We spoke to Tom Henwood of Main Line Overland to see what the pros are using and what’s popular on today’s market. “The best roof rack is the best design for a given application, rather than a particular brand. We help customers select racks and storage systems based on what they intend to carry on their travels, where they intend to go, etc. We look for componentry that maintains a low profile and low center of gravity for off-road driving, so we often choose aluminum roof racks to keep weight down up top.”
After much reveiw and discussion with others, I decided on the Thule system for my touring kayaks and my Honda CRV. I had initially planned to get H2GO Saddles, while debating on trying the Malone of Maine J saddles, when this year Thule came out with the Hull-a-port Part #835 at around $85 a pair), a J shaped kayak carrier, at a lower cost and intuitively more rugged design (ie bulkier) than Malone's. The Thule guy (at the NE Paddlesports show in Durham NH Spring 2001) did not recommend the fairing that Mike mentions below, but I had considered one for noise control. The rep said Thule is not recommending it for kayaks as it increases the lift forces on the kayak. The rack alone makes a boat-load of noise (no pun intended) so I can only imagine what it's going to soundlike with the Hull-a-port standing up there, let alone with a kayak attached to it. I may get the fairing anyway but it's expensive.
Thule Rack mounted to factory rack on a VW station wagon. H2go Saddles in front, Hydroglides in back. Likes: Strength of system. Dislikes: All the saddles. Hydroglides can easily scratch the boat while you are getting the end on them, I need to set an ensolite pad on them to keep them open. The spring on one pad has broken in less that 10 kayak carrying days. I would much rather have used covers on standard saddles, see yakrackbooties.com (paddling.com sponsor). Also need to permanently fix a pad to the bar between the saddles. The H2go pads do not conform as well as they could. I bet the old ones with the three position locking tabs were better. They need more springiness. If Thule made the saddles as well as they make the bars and towers I would be a lot happier with the product. If they do not improve, I am not sure whether I would buy them again regardless of their superior strength. I have no affiliation with any paddling industry company.
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.
This is a well-made bike rack with an unusual-looking design. The design works better than the FreeRide and ProRide models when it comes to loading on your bike. It also offers better inbuilt security for your bike and furthermore does not touch the frame and so cannot damage the frame. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the FreeRide model and a little bit heavier BUT it is selling at about the same price as the ProRide…it IS better than the ProRide; I guess people don’t buy it because of the looks and the weight.
These are working great so far for a Cargo Box and Canoe mounts on top of our 2017 Subaru Forester. I was leery about these as they sit up a bit higher than the factory crossbars, but the AeroBlades live up to their namesake. Without a load on top, I don't hear any extra noise with them installed and our mileage appears to be spot on with what it was without any cross bars installed. The vehicle's computer calculated ~35.2 MPG doing 70 on the interstate with some front and tail end driving on the streets with a local commute. That's is right around what the vehicle gets without cross bars. If there is a difference, we're talking a difference of decimal points. I had thought for sure that the MPGs would take a beating at highway speeds in particular with cross bars. The only con that comes to mind is that with the Cargo Box (Thule Atlantis 1600) on top, we can't pull into our garage door as it's just a bit too tall. The factory bars, which would sit lower by about an inch or two would likely allow for it, but then we would lose the ability to mount the canoe as the width of the mounting space on the aluminum is significantly reduced with those. With these, you can use the full top of the bar for mounting with the T bolts as well as wraparound accessories. The factory Subaru cross bars only accommodate wraparound accessories as there is no slot/channel for T bolts. For our vehicle, at the foremost mounting point on the roof rails, the spacing between them is 39". The foot packs underneath the bars do come inward a bit, but the usable space between the foot packs for wraparound accessories on the front bar is right around 36" (less on the rear bar), which is more spacious than what the Subaru cross bars would allow for. So far, we are very pleased with this setup!
For your convenience The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule rain gutter mounted roof rack fits alphabetically by Auto Manufacturer. You'll find perfect fitting roof racks for most of today's top selling vehicles on this list. Thule rain gutter mounted roof racks require either rain gutters or artificial rain gutters on the roof of your vehicle in order to attach. If you don't see your vehicle on this list, simply click on the Thule Fit Guide at the top of this page, enter your vehicle information and the Thule Fit Guide will do the rest. Once your Thule order is received, we will double check your selection to be sure you have ordered the right rack for your vehicle.