The Best Thule Roof Rack

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Editor’s Note – This list was updated on April 6, 2023, to add newly listed products and improve content relevance and usefulness.

The roof rack is the ultimate accessory for any vehicle. Whether you’re looking to carry a bike, skis, surfboard, or even add a cargo box for that all-important vacation, the right roof rack will make this possible. Perhaps the most significant part of having a Thule roof rack isn’t that you have a premium, quality product; it’s the fact that they can be fitted to virtually any vehicle. Even if you have a small car, you can add a Thule rack and carry things that would otherwise be too big.

Our Pick!

Thule 959520 WingBar Edge

Take your next adventure to new heights with the Thule 959520 WingBar Edge! This cutting-edge roof rack system features a sleek and aerodynamic design that reduces wind noise and drag, ensuring a quiet and efficient ride.

Our Winners

  • Best Overall Thule Roof Rack – Thule 959520 WingBar Edge
  • The Thule 959520 WingBar Edge is considered one of the most aerodynamic and quietest roof racks on the market, thanks to its sleek and low-profile design. Its integrated T-slot allows for easy mounting and removal of accessories, and it has a maximum load capacity of 165 pounds, making it suitable for various gear and equipment.
  • Best Thule Ski Rack – Thule SnowPack
  • The Thule SnowPack is one of the best Thule ski racks because it has high-quality materials and a sleek, aerodynamic design that can fit up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards. It features a smart vertical spring system that adjusts to accommodate thicker skis or snowboards and a large push button that allows for easy opening and closing of the rack, even with gloves on. The Thule SnowPack Roof Rack is also easy to install and compatible with most factory racks, Thule square bars, and Thule Aeroblade. It is a durable and versatile option for transporting skis or snowboards on your roof rack.
  • Best Thule Kayak Rack – Thule 835 Hull-a-Port Pro
  • The Thule 835 Hull-a-Port Pro is considered one of the best Thule Kayak Racks due to its ease of use, versatility, and durability. Its unique J-style design allows for easy loading and unloading of kayaks up to 34 inches wide and 75 pounds in weight. The kayak is secured with durable straps that prevent it from shifting during transportation. The Hull-a-Port Pro is compatible with most factory roof racks and Thule crossbars, making it easy to install and use. Its corrosion-resistant steel construction ensures it can withstand the elements and last for years

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1. Thule 959520 WingBar Edge

Thule 959520 WingBar

Material:
Plastic

Dimensions:
47.2″ x 7.8″ x 5.5″

Foldable:
No


The Thule 959520 WingBar Edge is an aerodynamic and versatile roof rack that provides a reliable solution for transporting gear and equipment on the roof of your vehicle.

It features a low-profile design that reduces wind resistance and noise, making it one of the quietest roof racks on the market. The WingBar Edge also features a unique shape that optimizes aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. The roof rack is compatible with various Thule accessories, thanks to its integrated T-slot, which allows for easy mounting and removal of accessories. It is made of high-quality materials, such as aluminum and stainless steel, ensuring its durability and resistance to corrosion.

This rack offers outstanding performance thanks to its aerodynamic design and low profile, which reduces drag and noise. The WingBar Edge also has a maximum load capacity of 165 pounds, making it capable of carrying a wide range of gear and equipment, from skis and snowboards to bikes and kayaks. The roof rack is also easy to install, with a simple and intuitive mounting process that doesn’t require any tools or special skills.

Overall, this is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a versatile, reliable roof rack with outstanding performance and durability. Its aerodynamic design, low profile, and compatibility with various Thule accessories make it popular among outdoor enthusiasts and travelers. While it may be slightly noisy at high speeds, this is a minor issue that can be easily addressed with proper installation and maintenance.

Pros

  • It has a sleek, aerodynamic shape that reduces wind drag and noise
  • Easy to install
  • High load capacity

Cons

  • The WingBar Edge is one of the more expensive roof racks on the market
  • Limited adjustability

2. Thule SnowPack

Thule SnowPack Roof

Material:
Aluminum

Dimensions:
19.7″ x 3.9″ x 3.2″

Foldable:
No


The Thule Snowpack is a highly functional and stylish accessory designed to be mounted onto crossbars, which must be purchased separately. With the addition of a cargo box, you can easily accommodate all your skiing equipment on your next trip.

Available in aluminum or black, it is designed with a hinged opening, allowing skis or a snowboard to be easily loaded and secured by the top bar that closes over them. The inside of the clamp is coated with soft rubber, providing a firm grip without damaging the equipment.

One of the most notable features is its integrated vertical spring, which allows it to close securely over modern, thicker snowboards or older, thinner ones and lock shut with nothing inside. This unique mechanism ensures no gaps when the clamp is closed, reducing whistling while driving.

The clamp system is effortless to open, thanks to the large button at the end, which can be easily pressed even with bulky ski gloves. Additionally, extension feet are included in the pack, which can be attached to the underside of the Snowpack, increasing the height of the clamp and improving roof clearance.

Installation is simple and tool-free, with the rack fitting directly into the T-track of Thule crossbars. The hardware needed for installation is incorporated into the underside of the clamp system, which locks your rack to the roof rails with the same key-locking facility. Once installed, the clamp can be locked to prevent unauthorized access.

With a loading width of 29.5 inches, it can accommodate up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards. It weighs only 7.56 pounds, making it easy to install and remove when not in use. Please note that Thule crossbars with a T-track are required for use with this product.

Pros

  • Accommodates a wide range of skis and snowboards
  • It is easy to install and use
  • It is made from high-quality materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and frequent use

Cons

  • Quite expensive

3. Thule 835 Hull-a-Port Pro

Thule 835 Hull-a-Port Pro Kayak Carrier

Material:
Aluminum

Dimensions:
20″ x 10.5″ x 5.5″

Foldable:
No


For bike enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts who want to transport items on their rack, a purpose-built roof rack appliance is often the best option. The Thule 835 Hull-a-port pro kayak carrier is an excellent choice that provides convenience and safety while freeing up more space on your roof. This carrier is designed to fit on Thule crossbars and virtually any round or factory-fitted roof racks, measuring 5.5” high, 20” long, and 11” wide.

The rack is constructed of robust, powder-coated steel that resists corrosion, and its J cradles feature rubber pads that protect your kayak from damage. The cradle design allows for more comfortable and secure kayak transportation, but knowing your roof’s weight capacity is essential.

The 835 has a simple clamp system that easily attaches to your crossbar, with knobs on the bottom side that make it easy to tighten. You can quickly fold the clamp and lock it with the lever. Once your bracket is in place, slide your kayak onto the padded cushion and fasten the buckle straps to keep it in place. Use the front and rear straps to secure your kayak to the bumpers and prevent it from moving during transport.

This rack can hold one kayak and weighs 12.6 pounds. Each set includes two brackets and all the straps required for safe transportation. Although it cannot bolt directly onto the Aeroblade, it can be mounted onto square racks, and an Aeroblade load bar adapter is available for Aeroblade bars.

Pros

  • The Hull-a-Port Pro is easy to install and use
  • Designed to accommodate a wide range of kayaks
  • It comes with a secure strap system that keeps your kayak in place while you’re on the road

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can only carry a single kayak

4. Thule Aeroblade Edge

Thule Aeroblade Edge Flush Mount

Material:
Aluminum

Dimensions:
48″ x 6″ x 4″


The Thule Aeroblade Edge is a stylish-looking kit. The bar is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. This ensures it remains light enough to minimize noise and drag, even when driving at speed.

It also ensures it is strong enough to support anything you want to put on it. The bar measures 47 inches long by 6 inches wide with a depth of 4 inches at its deepest point. The tapered edge helps direct air over it, preventing the whistling noise you often get with roof racks. The bar weighs just 6 pounds, making it very easy to lift into position. The metal is powder coated and abrasion resistant to ensure it will last for many years, whether you take it on and off the car or leave it in situ.

Unlike some roof rack systems, the Aeroblade Flush Edge is complete. The foot is already attached to the bar at each end, making this a complete unit. It is worth noting that the towers may arrive attached to the bar, but they are locked in position; you can remove them if necessary for any reason. You’ll get a key and a spare key when you purchase these roof bars.

You will still need to purchase a mounting kit from Thule to install the roof rack easily and effectively. In a nice change to most roof rack systems, you can purchase this in either black or silver, depending on your preference.

As well as needing a mounting kit, it is important to note that the Aeroblade Flush Edge is sold individually, but you do still need two for your vehicle unless you have plans for how to strap something onto one crossbar.

It is also worth noting that the roof bars are designed to fit close to your roof; if you have a tilting sunroof, you’ll likely be unable to open it once the roof bars are in position. You should also know the importance of measuring your roof before buying. It features flush mount roof racks; the smallest has code 7601, medium 7602, and large 7603.

Finally, it is important to note that the flat surface of these bars increases their ability to spread loads. This means it can handle 220 pounds; that’s a significant boost over the square bar offering from Thule.

Pros

  • Aerodynamic shape
  • The low profile and flush mount
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Expensive

5. Thule 811XT Board Shuttle SUP Carrier

Thule 811XT Board

Material:
Stainless Steel

Dimensions:
25 x 8 x 5


The 811XT Board is a complete Thule roof rack system designed to help you carry your paddleboard or a surfboard. It is well-designed and surprisingly easy to fit, allowing you the most time possible in the water (or on it). It should comfortably fit one or two boards of whichever type you prefer.

The reason this is possible is that it has a telescopic design. The brackets will slide apart as far as 34”; that’s wide enough for most boards. The boards themselves are protected from damage via the soft padding on the bars; this is designed to be water-resistant.

The dimensions are 6” x 23.3” x 3,” and each weighs 5.8 pounds. The thing to remember is that it consists of 2 bars. The bars are shaped like wedges to create a secure board seating area.  These wedges slide in or out to create the necessary cradle for your boards.

The end of each bar has a simple clamp system that can be fitted to square or round bars. Again, this is not designed for the Aeroblade, but it is possible to purchase an adaptor kit that will allow you to fit the Thule 811XT into the Aeroblade.

To fit you, place the clamp under your existing crossbars. Each side of the clamp has a threaded know; lift this, and it will slot into the gap in the top of the bar. You can twist the easy-turn knob to secure the clamp into position and prevent it from moving while driving.

As soon as you’ve fitted both bars, you can put your boards into the cradle space and slide the holders closer together if needed. Straps are provided to wrap around the boards and the cross bars, effectively securing the board or boards ready for travel. The straps are buckle-style, ensuring the boards stay snugly in position.

If you’re planning to carry two boards, don’t forget to use a cloth between them to protect the boards.

This Thule roof rack system is made from powder-coated steel to ensure it can survive the elements. The cradles for your boards are made of plastic but are strong enough to be used repeatedly.

However, it is worth noting that there is no locking mechanism included with this roof rack system. If you’re worried about the security of your boards or the rack, you’ll need to purchase a cable lock separately and use it.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • The Board Shuttle is designed to accommodate a wide range of SUPs

Cons

  • The Thule Board Shuttle is not cheap, and it may not be the best option for those on a tight budget
  • Wind Noise

6. Thule Upride 599000

Thule Upride 599000

Material:
Aluminum

Dimensions:
64″ x 13″ x 4.3″


Thule makes many bike racks, but this is among the best on the market. Although the Thule Upride can only carry one bike, you can fit more than one of these to your roof, allowing you to carry a bike for all the family easily.

The Upride Thule weighs 17 pounds and is 64” x 13” x 4.3”. It can handle weights of up to 44 pounds, although you may want to check the load rating of your roof if you plan to add several bikes to your roof. The bike wheel will need to be between 20” and 29”; with a maximum width of 3”. However, if you’re interested in carrying a fat bike, you can check out the roof rack parts and get an adaptor that will allow you to carry your fat bikes (tire width up to 5”).

This rack is designed to accommodate carbon frames and locks your bike into position over the wheel; you won’t need to remove the front wheel first. There is only one color option; aluminum. The great thing about this roof rack is that it can be fitted to Thule crossbars or practically any square bar.

It is easy to fit the Upride into your vehicle, but you will need the crossbars already. You can purchase Thule bars as part of your roof rack system or use them with any existing bars. You can even fit this into the Thule Aeroblade. The first step is to ensure the locking brackets on your Upride align with the crossbars on your vehicle. You can then slide the Upride directly into the T tracks; don’t forget to remove any end caps first.

You’ll notice two levers sticking up next to where the front tire goes; once you have selected the position for the Upride, you push these levers down; they will lock the rack into position. To ensure it can’t be moved, locks are built into the handles; secure these locks.

You can then slide the bar backward to select your bike wheel size. The clamp over the wheel will lift, allowing you to place your bike in the cradle. As soon as it is in the position, you bring up the second side of the wheel clamp; both clamps rest against the tires. There is an easy turn knob on this bracket which you tighten to ensure the clamp holds the front wheel solidly.

The rear wheel is held with a simple strap; pull this as tight as you need. To finish, turn the key in the rear of the Upride and pull the end out. A security cable comes out with it; wrap this around your bike and re-secure the end into the Upride base. Lock this, and your bike is clamped in position and can’t be removed from the Upride, which can’t be removed from the vehicle. The same key does both locks.

The Upride system perfectly accompanies your Thule roof bars, allowing you to carry almost anything alongside the bike.

Pros

  • Very secure fit
  • The Upride 599000 is easy to load and unload
  • Accommodates a variety of bike styles and sizes

Cons

  • Limited carrying capacity
  • The Upride 599000 is relatively expensive compared to other bike rack options

7. Thule ThruRide

Thule ThruRide Fork Mount Bike Rack

Material:
Aluminum

Mounting Style:
Fork-Mounted

Dimensions:
‎53″ x 6″ x 3.5″


Boasting ease of use and compatibility with most factory racks, Thule square bars, and Thule Aeroblade, this versatile rack system weighs only 6.2 pounds and can carry bike weights of up to 35 pounds with a tire width 3″. However, it is not suitable for fat bikes using the Thule adaptor.

Featuring a precision dial and a clamp that securely grips through your bike’s axle, the ThruRide system is designed to keep your bike safe during transportation without putting too much pressure on the axles. To install the rack, slide it into the T track on your crossbars, remove the end caps, push the two levers down to lock the rack into position, and turn the key to prevent accidental movement. The rear clamp requires only one lever.

To install your bike on the ThruRide, remove the front wheel’s axle pin, remove the wheel, slide the pin back in, and secure it properly. Lift the bike onto the rack with the front axle pin in the front clamp, sliding underneath the designated metal hook. Pull the lever up and over, clamp it down over the axle, and lock it in place. Fasten the rear wheel with a standard ratchet strap, and your ThruRide rack system is ready. Always remember to take your front wheel with you.

Pros

  • The ThruRide is easy to install and use
  • The carrier comes with an easy-to-use, tool-free adapter that fits most thru-axle sizes and a locking mechanism to prevent theft
  • Aerodynamic design that reduces wind resistance

Cons

  • It is designed specifically for bikes with a thru-axle fork, so it may not be compatible with all types of bikes
  • The ThruRide sits relatively high on the roof of your vehicle, which may not be ideal for taller vehicles or those with low garages or parking structures

Thule: The Swedish Powerhouse of Outdoor Adventure Gear

Thule is a Swedish company specializing in outdoor transportation equipment, including roof racks, bike carriers, and luggage boxes. Founded in 1942, Thule has been at the forefront of the industry for over 80 years, consistently producing high-quality products designed to make outdoor travel and adventure more convenient and enjoyable. Thule’s products are known for their durability, ease of use, and sleek design, and the company has won numerous awards for its innovative products. Whether you’re a serious athlete or a casual outdoor enthusiast, Thule has a product to meet your needs, making it a trusted and popular brand among consumers worldwide.

The Different Types Of Thule Roof Racks

Thule offers a variety of roof racks designed to fit different vehicles and meet different needs.

  • Roof rack systems: Thule offers complete roof rack systems that include crossbars, towers, and mounting kits. These systems are designed to fit specific vehicles and have a fitting guide to help ensure a secure and easy installation. Thule offers several roof rack systems, including the AeroBlade, SquareBar, ProBar, and WingBar.
  • Bare roof racks: If your vehicle doesn’t have existing roof rails or crossbars, a bare roof rack system is what you need. These roof racks attach to the roof of your vehicle using clips, pads, or clamps. They are designed to be aerodynamic, which helps reduce wind noise and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Raised rail roof racks: Some vehicles have raised roof rails that run parallel to the car’s roof. Thule offers roof racks that attach to these raised rails using specific towers and fitting kits.
  • Flush rail roof racks: Many modern cars have flush roof rails integrated into the vehicle’s roofline. Thule offers roof racks that attach to these rails using specific towers and fitting kits for flush rails.
  • Track roof racks: Some vehicles have tracks along the car’s roof designed to mount accessories. Thule offers roof racks that attach to these tracks using specific towers and fitting kits.
  • Specialty roof racks: Thule also offers specialty roof racks for specific vehicle models, such as trucks or vans. These roof racks are designed to fit the unique needs of these vehicles and often have features like an adjustable height or weight capacity.

In conclusion, Thule offers a wide range of roof racks designed to fit different vehicles and meet different needs. Choosing the right type of roof rack for your vehicle and its intended use is important to ensure a safe and secure installation.


Get on the Right Rack: Your Thule Buying Guide

Getting the right Thule roof rack on the first attempt makes sense. The rack is not a cheap toy; you’ll need to choose the one that will give you years of service. To help ensure you get the right rack it is important to consider the following factors first:

Determine Your Vehicle’s Compatibility

The first step is determining if your vehicle is compatible with one of these roof racks. Thule offers different roof racks for vehicles with and without factory-installed roof rails, so check your vehicle’s owner’s manual or Thule’s Fit Guide to ensure compatibility.

Decide on the Type of Roof Rack

Thule offers several roof racks, including aerodynamic, specialized racks for biking, skiing, and kayaking, and modular roof rack systems. Consider the activities you’ll use your roof rack for, and choose a rack that can securely hold your gear.

Choose the Crossbar Type

Thule offers both square and aerodynamic crossbars. Aerodynamic crossbars are more streamlined and minimize wind resistance and noise, while square crossbars offer more affordable attachment options.

Determine the Weight Capacity

Thule roof racks have varying weight capacities, so choose a rack that can support the weight of your gear.

Consider the Ease of Installation

These racks can be installed by either clamping onto your vehicle’s roof or using a custom installation kit. Choose a rack that is easy to install and fits securely on your vehicle.

Look For Added Features

They offer features such as locks to secure your gear, adjustable crossbars, and compatibility with various accessories. Consider these features when choosing a roof rack.

Set a Budget

They vary in price, so setting a budget before purchasing is important. Consider the features and quality you need and choose a roof rack that fits your budget.

Fit Guide

A fitting guide should accompany every Thule roof rack to ensure easy and efficient installation onto your vehicle.

The basic process involves fitting the crossbars into a tower using the appropriate fitting kit to secure them in your vehicle. You can add two or more crossbars to create a lattice structure to support the load you have in mind. To choose the right rack, you need to decide what you need it to do first and work from the top down.

Having the correct crossbars and towers for your vehicle cannot be overstated. The wrong fit could lead to the roof rack being unstable, leading to potential damage to your vehicle and the accessories mounted on it, or even causing accidents on the road. It is essential to consult the Thule fit guide or a professional installer to ensure you select the correct components for your specific vehicle and intended use.

Crossbars

Crossbars and towers are the backbones of any Thule. Without them, it would be impossible to mount any accessories, such as cargo carriers, bike racks, or kayak carriers, on the roof of your vehicle.

The crossbars serve as the foundation for the roof rack system. They provide a sturdy base to attach the towers, securely clamping onto your vehicle’s roof. The crossbars also act as a platform to attach the various accessories.

Towers

Towers, on the other hand, are designed to fit a specific vehicle make and model, as well as the type of roof on the vehicle, whether it has raised or flush roof rails or no roof rails. They provide a stable mounting point for the crossbars and, in turn, the accessories.

Fitting Kits

Fitting kits are designed to provide a secure and stable attachment between your roof rack system and your vehicle. The right fitting kit depends on the type of roof on your vehicle, whether it has factory-fitted rails, and the specific Thule rack system you have chosen.

  • Clamp-style fitting kit: This kit is designed to clamp around your vehicle’s door frame or gutter. They provide a strong and stable attachment point for your roof rack system without requiring factory-fitted rails. The clamp-style fitting kits are available in various sizes to fit different makes and models of vehicles.
  • Rail-style fitting kit: Rail-style fitting kits are designed for vehicles with factory-fitted roof rails. They attach to the rails with a secure and stable connection and provide the necessary attachment points.
  • Track-style fitting kit: This fitting kit is designed for vehicles with factory-fitted roof tracks. The kit has mounting bolts inserted into the track, providing a secure attachment point.
  • Custom-fit kit: Thule also offers custom-fit kits designed specifically for certain makes and models of vehicles. These kits perfectly fit your vehicle and are designed to install easily.

How to Choose the Appropriate Rack Fitting Kit for Your Vehicle

Choosing the appropriate fitting kit for your vehicle is essential to ensure that your roof rack system is secure and stable on your vehicle. To choose the right fitting kit, consider your vehicle’s make and model and its type of roof. Thule offers a fit guide on its website that allows you to enter your vehicle’s details to determine the appropriate fitting kit for your car.

Once you have identified the correct fitting kit, ensure it is compatible with your Thule roof rack system or plan to purchase. Thule fitting kits are designed to work with specific Thule roof rack systems, so checking compatibility before purchasing is essential.

Another factor to consider when choosing a fitting kit is the weight capacity. Thule fitting kits have a weight capacity rating indicating the maximum weight the roof rack system can carry. It is crucial to choose a fitting kit that can handle the weight of your cargo to ensure that your roof rack system is safe and secure.

Finally, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing the fitting kit is essential to ensure it is installed correctly and securely. This will ensure your roof rack system is safe and prevent damage to your vehicle’s roof or paintwork.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Weight Limit for Thule Roof Racks?

The weight limit varies depending on the specific model of the Thule roof rack, but most have a weight limit of 165 pounds or less.

Can Thule’s Roof Racks Be Installed on Any Vehicle?

Thule offers a wide range of fitting kits that allow their roof racks to be installed on most vehicles, including those with or without roof rails. However, it’s important to check the compatibility of your specific vehicle before purchasing.

Can Thule Roof Racks Be Locked?

Thule offers locking mechanisms for its roof racks to help deter theft. These include lockable knobs for the crossbars and locking mechanisms for the towers.

Do Thule Roof Racks Make Noise While Driving?

Thule designs its roof racks to minimize wind noise and reduce drag, but some noise may still be present depending on the specific rack and vehicle.

Can Thule Roof Racks Be Used With Any Cargo Carrier?

Thule offers a range of cargo carriers compatible with their roof racks, including boxes, baskets, and bags. However, it’s important to check the weight and size limits of the roof rack and cargo carrier before use.

How Do I Know Which Thule Roof Rack System Is Right for My Needs?

Consider your vehicle type, the weight and size of the items you must transport, and your budget. Thule offers a variety of options, including complete roof rack systems, individual components, and specialized racks for specific activities like biking or skiing.

Update History

  • 06/04/2023 – Updated and refreshed listed products and added additional supplementary content for reader usefulness
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Timo is an outdoor enthusiast and gear specialist who is constantly exploring. As an avid hiker, he has completed the ADK 46ers, South Beyond 6000, GA4000, and the Colorado 14ers. He's ice climbed Mt. Hood, hiked up half a dozen mountains in the Alps, and spent three consecutive summers constructing a sustainable trail through the Colorado high country.

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