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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in the brew room
    Posts
    1,997

    Roof Box vs Cargo Basket

    Our ford explorer is officially too small to take the whole family on camping trips w/ out sacrificing the essentials (beer and firewood). A truck is most likely in our future but need to figure something out for the next couple years anyway. picked up some used Yakima towers/bars and need to decide on a roof rack system. this will be used almost strictly for camping/road trips and maybe only a half dozen times/year or so. some logistics I'm considering:
    my garage doors are short so box (and maybe basket) would need to be removed ea trip.
    fuel economy of ea.
    weather-rain really if using basket
    $-baskets tend to be cheaper but then would I need/want a waterproof bag(s) as well?
    bikes-we have a hitch rack for 2 bikes now but pretty soon the kids bikes (12"&16" now) won't fit in the trunk

    I'm not even sure what we'd throw on the roof at this point. cooler and camping tub would prob have to stay in the trunk but I guess anything else could go up top.
    anyone have both and care to share their experiences?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Long Beach
    Posts
    1,082
    Box, as big as you can get. I had an Xterra and used a bag with the cargo rack on that thing - shit got soaked every time it rained, and we even tried bagging up everything in heavy duty trash bags inside the cargo bag, plus it was a PITA to load. We carry more with the Thule box we use on my Outback and everything stays dry. I hang the box up over a doorway in the garage and hardly even notice it's there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    1,115
    Same here. I keep the box on the forester full time and it holds a shitload of gear. Opens on both sides, long enough for big skis...I couldn't go without it for camping and festies for 2 + dog.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    6,495
    Box on all winter. Then transition to the bike rack. Forester '05
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16, 24, 32

    2020/2021 (30/35)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    982
    Does the trailer hitch exist and is it free or tied up by a bike rack?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    The land of lot's of houses, CO
    Posts
    285
    If you are interested in a box and live in Colorado (front range)I have the biggest one Thule makes and looking to get rid of it since I now have an awesome van.

    Let me know.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Boise, ID
    Posts
    994
    box is expensive but worth the money! Like said the best is that your gear is dry and somewhat safer than on a basket!

    used to live in a condo and had to remove the box every trip to put the car inside, but again worth the time spent, one of my best investments for road trips!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1,500
    Buy a used box and then sell it for what you paid for it. They don't really drop in value.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    14,411
    Search "Curt" roof basket on amazon. Beats the hell out of the price of Thule. For just over $200 you get the basket, the basket extender, the bag, and the netting. Mine has not seen a ton of off road use yet but a buddies did about 100 miles off road at the wedge in Utah last Oct. Worked as expected.

    I had a box at one point too anything on the roof is a hassle but necessary sometimes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    738
    Dry bags/plastic bins in a cargo carrier probably more capacity and easier to pack. I find to get a lot of stuff in a box, I have to pack it like a big piece of luggage.

    Hitch mount rack and a rolling box.

    We have an Outback and 2 dogs, so very limited inside space. The hitch mount/box combo adds great space with no extra noise, negligible mileage effects, and is super easy to load/unload.

    This winter a buddy picked me up in his Honda fit for a gear heavy (Bread maker, crock pot....) week in the Chic Chocs. My gear, and a backpack in a garbage bag went right on his hitch.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in the brew room
    Posts
    1,997
    Quote Originally Posted by dtown View Post
    Does the trailer hitch exist and is it free or tied up by a bike rack?
    usually tied up by bikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by wannabe View Post
    If you are interested in a box and live in Colorado (front range)I have the biggest one Thule makes and looking to get rid of it since I now have an awesome van.

    Let me know.
    interested but in slc. thx for the offer.

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtele View Post
    Dry bags/plastic bins in a cargo carrier probably more capacity and easier to pack. I find to get a lot of stuff in a box, I have to pack it like a big piece of luggage.
    I think this is prob one of the advantages to the bakset. I could prob throw a couple bins up there (as opposed to the box) but worry that'll really kill my mpg (but not overly concerned I guess).
    leaning slightly toward box at this point...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    6,495
    My low profile Thule really does not affect mileage much (1-2). Easy to load and now I am ready anytime to go skiing with box on always
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16, 24, 32

    2020/2021 (30/35)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    10,431
    I bought the Sonic XXL and it was slightly too tall to fit in our garage. We decided to keep it anyway as it can hold a shit-ton of stuff! I had three pairs of skis, boots, poles, and avy gear, plus a split board up there this winter with no problems. Headed to the desert in a few weeks and gonna throw it back on and have a bike rack for the hitch.

    I don't really get the baskets, unless you are in to water sports. Nice to be able to air out the wet gear up there, you can also mount ski or bike carriers to them which could be helpful. Also might be easier to take on and off.

    But I would just get the box. Holds way more stuff, and keeps it dry and you can use it year round. Being able to throw all that stuff up there really helps.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,087
    The relatively new boxes are really nice. Very easy to add/remove from the rack as long as you get the easy clamp style. I have the Thule FWIW. I had the original version of the Yakima box, it was a PIA to add/remove due to simple bolts, plates and U-bolts. These new versions are night and day.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    2,526
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tortoise View Post
    Buy a used box and then sell it for what you paid for it. They don't really drop in value.
    This. Plus they lock. Not super secure, but more secure than a basket full of duffel bags held with bungee cord or rope.

    Depending on the size of your roof box and cross rails, you can probably find space up there for a bike rack or two as well.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    25,417
    I left mine on the golf for 10 years and enventualy all the rack hardware was siezed to the car, thule box is a good place to keep stuff hidden cuz nobody breaks into a thule but now I have a truck
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    21,746
    1,000th recommendation for box. They are easy to put on or take off by yourself. For quite a few years now, both companies have had some kind of quick connect/disconnect system. In fact, they made it so easy people stopped tipping me when I put them on people's cars. lol.
    Never really understood what the basket is for.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in the brew room
    Posts
    1,997
    thanks all. I think the only reason I'd get the basket is cost and if I could leave it on to get in my garage.
    been looking online for some used/cheaper boxes but the comments about ease of getting on/off has me rethinking that I need to make that a priority.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    The Tits
    Posts
    634
    Get a box and hopefully you have one of the tray style bike racks that allows you to add additional space for more bikes. I'm pretty sure most will allow you to attach a 16" bike to them but you may need an adapter. Also they don't have all the fancy features of Yakima or Thule but check out Packasport boxes. By far the best made and most durable boxes out there.
    "College sailing isn't about who wins the most races, its about who can stand in the morning"

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Elmore, VT
    Posts
    1,086
    I would recommend a utility trailer.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    LV-426
    Posts
    18,611
    I've used both cargo baskets and a couple different roof boxes, on a couple different vehicles. From my experience, the cargo basket makes more noise (empty) vs. roof box (empty or full, doesn't change wind resistance).

    The only benefit that the cargo basket has is the ability to stack random-sized stuff -- duffel bags, cooler, camp chairs, etc. -- that may not fit into a roof box very well. A loaded cargo basket with random stuff tied to it has a lot of wind resistance, which turned into a larger impact on fuel mileage.

    The cargo boxes require more careful packing to load them, but they keep the contents dry, secure (lockable box), and a lot less dirty (bugs, dust, etc).

    Unless I really needed the space to carry a lot of huge, awkward, random stuff (i.e. like mounting a very large cargo rack across a big vehicle -- like a fullsize Con-ferr rack on top of a van), I would go with the largest rocketbox type cargo box that fits. I find them a lot more useful overall.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    25,417
    My buddy uses an old Prijon T-slalom for a ski box just cam strap it down right side up ...its even aoerodynamic
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    3,744
    Thule box from craigslist. Atlantis 1800. Super easy on and off. Looks new, got it for about a third of the price of a new one. They go fast so you've got to be diligent.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sandy, Utah
    Posts
    14,411
    could probably dig up a thule quick connect kit for a roof box. I dont think i ever used it...SLC local. I'd have to look for it.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    21,746
    Quote Originally Posted by TomCrac View Post
    Thule box from craigslist. Atlantis 1800. Super easy on and off. Looks new, got it for about a third of the price of a new one. They go fast so you've got to be diligent.
    I have the 1200 for skis and stuff and use it for moving or whatnot. SUPER easy to put on and take off. The bigger ones are about 50lbs, so not super heavy, but maybe a little awkward. Still pretty easy to do with 1 person.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

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