Updated: May 27, 2015
Thule Rack Reviews:Guide to Choosing Thule Racks - "Life is possibilities." For those of us who embrace this philosophy and meet each day expecting an adventure any moment, life is exciting, fun, and somewhat of a logistical problem at times. An adventure could be waiting the next town over, or the next, or the next, so how do you take your fun-loving, adventure-seeking, possibility-grabbing self from here to there when you have gear? Kind of takes the spontaneity out of your day, doesn't it? But it doesn't have to. Be ready for that adventure, whether it's in a white water raft on the Colorado or on a mountain trail in Colorado, with great roof and cargo racks. Having one installed on your car means that any day could become the day you set out and do something daring, fun, or just different. One name stands head and shoulders above the competition: Thule. As adventurous as you, Thule is ready, willing, and able to get you anywhere you want to go. Which Thule rack is right for you? Let's take a look.
Why Buy Thule? Which Thule Rack is Right for You?- Because of the incredible selection of Thule racks that are available, this can be a difficult question to answer. Your first stop should be the Thule website. They have a helpful tool that will help you select the rack that fits your needs, vehicle, and budget. First select the type of solution you need: do you need to transport skis and other snow sport equipment? Bikes? Kayaks and other water sport equipment? Cargo? Don't know yet, and you just want a base rack so you can choose your carrier later? No problem. Make the appropriate selection, and Thule helps you with the rest. You then select the make and model of your vehicle and the Fit Guide helps you choose your roof rack, carrier, and accessories from a list of options. This is an invaluable tool so you know you are getting the best fit for your car, your needs, and your budget. Start here, and then comparison shop for the best deal. You can browse the best selling Thule racks here.
Thule Roof Racks:One of the most popular Thule roof racks is the Thule 43050 Tracker II Complete Roof Rack System with Load Bars. This complete rack system includes 4 Tracker II attaching feet, TK kit, a pair of 50-inch load bars, and locks. The Tracker II accepts virtually all Thule accessories, so this is a versatile, very useful rack system to install. It is also quite easy to install and remove simply by pushing a button. The Tracker II has been designed to fit on over 40 percent of new vehicles and for cars with track rail factory-installed roof racks. A happy Amazon reviewer said it was easy to install and easy to use: you can't ask for anything better (except maybe a good price). Amazon has the Tracker II system for $234 (see all the Thule rack systems here). Another option that is open to you is to purchase foot packs and load bars separately. Thule racks are held in place by foot packs that are attached to your car or truck. Onto these are fitted the load bars, which support your cargo, bike, or sport carriers. Many people opt to get them separately to ensure that they get the best fit for their needs. They all look pretty similar to the untrained eye, so when choosing yours make sure that it is designed for your type of vehicle. For instance, the 400XT Aero Foot Pack is designed for cars without a factory rack or rain gutters. (These are about $145). The 450R Crossroad Railing Foot Pack, on the other hand, is designed for vehicles that have a factory-installed rack with raised side rails. The foot pack converts this into a full Thule rack system for more durability, stability, security, and versatility. The 450 Crossroads 4 pack is $160 and one reviewer said the security and versatility of the rack system was so great that he'd keep it even if he got rid of his car. After you have your feet, you need load bars to support your cargo. Your choice may depend on the feet you have chosen because some are only compatible with specific bars. The 450R Crossroad feet, for example, are designed for use exclusively with the Rapid Aero aluminum load bars, such as the Thule RB53 Rapid Aero Aluminum Roof Rack Load Bars. This set of two has a sleek, aerodynamic design, decreased cabin noise, and integrated T-slot for easy accessory mounting. With the foot pack and load bar, you can more than double the capacity of your factory-installed rack. These bars cost about $110 for a pack of two (buy load bars here). One reviewer noted that his kit didn't come with end caps, which he had to buy for about $10. He said it was like getting sneakers without laces. So when getting these, make sure you are getting the end caps as well because in some sets they are included.
Thule Roof Carriers - Thule Cargo Roof Boxes:Now that you've got all that done, you need a carrier. Your choice will depend, of course, on what you are transporting. Thule is well known for their bicycle racks (browse the most popular Thule bike racks here), but they also make a full line that will accommodate all your needs, even if you just need more space for hauling items. You'll be a very popular person on moving day. One of their most popular is the sleek Thule 605 Ascent 1700 Rooftop Cargo Box . This aerodynamic beauty gets consistently positive reviews from those picky Amazon people. What they like: the high-grade impact and scratch-resistant material, access gear from both sides of car with the Dual-Side opening feature, minimal wind resistance, No-Go Central Locking System, one-key system, and its ability to fit on most factory-installed or after-market racks. It is very versatile and handy when you need extra space for vacation gear, sports equipment, and much more. Users on OutdoorReview.com praised Thule roof boxes for their ruggedness, capacity, and weatherproofing - one complaint was stubborn locks in bitter cold, but still able to be opened. This cargo carrier costs $400. Thule cargo carriers and cargo bags here. You can check out a video review of another model, the Thule 669ES Mountaineer Cargo Roof Box below:
The quality that is apparent in the Rooftop Cargo Box is typical of all Thule products, whether bike rack, kayak rack, or cargo carrier. You cannot find a better name in the industry. But why spend so much on racks or carriers? Can't you get cheaper models? You certainly can. You can use your factory-installed rack for that matter. But when you are transporting your expensive sports equipment and cargo, you want to make sure that it is as secure and safe as possible. With Thule, you know that it is, and the extra money is worth the peace of mind and the durability you get from Thule. Look through their extensive selection of roof rack, bike rack, bike hitch, or cargo carrier that works best for you, your vehicle, and your budget.