Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
2019 Forester - Touring CVT
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Roof Basket vs. Luggage Rails vs. Cargo Net?

This is my first Forester and first SUV of any kind.

I'm looking at doing some light camping coming up, and I know I'm not going to have enough space in the trunk for all of my friends' bags, gear, cooler, barbecue, etc.

I plan on putting the heavier stuff like the cooler full of food and ice as well as the barbecue in the trunk and then putting the bags and camping gear (tents / sleeping bags) on the roof.

Just looking for recommendations / votes of what the best option is if I just want to spend money on 1 roof hauling option.

I imagine the main advantage of the basket is being able to chuck anything into it without worrying about scratching the roof? I'm fine with placing a tarp or blanket down first in order to use the rails, and the roof will mostly just be soft suitcases / bags...no hard objects that will scratch the paint.

I'm looking to get the job done for the least amount of money and hassle, although I don't want to invest in cheap crap that will break after a couple years or snap and send my luggage flying on the highway, so whatever is needed to get a quality setup that will last and get the job done is what I'm interested in.

If it's a tie between the two, I imagine that the rails are easier to store in my apartment vs. a basket, so any thoughts from that angle would be appreciated as well.

Or...should I just get a bungie net and just strap everything down tight using the existing side rails?

This seems like the cheapest option, but is it recommended to get the crossbars for added security?
 

·
Registered
2016 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
371 Posts
I have the Thule cargo basket and I really like it. It came with a cargo net to secure the items that you put in the basket. It's very versatile and protect the roof from damage.

StanF
 

·
Super Duper Admin Guy
Joined
·
2,973 Posts
I have a Yakima Cargo Pod. Works great at keeping clothes and other moisture absorbing belongings out of the weather. But definitely limits the creativeness of packing for trips...

 

·
Registered
2016 XT
Joined
·
18 Posts
my vote is the basket because im not using the storage all the time. didnt want the hassle of taking on or off. and larger items can be carried. and looks i also mounted a light bar on the rack!

BASKET i love the look it gives the fozzy and it can be used say check in luggage, boxes, and even larger items which i have used picking and dropping people off at the airport. down fall is strapping them down and worrying about leaving the car and things out in the open. Also in some parking garages you might not fit with or without cargo.

CARGO POD awesome to throw and put your mind at ease because they can be locked. but more often then not you will stray from parking garages, well in my area, since its given height (unless you get one the thinner stream line type) but you wont be able to use for larger items.

both will mess with your MPG, and like you said apartment dont know if you have a place to store if you want to take it off.

another option is a ROOF CARGO BAG easily taken off when not in use

hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
2019 Sport cvt
Joined
·
154 Posts
With other vehicles with side rails, I'd put down a cheap tarp, load gear on the roof, then fold the tarp up. Rear flap folded forward over gear, then left or right side over, then the other side, then front flap back over all of it and use a web net to hold it all in place. However, the Forester moon roof is glass on top and loading directly to the roof, even with a tarp is not a good idea. Nor is there a lof of room if you just load aft of the window. You can add a basket without cross rails, I believe. OTOH, cross rails can add a lot of flexibility in carrying other sorts of loads. I'm adding cross rails because I have some loads that are too long for the typical basket (long wood traditional tent poles) and might not secure well or safely on top of a basket front/rear rails alone.

I keep telling myself I'll take the rails off between uses but expect I won't after the first time or two.
 

·
Registered
2016 XT
Joined
·
18 Posts
many systems, when i was looking into them use the cross rails to lock into. so you need the side rails for the cross rails. personally i dont know a system that dosent utilize a rail system so there could be one out there like a roof cargo bag which is a temporary storage.
 

·
Registered
2012 Forester X Auto
Joined
·
2,635 Posts
@kevinjc85 -
You have lots of options.
One thing to consider with the baskets or other relatively large semi-permanently attached roof structures is that they aren't an easy on and off proposition, so unless you have lots of hours to go through that exercise they will be on the car.

Some people like the look, but that comes with a cost.
Anything permanently mounted up there will cause you a reduction in your MPGs every time you drive whether you use the roof storage or not.
As the Forester isn't very aerodynamic to begin with, the addition of roof drag will hurt your wallet, especially if you drive at interstate speeds.
They also add to the wind noise level.
Those tradeoffs may be worthwhile if you frequently need the extra cargo space.
If you only need occasional storage, the downsides win.

You could always walk around with a backpack "just in case" or because it looks cool too...
Those may be valid reasons, but you are still carting around extra weight you don't need most of the time.

You may want to consider Aerobars, which are intended to stay attached, but they have minimal wind resistance when nothing else is up there.
There is lots of stuff you can directly attach to them, or use them to temporarily attach lots of other stuff that can easily be removed when you want better mileage.
 

·
Registered
2016 Forester 2.5i (Base) CVT
Joined
·
142 Posts
I use crossbars, basket and roof bag.

Bare roof always seemed very weak. Always seemed to flex a lot when even a light load was applied. I Just don't trust the roof.

Crossbars are, to me, a must have. They are perfect for general transport like lumber, Christmas tree and alike.

Basket is my favorite for sure. I store it when not needed. Perfect for camping.

Bag is kind of a luxury item, but very handy. I actually use it in the basket because my distrust if the bare roof.

I know it really sounds like too much, but I did it all pretty low budget as rack solutions can run into serious money.

My basket was about $100...[ame]https://www.amazon.com/59504-V-Tex-Rooftop-Cargo-Basket/dp/B004R34HDC/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?keywords=roof+basket+cargo+carrier&qid=1556683115&s=gateway&sr=8-5[/ame]

My bag was about $100 and the crossbars were about $200 (I paid too much I think, they were OEM).

A lot I know, but I now have a lot of options at a reasonable price.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
Joined
·
1,003 Posts
I have the exact same Yakima rooftop box that HeyChris has. It can be a one-person tool-free on/off operation that takes maybe 10 minutes on or 10 minutes off, but it's even quicker with two people. We just leave the crossbars on our cars and put the rooftop box on either car that needs it. We put skis, ski boots, helmets, poles, in it. When our kid was younger, we'd put folded playpens, strollers, and that sort of stuff up there. It does affect fuel economy but if we're not going skiing or not carrying a lot of stuff, we can just leave the box in the garage. It does keep things dry and it does lock.

It is however just thin plastic, and often after a road trip I find dried bees, moths, etc in the box, because I think the air goes up the windshield, against the opening in the box, and some small stuff makes it inside. But I guess with a rooftop rack, you'd get mosquitoes and other bugs impacted on the front of your stuff (or on the tarp covering it).

Our box has a lot of scuffs on the top because we do drag it on some stuff in underground parkades. Signs, those horizontal metal tubes that hang by chains at the entrance to tell you how much clearance there is, etc. The box doesn't keep me out of any but the smallest of parkades (2007 or 2018 Forester). The RX350 is a much tighter fit though.
 

·
Registered
2019 Forester
Joined
·
40 Posts
I love my roof basket for camping. All the dirty shoes, tarp, tent, etc that needs to be cleaned up when I get home goes on top. I usually throw folding chairs on top of the pile and use bungie cords to secure.

I made the mistake of getting a budget cargo basket off amazon. Wouldn't do that again. I had to take the entire thing apart and spray it with bedliner in a can. It started rusting from all the joints.
 

·
Registered
2018 Forester CVT
Joined
·
47 Posts
We camp a lot and have limited space. We go with rails and foldable cargo bag.

The limitations are mentioned. If it rains heavy, water does make it’s way in. We keep some green garbage bags to put most things in them we anticipate rain or snow.

Another limitation is when you don’t have much stuff to fill the cargo bag. It’s much better when you pack it to half or more capacity.

Lastly, securing the bag’s various straps etc can take a little more time when preparing for the road trip. Unloading is easier but, you likely have to unpack everything in the bag at the destination.

The bag is flexible to accommodate different shapes of items. Cargo pods being rigid, might have some compromises with what you put up there.

It’s easy to fold up and store when not in use. So are the rails.

I remove the rails because MPGs do take a considerable hit on highway travel.

A bag likely affects MPGs more than a cargo pod.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
18' 2.5 Premium 6MT
Joined
·
182 Posts
To use a roof basket I believe you would need cross bars unless you get a very expensive low profile roof platform. I would not load the roof surface with anything as it is not designed as loadbearing.

I have a roof basket which I think is very versatile and very sturdy. When getting it loaded I usually climb up on it to tie everything down and it feels completely solid walking on it, the roof surface would flex and complain.

Roof basket is noisier when the roof is open, not so noticeable when the roof is closed. It does impose a significant MPG penalty of 4~ish MPG. When not in use to save wear and tear and fuel I unlatch it and hang it from the back wall of the garage. It only takes a couple of minutes to take off / put on so you can switch from overland mode to commuter mode easily.

If I was driving cross country I might want a pod for weather protection and aerodynamics but the basket is still versatility king. With a dog in the trunk and Mom and baby in the back seat the roof becomes the home of the high chair / cooler/ milk crates of odds and ends. Looks the "family vacation" part.
 

·
Registered
2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
Joined
·
959 Posts
my vote is the basket because im not using the storage all the time. didnt want the hassle of taking on or off. and larger items can be carried. and looks i also mounted a light bar on the rack!

BASKET i love the look it gives the fozzy and it can be used say check in luggage, boxes, and even larger items which i have used picking and dropping people off at the airport. down fall is strapping them down and worrying about leaving the car and things out in the open. Also in some parking garages you might not fit with or without cargo.

CARGO POD awesome to throw and put your mind at ease because they can be locked. but more often then not you will stray from parking garages, well in my area, since its given height (unless you get one the thinner stream line type) but you wont be able to use for larger items.

both will mess with your MPG, and like you said apartment dont know if you have a place to store if you want to take it off.

another option is a ROOF CARGO BAG easily taken off when not in use
Good explanations! I went through all this last year and settled on Yakima aero bars used in great shape and a new Yakima basket for great internet deal. MPG dropped about 1-2mpg combined running up to and above freeway speeds with bunch of camping gear in the basket and back of Forester packed and two peeps. It makes more wind noise than I like so I remove the basket only and store in the garage when I'm not using it. Very quick on/off once you setup where the cross bars should be for your use. I centered bars on rails, in other word equidistant from both ends if that makes sense.

Also bought bungee web and returned it, sucks cause winds will blow the load off the rack and it can fall out of the basket. Spent couple hours reattaching load and tied down with rope I had. Some small quick ratchet or motorcycle style tie-downs are best ime. Bungee cords maybe if they are really stretched tightly, but we had some nasty cross winds in addition to road speed.

Rocket box or whatever you want to call it is nice, but limits size and shape of items to be carried.

Bag with a basket is good if nothing is too big for it, but we had folding chairs, camp stove, sleeping bags, pads, gas can etc and therefore no bag. Tarp it under the tie-downs if needed.
 

·
Registered
2012 Forester XT AT
Joined
·
92 Posts
my vote is the basket because im not using the storage all the time. didnt want the hassle of taking on or off. and larger items can be carried. and looks i also mounted a light bar on the rack!

BASKET i love the look it gives the fozzy and it can be used say check in luggage, boxes, and even larger items which i have used picking and dropping people off at the airport. down fall is strapping them down and worrying about leaving the car and things out in the open. Also in some parking garages you might not fit with or without cargo.

CARGO POD awesome to throw and put your mind at ease because they can be locked. but more often then not you will stray from parking garages, well in my area, since its given height (unless you get one the thinner stream line type) but you wont be able to use for larger items.

both will mess with your MPG, and like you said apartment dont know if you have a place to store if you want to take it off.

another option is a ROOF CARGO BAG easily taken off when not in use

hope this helps!

I have a really large Thule Cargo box and I would say I get maybe 1 mpg less...the annoying part is can't go into a lot of parking garage, but my stuff is protected. If i had a house instead of an apartment I would just take it off. I got it pretty much brand new from an REI garage sale for about $200, Retail was >$500!

Basket Pros: cheaper than basket, lower profile with no stuff on it, able to get into garage when empty.
Basket Cons: spend time securing stuff, your stuff is out in the open and element, not as aero, noisier road noise with stuff on it.

Cargo box Pros: aero with filled up, your stuff is secure and safe from the elements and bad people, faster loading time
Cargo box Cons: Pricier, taller when empty (can't get into parking garage)

I used to go backpacking and road trip every weekend, for me loading time and having my stuff safe and secure when I stop for lunch/dinner, etc is well worth the price differences. The only annoying part is that since I live near Downtown LA, looking for parking sucks instead of just going into a parking garage.
 

·
Registered
2014 Forester Premium
Joined
·
2 Posts
There are many Roof Cargo Bags out there. I purchase one from WeatherTech (Roof Sack) that you might want to check out. Be careful if any product states it is waterproof. While it might be, I'd recommend putting anything that has to stay dry in heavy duty trash bags before putting in the roof bag. You'll probably need a folding stool to reach it all too! Nice feature is that once dry it can be folded and stored.
 

·
Registered
2019 Forester CVT
Joined
·
25 Posts
I use crossbars, basket and roof bag.

Bare roof always seemed very weak. Always seemed to flex a lot when even a light load was applied. I Just don't trust the roof.

Crossbars are, to me, a must have. They are perfect for general transport like lumber, Christmas tree and alike.

Basket is my favorite for sure. I store it when not needed. Perfect for camping.

Bag is kind of a luxury item, but very handy. I actually use it in the basket because my distrust if the bare roof.

I know it really sounds like too much, but I did it all pretty low budget as rack solutions can run into serious money.

My basket was about $100...[ame]https://www.amazon.com/59504-V-Tex-...carrier&qid=1556683115&s=gateway&sr=8-5[/ame]

My bag was about $100 and the crossbars were about $200 (I paid too much I think, they were OEM).

A lot I know, but I now have a lot of options at a reasonable price.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
@SubaruDan ,
How is that basket for long term use? I don't have enough space to be taking a basket on and off and I have read some horror stories about baskets dripping rust all over the roof. But spending 400-500 for a Yakima also really isn't in the budget right now. Really appreciate any info you have.
 

·
Registered
2019, Forester Limited
Joined
·
14 Posts
I use crossbars, basket and roof bag.

Bare roof always seemed very weak. Always seemed to flex a lot when even a light load was applied. I Just don't trust the roof.

Crossbars are, to me, a must have. They are perfect for general transport like lumber, Christmas tree and alike.

Basket is my favorite for sure. I store it when not needed. Perfect for camping.

Bag is kind of a luxury item, but very handy. I actually use it in the basket because my distrust if the bare roof.

I know it really sounds like too much, but I did it all pretty low budget as rack solutions can run into serious money.

My basket was about $100...[ame]https://www.amazon.com/59504-V-Tex-...carrier&qid=1556683115&s=gateway&sr=8-5[/ame]

My bag was about $100 and the crossbars were about $200 (I paid too much I think, they were OEM).

A lot I know, but I now have a lot of options at a reasonable price.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
Hey there - I know this is old but was wondering, how easy is the install/removal of that basket? Considering the same setup you described. I imagine using the basket like 4 times a year so would prefer store and install those 4 times, but wondering if it's 10 minutes vs 1 hr and if the hardware seems like it will hold up to repeat installation?
 

·
Registered
2020 Touring as of 8/28/2020!
Joined
·
595 Posts
I imagine using the basket like 4 times a year so would prefer store and install those 4 times, but wondering if it's 10 minutes vs 1 hr and if the hardware seems like it will hold up to repeat installation?
That entirely depends on the basket and hardware you choose, how big you are and if you have help. I have the Rola with the extension and it's heavy as hell, I'm small and I don't have help. My basket takes me at least an hour to wrangle it on. YMMV.
 

·
Registered
2015 Forester 2.5i CVT
Joined
·
959 Posts
As said depends, I'm tall but you'll need two people (or maybe rig up some long boards to slide it up or use a manual hoist attached to strong garage rafters) to lift it up top without scratching paint or dinging up your car. I bought Yakima aero bars which one person can do but two is helpful and makes it go faster. I leave those on all year and they are very quiet and don't affect mpg. The basket is also Yakima and it definitely makes noise and decreases mpg. I used it twice and it sits in my shed. Friend bought a large lockable aerodynamic cargo box barely used off CL for his Forester and we've used that several times since and it's way quieter and much much more convenient to haul camping gear etc in!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,163 Posts
Hey there - I know this is old but was wondering, how easy is the install/removal of that basket? Considering the same setup you described. I imagine using the basket like 4 times a year so would prefer store and install those 4 times, but wondering if it's 10 minutes vs 1 hr and if the hardware seems like it will hold up to repeat installation?
As others said, it can really depend on the basket, the hardware and other things like height and if you have folks who can help.

We have a Yakima basket with extension on my wife's 2020 that is a transplant from her 2008. The most time I spent was with the install making sure the rack was lined up evenly on the crossbars. Once it is, removal is done with the crossbars still attached to the basket. I loosen up the 4 bolts holding the bars to the roof rails, lift and move the rack to the back and off of the car with the help of my wife. .....maybe 15 minutes or so once you've done it one or two times. I will say that it has been rather difficult with her given her small stature. We have to be a little creative to make it easier for her to lift.

When attaching, you really don't have to worry too much about lining things back up. However, it can help if you use something like pinstriping to mark on the roof rails where the crossbars are before removing the rack the first time. Just line those up and tighten down.

Having said that, we don't typically remove ours. It stays on the car most times which works for me because the times we needed it when at a store, etc. it's been there. ....it's not just for camping trips in our case.

551830
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top