Thule Hard Shell Cargo Box Review Wondering if a hard-shell Thule cargo box is worth the investment? If you travel with outdoor gear, skis, snowboards, or do extensive camping, the answer is yes. We traveled with a more economical soft-sided roof-rack car storage bag for years before making the switch to a Thule, and while the latter can be better for bulky or odd-shaped gear (you can really pack it in), a Thule is far superior in terms of installation and convenience on the road.
The beauty of the Thule Force cargo box is really in its simplicity. Out of the box, it took us only five minutes to get it on the top of the car. All you need to do: secure the four bottom clamps to your roof rack, tighten, and load. On our inaugural trip with our Thule (to Canada mid-winter), we fit five pairs of skis, five sets of poles, and two sets of snowshoes, with room to spare.
Watch a full video of our Thule in action, including installation.
How did it perform on the road? We never noticed it was there! Plus, the car sat out in freezing temperatures more than once, with no ill effect. I loved that unlike a soft-sided storage bag, we could leave our Thule (and car) unattended in parking lots and during hotel overnights: it locks securely. We were concerned that having the Thule on the roof would be a hassle when we utilized valet parking, but this was never a problem: every valet we encountered had a designated area for vehicles with storage boxes.
The Thule Force opens from both sides, which is a plus, and is lightweight (you can easily open or close it with one hand). We loved how we could get things in and out without fiddling with zippers, bungee cords, or tie-downs. Yes, soft-sided boxes and bags are cheaper, but the convenience and security of a Thule cannot be beat.
Buy a Thule Force Alpine Cargo Box on Amazon for under $400.