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Recommended Rooftop Cargo Basket for 2012 Subaru Outback Wagon with Factory Crossbars

Question:

I have a 2012 Subaru Outback with factory rack and am looking for a roof basket. I would not keep it on my vehicle except when needed. Could you tell me which large baskets you would recommend, both from a point of value, and from an overall rating? Thanks.

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Expert Reply:

Rooftop cargo carriers like metal baskets and ABS plastic cargo boxes each offer certain advantages. The better option for any given user mostly depends on the nature of the cargo. If you have items that need maximum protection then an enclosed cargo box may be the right choice. But if you do not need that protection and you want the lowest-cost option then a roof basket can be the better choice. You can check out the linked article for more thoughts on this.

No matter which you choose, do keep in mind that the Outback's roof has a finite weight capacity. The weight of the carrier you select also counts against that rating. Just as a hypothetical example, if your manual indicated the roof has a 125-lb weight capacity, then if you install a cargo basket like the 44-lb Curt # C18115-117 your actual available cargo weight capacity is then 81-lbs. This particular basket fits on a center-to-center crossbar spread of 15, 22 or 29-inches. Rhino-Rack's highly-rated basket # RMCB fits bar spreads from 21- to 30-inches. Do note that some baskets require a specific crossbar spread in order to mount properly, so keep this in mind. We always indicate this in the basket specs.

An item often selected along with rooftop cargo carriers is a simple step, part # TE97FR. This folding aluminum step is inexpensive and lightweight, and it gives you almost a foot of extra reach when loading and unloading our cargo. It can make using the basket a lot easier and it stores nicely in the vehicle.

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