How are you playing in the snow this season?
Hey fellow snow enthusiasts! I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to scheme ab...Read more
We've just come back from a car camping trip where we really had to stuff every unoccupied seat to it's limits, so it's about time we looked at getting a roof cargo box for some of the gear (it's amazing how the amount of stuff increases with a kid...).
I've looked at https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/car-racks.html but that really only talks about different options (roof top vs. hitch type stuff) and didn't answer my questions about what sets one cargo box apart from another. Is there anything I should be looking at besides total volume capacity between brands/models? Does anybody (REI employee or not) have any firsthand experience with any boxes they'd like to share?
For reference, this is going to go on a 2017 Mazda CX-5, factory crossbars already installed (the hitch is reserved for our bikes, so looking only at rooftop). As mentioned the idea is mostly to hold the camping gear that we don't need at close reach during the drive, so tent (REI Base Camp 6), sleeping bags for 2-4 people, camp chairs, sleeping pads, and for now a pack-and-play crib. Maybe looking at replacing the pads with Helinox cots that pack down small, but that's budget dependent. We'd possibly be using it in winter too for ski gear: thoughts on doing that vs a separate dedicated ski carrier? (Obviously the enclosed box keeps road crud/spray off, are there easy ways to secure skis inside so they don't slide around? other pros/cons? Do people usually toss poles, boots, and helmets up there too?)
@TomV lots of great questions, and lots to consider! And yes, adding a kiddo adds a surprising amount of new/different gear! Ok, here goes:
Unfortunately, our inventory levels are currently a bit low but here are a few (currently available) to consider:
As you look at these, and other options, make note of the overall length and width (how will that box fit across the top of your Mazda?) and height (if you have a garage and are hoping to leave the box on, will the height of your car+box fit easily?).
We hope this information gets you started, and anticipate others will join in with more advice and perspective!
Thanks, this does help some! I also finally found this expert advice article which more or less mirrors what you've already said, but I thought I'd come back and share the link for others: much more relevant than the first article I had looked at!
@TomV I can totally relate! Much like yourself, I found that the addition of two children and two pets, it suddenly morphed my Jeep Cherokee from a spacious SUV into a sardine can! I quickly realized that I was in need of some extra cargo room, and I told myself nothing was going to stand in my way of getting outside. I ended up going with an XL rooftop box. It has been a life saver, to say the least, and a very worth while investment.
I use my rooftop box for every activity imaginable: weekend getaways with the family, ski/snowboard trips, quick trips to the hardware store, hauling gear to local concerts, or even moving friends across country! An example of what I can fit in my XL Cartop Box: one full size suitcase, two carry-ons and one or two small duffel bags. Obviously, it does depend on Brand and style that you go with.
Like @REI-JenK mentioned, usually folks wish they had gone bigger instead of smaller, but it does definitely depend on your vehicle and what you plan on putting in it, such as your skis. Also, there are some distinct features of each Brand and Style that may sway you one way or the other. Pay close attention to the clasping mechanism that attaches the box to your rack, and the locking/opening mechanism for each style. You should check out the Thule and Yakima website for excellent fit guides. If you still have more fit questions hit up your local REI, or if your not able to make it down to the store, check out REI Virtual Outfitting!
I'm stoked for your adventures in your growing caravan! Have fun!