Best Cargo Box For Subaru Forester [2024 Buyers Guide]

The Subaru Forester is a great family vehicle, but the 31 cubic feet of cargo space behind your rear seats only gives enough room for bags and suitcases.

If you want to bring along camping gear, fishing gear, skis, or snowboards – that will take up quite some space in your car.

A cargo box makes the ideal addition for Subaru Forester owners looking to increase their cargo space ahead of their next family road trip.

We highly recommend the SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box as the best cargo box for your Subaru Forester.

When we consider the factors such as the size of the cargo area, durability, installation concerns, and price.

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However, every cargo box is different. In this article, we’ve reviewed four different styles of cargo box for the Subaru Forester to help you find the right one for your needs.

4 Best Cargo Boxes For Subaru Forester Reviewed

We have gone through countless cargo boxes for Subaru Forester. We have selected the four best ones for you.

Best Cargo Box Overall: SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box


  • Capacity: 18 cu ft
  • Opening: Rear opening
  • Weight Limit: 100 lbs
  • Dimensions: 62.5 x 19 x 39 inches
  • Item Weight: 42 lbs

The SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box is a high-profile cargo box and ideal for all your extra belongings. It’s wider, and with 18 cubic feet of space inside, it can easily accommodate anything from luggage to camping gear.

This cargo box is not meant to carry skis and snowboards. However, you can still fit in a couple of small snowboards and skis that are not longer than 150 cm without any issue.

The box opens from the rear side. You probably don’t like it; however, it has its advantages. You don’t have to stand in traffic to access your gear. Moreover, if you forget to lock the box, the wind will keep your box shut off when driving down the road.

It’s easy to install on the crossbars without any tool required. Simply attach the U-bolt (provided) from below and lock it from the interior of the cargo box, and you’re done.

The material is made from durable UV-resistant ABS construction material that will last through the years. It has a standard safety feature with an integrated lock system to secure your valuable belongings.

The SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box is highly recommended to people concerned about the price-to-cargo space ratio.

Best Cargo Box For Skis And Snowboards: Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box


  • Capacity: 18 cu ft
  • Opening: Dual-side opening
  • Weight Limit: 165 lbs
  • Dimensions: 82.75 x 33.75 x 17.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 47 lbs

The Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box is a long, low-profile cargo box perfect for outdoor activities like camping, skiing, and snowboarding. The carrying capacity of 18 cubic feet can easily hold about 5 to 7 pairs of skis or 3 to 5 snowboards without any problem.

What makes this cargo box different than other cargo boxes is that it can hold up to a maximum of 165 lbs of loads, and this is because it has extra metals underside the box that increase its rigidity.

This cargo box has an aerodynamic design that helps reduce wind noises and additional drag when traveling at high speed. As a result, your Subaru Forester gas mileage will be improved.

The cargo box opening on both sides is a convenient design that makes it easier to get into your belongings throughout the trip. However, there’s a report from the owners that the cargo box opening or closing can be tricky and need some effort. 

One of the best things about Thule is how easy it is to install a roof rack on your car. The PowerClick quick-mount system means easy installation and a secure fit. With an integrated torque indicator clicking when it’s correctly mounted, you can be sure that your box is secured.

The Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box is a high-quality cargo box that will last you for years. With its lifetime warranty and sleek design, this product has everything an avid outdoor enthusiast needs in their car.

Best Cargo Box For A Small Family: Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box


  • Capacity: 14 cu ft
  • Opening: Passenger-side opening
  • Weight Limit: 110 lbs
  • Dimensions: 67 x 35 x 16 inches
  • Item Weight: 34 lbs

The Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box is a low-profile, medium-sized cargo box geared towards a small family that needs extra space to hold small bags and carry-on luggage. This cargo box is not made for skis, but it can store any size of snowboard that is no longer than 155 cm.

The cargo box is very sturdy, rigid, and lightweight. It’s made from strong ABS plastic material that can withstand impact and weather. The Thule Pulse has a single opening lid that can be accessed from the passenger side

It’s very easy to install on your roof without using any tool. You can attach the box to the crossbars with Easy-Grip clamps into the rubber-lined mounting slots at the bottom of the box.

Design-wise, although the Thule Pulse is aerodynamically designed to reduce wind noise and drag, it’s not as sleek as the Thule Force series. And it is wider than the Thule Pulse Alpine and Thule Pulse Large versions.

The bottom line is that if you don’t need a large cargo and seldom carry long items like skis, this 14 cubic feet Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box is a perfect fit for your Subaru.

Best Cargo Box For Budget: JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier


  • Capacity: 10 cu ft
  • Opening: Dual-side opening
  • Weight Limit: 110 lbs
  • Dimensions: 47.5 x 28 x 12.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 25 lbs

If you’re looking for the best way to store your stuff without spending too much, the JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier should be at the top of your shopping list. The cargo box is made right here in the USA.

This small-sized cargo box is perfect for storing suitcases, bags, and camping gear. It can hold up to 10 cu ft of items without being too bulky or heavy. The dual-side opening makes accessing your things easy from either side.

Mounting this cargo box on the roof is easy, and no tool is required. You need to adjust the cross rails at a 24-inch spacing on the center before attaching the box to the crossbars. It has four locks, and a clip at the front makes it very easy to install on your car.

The material used for this cargo box is made from HDPE plastic. It might not be as good as ABS plastic, but it’s still solid and not too flimsy. Most owners agreed that this cargo box material is decent and can keep their items dry for the price point.

Guide to Buying Cargo Box For Subaru Forester

Who would not want a cargo box for their car? They are sturdy and make your car look sleeker. Of course, the Subaru Forester is one of those cars that would greatly benefit from a cargo box. The question now is which cargo box to buy for it. 

Here are seven important factors you should consider before buying any cargo hbox or additional storage system for your car:

Storage Capacity

The cargo boxes come in various sizes, from the smallest 12 cu ft to 22 cu ft. Note that the capacity is measured in cubic feet (cu ft) units. 

Ask yourself a question. What do you intend to use it for? Do you need extra space to carry your gear and luggage on a long trip? Maybe you need it to store your camping and fishing gear.

Or do you want to have some space to hold your skis and snowboards at the ski resort? And how many skis or snowboards will you carry for your trip?

The large size of the cargo box is typically better suited than small ones because they can hold stuff. The downside is that it will carry more weight when fully loaded and affect your gas mileage. Also, they’re pricey.

Choose a small or medium size if you prefer carrying fewer items because they are typically more lightweight and cheaper.

Compatibility of Cargo Box With CrossBars

The Subaru Forester does come with factory roof rails installed. However, to install your cargo box, you need to buy crossbars. It’s the components that attach to your vehicle’s roof bars and where your cargo box will attach to.

Do not assume that all cargo boxes will fit any crossbar. Each cargo box has a different design and way to install it, and you need to check the crossbar Fit guide from the manufacturer or the seller.

If you’re unsure which crossbars are compatible with your cargo box, you could not be wrong buying them from the same cargo box seller or manufacturer. The most popular brands like Thule, SportRack, and Yakima should be your best bet.

Aerodynamic Design

The aerodynamic design of the cargo box is important because it looks stylish, provides stability, and cuts through the air when in motion. Air resistance increases exponentially as speeds increase.

So cutting back on wind drag will make your cargo box less noisy. Moreover, the aerodynamic design will significantly improve your Subaru Forester’s gas mileage.

Easy Access

When choosing the best cargo box, you need to consider how to access your stuff. Typically, a cargo box has three different ways of opening:

  • Dual-sided opening
  • Passenger-side opening
  • Rear opening

There’s no best way to access your items, and it’s all about which one is more convenient for you and your family member.

The rear opening allows you to access your stuff from the back without standing in traffic. In contrast, a dual-side opening means that you can get into your vehicle from either side of the car.

Ease Of Installation

One of the most important factors when choosing the right cargo box for your Subaru Forester is how easy for you to install it. A large cargo box may require two persons to install it.

Many cargo boxes include installation kits and guides. There are generally easy and quick to install and uninstall. When the load bars are ready, cargo boxes can be installed in under ten minutes.

Follow the instruction guide in your manual, and you’re good to go.

Safety Features

The last thing you don’t want to happen is losing all your content in the cargo box; not only that, but your cargo box could also be stolen.

To ensure everything is safe and secure, you should look for a cargo box with an excellent integrated locking system. 

In addition, the quality of the cargo box material is also important. The ABS material is the preferred choice of cargo box manufacturers because of its durability and strength.

The Thule cargo boxes are the most popular choice regarding the best security systems.

Weight Limit

One of the things to consider before buying a cargo box is the weight limit. Ensure the cargo box is not too heavy for your car to carry.

Many people think they can put whatever amount in their box without worrying about breaking it because an advertised limit says 165 pounds max.

On average, many medium and large cargo boxes are designed with a maximum weight capacity of about 150 – 165 pounds. Please do not attempt to overload your stuff in the box. It will impact its stability on the crossbars.

Always check the manufacturer’s manual if you’re unsure how much weight your cargo box can hold.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cargo boxes.

Will A Cargo Box Keep My Stuff Dry?

A cargo box is an excellent option for keeping your content from the elements, but it’s not rated as watertight. The water (rain) still possibly seeps into the edges where the top and bottom halves of the cargo box meet.

Which Company Made The Best, Highest Quality Cargo Box For My Subaru Forester?

Thule is probably the best company to make cargo boxes, producing high-quality cargo boxes with many features. The Yakima, INNO, and Rhino-Rack are also excellent choices.

Our Verdict – Best Cargo Box for Subaru Forester

The SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box is our top choice for a cargo box for the Subaru Forester because it offers ample space and durability. It’s also easy to install, so you can get on the road in no time.

In conclusion, the price is just the right point where most people can afford it without breaking their bank accounts. If you are looking for a high-quality rooftop luggage solution, any Thule cargo box will do a great job.

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