Family Road Trip Packing Tips: Thule Roof Racks

A Girls Guide To Cars | Family Road Trip Packing Tips: Thule Roof Racks - Imgres
Thule cargo

Thule Hardtop

The Thule Pulse has some smart features, including a fail-proof system to secure to roof rails and access to luggage from both sides. Photo: Thule

Thule’s Roof Rack Saves Family’s Vacation

Packing into a car for a family road trip can be a free for all, with jugs of liquids, non-TSA approved schlep-it-all bags and no overhead space. Unless you utilize the space ABOVE your car. We encountered this on a recent road trip with our kids, our dog, and Ford Escape.

Once everything was piled on our driveway, empty trunk waiting, we prayed for our genius spatial management abilities to kick in. We had to figure out how to magically squeeze 35 cubic square feet into 30 cubic square feet of trunk space. Inevitably, some of our bags ended up jammed in the back seat with the kids and dog, and then nobody was happy, and we hadn’t even left yet.

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After a total of one day on the road, it was decided that something must be done. There simply wasn’t enough room for all of us, plus our stuff. Since replacing our relatively new vehicle wasn’t an option, and we are sort of attached to our stuff, we decided that we should invest in one of those hard top cases so many cars on the road were sporting.We reached our destination, unloaded all of our gear, and found some relief in that. But with only a week before it was time to turn around and go home, a solution had to be found.

Related: Home for the Holidays: A Road Trip Survival Guide

If it creates more passenger space, it’s worth the price

After doing some research, we decided on a Thule Pulse hardtop case, with 16 cubic feet of cargo room. At $500, it was not an inexpensive solution, but we figured it was a solid investment. And we felt confident; not only do we see it on the road on top of all sorts of cars, Thule —say it Too-Lee—has a solid reputation for all sorts of sports and travel carriers.

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Smartly designed and easy to use 

Truth be told, I was sold on the fact that it promised to be easy to install. The first step was adjusting the rails on the roof rack. Once this was complete, all we had to do was make sure it was centered on the roof and then tighten the mounting hardware. The other helpful thing about the Thule hardtop— which I didn’t appreciate until later when I needed to access it from the other side of the vehicle — is that it opens from both sides. Also, a cool safety feature is that you can’t remove the keys from the lock until the latches are properly closed.

Needless to say, our trip home went a lot more smoothly. While we weren’t able to get everything into the Thule roof rack, we did free up a lot of space which made it possible for us to put our dog in the back of the Escape and give the kids more elbow room. Now we need to remember that just because we have more room available to us, we don’t need to pack more stuff!