Roof box... Thule or Yakima?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    ballbuster
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    Roof box... Thule or Yakima?

    I'm starting to shop for a roof box for my wife's Audi Avant. She has the factory Audi roof rails with the little groove in them that use the square T-nuts.

    I would probably lean towards Thule just because I think Thule makes the factory stuff for most european cars. The box isn't going to live on the car most of the time. I'm pretty much just going to pop it on when we take the kids away for the weekend somewhere, and we wanna take bikes, bike gear, etc, and still have room for some suitcases.

    No, I'm not going to buy a bigger car. The car has a trailer hitch and I have a hitch rack. I also have two roof rack bike trays.

    Is any one brand any better than the other? I'm looking to buy used off Craigslist or at a swap meet or something.

    I'm pretty much just looking to buy a bit more storage space as to not repeat this situation... where I end up strapping everything to the roof racks with ratchet straps, Jed Klampet style:

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cepH0cGusQfO92N6R9mNME1Ab6_K2cXlxUA0YqRJ1x8?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ZFljqarlwpI/TgErKqzOPdI/AAAAAAAAVPs/BphLlzSrAP8/s800/IMG_0686.JPG" height="600" width="800" /></a>

  2. #2
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    I've used two boxes, one being an older Thule Frontier model, and the most recent a Yakima Skybox. Both did the job just fine; they were adequate for what they were carrying (camping stuff, wet/muddy hiking clothes, etc) so if I had to pick one to own, it would come down to strength and ease to use. Given the Thule one was several years old, and I'm sure they've changed things quite a bit with their most recent stuff, I found it was a wee bit more difficult to fine tune the fit on the crossbars (also could have been the fact that the mounts were mostly frankenstien parts). The Skybox was much easier to fit and close/lock, and personally, I'd have to say I like it more. It also had a stiffer lid that didn't flop when opening, which I found was the case with the Thule, but again the Thule was much older, so I'm sure they've addressed that with their new boxes.

    Overall, both would do the job their designed for. What it comes down to is what feels better to you, and since you'll be taking it off the rack periodically, which box is easier to install/uninstall. I highly suggest checking out a rack store or REI to play with both. You should also consider how much you like your T2 hitch rack, and if you're satisfied with it, and whether or not you want to keep it in the family. I personally have been using Yakima stuff forever, so it was natural for me to find things I liked about the Skybox and find things I didn't like about the Frontier.

    Just my $.02

  3. #3
    ballbuster
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    Thanks for the input

    Quote Originally Posted by ktaylor15 View Post
    I've used two boxes, one being an older Thule Frontier model, and the most recent a Yakima Skybox. Both did the job just fine; they were adequate for what they were carrying (camping stuff, wet/muddy hiking clothes, etc) so if I had to pick one to own, it would come down to strength and ease to use. Given the Thule one was several years old, and I'm sure they've changed things quite a bit with their most recent stuff, I found it was a wee bit more difficult to fine tune the fit on the crossbars (also could have been the fact that the mounts were mostly frankenstien parts). The Skybox was much easier to fit and close/lock, and personally, I'd have to say I like it more. It also had a stiffer lid that didn't flop when opening, which I found was the case with the Thule, but again the Thule was much older, so I'm sure they've addressed that with their new boxes.

    Overall, both would do the job their designed for. What it comes down to is what feels better to you, and since you'll be taking it off the rack periodically, which box is easier to install/uninstall. I highly suggest checking out a rack store or REI to play with both. You should also consider how much you like your T2 hitch rack, and if you're satisfied with it, and whether or not you want to keep it in the family. I personally have been using Yakima stuff forever, so it was natural for me to find things I liked about the Skybox and find things I didn't like about the Frontier.

    Just my $.02
    Heh... oddly enough, I hated my T2 and switched to a 1Up USA rack soon after this pic was taken.

    I'm probably going to end up with a 5 year old, hopefully 'garage queen' roof box. I get the feeling that most of the boxes out there get used once or twice and then left to collect dust in storage until somebody decides to get rid of it.

    It's pretty much going to come down to what I can get a good deal on from the used market.

  4. #4
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    i can definitely help with this...the yakima sky boxes are excellent and probably the easiest of the boxes to remove/install regularly, because the mounting hardware stays fixed when you remove it...set it once and you're done...
    thule, while they make great boxes with easy to use mounting hardware, will likely need a bit more finesse to get it back to the same spot each time, since the clamps can move inside the box easily.

    if you find something used, and want to bounce it off of me, i'd be happy to give you my take on the used product...there have been design changes over the years, even seasonally that are rolling changes that don't change part numbers, etc....so i can spot some things.

  5. #5
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    Got a Yakima Skybox on my wife's Avant. Also use it for my STI. Damn easy to put on and off. Now the daughter and Bouvier can fit in the car too!

  6. #6
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com View Post
    i can definitely help with this...the yakima sky boxes are excellent and probably the easiest of the boxes to remove/install regularly, because the mounting hardware stays fixed when you remove it...set it once and you're done...
    thule, while they make great boxes with easy to use mounting hardware, will likely need a bit more finesse to get it back to the same spot each time, since the clamps can move inside the box easily.
    I've got a Thule box. I never thought much about it, but I kind of like the ease of adjustment on my box. I can see fixed mounting might appeal to some. Just depends. What I really like is the key matching thing with my T2 and locks. I think Yakima has the same thing.

    1Up has a seriously nice rack. Probably worth not having matching keys. So, I rally think it comes down to what you find on Craigslist. That's where I got mine. Saving a couple of hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at.

  7. #7
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    I got a skybox. the mounting is easy but eats space inside


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com View Post
    i can definitely help with this...the yakima sky boxes are excellent and probably the easiest of the boxes to remove/install regularly, because the mounting hardware stays fixed when you remove it...set it once and you're done...
    Your site says free shipping on items over $99.00, does this include yakima roof boxes? Thanks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTI3Rmember View Post
    Your site says free shipping on items over $99.00, does this include yakima roof boxes? Thanks
    sorry, cargo boxes are not free shipping....we offer free ground shipping, but boxes have to be shipped via truck freight....$69.00. many places charge $79 - $99.00 for cargo box shipping..
    currently, though thule boxes are 20% off and no sales tax outside of CO.

  10. #10
    ballbuster
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    Found one, pulled trigger!

    after all that yapping about it, I finally did it.

    I found a Thule Evolution for $125 on craigslist. It has a bit of the clearcoat fading, but overall it's in good shape. Man, the U-Bolt quick release mounting is ridiculously easy and fast! Loads of space. I hope it's wide enough for our suitcases. I'm sure it will fit the smaller ones and soft bags.

    I think the roof rails are actually wide enough to fit both Lockjaw bike trays along with this box. Man, my gas mileage is going to seriously suck... but still suck less than an SUV.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cAqosv0uRVLdCBx4I-pwutMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VI7NbtAxjYk/Tv-4dSUD5qI/AAAAAAAAaE0/Xzzg6AMu7Ys/s800/IMG_2246.JPG" height="600" width="800" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2Qs3jx1pv9vIDThea8oBItMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=e mbedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-azr9aONZLYE/Tv-4eSpb6YI/AAAAAAAAaE8/8Q-VNJd-I9k/s800/IMG_2248.JPG" height="600" width="800" /></a>

  11. #11
    Rohloff
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    I think I've got almost the exact same roof box. I picked mine up on craigslist for about $100. It was scuffed up a bit but fully functional. I found the box didn't effect gas mileage too bad. It's certainly not as bad as a bike on the roof.

    A roof box and a hitch rack make a nice combo for loaded trips. Another great thing about the box is I found I could fit my bike in the box with just the front wheel and seatpost removed. I felt a lot safer having my bike out of sight and locked away.

    Paint that thing gloss black to match your car and you'll really be pimp'n!

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