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Comparing Thule Canyon and Malone Katahdin Roof Rack Cargo Baskets

Question:

Hello, I have a 2017 Passat with retrofitted OEM roof rack bars, would the Malone Katahdin Roof Cargo Basket be good or would you advise to get the Thule Canyon XT? I wanted to get the biggest basket available so if I went with Thule I would by the extension. My concern is I do a lot of freeway driving so which would be the best option for aero dynamics the Malone Katahdin Roof Cargo Basket states its 10inch tall and the Thule basket it 6inch tall. Its hard to tell by the pictures, your assistance is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Expert Reply:

In terms of carrying capacity the Thule Canyon XT Roof Cargo Basket # TH859XT-8591XT beats the Malone Katahdin since the Thule basket/extension measures 69 x 40-inches as compared to the Malone which measures 61 x 38-inches. Despite its larger size the Thule Canyon with the extension piece actually weighs about one pound less than the Katahdin.

If you plan to leave the rooftop cargo basket installed on your Passat at all times, even when you're not carrying anything in it, then there will not be much difference in the two empty baskets' aerodynamic behavior. Since the Malone basket is 4-inches taller (10-inches versus 6-inches) there will be some potential for it create more wind noise but this will not be a dramatic difference. The specific contours of any given vehicle will affect the way air flows over a cargo basket. For this reason I hesitate to state that the lower-profile Thule will absolutely make less noise. It might be slightly quieter when empty but I would not expect any difference to be substantial.

Once loaded with cargo, the aerodynamic behavior of any basket is a different story. It is really the things you load into the basket that are going to have the more pronounced effect on the aerodynamics and resulting noise. A large cardboard carton, for example, that is loaded in either basket is more apt to make a noticeable difference in wind noise than the slight differences between the two baskets' designs. The sizes and shapes of your cargo items and how you load them in either basket have more effect on noise than anything else.

To mount the Canyon basket/extension # TH859XT-8591XT your roof crossbars need to be spaced apart from 20- to 57-inches measured from bar center to bar center.

I suggest accessory step # TE97FR from Telesteps. This lightweight folding step comes fully assembled and pops open to instantly give you a foot of extra reach for easier roof access for loading and unloading.

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