Gear: Thule Sonic Alpine
By Everett Potter
The surest sign that someone in my town embraces winter (rather than hibernates with the third series of House of Cards) is a Thule cargo box perched atop their car. The iconic sleek black box pretty much says “Bring it on” to winter. Clearly, that dare has been heard loud and clear across the Northeast this year.
Apart from being a smart way to pack your alpine and cross country skis and poles and remove them from roadside elements, it’s also pretty stylish accessory. This was as serious a winter as any snow lover could want so it was a good time to test out Thule’s new Sonic Alpine cargo box. Thule is especially proud of this new design, featuring as it does the AeroNose Design, which they claim “reduces drag and noise making it the most aerodynamic box available.”
Frankly, on a 700 mile round-trip jaunt from New York to Bretton Woods in northern New Hampshire, I forgot it was on the roof, even laden with skis, helmets and a couple of stuff sacks. Well, apart from marginally worse gas mileage. But that seemed to be a small price to pay for the sheer convenience of not having all that gear jammed into our Toyota. Better yet, the Sonic Alpine also fits many factory installed racks, such as mine, omitting the need to buy Thule’s rack system. That’s a decent good savings right there.
For something that is quite lightweight, it has cool features that are both sturdy and clever. Like the ability to open it from either side, thanks to the patented DualSide system. That means easy access when you’re filling it with skis. The box has an AcuTight system, so once it’s positioned, you just turn four dial locks in the box to mount it to the bars. Lock the box from the outside and you’re done. Thule calls it the One-Key system.
One more thing: if you’re able to lock it, you’ve packed well. If you overstuff it, you can’t lock it, so take something out. There’s no arguing with a Thule.
The Sonic Alpine retails for $599.95