevent you from opening the back hatch or tailgate until unloaded, plus often block the back up camera.   
They are also real "shin busters".

Joel

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2020, 12:25:41 AM »
I got a used Yakima roof mount cargo box. It works great and allows us to get smaller vehicles than we would otherwise feel like we need as it gives us the extra space for the handful of long trips each year that we need it. The only negative is that it takes up a lot of space in my garage when we are not using it.

405programmer

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2020, 11:16:38 AM »
I also have a large-ish Yakima roof box and while it's a great product I definitely don't use it often. I have actually needed it only 1 time but have found excuses to use it on many camping trips. It does make packing a lot easier in that all your lightweight but bulky items like towels and blankets can have a home instead of overflowing into the passenger's space in the back seat. Note, this is only a problem if you're taking a car-full. If it's just the SO and you the backseat storage is much less hassle than digging the box out of the backyard building.

RE fuel economy, I can tell a difference in my VW Golf but only a slight one. I usually average around 38-40 on longer trips and with the box only manage 34-36. The biggest difference is if you really punch it to pass someone. At 70 mph the whistle is only audible with low volume on the stereo but at 80 it's pretty annoying.

I would check FB / craigslist for used ones because Thule and Yakima will last decades if stored when not in use.

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2020, 11:37:08 PM »
Thanks guys! Thule boxes are expensive...!!! Hard to find anything for under $200-300 :T Will a Yakima box fit without issue on Thule racks? I got a steal on the Thule racks (podiums + aerobar were $125 and the fit kit was $60. All used but in good condition - I need one end cap for an aerobar though).

charis

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2020, 12:10:25 AM »
Picked up a used thule box on Craigslist for less than $100. It's great (on yakima rack). But I looked daily for a few weeks before it appeared, so that strategy works better if you don't have a time crunch.

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2020, 12:28:17 AM »
Picked up a used thule box on Craigslist for less than $100. It's great (on yakima rack). But I looked daily for a few weeks before it appeared, so that strategy works better if you don't have a time crunch.

That's a great deal! I found someone selling a barely used Sidekick for $150 and jumped on it... without first measuring the crossbar spread (which is like 43" roughly) :( I looked like such an idiot putting that thing up there and trying to figure out how it could possibly fit. Fortunately, she was nice enough to just give me the $150 back and told me there were multiple other people lined up for it haha so I didn't feel so bad. 

That said, my options are limited now to the Yakima Skyboxes or Thule Adventurer. The guy I bought the fit kit from has a Thule Adventurer (12cu ft) he is offering to sell to me for $260. Anything over $100-200 just seems too expensive for something like this hahaha. I suppose as a last resort I might just buy it from him. Or perhaps I'll just rent it, although I think he said he charges like $10-15 per day to rent, and we'd be gone for nearly a week... I guess I didn't realize I'd be constrained this much using the fixed mount point crossbars.

405programmer

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2020, 09:19:39 AM »
I love my Yakima skybox but if I found such a sweet rental offer I would have just done that. Maybe you have more storage room than me but I've stubbed my toe on my skybox more than I've actually used it due to my backyard shed acting as garage, attic, mower and bike storage. If I could have rented for $15 a day I would have done that in a heartbeat. I recall the cheapest individual who I found that would rent wanted $250 for a week. At that point I just bought new.

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2020, 09:47:55 AM »
I love my Yakima skybox but if I found such a sweet rental offer I would have just done that. Maybe you have more storage room than me but I've stubbed my toe on my skybox more than I've actually used it due to my backyard shed acting as garage, attic, mower and bike storage. If I could have rented for $15 a day I would have done that in a heartbeat. I recall the cheapest individual who I found that would rent wanted $250 for a week. At that point I just bought new.

There's a guy who sold me the fit kit who rents for like $10-15 a day and $50 per week I believe - I have to check with him on that again. I believe he has a unit that will fit my crossbar spread. I'd be renting for a full week - the only problem is that he's not close to where we live. He's *sort of* on the way to/from my in-laws though so we could visit them before we leave for the trip and pick it up. Then visit them after we come back and drop it off. Either way, it's not the most convenient thing. He also offered selling the box for $260. I found someone else selling an older model Thule box that I *think* might fit for $240. It would be nice to get something for under $200...lol. For a box that would fit the top of our car, I'm not sure what a "good buying price" is though.
There's someone locally selling a Skybox 12 for $375 which is a bit high IMO.

therethere

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2020, 09:56:00 AM »
I've got a Thule box on Yakima racks (~1" diameter) on my Subaru. You might just need to add new holes to the box and get some appropriately sized u-bolts at homedepot to attach it. I'd say if you can find a cheap old box on craigslist, you should modify the bolt locations and hardware attaching it to the racks to fit. If I had to pay $200+ for a box I wouldn't modify it. But <$100 or free I would go for it.

I found my box in the alley and bought a key for it. It already had extra holes drilled and it was using really long pipe clamps to attach. I haven't had any issue with water getting in the box even though there are unused holes in the bottom.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 10:00:08 AM by therethere »

elaine amj

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2020, 04:16:32 PM »
We've been thinking of buying a rooftop cargo box for our minivan. But as an interim, borrowed a cargo bag from a friend. We have used it twice so far.

Been reflecting on what to buy. In the beginning,  I wanted a rooftop cargo box. Then my mother asked me where I plan to store it in between the 3-4 x a year we would use it. Ack! We have a large backyard but no garage. Our storage sheds are full of bikes and there is no way I am buying a shed to store a cargo box lol.

The Rain-X cargo bag is working out great. Folds down to fit in a shopping bag and has held up against massive thunderstorms. The clips and straps look super flimsy but have handled 4-5 roadtrips already and are still going strong.

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charis

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2020, 06:38:46 PM »
We've been thinking of buying a rooftop cargo box for our minivan. But as an interim, borrowed a cargo bag from a friend. We have used it twice so far.

Been reflecting on what to buy. In the beginning,  I wanted a rooftop cargo box. Then my mother asked me where I plan to store it in between the 3-4 x a year we would use it. Ack! We have a large backyard but no garage. Our storage sheds are full of bikes and there is no way I am buying a shed to store a cargo box lol.

The Rain-X cargo bag is working out great. Folds down to fit in a shopping bag and has held up against massive thunderstorms. The clips and straps look super flimsy but have handled 4-5 roadtrips already and are still going strong.

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Why do you need to store it in something? We keep ours in the backyard next to the house without any issues. It's not like it rusts.

elaine amj

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2020, 07:15:18 PM »
You know - I never considered storing something like that outdoors long term. Wouldn't it get very weathered exposed to the elements over the years? How long do these types of cargo boxes last anyway?

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Arbitrage

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2020, 09:42:48 AM »
We have a Yakima box (I believe 16 cu ft, which allows us to hold skis in it).  Great for camping, certainly, but also for skiing.  I installed a pulley system in the garage to keep it out of the way.  Love the box, and it makes packing for outdoor trips much less stressful.  It does often make a buzzing noise on the freeway once you hit 75 or so. 

Some of our friends - who have larger cars and thus more room - opted for soft carriers.  They claim to really like them, but they certainly don't hold as much, aren't lockable, aren't usable for skis, and take a while to pack up and secure when they're hitting the road.  On the other hand, they're easy to store and much cheaper. 

Either one will hit your gas mileage, naturally. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2020, 06:58:41 PM »
We have a Yakima box (I believe 16 cu ft, which allows us to hold skis in it).  Great for camping, certainly, but also for skiing.  I installed a pulley system in the garage to keep it out of the way.  Love the box, and it makes packing for outdoor trips much less stressful.  It does often make a buzzing noise on the freeway once you hit 75 or so. 

Some of our friends - who have larger cars and thus more room - opted for soft carriers.  They claim to really like them, but they certainly don't hold as much, aren't lockable, aren't usable for skis, and take a while to pack up and secure when they're hitting the road.  On the other hand, they're easy to store and much cheaper. 

Either one will hit your gas mileage, naturally.

I may just get a cage/rack for the top since it's tough finding anything with a 42" crossbar spread and if they do exist they're *huge* (like 92" long!). If I were to put a cage/rack up there, I would think it wouldn't impact the MPG nearly as much as an enclosed carrier *unless* there's luggage up there. The cages tend to be cheaper and if it's something I could leave up there permanently, I think I'd prefer that instead. Of course, the other option would be just to rent a box. It might be worth the hassle of picking-up and dropping-off

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2020, 07:53:43 PM »
It has been pretty difficult finding a used box that actually fits my crossbar spread (42") - there are only a handful. I may have to concede to a Yakima Skybox unless I want an older style Thule. And even then, it's tougher finding the older Thules (like Summits, Adventurers, etc). One guy has a Summit listed at $300(!!!) on Offerup. I tried to offer $100 and got shot down immediately lol. Guess he's not desperate enough to get rid of it.

jeromedawg

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Re: Suggestions: Car Roof Top Cargo Box, storage, etc?
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2020, 09:09:04 PM »
I ended up settling with an 'older' model used Thule Evolution 1200... it was $240. I actually had the opportunity to get a Yakima Skybox 18 for $200 but the driving time/distance would have been significantly more. I'm not kind of regretting not just going for it, since 6cu ft is a pretty significant difference in storage. The Evolution is great but it's a bit skinny and I question how much we'll be able to really stuff in it. I guess in a worst case scenario I could always just use it and then resell after the trip haha. Down here, I think I could probably fetch what I paid for it. Although, I just picked up a U-Bolt kit for it since the hardware on it now is slightly rusted and old. But the box itself is in great condition - just needs to be cleaned up a little. The originally max spread is 36" I think but a couple owners back appears to have drilled an extra set of holes at the back on each side, provisioning for a wider bar spread - it seems to have worked out.