No, the XL Cargo Box won’t win any design awards. Its two-tone aesthetic is as utilitarian as its name, but with 18 cubic feet of space, you get a lot of storage at a price that won’t break the bank. Unlike other boxes in this article, it opens only on the passenger side, keeping you safe from traffic when handling the insides. The high-density plastic is a tough as it looks, and it fits most factory and after-market cross bars rated to carry up to 150 pounds.
The ProRide meets requirement number three no problem and is no problem when left in situ. Thule do advise you take it off when not in use as it will affect your fuel consumption. But I found it to be negligible, happily staying around 62-64 mpg on long motorway drives. With a bike on it typically dropped to nearer 60mpg, but this number is affected more by the way you drive than having a bike on the roof.
They seem solid and well made. I'm just surprised at the way that the coating ends on the bars and the bare steel is open to the elements. I guess I assumed these would come with the end caps, as it doesn't specify that they don't and the photo includes the end caps, while graying out the feet - which I knew weren't included. Seems kinda skimpy to leave that little piece out.
Due to the unique set-up of this bike carrier, it was very hard not to worry about our precious cargo when using the SeaSucker Talon QR-1 roof rack. The extremely effective sucker pads stuck like glue, but trundling down the motorway it was always in the back of my mind that the bikes weren’t being held in place by traditional, sturdy nuts and bolts.
It all starts with a Thule roof rack. Once you have chosen the load bar of your choice the rest of the system will be pre-determined by the vehicle you drive. Thule roof racks are complete systems for transporting your gear safely, easily, and even stylishly. Thule pride themselves in providing the widest car solutions available on a global market.
Originally I bought them because our car didn't have the width for two boats to sit side-by-side. But they support our plastic touring boats (Necky, Looksha IV), very nicely. The fear of oil-canning the hulls by supporting them in traditional saddles is all but gone. The hull-a-ports hold the boats vertically and in even the strongest cross winds, the two straps (provided, with buckle bumpers) are enough to hold the boats in place with ease...and not so much pressure that you'll bend the hulls.
Also, poke holes in dead tennis balls and jam them on the ends of your bars. It will keep your passengers from clonking themselves, not just because they are softer and rounder than factory caps, they are bright. It's easy to lose track of exactly where black-on-black bar ends are in space, even when you're looking for them; it's hard to overlook glowing lime-green spheres. You'll have to replace them each year as they fade; remove the factory caps beforehand so you won't pull them off inside the tennis balls.
Last year I bought a Suburban (now I have two racked vehicles) and bought a set of Thule #450 Crossroads to mount to the factory rails. I was little concerned about the rack coming loose. Not that the rack would have a problem, but rather the factory rails would rip out of the Suburban’s roof. Happy to say, after several 1500 mile trips to Maine and Hilton Head my concerns have been but aside. This thing is as rock solid as I was used to.
I must confess that I've used the 815s without bow or stern tie-downs, but my two kayaks have not budged at all. I peek at them through the moonroof on my car from time to time, and they've never shifted. It's important that you read the directions on how to secure the two strap assemblies. If you do it correctly, they will not loosen. Thule's buckle bumpers are pure genius for protecting your car and your boat. When I get home one night with only one kayak on the roof, I entered my garage before the door had fully opened. The bow of the kayak hit the bottom lightweight insulated aluminum panel of my garage door and crumpled it, but the kayak didn't budge (nor did it get damaged, phew!). However, in the interest of safety, I have resolved to use bow and stern tie-downs in the future. To this end, I have purchased and installed bow hood loops from Riverside Cartop Carriers on my car.
These are ideal if you are carrying kayaks or bikes and know that lifting these into the centre of the roof will put a strain on your back. They're almost essential for safe loading on tall and / or wide vehicles. The bars slide out so you can load, for example, two bikes on the left side of your vehicle, then slide them the other way and load two more on the right. They're brilliant.