If you love the outdoors, you know that life’s greatest adventures often have many bulky items that need to come along. Essential gear like tents, backpacks, boots, skis, and outerwear are necessary to make the most out of your trips. A Thule rooftop cargo box is a fantastic solution to this problem. It provides additional storage, allowing you to carry everything you need without overloading your car’s interior. With so many fantastic options on the market, here’s how to choose the right size cargo box for you.

What Will Go in Your Cargo Box?

Thule cargo boxes are ideal for camping essentials like tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and camp furniture. They’re also great for skis and ski poles (though it’s advisable to keep ski boots inside the car for warmth). Beyond outdoor gear, these boxes can store gardening tools, beach essentials, and children’s toys. The key is to think about the size and type of items you’ll store, which will guide you in choosing a box with the right dimensions.

Generally, bulky, lightweight items are best suited for rooftop storage. Longer items like skis require an extended cargo box, and heavy items should be kept inside the vehicle to avoid exceeding the box’s weight capacity.

Weight Considerations for Cargo Boxes

Before loading your cargo box:

  1. Check your vehicle’s maximum load in the owner’s manual.
  2. Subtract the weight of the box and any other rack accessories, like bike racks, to calculate the maximum weight you can safely add.
  3. If using aftermarket crossbars, include their weight in your calculations.

For example, if your vehicle’s max capacity is 165 pounds, the roof box weighs 50 pounds, crossbars weigh 9 pounds, and towers/feet weigh 5 pounds – you can load up to 101 pounds in the roof box.

Cargo Box Size Options

Thule roof cargo boxes come in various sizes to suit your needs and vehicle. Depending on what fits your vehicle and how much gear you need to transport, you’ll want to find one that suits both criteria.

Thule’s cargo boxes include all sizes, from smaller options perfect for a single person to extra-large options that carry gear for up to four people, including skis, camping gear and luggage.

The approximate capacity for:

  • Two people is 12 cu. ft. / 340 litres of space
  • Three people is 15 cu. ft. / 425 litres of space
  • Four people is 18 cu. ft. / 510 litres of space
  • Five people is 21 cu. Ft. / 595 litres of space

A cargo box should fit properly on your vehicle, especially hatch clearance. Measure from the center of the front crossbar to the open hatch at crossbar level and compare with the box’s required clearance.

The box’s size, colour, and finish should complement your vehicle’s look. Larger cargo boxes aren’t always the best choice, as they can reduce fuel efficiency, not fit your vehicle correctly and are typically more expensive. An ill-fitting cargo box can also cause unwanted noise and damage your vehicle.

Tips for Using Cargo Boxes

  • Distribute weight evenly, focusing most between the crossbars.
  • Store frequently needed items inside your car.
  • Be mindful of your vehicle’s new height with the cargo box to avoid collisions.
  • Remember to close the box before driving.
  • Regularly check the box’s security on the roof rack.
  • Note that cargo boxes are not entirely dust proof or waterproof.
  • Store the box in a cool, dry place when not in use, avoiding direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid storing the box on its side or end to prevent damage. A better option is to store it on its base, elevated with 2x4s to protect the mounting hardware. Some manufacturers also offer suspension kits for convenient storage.

Choosing the Right Thule Cargo Box for You

A Thule roof cargo box is an excellent investment for outdoor enthusiasts. It increases your vehicle’s storage capacity and makes transporting gear more organized and efficient. Choosing the right cargo box requires some research. Remember, bigger isn’t always better – choose a box that meets your needs without additional costs or complications.

If you’re looking for expert advice on which Thule cargo box is the best for you, The Calgary Hitch Shop can help. Our team of seasoned pros can help you find the best solution for your needs with our extensive selection of Thule cargo boxes.