Best Cargo Box For Subaru Outback [2023 Buyers Guide]

The Subaru Outback is known for its versatility and ruggedness. It’s also a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts who must transport their gear on the weekends or travel across the country.

But are you constantly inconvenienced by the lack of cargo space in your Subaru Outback? 

Your car has plenty of space for storage, but when you bring along the family dog or any other large item like skis and snowboards, it seems there isn’t enough room left over.

A perfect solution would be installing a cargo box on the rooftop to hold some of your stuff.

If you’re looking for one, I recommend the Thule Motion XT (XL) Rooftop Cargo Carrier as the best cargo box for Subaru Outback on the market.

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This review will help you get started by looking at three of our favorite cargo box brands: Thule, Yakima, and Goplus. We’ll look at their pros and cons, as well as some helpful tips on how to find the best cargo box for your Subaru Outback.

Let’s get into it!

4 Best Cargo Box For Subaru Outback Reviewed

Here is our list of which cargo boxes we think are the best for Subaru Outback.

Best Overall Cargo Box: Thule Motion XT (XL) Rooftop Cargo Carrier


  • Capacity: 18 cu ft
  • Opening: Dual-sided opening
  • Weight Limit: 165 lbs
  • Dimensions: 84.5 x 36 x 17 inches
  • Item Weight: 46 lbs

If you’re looking for a sleek design, spacious, easy-to-install, and durable cargo box, this Thule Motion XT cargo box by Thule is the best for Subaru Outback.

Regardless of which model and generation Subaru Outback you’re driving, this cargo box will blend in easily with your car.

It measures 84.5-inch long by 36 wide by 17 inches high. It’ll hold larger items like suitcases with ease and a couple of pairs of adult-size skis and snowboards. The maximum capacity of the cargo box is 165 lbs.

The cargo box is made from durable, impact-resistant ABS plastic material that will serve you last longer. TIn addition, the innovative quick-mount system allows you to secure the cargo box without using any tool. 

This dual-side opening makes it easy to load and unload, but the cover flexes a bit. It can be difficult to get open when you close the lid. Just make sure all latches are engaged, and you’ll be fine.

The Thule Motion XT Cargo box has a lifetime warranty to give you complete peace of mind.

Most Aerodynamic: Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, Large


  • Capacity: 16 cu ft
  • Opening: Dual-sided opening
  • Weight Limit: 165 lbs
  • Dimensions: 74.75 x 33 x 18 inches
  • Item Weight: 41.23 lbs

At first glance, the Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box looks identical to Thule Motion XT. The notable difference is the AeroSkin finish of the Force XT and the gloss finish of the Motion XT.

Another feature of the Thule Force XT is it has a lock knob system that engages the linkage.

This 16 cu ft cargo box is a little bulkier at the back to accommodate taller gears towards the back of the box. It doesn’t interfere with the rear antenna when the rear hatch is fully open. The front aerodynamic design will reduce wind resistance and improve gas mileage.

The Thule Force XT is an excellent option for all your storage needs. It can store up to seven pairs of skis or snowboards, and its dual-sided lockable compartment ensures safety and security.

Thule Force XT will allow you to open from both sides. It’s so easy to access; however, some owners complain that closing is not easy. You must put it all together and close it properly to make it work.

The Thule Force XT is a great alternative to the Motion XT if you’re looking for something cheaper and can still hold up a lot of travel gear.

Best Cargo Box For Outdoor Trips: Goplus Cargo Box


  • Capacity: 14 cu ft
  • Opening: Dual-sided opening
  • Weight Limit: 165 lbs
  • Dimensions: 63 x 31 x 15 inches
  • Item Weight: 25 lbs

If you don’t ski and looking for some extra room for your suitcases, small bags, or camping gear, the 14 cu ft Cargo Box by Goplus is a perfect choice.

It weighs about 25 pounds, is lightweight, has a dual-sided opening, and is easy to handle by one person, even seniors.

The cargo box measures 63-inch long by 31 wide by 15 inches high. It’s a low-profile box, and going in and out of your garage shouldn’t be a problem. In addition, the box is equipped with four quick connect anchors for easy installation.

The carrier is durable ABS material that protects your items from all elements. The robust cargo box design allows you to pack all your stuff to a maximum capacity of 165 pounds

To improve its security feature, the Goplus Cargo Box has a double-lock mechanism that allows your key to be removed after the cover is fully closed and locked.

The Goplus Cargo Box comes with three different color options. If your Subaru Outback is Crystal White Pearl, the white cargo box could be a perfect match.

However, one owner reported that it changed to yellowish because of sunlight exposure over time.

How To Choose The Best Cargo Box For Your Subaru Outback

There are several reasons to consider buying a cargo box for your Subaru Outback. Many consider purchasing one for the extra space they provide. Here are four factors you need to consider before buying one.

Cargo Box Capacity

Cargo boxes come in various sizes, and the most available on the market are 8, 12, 16, 18, and 22 cubic feet. If you have a growing family with 2-3 kids, getting the very large one, like the 18 cu ft, makes sense, and the 22 cu ft is probably not fit with the Subaru Outback.

I would opt for an 18 cu ft capacity because these boxes can hold suitcases or duffels without difficulty, as well as camping gears, fishing gears, skis, or snowboards that you might bring along. However, the 16 cu ft cargo is perfectly fine for most people.

If you’re going on ski trips, measure the length and width of your skis to get an idea of what cargo box dimensions will work best.

Large boxes can have big negatives as well. One of the issues with a large car box is that it can be challenging to store. Another point is, of course, the pricing is a tad expensive.

The Ability To Open The Rear Hatch

One of the factors you must consider when choosing the cargo box for Subaru Outback is to make sure the cargo box size allows the hatch to open fully. If the cargo box is too long, it can impact the ability to open the rear hatch.

The Thule Motion XT and Thule Force XT are 18 cu ft cargo boxes and well-sized for the Subaru Outback. Even though the rear hatch is fully open, there are still a couple of inches of clearance for the hatch and shark fin antenna.  

Choose A Low Profile Cargo Carrier

The height of your garage clearance should be an important factor in choosing the correct cargo box size for you. Make sure you get one with low-profile dimensions, so it will fit under a garage without scraping against its top. 

In addition, the low-profile cargo box will improve the aerodynamics of your car and less drag while still giving you enough space for carrying all your gear.

How Does It Impact Your Gas Mileage?

The weight and drag of your cargo box can significantly impact your gas mileage. If you’re driving around with a cargo box, you might get around a 2mpg loss. So, expect to get a little less gas mileage than usual.

The aerodynamic design of the cargo box can help to reduce wind resistance and improve gas mileage. 

See also Best Kayak Rack For Subaru Outback.


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

What size cargo box for a growing family?

The Thule Motion XT (XL) is a popular choice for families with four adults, as it allows full tailgate opening and can hold reasonable amounts of luggage.

Do I need to buy extra locks to avoid theft?

All the cargo boxes we recommended in our post come with locks. You won’t have to buy extra ones.

What size of cargo box can fit my 180 cm skis?

The Thule Motion XT (XL) cargo box is the right size for your skis or similar-sized snowboards. Please check out the 22 cu ft version if you have something larger than this.

What is the best crossbar for Subaru Outback Cargo Box?

Here, we have covered more details about the best roof rack for Subaru Outback. But if you want a quick answer, we recommend Thule Wingbar Evo Crossbars as the best one.

Our Verdict

If you’ve ever felt like your Subaru Outback has insufficient storage space, it might be time to give in and purchase a cargo box. The Motion XT (XL) is our favorite because it can easily hold large items like suitcases and a couple of pairs of adult-size skis and snowboards.

If an 18 cu ft cargo box is too big for your needs, we recommend looking into Thule Force XT or Yakima Rocketbox. 

We hope this article will help you find the perfect cargo box for your Subaru Outback.

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