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Haul More Gear: Thule Launches ‘Caprock’ Roof Platform

Thule stakes its claim as a major contender in the overlanding, off-roading, and family camping world with the introduction of the Caprock roof platform series.

Thule Caprock(Photo/Thule)
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While Thule isn’t the first brand to introduce a roof platform, it may well be the most highly anticipated. The Swedish outdoor and vehicle gear outfitter boasts some of the most rigorous test standards on the planet.

So one would expect that translates to a platform capable of handling all your adventure gear, free from worry for miles of mud and ruts on the trail.

A roof platform requires a fair investment, but if you’re someone who has a lot of gear up there or is using a rooftop tent (RTT), you may want to consider the Caprock for your next big adventure.

The Need for Roof Platforms

The world of aftermarket roof racks is forever changing to adapt to our needs and the limitations of today’s automobiles. For a while, rack weight limits went down while user demands for roof rack capacities went up.

The growing popularity of RTTs tipped the scales, and (speaking as a former rack engineer) there aren’t many passenger vehicles that can handle the weight and strain of an RTT, statically or dynamically. 

The best way to fix that problem was to find a way to distribute the weight put on both factory and aftermarket racks. That solution arrived in the form of a roof platform, something that has been used around the world for decades but wasn’t much sought-after here in the United States.

Heck, it could be said that only the real diehards, folks who built up their Landcruisers and Wranglers, were the ones using platforms up until brands like Yakima, Rhino-Rack, and now Thule saw a need for them in the North American marketplace. 

By adding platforms to their product offerings, these brands opened up a world of possibilities for anyone driving a passenger vehicle with a roof or truck bed rack.

In the case of Thule, adding the Caprock series to its lineup supports the focus it has placed on its brand of Thule RTTs.

Thule Caprock

Thule Caprock Roof

When it becomes available in May, Thule’s Caprock will offer five rooftop sizes (S-XXL) that will range in price from $900 to $1,100, respectively. The S-XXL platforms are designed to fit Thule’s current rack assortment and will have a capacity of 165 to 220 pounds, depending on which Thule rack system your vehicle requires. 

If you’re buying a fresh Thule rack system, there won’t be a need to buy load bars, as the feet slide in the Caprack directly. If you’re adding a platform to an existing Thule rack, you may need to remove the load bars from the feet, or you’ll need to purchase a Crossbar Kit ($170). 

Unfortunately, folks with naked roofs that require Thule’s Clamp Evo system will not be able to use a platform at this time.

Additionally, there’s no word if the Caprock is rated to use Thule’s Traverse or Rapid Traverse systems or its predecessor, the Aero for Rapid Aero systems.

Caprock Rooftop Sizes

  • S: 59” L x 52.4” W
  • M: 59” L x 59” W
  • L: 74.8” L x 59” W
  • XL: 59” L x 64” W
  • XXL: 82.7” L x 65” W

Finally, there is also a specific mounting kit ($60) required to adapt the Caprock to Thule’s Xsporter Pro series bar.

There will also be two truck-specific sizes available: TB Short (Price TBD) for trucks like the short-bed Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma and TB Long ($1,100) for pickup trucks with 6-foot or 8-foot beds.

These have been designed to fit on Thule’s Xsporter Pro series of racks and will have a capacity of 200 to 330 pounds, depending on the model you have or require.

Caprock Truck Bed Sizes:

  • TB Short: 59” L x 75” W
  • TB Long: 74.8” L x 75” W

Pro Tip: Always check Thule’s vehicle-specific fit guide to confirm fitment before diving in and buying the Caprock. These systems are an investment from any brand you buy them from. Shooting from the hip could cost you a lot of clams. If all else fails, call Thule directly.

Design and Build

Thule Caprock Car Roof

The Caprock’s frame is covered in t-slots to accept a series of accessories. Additionally, each crossbar, of which there could be five or six depending on the size platform you choose, is slotted for the same adaptability.

This means that pretty much everything in Thule’s rooftop product assortment will mount to the Caprock. But it also opens up the possibilities for all of the other aftermarket roof rack accessories out there as well.

Aside from a sleek, black, on-brand look, Thule opted to add a fairing that mounts to the front of the Caprock. I’ve been involved in hours upon hours of testing in wind tunnels and testing bays around the world, and I know Thule has long tried to eliminate drag and rack sound.

This fairing serves that purpose and should limit its impact on your MPGs (or EV hours). 

Thule will also offer Railing Kits that will allow you to convert your platform into a basket. Each kit corresponds to its platform size and ranges in price from $350-470.

Like all of the other platforms on the market, the Caprock will come completely disassembled. But Thule has provided a well-thought-out instructional video to get you through it.

Speaking from experience, building and mounting a roof platform can lead you to crush a four-pack of the dankest IPA in town just to alleviate the stress. Watch this video. Call a buddy to help.

Overall, though, this build looks easier than competing platform builds.

Final Thoughts

Thule Caprock Car Roof

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen something substantial come out of the Thule world in terms of rooftop awesomeness. Over the last few years, they launched an entirely new line of base racks, something that’s never been done before. But the fanfare for those products was stymied by COVID. You could even say that Thule started to feel more like a backpack and stroller brand for a little while there. That said, as someone who worked on their product development team for almost a decade, I can promise you that the wheels of innovation are always turning here in the United States and Sweden.

From both professional and personal experience, I can tell you that a platform is a necessity for anyone getting into off-roading, overlanding, and even camping with the family. You’re not going to fit all your gear in the vehicle with you — so it’s a given that it’s all going up on the roof. 

I don’t own an RTT, but I do have about everything else you can think of putting on a roof on my 4Runner and having a platform is a godsend. If you own an RTT, you owe it to your vehicle to put it on a platform. If not, please add a third bar to help with weight distribution.

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like Thule read the room in terms of pros, cons, and pain points regarding platforms already on the market. Thule claims to have put considerable thought into the Caprock series.

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