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Car-Top Carrier or ???

Discussion in 'General Off Topic' started by biglar155, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. biglar155

    biglar155 Jetboaters Lieutenant

    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Fredonia, WI
    Ratings:
    +858 / 4
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2009
    Boat Model:
    SX
    Boat Length:
    23
    Hey Gang - looking for some advice for you travelers out there.

    We just returned home from a week-long trip to visit my Mom in the U.P. of Michigan (sans boat I'm afraid). This was our first family trip in our new-to-us 2014 Expedition EL and we made some discoveries. It turns out that the X has less usable storage space than our '05 Suburban had. This is due to a combination of seat-folding mechanisms, seat belt mechanism placement, and - I think - just a little bit less space.

    I am considering either a car-top carrier or something that would go in the receiver for the trailer hitch.

    The most important aspect is that it must be weather-proof. This thing will be used in all conditions - from hot sun to severe thunderstorms to ice and snow storms.

    We did the soft-sided roof bag thing long ago but found that 1) they eventually leak, and 2) they rub the paint off the roof no matter how tightly you try to strap them down.

    Cost, of course, is always a concern. We make these trips 4 times a year so spending big-bucks for something super-fancy (like the big swing-away cargo-box affairs costing upwards of $700) and having it sit in the corner of the storage unit most of the year seems like a waste to me.

    So I guess what I'm interested in is if anyone has first-hand experience with any of the car-top carrier brands or receiver-hitch-box setups and could offer their experiences or suggestions.

    Some questions I have: How waterproof are these things? How difficult is it to install the roof-mount units? (Technical difficulty not really the question here, just wondering about the PITA factor.) How waterproof are these things? and finally How waterproof are these things? (Get the idea what I'm worried about here?)

    Any advice or suggestions would be welcome. If I'm going to do this before our next trip (which I should), I need to place an order VERY soon so that it gets here in time for me to use it.
     
    • Great Shot! Great Shot! x 1
  2. Scottintexas

    Scottintexas Jetboaters Commander

    Messages:
    2,248
    Location:
    Corinth, TX (DFW)
    Ratings:
    +1,234 / 30
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2007
    Boat Model:
    AR
    Boat Length:
    23
    We have a soft car top carrier and I would also not recommend it.

    We used a Pack-a-sport brand carrier when we went to the keys last year. Our friend keeps it on his suburban year round. We went through a couple good storms and it didn't leak and he continues to say that it doesn't after owning it for two years (he bought it used and it's about 5 yrs old).

    you just have to remember only light stuff and small stuff, not only do you have the weight issues on top but also the awkwardness of loading stuff up there.

    I'm actually looking for one for our family also. I would tell you if you use it 4 times a year for 5 years even at $1k it would make you life so much more easier and worth it.

    I would look at craigslist and see if you could find one,

    He also had a hitch rack which we just strapped totes to. It's easier on the mpg but a bigger pain because you can't open the back without unloading stuff.
     
  3. GTBRMC

    GTBRMC Jetboaters Commander

    Messages:
    1,748
    Location:
    Waukesha, WI
    Ratings:
    +1,298 / 3
    Boat Make:
    Boatless
    Year:
    2008
    Boat Model:
    SX
    Boat Length:
    23
    We have a Sears X-Cargo that we bought about approx 2002. Haven't used in quite a while as haven't had the need.

    General thoughts:

    • You need to have a roof rack WITH crossbars
    • Uses a somewhat clunky but very secure U-bolt mount system - initial setup is a bit of a PIA, but if you keep hardware in same place when removing, future installations not too bad
    • Unit is not heavy but is awkward - trying to maneuver onto roof without scratching roof or roof rack paint is difficult if you try to do it solo...5x easier if you have a helper
    • Never had any issue with leaks, used it to transport Christmas presents from central KY to central MI through all sorts of rain/sleet/snow one year - no issues at all
    • Ours is a rear loader - makes loading awkward if you don't have a bumper to stand on, I would likely get a side loader model now (introduced after we bought ours, I think) and load / unload it while standing on second row door sills
    • I found it rides better with more weight inside, something between 50-100% of its capacity, less prone to shakes & shimmies
    • Ours doesn't like high speed too much...drives much better at 65 than at 70
    • Cost is in $175 - $300 range http://www.sears.com/automotive-exterior-accessories-racks-carriers-cargo-carrier/b-1289805741 Will obviously cost more if you have to add cross rails to your Expedition's roof rack.
    • The Thule models may be a bit more rigid...the X Cargo is a bit flimsy (but still gets the job done)...never played with a Thule, so no first hand knowledge
    • Don't forget about storing it when not in use (nearly all of the time) - I installed a wire shelf a few feet up garage wall to set it on & hooks above to lash a strap (I will get photo & insert here later)
    Note: I have similar storage issue with my new-to-me 2012 Tahoe. Sometimes I wish I would have gone for a 'Burb.

    Edit: Doh! Forgot I chose not to do the wire shelf thing in this house...did it in previous two houses. Much bigger garage this time around + only been in this house about 4 years + spending spare time on boat mods these days! :rolleyes::D:cool:

    Now using the "lean it against the wall" storage method:

    image.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2015
  4. Bruce

    Bruce Jetboaters Fleet Admiral Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    9,636
    Location:
    Royal, AR
    Ratings:
    +8,710 / 48
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2007
    Boat Model:
    SX
    Boat Length:
    23
    I would prefer to have the load low on the trailer hitch rather than high up on the roof. But I am not good at driving the speed limit.

    Depending on how much extra space you need I could see a heavy duty plastic tub or a few very large ice chests on a receiver hitch mount as a good option.
     
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  5. Julian

    Julian Jetboaters Fleet Admiral Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Raleigh, NC 27614
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    +6,537 / 85
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    Year:
    2016
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    242X E-Series
    Boat Length:
    24
    I have a Honda car top carrier that I think is made by Thule (sp?). Works great and doesn't leak. I also have a hitch mount "rack". I prefer the car top carrier because it doesn't get in the way of the rear hatchback of the SUV. IF you do go with a hitch style, make sure you get a light one, I ordered one online and didn't consider the weight of it....total PITA moving it around as it is heavy and unwieldy. The car top carrier we have can be opened from either side...nice feature....I wouldn't get one that opens to the rear as you have to mount them forward of the hatch back swing so it would be hard to load.
     
  6. itsdgm

    itsdgm Jetboaters Captain

    Messages:
    3,077
    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita, California
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    Boat Make:
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    Year:
    2007
    Boat Model:
    AR
    Boat Length:
    21
    I bought a used X-Cargo a few years ago when my in laws moved out of their house and into a retirement community. We drove it from Iowa to California through some pretty terencial downpours. It didn't let a drop of water in. Here's a few observations:

    1. Ugly as all hell
    2. Did its job
    3. Only cost a few bucks since I resold it after the trip for almost what I paid for it.
    4. I didn't have any mounting hardware. It sat directly on the roof (of our suburban) between my crossbars and I held it in place with two ratchet tie downs over the top.
    5. I could feel it while driving, and I'm sure it dropped our fuel mileage too.
    6. I would've kept it if was a lower/longer profile type.

    Personally, I buy things like this used because people usually want these space taker uppers out of their garages more than you want to buy it ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Julian

    Julian Jetboaters Fleet Admiral Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    9,819
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC 27614
    Ratings:
    +6,537 / 85
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    Year:
    2016
    Boat Model:
    242X E-Series
    Boat Length:
    24
    Funny....that is almost exactly how I got mine....except my neigbor gave it to me for free to get it out of her garage! LOL
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Billtex2000

    Billtex2000 Jet Boat Addict

    Messages:
    203
    Location:
    Berkeley Heights, NJ/Lake Wallenpaupack, PA
    Ratings:
    +146 / 0
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2006
    Boat Model:
    SX
    Boat Length:
    21
    2.jpg 1.jpg
    I have a Yakima Rocketbox and a Load Warrior both. Rocketbox works great and is waterproof. Rocketbox surprisingly holds quite alot! Lightweight easy to put on the crossbars and looks good as opposed to some on the market. You can order it to load from either side. I don't care for stuff hanging off the back or in the hitch either. They free the hitch up for towing or our bike rack. Loadwarrior is mainly for stuff that can get wet (obviously). Beach chairs, cooler, etc. I'd recommend any of Yakima's stuff...it's pretty bulletproof.
     
  9. RightStuff

    RightStuff Jet Boat Junkie

    Messages:
    780
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Ratings:
    +547 / 2
    Boat Make:
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    Year:
    2013
    Boat Model:
    AR
    Boat Length:
    21
    I have a Yakima roof box (lopro version) that we use for ski trips. Works great for that purpose, totally waterproof, adds a little bit of wind noise holds a ton of stuff. Also with that version I was still able to pull into the garage with it on the roof. So because of that I installed a hoist on the ceiling of the garage and just raise/lower it on when we need it, that really cut down on the hassle factor lifting it up from the ground to the roof.

    It wasn't cheap, the normal sized ones are bit cheaper, but being able to drive into the garage sold me on the lopro.

    EDIT: Just looked up what I paid and it was $550 delivered to my local REI store. I know they had a sale going on all Yakima racks at the time, so that brought the price down on mine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
  10. octavio3311

    octavio3311 Jetboaters Captain

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Year:
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    Boat Length:
    21
    I have 1 of these for the trailer hitch.
    I bought the largest 1 I could find. It goes with us on every beach vacation. Very happy with it.
    image.jpg
     
  11. biglar155

    biglar155 Jetboaters Lieutenant

    Messages:
    1,019
    Location:
    Fredonia, WI
    Ratings:
    +858 / 4
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    Yamaha
    Year:
    2009
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    Boat Length:
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    Thanks for the info guys. This is what I needed.

    I'm probably too late to get anything here before the next trip (Amazon lists these things as needing "scheduled delivery"), but the Wife has already told me that as soon as we get home from her folks we're ordering a car-top carrier so that we're ready for our Christmas trips.
     
  12. Julian

    Julian Jetboaters Fleet Admiral Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Raleigh, NC 27614
    Ratings:
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    Boat Make:
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    Year:
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    Boat Model:
    242X E-Series
    Boat Length:
    24
    I have one just like this, but with a folding capability....

    [​IMG]
     
  13. rkluck

    rkluck Jet Boat Addict

    Messages:
    906
    Location:
    Lake Hartwell, GA
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    Limited S
    Boat Length:
    24
    I have had the sears top carrier and agree with the above comments. Overall I prefer not to put stuff on top. We now have a carrier that goes into the hitch receiver. We love it and it was cheap. We found that we always had to carry some food etc. anyway so we just use two large coolers as the primary containers. They are easy to strap down, waterproof and protect the contents. You have decide if you want to bring them in if you stay overnight or not. Our Cherokee has the top window that opens so we don't have any problems getting in the back. We just went to Northern and picked it up at the store. I would guess Harbor freight has them as well.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. SCSTWG

    SCSTWG Jet Boat Addict

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
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    Year:
    2011
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    Boat Length:
    24
    I have a Ford Expedition EL, but with a family of 5 and taking long trips to beach houses, it simply is not enough room to bring everything we want to bring. I used to use a soft carrier, but the lack of a locking mechanism made me paranoid and I would end up bringing it into the hotel when we stopped for the night. Last year I purchased a Thule Sonic XXL. I had looked at the Yakima's as well, but IMO, the Thule has a much better and easier mechanism to secure to the roof rails. I like that the unit is really large and can open from either side. I have been very happy with it, but it wasn't cheap. I want to say it was $600-700, but I figure it will last us until the kids are older and we no longer need to bring as much with us.
     
  15. octavio3311

    octavio3311 Jetboaters Captain

    Messages:
    1,539
    Location:
    Brookfield, Ct
    Ratings:
    +1,520 / 4
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2013
    Boat Model:
    X
    Boat Length:
    21
    The 1 I purchased was a quality unit - all welded construction. If I remember correctly - it was like $200.
    The Harbor Freight 1's are cheaper bolt together versions for considerably much less.
    When we go down to the shore (OBX), we pack my giant cooler with tons of food and beverages, still got room for all the beach chairs and boogie boards.
    At the end of vacation, the cooler is filled with laundry.
    The hitch carrier is probably the handiest purchase ever made.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. robbo3

    robbo3 Jet Boat Addict

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Brookfield, WI / Rosholt, WI
    Ratings:
    +152 / 0
    Boat Make:
    Yamaha
    Year:
    2011
    Boat Model:
    AR
    Boat Length:
    21
    I have a Thule ski carrier that goes on in a snap, locks, and has survived several severe storms on the road and kept gear dry. I would highly recommend and have used it for skis, wakeboards, luggage, etc. I was surprised how much we could fit in it.

    Mounting to the roof rack involves turning a dial at each point.

    The carrier opens on either side, so it's easy to open regardless of which side you mount it on.
     
  17. biglar155

    biglar155 Jetboaters Lieutenant

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Fredonia, WI
    Ratings:
    +858 / 4
    Boat Make:
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    Year:
    2009
    Boat Model:
    SX
    Boat Length:
    23
    I think I've narrowed it down to the Thule Atlantis box for the roof rack. I'm watching youtube vids on them and that one looks like it has a reinforced top which I like.

    We're going to be in lower MI visiting In-Laws soon so I may shop around to see what I can find down there. (Plus it will give the Father-In-Law and I something to do. It can get a little boring after the first couple of days...)
     

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