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Thule Trail Roof Cargo Basket Review

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Review of the Thule Trail Roof Cargo Basket


Today we'll be taking a look at the Thule Trail roof-mounted cargo basket, part number TH865XT. The Thule Trail measures 63 inches long by 39 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches deep. Thule also offers a smaller version that measures 53 inches long by 35 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches deep. Both of which have a 165 pound capacity. You just want to choose whatever works best for your application. The Thule Trail is the perfect solution to carry your gear on the roof of your vehicle safely and secure. It features eight tie-down anchor points, four on each side, which is going to help minimize cargo movement.

It's got a sleek, aerodynamic design to it, the front acting as a fairing that's going to help deflect wind and help reduce noise. The Thule Trail is also made up of six planks so it's going to be easy to load and unload and arrange your cargo. It features a T-slot on the front and back covered by a rubber strip so you can mount your kayak or any other T-slot accessories. The universal hardware is going to allow it to fit your round, square, inaudible 00:01:06, elliptical, and most factory roof rack systems. We have it mounted using the clamps here. You can also mount it using the T-slots.

It has caps covering up our hardware to give us a cleaner finish. They also offer us a locking option and you can pick up the Thule locking cylinders sold separately here at etrailer.com, and that's going to be part of our TH544. It's just going to give us a little more security for our cargo basket. It's made out of an anodized aluminum construction so it's going to be fairly lightweight and easy to install. Thule also stands behind the product and offers a limited lifetime warranty. Now that we've gone over some features I'll go ahead and show you how to get the roof basket installed.

Now in order to get it anchored to our roof rack system we need to install our plates first. Let's go ahead and do that now. Now in our track we've got four fasteners to be exact, and they're adjustable along the track here. We need to make sure that we have two on this side and two on that side. Let's go ahead and move them down. Once we have those fasteners separated up, we can then grab our plate and we're going to take the two that we have on this side and our included hardware, and attach it with these holes here.

We'll grab our included tool to do so, and we're going to go ahead and loosely install this too. There's no reason to tighten it down all the way just yet because we're going to need to adjust them later. Then we'll take our other one, we'll line it up with our fastener and get that one started as well. Now we can do the other one. Now keep in mind, everything we do here we're just going to repeat the same stuff on the other side. There's two ways you can go about mounting this to your roof rack system: you can use the clamp, which is going to mount to most of your factory roof rack systems, your round, square, inaudible 00:02:47, elliptical, or you can use the T-slot, which will go into your aeroblades that have a T-channel or like today, we're using the Thule aeroblades. So we're going to show you both. Let's go ahead and use the T-slot first, so we need to go ahead and remove our pin caps. Now normally when using the T-slot method you're going to measure and cut your rubber strips to fit around them. For today's demonstration we're just going to pull them all the way out, that way we can see what we're working with. Then we can take our T-bolts and we're going to put two on each bar: front and rear. We're going to send the first one all the way down to the other end and then leave the second one right around that area, then we can replace our end caps. Now let's put our roof basket up there. That will just come up and over the first set of T-bolts, and set it right about there. When loading up your basket you want to make sure that there's no antenna or any other obstructions in the way, that way you can easily scoot it on. Now we can line up our T-bolts with the center hole on our plate. We'll need to lift up on it and maneuver around a little bit, and since we left our plates loosely installed we can easily move them up and down the track. We've got the first one in there, let's go ahead and do this one. Good, then I'll just go over there and do that side. I'm going to bring it a tad more this way. One important thing we need to make sure of before we tighten everything down is that our cargo basket is evenly spaced on our crossbars, that way when we put our cargo on the weight of it can be evenly distributed throughout the whole basket. Let's go ahead and do that now. You can use a tape measure and measure out if you'd like, I'm just going to eye it up. I also want to make sure that it's centered with the vehicle. I think that's going to be pretty close. On some applications you may find that your cargo basket is coming in contact with your roof rack system itself, but Thule has provided a spacer to give that just a little bit of clearance between the two, so that might help you out. The way that works is, the hole points towards the center of the vehicle or towards the center of the basket. It's made to fit in the T-track so it'll stay in place and doesn't move from side to side, so I can show you that really quick. We'll just raise it up, we'll line it up with the hole, we'll take the spacer, put it on our T-bolt, and then realign our plate to sit right on top. We won't be needing that spacer in this case because our basket is doing just fine where it is. We'll set that back down, and then we can start our hardware. The first thing we need to grab is our lock washer and then our thumb screw. Our lock washer goes on first followed by the thumb screw, and then we can tighten that down. Then we can grab our Allen key, and we're going to tighten down the two bolts on the side here to tighten up our plate. That seems pretty tight, then we can grab our cap to hide our hardware, and we've got the open end here with the little notch, and we've got the end with the core. The end with the core is going to go right here so we'll take this end, we're going to put it in first, and set it down and bring it over. Once we've got that in place we can turn it to lock in place just like that, as you can see it tidies up the finish there. With that being done we can just go ahead and repeat that same process on the other three T-bolts. We'll go ahead and show you the clamp method. The clamps come in three sizes: you have inch and five-eights, two inch, and two and three-eights. For each clamp we'll be using two thumb screws and two flat washers. You just need to make sure and use whatever size works best for your application. We'll be using the two inch for our Thule aeroblades here today; let's go ahead and do that now. You can essentially load up your cargo basket the exact same way. You don't need to remove the rubber strips, because our clamps are just going to go underneath the crossbars here. We've left our plates loosely installed as before, you just need to make sure that your basket is evenly placed between the crossbars as we did before as well. With that being said, let's go ahead and grab our clamp. We're going to go underneath, come up through the plate as you see there, we'll grab one of our flat washers, then the other one, and then both of our thumb screws. We're just hand tightening them down now for here on each side until they make contact with the bracket, and tighten those down evenly. We've just about got it here, then we can repeat that same step on the other three sides. Once we have all of our clamps tightened down we can tighten down our two bolts holding our plate still, and once again you'll just want to repeat this same step on the three remaining sides. Once we've got them tightened down we can grab our cap that covers up our hardware and put that on. Our cap is going to go on the exact same way as it did before with the T-bolts. We've got the cargo basket all loaded up and installed on our roof rack system, let's go ahead and load up some gear and take it out on our test course. Here on our test course let's first go into our inaudible 00:07:54. This is going to show side-to-side action such as going around corners or evasive maneuvering. Then on to our alternating speed bumps, this is going to show a twisting action such as going over potholes or uneven pavement. Then finally on to our solid speed bumps, this is going to show an up and down action such as pulling in and out of a driveway or out of a parking lot. That's going to complete our look at the Thule Trail roof-mounted cargo basket, part number TH865XT.