Recommend a rooftop rack cargo box (Yakima vs Thule?)...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: tscheezy's Avatar
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    New question here. Recommend a rooftop rack cargo box (Yakima vs Thule?)...

    Something for a Subaru Outback. Either on the factory crossbars or on Yakima crossbars. Something I can toss drippy snowboards and skis into (and so not soak the inside of the car). The Yakima Skybox 16 looks nice since it is a bit shorter and wider for good volume. The longest thing going in there will be xc skis around 195cm (77").

    It would be great if folks can comment on how well they:
    Are sealed from the elements (it rains here a lot, drainage holes would be good),
    How secure they attach and close,
    How fool-free the mechanisms are (one-handed operation?),
    How stiff the lids are so they don't flop all over when open,
    Open from either side???
    Fits on a Subie without blocking the rear hatch door and also not hang out over the windshield a mile,
    Costs less than the car (in fact, $400 or less would be super),
    Other stuff...?

    TIA.
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  2. #2
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    Probably my favorite out there is the Yakima Skybox. Really easy mechanism to clamp (tool free) onto the bars and the back is the box is cut in a way so that you can open up the rear hatch without it hitting the box. It feels pretty solid once you have it clamped on the bars.

    As far as keeping the elements out, I couldn't say much since it rarely rains here in socal. But just looking at it, the weather strips that cover the bottom will keep some of the water out. And as for the top, water will eventually seep through but not enough to soak your duffel bags.
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  3. #3
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    I found some random reviews on sites like Nextag, and one thing they mention about the Skybox is that due to the aero shape and upswept rear, the "floor" space of the box is less than the overall length, so I wonder if a pair of 190cm skis would in fact fit into the supposedly 81" long Skybox 16... hmmmm. The Thule boxes seem to skip this whale-tail shape and so the overall length seems to indicate better what fits inside.

    I live in the middle of nowhere and so I can't just take a set of skis into a mega-rooftop-cargo box retailer near me and drop them in to check the fit.

    I gather that both Thule and Yakima offer either curb-side entry on many models. In fact, they seem to offer pretty similar stuff overall.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    I found some random reviews on sites like Nextag, and one thing they mention about the Skybox is that due to the aero shape and upswept rear, the "floor" space of the box is less than the overall length, so I wonder if a pair of 190cm skis would in fact fit into the supposedly 81" long Skybox 16... hmmmm. The Thule boxes seem to skip this whale-tail shape and so the overall length seems to indicate better what fits inside.

    I live in the middle of nowhere and so I can't just take a set of skis into a mega-rooftop-cargo box retailer near me and drop them in to check the fit.

    I gather that both Thule and Yakima offer either curb-side entry on many models. In fact, they seem to offer pretty similar stuff overall.
    Just in case you're wondering, the Skybox 16 is stable up to 130mph. The clamps fit square Thule load bars too, as shown here.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    Something for a Subaru Outback. Either on the factory crossbars or on Yakima crossbars. Something I can toss drippy snowboards and skis into (and so not soak the inside of the car). The Yakima Skybox 16 looks nice since it is a bit shorter and wider for good volume. The longest thing going in there will be xc skis around 195cm (77").

    It would be great if folks can comment on how well they:
    Are sealed from the elements (it rains here a lot, drainage holes would be good),
    How secure they attach and close,
    How fool-free the mechanisms are (one-handed operation?),
    How stiff the lids are so they don't flop all over when open,
    Open from either side???
    Fits on a Subie without blocking the rear hatch door and also not hang out over the windshield a mile,
    Costs less than the car (in fact, $400 or less would be super),
    Other stuff...?

    TIA.
    We went the cheapest route and bought the Spacebooster 11 from Yakima's Classic series. It rained on the way home from a trip and none of the bags were wet. So, the top and most of the bottom is waterproof. When you close the lid seems like there is a good seal. Attaches easy enough to the roof rack. Onces you set it once, really easy to attach and remove. One sided hatch though. Once open stays open, it doesn't flop all over the place. Depending on where you place the box, it doesn't hang over too much to effect the rear hatch of my 06 Xterra. It also doesn't sit over the windshield. Comes with a lock and key. I haven't put snowboards in it or ever will because have the powderhound but it looks long enough and tall enough. It's light enough to put on yourself.
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  6. #6
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    more info...

    Here's a pic of a 158mm snowboard inside the 16. Sorry i couldn't find a tape to measure the difference. In the pic, you can see the reinforcing straps and tubing which make the box very stable at speed. The lid was not nearly as flexy as the Thule box I considered, and can be opened from both sides. Thankfully the clamps fit square tube load bars, otherwise I would've changed out to Yakima just to be able to use the 16. The locks cannot be locked unless the key is in the cylinder, so you don't lock them in the box(something I might do.) Since the box is wide, access is simple and there is a webbing strap to pull the lid down. Wife says she needs two hands to close the box. I have no problem closing the lid one handed but use both hands to make sure everything is sealed. As for hatchback clearance, I could probably slide the box back six inches and be fine.
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  7. #7
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    That pic is helpful, thanks.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  8. #8
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    I have the Thule 1200 (12 cubic feet) box.

    It's "OK" but the newer designs from Thule & Yakima offer easier loading onto the bars if you're gong to be taking it off frequently. It will hold 6 sets of skis and probabl 2-3 snowboards (although I wouldn't know since I won't touch the things).

    I found that in driving rain water enters the inside of the box and I've heard this about other models as well. I easily solved the problem by laying a 1/2" strip of self-adhesive weather stripping along the interior.

    If I had to do it again I'd get a box with more storage. At least 18 cu ft.

    Vader...nice car. I have an 02 silver with 67k & going strong.
    Last edited by The Squeaky Wheel; 01-19-2007 at 08:20 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    I have the Thule 1200 (12 cubic feet) box.

    It's "OK" but the newer designs from Thule & Yakima offer easier loading onto the bars if you're gong to be taking it off frequently. It will hold 6 sets of skis and probabl 2-3 snowboards (although I wouldn't know since I won't touch the things).

    I found that in driving rain water enters the inside of the box and I've heard this about other models as well. I easily solved the problem by laying a 1/2" strip of self-adhesive weather stripping along the interior.

    If I had to do it again I'd get a box with more storage. At least 18 cu ft.

    Vader...nice car. I have an 02 silver with 67k & going strong.
    Mine's an 05' and has 40k on the clock(daily driver.) The pic shows the winter wheel set up and the car is now (alot) faster than stock. Do you post on AW?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader
    Do you post on AW?
    Used to. Not anymore.

    I've had mine since new. Chipped, replaced turbo diverter valves, short shifter, sway bars. I use OEM rims with 17" Nokian WRX in the winter, 18" with Dunlops in the summer.

    Mine is at the age when one starts to see a bit of midlife crisis. I had to replace the camshaft seals (which wasn't cheap) and I've had a few other small nagging issues but overall it's a superb car. Engine belt replacement looms in the not-so-distant future which isn't a cheap job.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    Used to. Not anymore.

    I've had mine since new. Chipped, replaced turbo diverter valves, short shifter, sway bars. I use OEM rims with 17" Nokian WRX in the winter, 18" with Dunlops in the summer.

    Mine is at the age when one starts to see a bit of midlife crisis. I had to replace the camshaft seals (which wasn't cheap) and I've had a few other small nagging issues but overall it's a superb car. Engine belt replacement looms in the not-so-distant future which isn't a cheap job.
    I bought mine new 13 months ago. Last one the stealer sold. I did the same mods, except for a TIP chip (wish I had the six speed.) Sadly, By this time next year, it'll be time to let her go. By then she should be pushing 85k. I use 17" OEM rims with Hankook Icebears in the winter, and 18" RS6 reps with Nexxen somethings in the summer. In the first 12 miles of my commute, I lose over 5k feet in elevation with over 140 turns so I've never had tires last more than 6k miles. But... it's not a bad thing
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  12. #12
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    I hear ya. I've gone through 4 sets of tires thus far and my winter Nokians may be shot after this season.

    I went with the aftermarket 100k/7yr warranty which has come in handy thus far (cam shaft seals & front wheel bearings). I'll probably hold her another 1-2 years and then it'll be time. Unfortunately there isn't anything out there that turns me on in terms of a replacement. Hopefully the TDI AR will emerge in the US.

  13. #13
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    TS,
    FWIW, I've had a Thule box for several years. I think that it was called the Classic. The equivalent today might be the Atlantis 1600? Anyway, I've never had any problems with water entering at all, and I used to have to store sales samples in it, and none of the samples were ever wet or had water marks. After I determined which mounting holes to use for my vehicle, I filled the additional holes with a few blobs of silicone, to prevent water from entering when I was using the pressure sprayer at the carwash, etc. Seemed to work well.

    My Thule box seems to lack some of the additional internal bracing that the picture of the Yakima box shown above, which would probably add quite a bit of stiffness. However, I've never had any issues, even when going over Beartooth Pass in 60+ mph winds (I was afraid that my bikes were going to rip off though). The two pneumatic lift thingies that help lift the lid are now showing their age and don't help as much as they used to, but they still keep the lid propped open unless it is really cold out. I've also replaced two hinges that failed (my box has seen a lot of use and it was the Thule rep's before I had it). The lid does flop around when open.

    I regulally store about 4 pairs of XC skis and skate poles up there all winter. Plenty of extra length at either end for my 195cm skis.

    Good luck. I still can't believe that you have a car now
    I stopped driving my bike into my garage - I'm now protected with Roof Rack Ranger app for my iPhone.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerx40
    I still can't believe that you have a car now
    Thanks for the beta.

    Don't worry, it's not my car. I still don't own one.
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

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