What is the Difference Between Curt Roof Rack Crossbars and Thule Roof Rack with Evo Raised Feet?

Question:

These seem to have all the good qualities Im looking for to mainly haul our two kayaks, and sometimes 13foot canoe. But at only half the price of many of the others. What am I missing if I order these?

1

Helpful Expert Reply:

I wouldn't say that you're missing anything; the Curt Roof Rack for Raised Side Rails # C18118 are a solid, low cost roof rack option that looks great. When you look at them compared to something like the Thule Roof Rack with Evo Raised Rail Feet # TH711220 and # TH710401 the differences are extremely subtle and may not matter to a lot of consumers. Curt is primarily a company known for making trailer hitches and towing products, so roof racks aren't exactly their specialty. When it comes down to it, you're paying for the ease of use, quality, design expertise and the reputation that comes along with Thule-who manufacture vehicle cargo solutions specifically.

When it comes down to what is different between the two systems, the Thule bars are going to be more aerodynamic, which translates to less wind noise. Most people will add a wind fairing like the # RRRF3 to help reduce the noise encountered at highway speeds, and from what I've heard the Curt bars are going to create a bit more noise. Additionally, and this is the biggest difference, the Curt bars do not have the T-slot mounting channels on the tops of their bars to allow for channel mounted accessories; this may not be a big deal for some people who aren't concerned with using the channel mounts, but some people prefer this method of mounting accessories. The main benefit to channel mounting accessories is that they're easier to take on and off, so they're great for people who also carry bikes, snowboards/skis, etc. and might be changing them up frequently.

If this rack is something that you'll mainly use for carrying kayaks, and you may not keep it on 100% of the time, the Curt roof rack is a good choice. If you're looking for something that you can leave on permanently and want to be able to easily switch between carrying kayaks and other sports gear, the Thule is going to be the best choice.

If you're in need of a kayak carrier, I recommend having a look at the Malone DownLoader # MPG114MD. This provides a great solution to help make loading your kayaks a bit easier at a great price point. The DownLoader is a side loading J style carrier which have built-in boarding ramps help to load a kayak from the side of your vehicle. The DownLoader will work on either of the roof rack systems mentioned above and can carry kayaks up to 75-lbs.

If you're looking for a carrier that mounts in the T-slots, have a look at the Thule Hull-a-port # TH849000. It's going to be very similar to the DownLoader, but it's a little bit easier to get the kayaks on board with the lower lip on the carrier.

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helpful expert reply by:
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Erik B

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