Thule vs Yakima Cargo Boxes: The Ultimate Review

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Packing for a trip can be stressful when you cannot fit all your items and gears together. Sometimes, space for passengers is sacrificed to accommodate all gears. In order to increase the storage of your vehicle, installing a cargo box is highly recommended.

A cargo box is designed to protect your gears while in transit. Most models are made of strong plastic materials to ensure that your items are safe. It also protects the items from strong weather and moisture. If there is an impact, rest assured that it will be safe.

In the market, Thule and Yakima are one of the best manufacturers of cargo boxes. They are best known for their premium-quality products and excellent aftersales customer service. However, if you are to choose between the two brands, there are differences to pin down. In this review of the Thule vs. Yakima cargo box, you will be able to select the most suitable cargo box for you.

Top 4 Best Thule and Yakima Cargo Boxes

Depending on what you need, you’ll be able to choose the best Thule or Yakima cargo box for you. There are features to look for, such as locking mechanism, lid, materials, and the material body. Here are the following top eight Thule and Yakima cargo boxes to consider:

  1. Thule Motion XT XL Cargo Box
  2. Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite Cargo Box
  3. Thule Hyper XL Cargo Box
  4. Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Box

#1. Motion XT XL Cargo Box by ThuleBest Overall Cargo Box

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Product Specifications

  • Weight: 46 pounds
  • Waterproof: No
  • Capacity: 18 cubic feet

Stylishly-designed, the Thule Motion XT XL is worth the investment. With its durable construction, sleek design, and huge capacity, this cargo box is ideal for your upcoming long trips.

The installation of this cargo box is a breeze. It only requires a single person and a few minutes to install. There are no complex configurations and nerve-wracking instructions that can stress you out when you are installing the cargo box. Even without prior mechanic knowledge, rest assured that you’ll be able to fix it. The click will indicate that you had successfully installed the cargo box in its correct tension.

It also features a mounting system. This system provides convenience in the long run. As mentioned earlier, the huge capacity of this cargo box allows you to put anything you want. The gears and items that you need for your trip will be safe while in transit. Thanks to its strong plastic material, it can protect the items from heavy weather and even moisture.

Priced decently, it is a good investment that is handy for your upcoming trips. Its glossy, sleek design will make you want to keep the cargo box attached even when not in use.

Quick and easy installationMounting and unmounting can be inconvenient
Glossy, sleek appearance
Gloss black finish scratches easily
Built to lastA bit costly

#2. Skybox 16 Carbonite Cargo Box by Yakima – Best Cargo Box for Functionality

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Product Specifications

  • Weight: 62 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 16 cubic feet

Anyone who owned a Yakima product before knows that this company is known for combining functionality and style into one perfect cargo box. The Yakima Carbonite 16 Cargo Box is not an exception. With its superior durability, easiness of use, and excellent functionality, this would be a perfect cargo box for your next outdoor adventure.

One of the features that stands out in this product is its dual-side opening. It merely means that you can save time in loading and unloading your items, regardless of which side of the car you are standing. You can place all your gears inside without difficulty.

The rock-solid cargo box is also made of durable materials to ensure that it can last for years to come. Rest assured that even an intense downpour or thick snow cannot penetrate and damage your items. It is designed in a way that will keep your gears safe and easy to access.

When it comes to the lid, Yakima had done an excellent job of keeping it sturdy. Its latching system will indicate whenever the cargo box is unlocked. That way, you don’t accidentally drive with an open cargo box.

Car owners who value the style of the cargo box to match their vehicles will also love this product. Instead of the usual glossy sheen that most models feature, this Yakima cargo box has a matte black finish. It does not only look elegant, but it is outstanding in hiding scrapes and scratches. It will make your cargo box look good as new all the time.

However, the only downgrade of this product is its laborious installation. Installing it for the first time can be time-consuming, and if you do not have the prior mechanic knowledge, it can be challenging. That is why this cargo box is recommended for car owners who are looking for a cargo box that they can attach to their car permanently.

Latching mechanism ensures the safety of the gears
Not ideal for the semi-permanent basis
Solidly built and sturdy
Can be challenging to use at first
Budget-friendly priceInstallation is difficult

#3. Hyper XL Cargo Box by Thule – Best Cargo Box for Durability

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Product Specifications

  • Weight: 57 pounds
  • Waterproof: No
  • Capacity: 17 cubic feet

Another best-looking cargo box from Thule is the Thule Hyper XL. Customers love its sleek and stylish design that will make the car look more luxurious. With a decent capacity, tight security, and easy application, rest assured that this cargo box can take you to places.

The low profile of this Thule Hyper XL cargo box makes it very stylish for storage space. Despite its sleek design, it can accommodate a lot of gears. It can fit your fishing poles, outdoor gear, and extra clothing. Its solid forefront design is an indication of years of service that this cargo box can offer. With proper use and maintenance, this cargo box will ensure the safety of your gears at all times.

This is an ideal choice for customers who value the style of their cargo box. When it comes to its appearance department, this is the most suitable cargo box for you.

#4. Rocketbox Cargo Box by Yakima – Best Cargo Box for Space

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Product Specifications

  • Weight: 30 pounds
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Capacity: 14 cubic feet 

If you are looking for a cargo box with an excellent aerodynamic design, specifically from the Yakima, then you should take a look at this product. Its excellent aerodynamic design, paired with superior durability and sleek look, will make you want to install this cargo box in your car. It is best known for its high volume.

This cargo box can accommodate the gears of up to three people, making it an ideal choice for families. It offers an ample amount of space that will allow you to fit all the necessary gear. Whether it’s for a weekend trip or an extended camping trip with your family, it is an ideal choice.

Furthermore, its aero design ensures that it won’t affect your MPG. To give you convenience, you can access your gears from both sides—the passenger or the driver’s side. Installation of this cargo box is a breeze, unlike the previous model under Yakima that we’ve featured. It requires no tools. This cargo box will be shipped fully assembled to offer convenience in the long run. For security, the package includes SKS locks to ensure the safety of your gears.

A cargo box with smart design features, sleek appearance, and quick installation is precisely what you need. Its solid internal mounting features are a nice touch to the already ideal cargo box for your family. However, it can be a bit expensive. But if you don’t mind spending an extra few dollars on increasing the storage of your vehicle, then this is the right cargo box for you.

The security system comes with a lock and key
External material scratches easily
Quick and easy installation
Increases drag to the car
Robust and built to lastHigh price

Our Top Pick – Best Overall Cargo Box

In this featured list, the Thule Motion XT XL made it to our top pick. After an in-depth deliberation of what’s the best: Thule vs. Yakima cargo boxes, this cargo box is worth every penny. With its solid construction, stylish design, and huge capacity, it is just the right box that you are looking for.

Furthermore, what we liked most about Thule is that you don’t have to compromise the aesthetics over durability. Your cargo box can look stylish and be able to handle a lot of gears at the same time.

Thule, being known as a trusted manufacturer of cargo boxes in the market, also offers excellent customer services. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your new cargo box, they will get back to you as soon as possible to assist.

To sum it all, you won’t regret spending an extra few dollars to own this cargo box. It is efficient, durable, and powerful. If you’re looking for a cargo box that will last for years to come, look no more because the Thule Motion XT XL cargo carrier will be with you for the upcoming adventures.

Choosing the Best Cargo Box – Thule vs. Yakima

Thule and Yakima are the best manufacturers of cargo boxes; there’s no doubt about it. And if you are torn continuously in choosing Thule vs. Yakima cargo boxes, there are a few factors that you need to consider.

Thule originated in Swedish, and due to their consistency in delivering the premium-quality cargo boxes in the market, they are known globally. Thule is also a significant supplier of cargo boxes to many parts of the world. They are best known for their sleek design and excellent functionality.

On the other hand, Yakima started in Washington State. Most of their models have a rugged functionality, and they pay little attention to aesthetics. They build cargo boxes with durability in mind, earning the trust of millions of customers.

When browsing for a potential cargo box to buy, it is best to choose a model that will suit your needs in the long run. You will discover that there are some features you can live without. This knowledge will help you to save money and also helps you in selecting the right cargo box for you.

Below is a comprehensive buying guide that will enlighten the difference between Thule and Yakima cargo boxes. This will serve as your guide when in the market, looking for the best cargo box.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Cargo Box

Here are the following factors to consider when choosing between Thule and Yakima cargo boxes:


Both brands are using recycled materials for almost 80% of the cargo box. It assures you that you are buying from an eco-friendly company. Most of the models from Thule and Yakima are made of thermoformed ABS plastic. This material is lightweight, making it easy to attach and detach. It is also durable that can withstand the harsh elements of nature.

Thule and Yakima are also known for waterproof and shockproof materials. The only thing that varies between the two brands is the sizes and shapes they offer.

For instance, Yakima’s cargo box models have a textured finish. They don’t pay much attention to aesthetics, but this is a rather excellent and durable material.

The Thule, on the other hand, uses five-layered ABS plastic. It ensures that the product is durable without compromising the style and appearance. They are also known for the modern, executive look of their cargo boxes thanks to its matte finish.


This factor is only applicable if you are planning to buy a roof cargo box. The more the cargo carrier resists against the wind, the higher the consumption of fuel. Not only that, but it can cause vibration and unnecessary noise. This is why it’s crucial to choose an aerodynamic cargo box that will not affect your gas mileage.

The aerodynamics of a cargo box is influenced by the design and shape of the box. It also contributes to its stability when attached to the car. You will come to appreciate an aerodynamic cargo box, especially when you’re driving at high speeds.

Thule and Yakima, wanting to retain their good reputation, is making sure that all of their cargo boxes are aerodynamic. One can tell just by looking at the cargo box. Most of their models have sloped fronts that make it easier to cut through the strong wind.

However, some customers reported having noticed some wind noise when driving at high speeds, using the Yakima cargo boxes. Examining both manufacturers, it is noticeable that you will only lose 2 to 4 miles per gallon at 75 mph.

Opening Mechanisms

If you compare it to the first models of cargo boxes that have been released a couple of years ago, the drastic change of opening mechanisms is noticeable. Before, you have to completely remove the lid to open the cargo box and put something inside. But today, it had been made easier and more convenient, thanks to the innovative opening mechanisms and advanced hinges that have been used.

Both Thule and Yakima did an excellent job in the opening and closing mechanisms of their cargo boxes. All of the listed cargo boxes above are easy to open. You don’t need to exert force when opening a box and putting your gears inside. However, take note that the angle when you can open a cargo box is limited.

Hence, we encourage you not to store bulky gears and items inside your cargo box. The hinges are attached to hold the lid in place. While there are no maximum lid angles that you can follow when you fully open the box, it is best not to force it.

Both brands also feature dual side opening mechanisms. That means you can open the box from either side, making it more convenient to you in case you are in a hurry and forgot something in the cargo box.

As you can notice in the featured items, some models come with push-button openings. It is more convenient to use and requires little to no effort. Other models still use traditional handles.

Car owners with taller vehicles would prefer a lid that is easy to close. It is bothersome to struggle and reach for the lid just to close it. Some models from Yakima and Thule features a strap attached inside the lid. That way, you don’t have to climb all over the place just to close it.

Also, Thule cargo boxes feature pull chords. On the other hand, Yakima is rarely seen with one. So, if you have a tall vehicle or you have a short stature, make sure to check the pull chords first before purchasing the product.


Some car owners are hesitant to install a cargo box into their vehicles because it is bulky and a distracting addition. Some cargo boxes will ruin the aesthetics of a car.

However, worry not because both brands have paid much attention to provide a cargo box with decent aesthetics. Depending on what matches your car, you can select from carbon fiber finishes, matte, or glossy.

As mentioned earlier, Yakima is living by producing a rugged-looking and no-nonsense cargo box. Durability is more of a priority to the brand than the aesthetics. From Yakima cargo boxes, you can expect an outdoor-looking cargo box.

But for those who value the aesthetics of the cargo box, then the cargo boxes from Thule is an excellent choice. The installation of the cargo box in your car will look more of an upgrade rather than an add-on. They specialize in visual statements, making sure that all of their boxes are bold and sleek in design.

Also, don’t forget how these finishes will react to dirt and scrapes. For instance, a glossy finishing will look great, but once it is smudged with dirt, it can be easily noticed by anyone compared to a less flashy option.


Choosing between Thule and Yakima cargo boxes isn’t easy. Both brands have established a good reputation in the industry. Both brands also offer durability, security, style, and functionality in one box.

Hence, using the buying guide and the featured items above, we hope you can choose the best cargo box for you. In this Thule vs. Yakima cargo box review, we examined the features, highlights, and even the downgrades of each listed cargo box. This is to ensure that you pick the most suitable cargo box for you.

On your next travel adventure, you no longer have to worry about fitting all your gears and items in your car. Whichever brand you choose, rest assured that the Thule and Yakima cargo boxes will help you to achieve a hassle-free and smooth journey with all the luggage. With these trusted brands, you can enjoy your outdoor experience without any worries.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Are Thule cargo carriers waterproof?

Thule cargo boxes are not waterproof. But worry not, because its glossy design and hard plastic will do an excellent job in keeping your items dry and protected from moisture. However, make sure that you don’t store your valuable items in this cargo box, such as a laptop and other gadgets. It is made to resist the harsh elements of nature, but when it gets too windy, or the snow is too thick, the items inside the cargo box can be affected.

✅ Are Yakima cargo boxes waterproof?

Since it is made of solid plastic construction and has lid stiffeners, rest assured that it can keep the water out. Its sleek design is engineered to keep your items dry, even when driving through the pouring rain. Also, Yakima manufactures cargo boxes with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. Rest assured that it can manage rain and snow just fine.

Which brand is more reputable in the market?

Both brands have managed to establish a good reputation in the market and have been globally acknowledged for their premium-quality products. There are similarities and differences that you will see in their products, but all cargo boxes from Yakima and Thule are built to last. However, when it comes to price, Yakima sells its cargo boxes at a much lower price. It is suitable for customers on a tight budget, although there are several Thule cargo boxes that are sold at a reasonable price, as well.

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