Thule Canyon XT Review | This do-it-all roof rack is worth it

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There’s a spot a few hours from Denver that is one of my favorite places on this planet. This past year, my wife and I packed up our Subaru and headed off for a week of camping, hiking, fishing and relaxation, though mother nature had other plans. 

The sky was clear when we arrived but dark clouds quickly appeared on the horizon. After a few hours they were upon us and we took shelter in our tent as the rain started. Aside from a 30-minute break, long enough for us to cook dinner, it never subsided. 

The next morning things hadn’t improved. Most of the tent managed to stay dry overnight, with a few puddles soaking through, but there was no sign that the weather was going to clear. Within 30 minutes we were packed up, tent and waterproof duffels secured on the roof, and we were on our way back home, all thanks to the Thule Canyon XT cargo basket. 

  • Exterior dimensions (LxWxH) – 50.25 x 41 x 6 in
  • Internal dimensions (LxWxH) – 41 x 39 x 5 in
  • Load Capacity – 150 lbs
  • Weight – 29 lbs

Cargo baskets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with companies like Toyota even including them from the factory on vehicles like the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. Originally I had bought mine when I was still living in suburban Detroit. If I’m being honest, it was because I thought our Subaru XV Crosstrek looked better with something on the roof. If I ended up using it, that was just icing on the cake. Then I sold my house and most of my possessions and moved to Colorado, where the Canyon XT has seen a ton of use, from duffels full of camping gear to two 12-foot long stand-up paddleboards to a couple of Christmas trees.

The reason I chose a cargo basket over a cargo box (other than looks) was because I needed versatility. Cargo boxes are great. They keep your luggage dry in a downpour and they’re much more streamlined than a bunch of bags strapped to your roof, but no cargo box on the market would be able to fit everything I use my basket for. 

Ease of use comes in second. I bought a bungee cargo net for mine, and between that and the numerous ratchet straps I always bring with me, I have yet to have any item come loose, even on a 2,000 mile road trip through the American west. The plastic bungee net hooks snap securely onto the tube of the basket, and, if you want, you can secure bags relatively easily with a bike lock. 

It’s not perfect; no car accessory I have come across in my lifetime is. The Crosstrek isn’t known for its quiet ride as-is; throw a basket on top and the wind noise is very noticeable. It’s also expensive, though I got mine with an REI coupon so the hurt to the wallet was much less. Over the past four years I haven’t had any issues with rust or wear, and I imagine it’ll last just as long as our XV. 

Thule isn’t the only manufacturer to make these roof baskets. In addition to the Canyon XT, here are a few of my favorites:

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