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

Spence

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it looks small up there
I have converted inside with a raised box platform and a double bed on top. We were getting a bit frustrated having to keep pulling other gear out from underneath to get to our clothing bags. Since I picked up the roof box we put our clothes bags and towels up there. When we get to somewhere we are going stay for a while we bring the clothes down and put them on the front passenger seats. So far it has worked fine but the longest we have been away since we bought the van in March last year is five nights. Our trip later this month will be 11 nights. So all extra space is going to be needed. The box is 2m long but it does look a bit lost on top of the van. Much better proportioned and aesthetically pleasing on top of the Subura (heading to the snow. It’s natural home).
 

Young Angus

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Great replies thank you as always. Sounds like I suspected, that Thule are a pretty good reliable and well made bet with a few votes for Yamika.

There is also this Whispbar option which sounds nice but the guy at the local roof rack shop said that might not work that well with a Thule box...might have to go in there and have a chat.
 
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Young Angus

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Okay what about the ones that attach at the bottom of the foot which sit up a bit from the fixing point (roof rails) vs the lower profile ones that seem to be almost flush with the roof rails they clamp to? Does anyone use the lower profile ones or is it just not worth it in case anything gets too close to the roof (or sunroof) of the car?
 

snow drive solutions

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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 :)

Call Paul at Roof Carrier Systems on 03 9822 9539 for replacement Thule keys
 
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snow drive solutions

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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 :)

Suggest you call Roof Carrier Systems in Camberwell 03 9822 9539.
There is no roof rack store in Australia that has has more experience in providing correct advice than RCS, they have been doing this since 1985 :)
 
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Chaeron

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Suggest you call Roof Carrier Systems in Camberwell 03 9822 9539.
There is no roof rack store in Australia that has has more experience in providing correct advice than RCS, they have been doing this since 1985 :)
Disclaimer: I deliberately tagged @snow drive solutions - who has commercial links to Roof Carrier Systems into this thread as I know these guys have immense cred in Vic as reliable providers especially for snow-related transport stuff.

I’m not linked to them, but can vouch as a satisfied client that they will help you out without pushing a particular brand.
 

Giraffe

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There is also this Whispbar option which sounds nice but the guy at the local roof rack shop said that might not work that well with a Thule box...might have to go in there and have a chat.

We have a set of Whispbars and a Thule box. We have this box https://www.roofrackstore.com.au/thule-touring-780-anthracite-420l-634804-p-470981.html which is long enough for the skis we use and mounts easily to our Whispbars. After looking at the specs of some of the older Thule boxes on Gumtree they weren't compatible with the wider Whispbars but this one had no issue.

Another recommendation for the Roof rack store in Botany who were great with box recommendations.
 
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Mr. Mook

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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
economy is still better than driving around Sydney but in comparison to what I get to and from the snowies without the box its generally 10-15% worse
 

Mr. Mook

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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.
This is where Rhino used to be really good.
Mine has a great range of mounting holes that allowed me to set the bars a fair way apart and quite a way forward.
Here are some pics - not the best because the intention wasn't to show off the box position
DSC_6250.JPG
20140803_120553.jpg
IMG_0228.JPG
 

Spence

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DD287EB2-1DB0-4286-9D29-526D37786FBC.jpeg

I bought Mrs S a new bike for Christmas. But as we are taking our bikes away in the van on our next trip I was looking for a new bike rack that could carry a step through bike. I have a bike rack but it hangs the bike from the top cross bar. All available options for my model van were over $1000 (more than the bike). I did some research and found this clamp on cross bar. Specifically designed for step through bikes with hanging style bike racks. Arrived this morning. Feels very solid and well made. And only $35. Win.
 
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Spence

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This is where Rhino used to be really good.
Mine has a great range of mounting holes that allowed me to set the bars a fair way apart and quite a way forward.
Here are some pics - not the best because the intention wasn't to show off the box position
DSC_6250.JPG
20140803_120553.jpg
IMG_0228.JPG
My model Outback has the built in roof bars. When not in use they are parallel to the car then they swing across when in use. It’s a nice neat system, but the downside is that the bars are in a fixed position. There is no option to slide them back or forward or the change the spacing between the bars. This makes it important to select accessories that are compatible with the car.
 

skinavy

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My model Outback has the built in roof bars. When not in use they are parallel to the car then they swing across when in use. It’s a nice neat system, but the downside is that the bars are in a fixed position. There is no option to slide them back or forward or the change the spacing between the bars. This makes it important to select accessories that are compatible with the car.
My Thule box has slots in the base that allow it move fore and aft. This gives almost infinite mounting options.
 

Spence

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My Thule box has slots in the base that allow it move fore and aft. This gives almost infinite mounting options.
The Thule box that I used to borrow from friends also had the slots that slide back and forward but the box had to much overhang at the back even when slid forward as much as possible. My current Thule box also has this system and fits just fine. So I guess there is still compatibility issues to consider.
 

Fozzie Bear

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DD287EB2-1DB0-4286-9D29-526D37786FBC.jpeg

I bought Mrs S a new bike for Christmas. But as we are taking our bikes away in the van on our next trip I was looking for a new bike rack that could carry a step through bike. I have a bike rack but it hangs the bike from the top cross bar. All available options for my model van were over $1000 (more than the bike). I did some research and found this clamp on cross bar. Specifically designed for step through bikes with hanging style bike racks. Arrived this morning. Feels very solid and well made. And only $35. Win.
Just purchased two Yamika HighSpeed fork mount bike racks. Fit all type of fork arrangements and fit existing Rola cross bars.
 
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Spence

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With the roof box and kayak carriers on the top of my van and an awning attached to the side of the roof rack as well, there is no room on top to put the bikes up there. Also as it’s a tall vehicle it’s not very practical either. My Multivan has a rear bumper full of parking sensors so any of the tow hitch solutions where the bikes sit low, at bumper level won’t work either. Thule and others make a rack that fits high up and clamps to the rear lifting door. These though are the prohibitively expensive ones over 1k.
The carrier that was given to me when I bought the van attaches via the tow hitch and has a vertical arm that lifts the bikes clear of the bumper. But the bikes ‘hang’ from their cross bars. So my problem was that Mrs S’ new bike doesn’t have one. I was going to just put the bike in the van but it would have to lay on top of the bed and was not really the solution. I was so happy to find the attachable cross bar solution. I also love the simplicity of the design. And the price. I feel like I’ve had a win with this one.
 

linked_recoveries

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We have a set of Whispbars and a Thule box. We have this box https://www.roofrackstore.com.au/thule-touring-780-anthracite-420l-634804-p-470981.html which is long enough for the skis we use and mounts easily to our Whispbars. After looking at the specs of some of the older Thule boxes on Gumtree they weren't compatible with the wider Whispbars but this one had no issue.

We have a Thule Ocean 500 (long enough for my skis, not too wide) and it can just sit on a Whispbar. I had to drill a few holes in the base of the box to match the separation of the racks though. The Whispbar section is a wing shape, and it's certainly wide enough that it's troublesome, but not impossible, to fit Thule's Easy Snap mounts.

Easy Snap.JPG
 

snow drive solutions

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We have a Thule Ocean 500 (long enough for my skis, not too wide) and it can just sit on a Whispbar. I had to drill a few holes in the base of the box to match the separation of the racks though. The Whispbar section is a wing shape, and it's certainly wide enough that it's troublesome, but not impossible, to fit Thule's Easy Snap mounts.

Easy Snap.JPG

Suggest you try this U-Bolt kit,
https://www.prorack.com.au/u-bolt-roof-box-fitting-kit
check it out at RCS or Roof Rack World in Artarmon
 

hpsauce

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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 :)
Like others have said, often manufacturer offered bars are just rebranded Thule etc. So not worth a price premium if there is one.
Suggest keeping an open mind regarding boxes and bars combo.....till you physically get your hands on them and test against roof line etc. Therefore, I recommend a shop that has multiple brands.
And this includes usability. You want that roof box to be a doddle to take on/off. And even racks that can be moved easy.
I have a Thule aerobar with Rhino box combo....which wasnt my first choice when looking on the interwebz. But once I chatted to the shop and checked them out I changed my choice.
 
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Tom from Melbourne

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We have a set of Whispbars and a Thule box. We have this box https://www.roofrackstore.com.au/thule-touring-780-anthracite-420l-634804-p-470981.html which is long enough for the skis we use and mounts easily to our Whispbars. After looking at the specs of some of the older Thule boxes on Gumtree they weren't compatible with the wider Whispbars but this one had no issue.

Another recommendation for the Roof rack store in Botany who were great with box recommendations.

@Young Angus I have the same set up as @Giraffe, works a treat.

Long enough for my ski's and is more versatile - in summer it is also narrow enough that I can move it to one side and put surfboards on the racks with it.

One item to think about is the clearance at the back of the box when you open the boot, the sliders allow for adjustment of the box on the racks but worth checking that the boot will be ok on Forrester (I have a GLA and it only just fits!).
 

DPS Driver

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Try to get your dealer to throw in the roof bars to sweeten the deal. If they won't then go for Thule.

One thing though, which is important for me, make sure your cross bars have overhang past the attachment point. I carry surfboards a lot and on one of my Subis I had the cross bar that terminates at the connection and they are a PITA, as they make tying off a bastard.
 

Young Angus

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Pretty sure they are rebranded Thule but I got them at a decent price without paying a premium for them so I'm happy, plus they are the ones that hang over a little...at least in the picture they are!

My longest skis are 174cm at the moment and I can't see myself going longer than that for a long time, so in the bag they might be 180cm long which should make it easy enough to find a box which won't foul the tailgate. One would hope so anyway.

Great pics and good looking setups, I'd like to be able to move it around up there and put other things beside it if necessary, no surfboard for me though...yet ;) I'll just be taking the car in to a roof rack place when the time comes and comparing different options. I like the Thule Force XT range so I'll start there and see what the good folk at the roof rack shop have to say about them and other options. I'm keen to get my whole ski roller bag in there though, not just the skis themselves, that'll be way nicer to just be able to chuck in the bag along with other bags etc.
 

Spence

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A word on roof box placement. Ideally they should be placed as close to the passenger side as is safe and practical. This makes loading and unloading safe as you will be standing curb side. However, on my van I have an awning attached to my roof rack on the passenger side so I mount the roof box on the drivers side. This is not ideal for loading it at home as I have to stand in the road with a step ladder, I can still do this relatively safely as I live in a quiet street. Once at a camp site it isn’t really an issue. When I’m down at the snow I find it amazing how many cars, mostly tall SUV’s have the roof boxes mounted in the centre of the roof. We were literally pointing out one after the other in the Perisher car park this season. Even in my Outback I have to stand on the door seal to reach all of the inside. I have no idea how people manage when the box is in the centre. I can only imagine that they think it is more aerodynamic (it may well be for all I know) or that it looks better in the centre. I can’t figure out how a centred position is practical. Take a look in the car park next season, very odd.
 

Billy_Buttons

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A word on roof box placement. Ideally they should be placed as close to the passenger side as is safe and practical. This makes loading and unloading safe as you will be standing curb side. However, on my van I have an awning attached to my roof rack on the passenger side so I mount the roof box on the drivers side. This is not ideal for loading it at home as I have to stand in the road with a step ladder, I can still do this relatively safely as I live in a quiet street. Once at a camp site it isn’t really an issue. When I’m down at the snow I find it amazing how many cars, mostly tall SUV’s have the roof boxes mounted in the centre of the roof. We were literally pointing out one after the other in the Perisher car park this season. Even in my Outback I have to stand on the door seal to reach all of the inside. I have no idea how people manage when the box is in the centre. I can only imagine that they think it is more aerodynamic (it may well be for all I know) or that it looks better in the centre. I can’t figure out how a centred position is practical. Take a look in the car park next season, very odd.
We centre mount, drive into our garage in Jindy, get the stepladder and unload. Though we only use it for haulage of other goods these days. Skis and boots go in back of car up to Thredbo daily. We store it up against our garage ceiling in Sydney using a pully/tie off system.
 

Spence

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We centre mount, drive into our garage in Jindy, get the stepladder and unload. Though we only use it for haulage of other goods these days. Skis and boots go in back of car up to Thredbo daily. We store it up against our garage ceiling in Sydney using a pully/tie off system.
I guess that’s one explanation. There must be a lot of people with the same set up.
 

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.
just looking at this again, I received an email today for an online supplier of various outdoor goods, including something that might address the slightly-unclear issue per your post
they're a bit similar to the mounts for my old kayak rack, which was a Thule Hull-a-Port Pro

753-3998.jpg
 

Peanut

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Out of curiosity, are there any roof cargo carriers long enough to carry yeti-sized (185cm) skis? I’m asking for my yeti-sized hubby.
 

Giraffe

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Out of curiosity, are there any roof cargo carriers long enough to carry yeti-sized (185cm) skis? I’m asking for my yeti-sized hubby.

Thule Motion XT XL
Thule Motion XT XXL
Thule Motion XT Alpine all should be long enough internally. Actually any of the Thule boxes that have Alpine should be long enough but the Motion XT range is the most reasonably priced of that range from memory

When I was looking Rhino Rack and Yakima were shorter internally.
 
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