Thule Canyon Cargo Basket Review

Thule Canyon Cargo Basket

The Thule Canyon Cargo Basket First Thoughts

This is one sleek addition to my 4×4 SUV that doubles as my daily around town commuter and weekend warrior to take to the mountains. Usually that entails kids, bikes, lots of gear, and a dog which usually makes the trip as well. That medium to larger sized Weimaraner takes up a good bit of trunk space, so my necessary junk has to go on the roof. Coolers, suitcases, tents, firewood, and even a stroller will find itself strapped up on top. The Thule Canyon Cargo Basket is a great addition and with its many attachment options will probably fit on just about any vehicle and rack support system.

Everything you’ll need to get started. It was a lot more parts and pieces than I had expected.

Thule Canyon Cargo Basket out of the box

The basket itself is pretty straightforward. 2 Pieces and you’re all set. When it comes all the accessories, components, and connecting pieces, a slightly different story unfolds. There are numerous screws, brackets, nuts, bolts, rings, and clips that help in fastening this Cargo Rack to your vehicle. Take very important note of the flat cardboard piece that’s in the box. The sticker on it shows that you should probably open this up before tossing it. The wind fairing piece is securely protected in there, but this can easily be overlooked. I am guessing someone has thrown it out only to regret that later, hence the caution symbol.

Flat cardboard piece that includes the front wind fairing piece. Don’t throw that away.

This basket is obviously a piece of equipment that is going to see some hardcore action, and the cargo you stow up there will take a toll on the rack itself. I took note of some of the connection points, and even though the welds are probably quite sufficient and won’t break, I do wish that they had cleaned them up just a bit for a smoother look.

Simply remove some plastic caps, slide the 2 cargo pieces together, and fasten with a pair of screws. Adding the Thule Logo’d wind fairing is also pretty straightforward by sliding the 5 clips onto the top and bottom bar. Then insert the piece, use the provided knobs and rubber rings to protect it, and screws for a pretty secure fit. The position of the clips needs to be spot on with the holes, or else you may find a bit of warping (for lack of better term) which can easily be remedied by readjusting the clips.

Connection clips and all the hardware to connect the wind fairing piece.

On to the actual assembly of the rack to my vehicle which is where plenty of options and positions need to be considered. The Thule Canyon Cargo Basket will obviously fit perfectly with the Thule roof rack system and crossbars. The square bars work well with the provided clamps for a solid fit. What’s nice about the Thule Canyon Cargo Basket is that it will also work just fine with the “other brands” and the factory supplied cross bars that are sometimes standard on a vehicle. I do have a newer SUV, but was not the lucky recipient of those factory cross bars. Those could be had in the $100-150 range, but I have a competitors system that works well, and I feel theirs or Thule’s would be a more solid and durable rack attachment option for the long haul.

4″ +/- of room with empty Thule Canyon Cargo Basket

I played around with the clips and bar position a bit, but at that point I wanted to see how high the rack would actually sit with regard to my garage situation. Something that needs to be considered because this is not a rack that wants to come on and off very often in my humble opinion. I would say I have a fairly standard garage, and with my 4Runner, aftermarket rack, and Thule Canyon Cargo Basket, I had roughly 4” to spare. Obviously, with cargo up there, taking extra caution to not pull into the garage will definitely need to be exercised. Those of you with roof top bike racks know what I am talking about……..

3 different clamp sizes to accommodate numerous systems

Different attachment pieces are provided if you have that standard factory cross bar system, but for the one I had, the provided clips would work well. Shown here are 3 different lengths. The shorter has a red painted end, the middle one is green, and the deepest one is blue. I figured the middle ones would be good for my rack, but as I started tightening down, the screw tops started to pop out above the plastic tightening screws. I’m sure these would work, but I went with the shorter red ones which provided plenty of thread and connection to securely fasten this to my car. Clip some plastc caps over to create a smooth seamless look, and voila, there you have it.

For purposes of this review, the photo documentation and forcing myself to read all the directions probably took an hour to an hour and a half. Again, with all the various connection pieces and options I did want to demonstrate that it does take a bit of time, effort, and decision making with regard to the rack you have and the positioning on the roof. I’d say for the first time attempt, you can surely put this all together in half that time, but don’t get to thinking that you can just pop this out of the box, and tighten it down, ready to go.

A cover clips on hiding the screws.

Taking The Thule Cargo Canyon Basket Out On The Road

Interestingly enough, when driving around with just my crossbars, there was a bit of wind noise. Now with the empty Thule Canyon Cargo Basket that wind noise is completely eliminated. The wind Fairing piece gets the credit there.

My previous car’s roof top bike rack system was also used to pretty much haul anything and everything that did not fit inside the car. That turned out to be my entire basement finishing project, and 2×4’s, plywood, beams, and door frame systems were comically seen coming and going from my local hardware store. I don’t intend to put my new car and this rack system through that kind of abuse, but I can say with confidence that with the proper strapping, you could get quite a lot of larger materials up on top. Do keep in mind the weight limits set forth for this roof rack, the crossbars you happen to be using, and the vehicle itself.

On to the more conventional Cargo Basket use which for me is taking my family out into the mountains to play, hike, bike, swim, kayak, and snowshoe/ski in the winter time. I do have a roof box as well, and it will be interesting to see which one would be more useful but it’s clear that they both have their advantages. I am really liking this one for the camping option as most of my stuff and gear is larger, bulkier, and doesn’t want to be crammed into the car or a box.

Large Party Cooler, Tent, Camp Chairs, and Fire Wood strapped down

A super large cooler, tent, folding chairs, boxes of gear, firewood, and accessories were perfect for the Thule Canyon Cargo Basket. When I first saw her fully assembled on top of my roof, I truly did have my doubts as to the amount of stuff that would actually fit up there.  Rest assured, with strategic placement, and properly securing everything, a lot of gear will fit. With every trip, I pack more and more items on top. Obviously, whatever you put up there will be subjected to 65+ mph winds, and any kind of weather you may be subjected to. On our last trip, I even loaded cardboard boxes, a camp stove, and sleeping bags, but draped a tarp over it all before strapping it down. The Thule webbing that you can get will be your easiest and best method. I am going to pick one up for sure.

From a look and style standpoint, this is a pretty sweet looking addition to my SUV. The aerodynamic wedge shape is really low profile, and the rugged looks should hopefully give me some man points as I shuttle my 2 princesses around. The sides are slightly tapered to aid in loading and unloading, and I tell you that did help out as I had to put some fairly heavy stuff up there (See cooler pic.).

20″ extension for $129.95

A 20” basket extension is available, and I am contemplating adding that to really be able to haul everything I need on the roof to keep my passengers comfortable inside. The Thule Canyon Extension sells for $129.95. It bumps the total price of the cargo rack up considerably, but that little bit of extra room will definitely come in handy.

I joke that I have “rack” envy as I see the seriously heavy duty backcountry 4 x 4’s that could carry enough for a multi-month trip out into the bush. For now, I am super happy with my Thule Canyon Cargo Basket to be able to explore and pack my gear to the somewhat remote locations that the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and Utah/Arizona Desserts have to offer. Although…. with the extension a longer trip is certainly possible? All I have to do now is convince my wife.

A locking system can be added (sold separately) to ensure that this does not walk off. I will have to say that I don’t think any would-be thieves would want to take the time to figure out how to get this off a roof. It’s big and bulky, and although it’s a great product, the return value just isn’t there in my opinion.

Technical Specifications of The Thule Canyon Cargo Basket

Height (in) varies with cross bar system
Length (in) 50.25 in
Width (in) 41 in
Weight (lb) 29 lb
Load capacity 150 lb
Maximum barspread 37 in
Minimum barspread 20 in
Fits Aero Profile yes
Fits SquareBar yes
Locks carrier to roof rack yes
One Key System compatible yes
Warranty Bring It (Limited Lifetime)
Miscellaneous T-track mounting included

In Conclusion

The Thule Canyon Cargo Basket is a rugged good looking vehicle accessory that will get your gear (no matter your passion or purpose) safely to its destination. The low-profile design creates for an aerodynamic flow especially with the included wind fairing front piece. I was pleasantly surprised at how much gear ultimately fit onto the roof of my car. My passengers were used to being crammed with gear stuffed underneath their feet, and coolers squished in between. Everyone can now ride in style.

MSRP: $299

For more information on the Thule Canyon Cargo Basket and all the other wonderful toys and gadgets for your car and adventures please visit www.thule.com

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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