I’ve been road tripping for most of my life. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in the way, way back of my parents’ wood-paneled station wagon with my sister, making silly faces at the drivers behind us as we headed from Boston to Chicago. Eating powdered donuts, listening to music, and watching the varying landscapes whizz by, our annual road trip to the Midwest left a lasting impression. Now that I’ve got a family of my own, I’m still just as gung-ho when it comes to traveling by car. No security lines and no rigid departure times mean that we can create our own schedule, which is waaay easier when you’ve got four kids (which I happen to have).
But when you’re packing for a road trip, you know what happens? You lose your damn mind. Because when you’re not limited to one carry-on suitcase or fearing the dreaded luggage fees, suddenly the world is your oyster and you need to bring errrythang. True story: I’ve thrown nearly my entire pantry into the trunk of my SUV, in addition to sleeves of diapers, flashlights, boxes of batteries, sleeping bags, a first aid kit, beach chairs and much more. At one point I frantically yelled to my husband, “Should we bring their scooters?!” He said yes … which meant also packing three helmets and three sets of elbow and knee pads. (FYI: No one scooted on that trip.)
While my vehicle technically has the capacity for all this s**t, it was crammed so tightly into the small space behind our third row that if I dared to open the lift gate, it would all spill out. We were a total disorganized freaking mess. That is, until the Thule rooftop cargo carrier entered our lives. Cue: angels singing and clouds parting.
Literally, that's how it felt when we put the pod on top of our car and started filling ‘er up. I had seen these carriers for a while but assumed they were for, ya know, outdoorsy people who were skiing and surfing and hiking. And sure, the Thule Motion XT can certainly hold skis and surf boards and the like, but it’s also just as helpful for holding all my aforementioned s**t. The first time we took off for the weekend with the Thule on top of our car, we were assuming it would hold some of our cargo and we’d have to store the rest behind the third row. Nope. It held everything! Suitcases, groceries, a pack’n’play, one kid-sized bicycle, and a whole lot more. The Thule pod is totally deceiving when it comes to capacity — let's remember its got length, width, and depth to work with! (Fact: It can hold seven pairs of skis or five snowboards at once.) Suddenly we were traveling with a tidy car that wasn’t packed to the gills with paraphernalia, and you know what happened? We were way less stressed out. Seriously.
What else is good about it? For one, it’s a great space to contain your dirty stuff. Whether you’ve got a stroller with filthy wheels, muddy golf clubs, sandy beach gear, or snowy boots, you can throw it all in the Thule pod and wipe it down when you’re done (or vaccum it out) without ever contaminating your car with that mess.
But that can really be said of any car pod. What makes Thule’s so much… better? I really appreciate how stylish and sleek the Motion XT is. Yes, I realize that has little to do with functionality, but IMO, it’s equally important. We’re spending a fortune on our cars these days, so why would we throw some ugly pod on top of it? This one is smooth and glossy, just like my car paint, which I love.
OK, to recap, we know that it stores a lot and looks pretty, but are you wondering how the hell you get it on top of your car? Not gonna lie, it’s awkward, and depending on which size you buy, it might be a two-person process. This is simply because the carrier is cumbersome and you don’t want to scratch your car. Once you lug it up there, however, the rest is gravy thanks to Thule’s “power click” system that mounts the pod quickly, even emitting a loud “click” sound when you’ve securely attached to your cross bars. After reading the directions we thought this would be more complicated, but once we lifted the pod onto the bars we almost immediately heard the click. The whole process took under five minutes.
Next on my list of “pros”: The pod is super easy to open … yes, even when you’re standing on your car door ledge in the rain. Specifically, I love that you can open it from either side of the car. This is handy when you’re in a tight space (or you parked next to a dumpster, like I did one time!). The gripped handles and the hinges that keep the pod open are also helpful, and the locking system is about intuitive as it gets.
Lastly, the Motion XT’s forward position on the roof means you can safely open your lift gate, access your trunk, and use your sunroof without any disruption (and it doesn’t hang over the windshield!). And this sucker is durable AF, too, so if you’re sweating the cost, I promise it will have paid for itself when you’re still using it a decade from now. Silver lining: At least you know you’re paying for the absolute best rooftop pod on the market, right? Regardless of whether you’re an Olympic skier or a suburban mom of four, the utility and quality of this pod is undeniable. Anyone with a car needs one! Aaand, this would be a perfect Christmas gift for any loved one who loves them a road trip.
Thule Motion XT/L Cargo Box
Thule Motion XT/XL Cargo Box
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