Advice needed Subaru Forester - Roof Racks & Cargo Box for skis

Young Angus

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Okay I looked everywhere and this is still where I think this thread goes.

The good lady wife and i are buying a recent Subaru Forester and of course I'm nerding out trying to decide the best way to kit it out for carrying skis on the roof. I've settled on a roof cargo box instead of a ski rack so that I can just chuck them in in their ski bags and also put other things in there too. Looking at the Thule Force XT in the large size or even the "Alpine" model. Just trying to figure out best roof racks to put it on.

The Forester comes with side rails to hook roof racks onto. So surely there are a few people here with roof racks, how should I go about this? Should I buy the racks that Subaru sells through their dealers (not sure what these are re-branded from) or if there is a better brand (Thule/Rhino/Whispbar) that people get great results from and that fit better on a Forester.

Any advice would be great, thought this would be a good place to ask rather than the roof rack store :)
 
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Donza

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Okay I looked everywhere and this is still where I think this thread goes.

The good lady wife and i are buying a recent Subaru Forester and of course I'm nerding out trying to decide the best way to kit it out for carrying skis on the roof. I've settled on a roof cargo box instead of a ski rack so that I can just chuck them in in their ski bags and also put other things in there too. Looking at the Thule Force XT in the large size or even the "Alpine" model. Just trying to figure out best roof racks to put it on.

The Forester comes with side rails to hook roof racks onto. So surely there are a few people here with roof racks, how should I go about this? Should I buy the racks that Subaru sells through their dealers (not sure what these are re-branded from) or if there is a better brand (Thule/Rhino/Whispbar) that people get great results from and that fit better on a Forester.

Any advice would be great, thought this would be a good place to ask rather than the roof rack store :)
Where do you live?
If in Sydney I'd suggest heading down to Botany. (Matraville)
Thule store there.
Very helpful
 

Lady Penelope

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I used to drive a 2014 Forester. Subaru installed the roof bars, and I would add on the pod (a Thule one). Great for chucking in skis, helmets, boots, etc. However, just be careful about using it elsewhere, especially if you’re entering underground car parks. The height with the pod may exceed the clearance ....
 

Donza

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I used to drive a 2014 Forester. Subaru installed the roof bars, and I would add on the pod (a Thule one). Great for chucking in skis, helmets, boots, etc. However, just be careful about using it elsewhere, especially if you’re entering underground car parks. The height with the pod may exceed the clearance ....
Yes.
Like fyshwick dfo....

Learnt that
 

sn0wbunny29

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We started off with a Liberty and got Thule bars and a Thule box (nicknamed 'The coffin'.). When we changed to an Outback we went back to the Thule shop at Artarmon and they part exchanged the end bits. We sold them with the car when we changed it and bought Rhio rack bars for the Everest which I really regret.
 

almontyrat

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My forester came with thule roof racks. I added a thule box that I found on gumtree for a very reasonable price. Not sure of the model but its a long skinny one that easily takes 4 sets of tele skis, 2 sets poles a few tents, outwear and other stuff.
 
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Spence

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Pulled into a car park once having forgotten my kayak on the ute racks. Quick reverse!
Overseas a few years ago, whist walking along a ski village street we heard this almighty crack. Looked around to see a very posh SUV with a vertical carry ski rack attached to the spare wheel, mounted on the back door. The driver had driven under a very low bridge obviously forgetting that he needed and extra 1m or so of clearance. Destroyed four pairs of skis and probably a fair bit of damage to the ski rack and car. There was bits of splintered skis everywhere. At least he was travelling slowly and nobody was behind him. Expensive thing to forget about.
 
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Spence

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Okay I looked everywhere and this is still where I think this thread goes.

The good lady wife and i are buying a recent Subaru Forester and of course I'm nerding out trying to decide the best way to kit it out for carrying skis on the roof. I've settled on a roof cargo box instead of a ski rack so that I can just chuck them in in their ski bags and also put other things in their too. Looking at the Thule Force XT in the large size or even the "Alpine" model. Just trying to figure out best roof racks to put it on.

The Forester comes with side rails to hook roof racks onto. So surely there are a few people here with roof racks, how should I go about this? Should I buy the racks that Subaru sells through their dealers (not sure what these are re-branded from) or if there is a better brand (Thule/Rhino/Whispbar) that people get great results from and that fit better on a Forester.

Any advice would be great, thought this would be a good place to ask rather than the roof rack store :)
A couple of websites that I have looked at for roof rack stuff have a filter where you can enter your make, model and year and it will display the options that are right for your particular vehicle. It can be very confusing and waste a lot of time reading about racks that won’t work for you (I’ve been researching bike racks for my VW T5 van). The roof rack centre at Botony have this feature on their site. I have bought from them a couple of times and they have been pretty good.
 
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Donza

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A couple of websites that I have looked at for roof rack stuff have a filter where you can enter your make, model and year and it will display the options that are right for your particular vehicle. It can be very confusing and waste a lot of time reading about racks that won’t work for you (I’ve been researching bike racks for my VW T5 van). The roof rack centre at Botony have this on there site. I have bought from them a couple of times and they have been pretty good.
They have a 5.0 rating on Google from 420 reviews.
That's a decent business.
 
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Spence

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They have a 5.0 rating on Google from 420 reviews.
That's a decent business.
Oddly enough, they haven’t been able to order me a spare Thule key for a roof box that I bought second hand back in June. After initially taking the order they contacted me a week or so later and said that they were unable to get one. I’m not sure why. But anyway if anyone has a spare Thule #025 I’ll buy it off you :)
 

Mr. Mook

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I believe most roof boxes have universal attachments to fit most types of roof racks.
When I bought my Rhino box I had a Camry wagon with Rola low profile sport bars fitted.
Then when I bought the Forester I got the Thule cross bars fitted to the rails.
There was no problem fitting the old box to the new racks.

Also, I leave the box off most of the year. I only put it on when going on holidays & I need the extra space.
Otherwise they add too much to the petrol consumption by ruining the air flow - especially in the Forester which is probably the least aerodynamic Subaru.
 
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Donza

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Oddly enough, they haven’t been able to order me a spare Thule key for a roof box that I bought second hand back in June. After initially taking the order they contacted me a week or so later and said that they were unable to get one. I’m not sure why. But anyway if anyone has a spare Thule #025 I’ll buy it off you :)
Can't a key cutter make you a new one?
 

almontyrat

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I believe most roof boxes have universal attachments to fit most types of roof racks.
When I bought my Rhino box I had a Camry wagon with Rola low profile sport bars fitted.
Then when I bought the Forester I got the Thule cross bars fitted to the rails.
There was no problem fitting the old box to the new racks.

Also, I leave the box off most of the year. I only put it on when going on holidays & I need the extra space.
Otherwise they add too much to the petrol consumption by ruining the air flow - especially in the Forester which is probably the least aerodynamic Subaru.
Funny, I get absolutely no difference in fuel consumption with my racks and box on. In fact my ski trip is usually the best fuel economy I get all year blasting up the Hume. Maybe it depends on forester model, mine is a 2005 model so it resembles a flying brick. I only have the box and racks on when needed though as it won't fit in the garage with the extra height
 

Spence

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Can't a key cutter make you a new one?
I’ve tried Bunnings and one of these concessions in the mall but they can’t cut them. It is a ‘double sided’ key and apparently their machines will only cut single sided. If you look at both sides of a normal house key they are flat on one side. The Thule keys are cut on (contoured) on both sides. I should ring around locksmiths and see if someone can cut one.
 

currawong

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you can't really go wrong with thule. not cheap but everthing works pretty well and you can get everything keyed alike.
 
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almontyrat

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I’ve tried Bunnings and one of these concessions in the mall but they can’t cut them. It is a ‘double sided’ key and apparently their machines will only cut single sided. If you look at both sides of a normal house key they are flat on one side. The Thule keys are cut on (contoured) on both sides. I should ring around locksmiths and see if someone can cut one.
I will look when I get back to Tassie. I have some spare keys from an old set of racks from previous car they may be #025 can't remember but will give you a shout if they are.
 
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Spence

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I will look when I get back to Tassie. I have some spare keys from an old set of racks from previous car they may be #025 can't remember but will give you a shout if they are.
Thanks very much. I have one but I am very paranoid about snapping it (I’ve straightened it a couple of times) or losing it. I have it on a great Big fluffy animal key ring so that we can always find it amongst all the camping detritus.
 
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almontyrat

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Thanks very much. I have one but I am very paranoid about snapping it (I’ve straightened it a couple of times) or losing it. I have it on a great Big fluffy animal key ring so that we can always find it amongst all the camping detritus.
Mine for my current rack and box lives on my usual key ring with the spare on elastic around the gear stick. That way I can't possibly drive off without at least one being in my possession.
 
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Fozzie Bear

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I’ve tried Bunnings and one of these concessions in the mall but they can’t cut them. It is a ‘double sided’ key and apparently their machines will only cut single sided. If you look at both sides of a normal house key they are flat on one side. The Thule keys are cut on (contoured) on both sides. I should ring around locksmiths and see if someone can cut one.

Locksmith..... if it can be cut, they will be able to cut it. Try David Carr in Hollywood Avenue, up at da Junction.
 

Zimbooo

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Spence

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Mine for my current rack and box lives on my usual key ring with the spare on elastic around the gear stick. That way I can't possibly drive off without at least one being in my possession.
One of the great features on the Thule roof boxes is that you can’t remove the key from the barrel unless it is locked. This prevents you driving off with the lid closed but not locked, which could have catastrophic consequences if it were to pop open at motorway speeds. I assume this is a safety feature (mandatory one would hope) that other manufacturers incorporate into their roof box designs. Great safety feature.
 

Donza

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Yeah any decent locksmith/ keycutter will do it .

My work keys are 4 x sided.

Only one spot in town would cut them.
 
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Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

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Oddly enough, they haven’t been able to order me a spare Thule key for a roof box that I bought second hand back in June. After initially taking the order they contacted me a week or so later and said that they were unable to get one. I’m not sure why. But anyway if anyone has a spare Thule #025 I’ll buy it off you :)
Roof Rack World, Haberfield or Artarmon
most helpful people on earth
alternatively, there’s a way of getting the lock out so you can replace it
 
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Telezacski

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I’ve tried Bunnings and one of these concessions in the mall but they can’t cut them. It is a ‘double sided’ key and apparently their machines will only cut single sided. If you look at both sides of a normal house key they are flat on one side. The Thule keys are cut on (contoured) on both sides. I should ring around locksmiths and see if someone can cut one.

If you are in Canberra security one will cut them for you, I have a spare cut by them for my pod and bike carriers. If not I’m pretty sure a similar mob close by would cut them.
 
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Sage O

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Spence

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Another feature to bear in mind is how far forward you can position the box. I used to borrow a friends Thule roof box but it wasn’t right for my Subaru Outback. When the tailgate was raised more than 2/3rds it would come into contact with the overhang of the box. Whilst the mounting on the box can be slid backwards and forwards by about 15cm it my still not be enough for the tailgate on your Forrester. Especially important to check if buying second hand. Just a heads up.
 

Telezacski

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Another supporting the Thule option, pretty sure Subaru are Re badges Thule racks, they used to be rola but my outback was sold to me with Thule cross racks.

the racks went with the car but I kept the pod and it easily attached to the vw racks. As someone said above, Thule just works.
 

Donza

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I'm not convinced re a box vs racks.

If I was camping I'd get a box.

But a rack is better fuel economy wise.
 

Spence

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Another supporting the Thule option, pretty sure Subaru are Re badges Thule racks, they used to be rola but my outback was sold to me with Thule cross racks.

the racks went with the car but I kept the pod and it easily attached to the vw racks. As someone said above, Thule just works.
Although I had square Thule bars on my previous Outback and I have a set of Thule kayak racks and ski racks in the garage that are useless with the newer oval/elliptical bars. Thule don’t make an adapter or interchangeable mounting for them (money grab?). Especially a shame for the ski racks as I only used them on one trip before changing the car.
 

Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

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Although I had square Thule bars on my previous Outback and I have a set of Thule kayak racks and ski racks in the garage that are useless with the newer oval/elliptical bars. Thule don’t make an adapter or interchangeable mounting for them (money grab?). Especially a shame for the ski racks as I only used them on one trip before changing the car.
that sounds like a fixable problem
 

Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

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They have brackets for square I thought..
and adaptors for the change to track mount, though they don’t work in every case
I used my previous kayak racks with Thule aero bars and later with the blade shaped ones
neither was track mounted
my current kayak racks are track mounted on my car’s factory bars
if you search online you can probably find the user manual for your models of ski and kayak holders
they should show you the variety of mounting options
everything is variable - I started mounting stuff on my car roof in the mid-90s and the arrangements have changed a lot over that time
 

currawong

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I'm not convinced re a box vs racks.

If I was camping I'd get a box.

But a rack is better fuel economy wise.
we've got both. racks for day trips where you just throw the semis on the car, box for trip where you want to use bags to make as easy as possible to move multiple pairs of skis from car to lodge. box was also very handy for camping before we got the camper trailer, or other trips where you really want extra carrying capacity
 
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Spence

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if you search online you can probably find the user manual for your model ms of ski and kayak holders
they should show you the variety of mounting options
I did do a online search a while back and couldn’t find any kind of adapter plate or bracket. An item or two that I wasn’t sure about. I eventually went to the Botany roof rack centre as I needed to find a kayak carry solution. They confirmed for me that Thule didn’t make any such pieces. I bought Yakima kayak racks which have been absolutely fine. However as I want to take my kayak away in my VW Multivan later this month (fingers crossed we will be able to travel) and I will have the roof box on I needed to buy a set of J bar kayak carriers so that I can side mount the kayak. I bought Yakima again as they were far more reasonably priced than similar other options. Other than making sure they fit with the roof box in place I haven’t used them yet. Only arrived a couple of weeks ago but they seem to be good quality and a good ergonomic design. They lock down flat when not carrying the kayak. I have also used Rhino rack kayak carriers but the model I had , whilst they worked just fine, didn’t feel like they had a great build quality. Although that may have just been that particular model. Yakima roof boxes may well be worth looking at as a more affordable option to Thule.
 

Jonathan_P

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I did do a online search a while back and couldn’t find any kind of adapter plate or bracket. An item or two that I wasn’t sure about. I eventually went to the Botany roof rack centre as I needed to find a kayak carry solution. They confirmed for me that Thule didn’t make any such pieces. I bought Yakima kayak racks which have been absolutely fine. However as I want to take my kayak away in my VW Multivan later this month (fingers crossed we will be able to travel) and I will have the roof box on I needed to buy a set of J bar kayak carriers so that I can side mount the kayak. I bought Yakima again as they were far more reasonably priced than similar other options. Other than making sure they fit with the roof box in place I haven’t used them yet. Only arrived a couple of weeks ago but they seem to be good quality and a good ergonomic design. They lock down flat when not carrying the kayak. I have also used Rhino rack kayak carriers but the model I had , whilst they worked just fine, didn’t feel like they had a great build quality. Although that may have just been that particular model. Yakima roof boxes may well be worth looking at as a more affordable option to Thule.
Very happy with my Yakima roof box
596ADB5E-E19F-45EF-9BCC-2D837D1E2CD2.jpeg
 

skinavy

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My Thule wing bars use the track mounts for my bike racks and use the clamps for the roof box. Third car I've had Thule bars on and they work great.
 

Schnaxxy Schnaxxlburger

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One of the great features on the Thule roof boxes is that you can’t remove the key from the barrel unless it is locked. This prevents you driving off with the lid closed but not locked, which could have catastrophic consequences if it were to pop open at motorway speeds. I assume this is a safety feature (mandatory one would hope) that other manufacturers incorporate into their roof box designs. Great safety feature.
the pop-open problem happened to me last season
I left Cooma with the roof box unlocked
just before Michelago a guy caught up with me to point out that the box had flapped open
it had a crack in it about a half metre long
very embarrassing, given how much I’ve used these things and I’m always careful about securing stuff
 
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linked_recoveries

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One of the great features on the Thule roof boxes is that you can’t remove the key from the barrel unless it is locked. This prevents you driving off with the lid closed but not locked, which could have catastrophic consequences if it were to pop open at motorway speeds. I assume this is a safety feature (mandatory one would hope) that other manufacturers incorporate into their roof box designs. Great safety feature.

We drove out of Thredbo one afternoon (2013/14 or so) and someone was coming the other way with the box open, spewing gear on every left turn. That was going to make for a rude shock when they found out.
 
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Spence

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No shortage of people who can provide a spare roof box key based on the lock code.


We drove out of Thredbo one afternoon and someone was coming the other way with the box open, spewing gear on every left turn. That was going to make for a rude shock when they found out.
The stuff of nightmares. Poor buggers. Pretty dangerous on the highway especially for any following on a motorcycle.
 

Billy_Buttons

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About 5/6 years ago there was a ripped Rhino box on the side of the Alpine Way.
 
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