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lifted subaru crosstrek with a thule roof basket

Roof Baskets For Your Subaru:

Our Top Picks

Roof baskets can improve the safety of your car, add storage space, and keep the interior clean. Check out these great options for your Subaru.

If you’re one of us that enjoys getting in your car and heading out into the woods on the weekend, or after work, you’ve likely found yourself piling extra gear into the Subaru. Whether you own an Outback, Impreza, Crosstrek, or Forester, things like shovels, jacks, extra fuel, and recovery gear are a must when leaving the pavement. But they can all create some undesired issues for us.

Here’s a few basic reasons why you should be using a roof basket:

  • Ability to safely store extra fuel outside of the vehicle
  • Reduce the risk of loose items causing serious injury in the event of a collision
  • Avoid ruining your vehicle’s interior with dirty gear, or tools that might damage the upholstery
  • Increase your Subaru’s cargo space so that your ride is much more comfortable
  • Some folks also just enjoy the way the rack looks

Our Top Picks For Roof Baskets Under $500

1. Yakima Load WarriorLong-standing reputation & huge inventory of accessories available

2. Rola 59504 V-Tex Cargo Basket Best value under $200

3. Curt 18115 Universal Roof Basket – Best compact option for carrying smaller loads

4. Thule Canyon XT Fantastic quality & low-profile design

5. Rhino-Rack Cargo Basket – Great quality & unique design

Things To Consider When Choosing a Roof Basket:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Available attachments
  • Compatibility with your car’s roof rails and cross bar setup
  • Price
  • Aerodynamic design to reduce loss of MPG

When you select your roof basket, you’ll first want to consider what items you plan to carry in it. Are you just wanting to carry a spare tire? If so, a smaller basket will do just fine and can be positioned further back to reduce drag. However,  if you plan to carry luggage or a bigger selection of gear, then something larger is the way to go. Some baskets are also expandable. So if you find yourself needing more room, you can purchase an extension section.

Once you decide on a size, it’s a good idea to make sure the mounting system for your potential basket will work with your current cross bar set up. We’ve found that almost all mounting brackets work with the Subaru factory cross bars. But it’s still important to check.

There’s no way around it, but installing a roof basket will of course create some wind noise and loss of mpg. This is just something to be aware of. Some baskets are a bit more sleek than others, but once they’re filled with gear it’s almost impossible to avoid creating noticeable drag. We suggest carrying your most tall and “boxy” cargo inside the vehicle. Items like storage boxes stacked up can significantly drain power from your car on the highway.

Finally, we suggest looking at the availability of accessories for your future roof rack. The Yakima baskets have a lot of really well designed attachments for carrying Rotopax, shovels, hatchets, light bars, and more that can be extremely useful. If you spend a lot of time overlanding or camping, this might be a big factor.

Not Fully Convinced On Getting One? A Roof Basket Can Be More Versatile Than You Might Think

Our friend Brian (follow him on Instagram @brianlipke) uses his basket to safely store his Jerry cans, hi lift jack, spare tire, recovery tracks and shovel. You can utilize yours to carry a wide range of tools throughout all 4 seasons.

The Ultimate Roof Basket List

1. Yakima LoadWarrior Roof Basket

We’ve used a wide range of Yakima products over the years and always been impressed with the general quality of their materials. Whether it’s ski racks, crossbars, baskets, or any other roof or hitch mounted accessory, Yakima has some of the best options.

The LoadWarrior is no exception. With a 40 inch length and weather coated tubing, it’s a great option for almost all uses. If you find your gear collection growing to the point where you need more space, the LoadWarrior can be enlarged using Yakima’s aftermarket extension.

  • Fits most roof rack cross bar systems
  • Weather-resistant coating to prolong basket life
  • Good quality control
  • Large catalog of available options
  • Appealing design
  • Easy installation

2. Rola 59504 V-Tex Cargo Basket

Rola is a lesser known brand when compared to the likes of Yakima or Thule. However, they’re part of the Horizon Global corp which owns brans like Reese and Draw-tite. For a “budget” option, the Rola 59504 is hands down our favorite roof basket and at almost 50 inches long, it’s great for anyone carrying a lot of gear.

The overall design is clean looking and sturdy. The only thing that we recommend doing is using spray paint or another coating to spray all of the joints and exposed areas. With the lower price comes the need to do a little extra prep work to prevent rusting. But 10 minutes and a rattle can will keep you all set for years!

  • Extremely affordable price point
  • Very rugged
  • Great aerodynamic design
  • 5 year warranty

3. Curt 18115 Roof Basket

The Curt 18115 is my favorite option for carrying a spare tire since it’s a bit smaller. My spare fits really well in it. It’s extremely affordable and the build quality is good for the price. When I bought mine, I used spray paint to coat some of the tubing. I have had zero rust issues after doing that.

The mounts for this basket work great for flat or round bars. It’s a relatively small basket and I positioned mine towards the rear of the roof to keep it out of the wind. The set up and installation is pretty simple and just requires using an allen wrench to assemble everything.

For under $160, I felt like this was a great buy and would definitely purchase it again.

  • Fantastic price point for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot without risking quality
  • 4 inch walls for maximum containment
  • Easy mounting process
  • Lightweight – Only 29 pounds

4. Thule Canyon XT

For decades, Thule has offered some of the best cargo solutions in the world. Their rack systems and roof baskets carry that same reputation.

While there are a few mentions out there of below average fit and finish, this basket was actually the most popular option when we polled our readers. We’ve had really good experiences with Thule in the past any time we’ve needed customer service.

Like the Yakima baskets, there are also a wide range of accessories available for the Canyon series. If you want to mount lights, shovels, or just about anything else, they’ve got some awesome mounting options. You can also make the Canyon XT even longer using Thule’s extension kit.

The Canyon XT is the most expensive choice in this article, but if you have a few extra dollars to spend, it’s a great basket.

  • Mounts to a wide range of rack systems
  • Has a great aerodynamic shape
    tapered walls for easy loading
  • Integrated wind fairing
  • Weather resistant coating
  • Very light weight

    5. Rhino-Rack Cargo Basket

The Rhino Rack roof basket is one of the coolest looking options in my opinion. This basket will fit almost anything you could want to haul around.

The only reason we didn’t rank this basket higher is due to the fact that even though it is powder coated, it should still be coated in certain areas before installation. But this is still a great option if you want a slightly larger basket that looks great.

  • Sleekest design that we’ve seen. Great for reducing noise and wind drag, and looks great.
  • Powder coated for the best possible weather resistance.
  • Great price usually under $350
  • Lightweight at 35lbs
  • Load capacity of 165lbs

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