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We test Thule's collapsible and easily stored Ranger 500 roof box for transporting gear, skis and snowboards to the slopes, and then folds away for easy off-the-car storage
thule ranger 500 collapsible roof box
Overall Score
Fold doesn't compromise quality
Doesn't have Thule's fantastic PowerClick mounting system

Skis and snowboards don't fit well in cars, with the only other option mounting them in full view on a roof rack or inside a bulky roof box which then takes up half your garage or shed when not needed.

Thule produces several excellent Roof boxes that will do the job in style but the beauty of the Ranger is that after your trip it's a cinch to store itself, the semi-rigid box folding down to the size of a 190cm x 30 x 30cm tube.

Weighing 11kg empty, and giving you 260 litres of storage from a 190 x 50 x 30cm box, the Ranger can take up to four pairs of skis on its included internal carriers and then be stuffed with gear, which its tough waterproof outer, welded seams and lockable sealed zip will keep safe and dry.

The lid has expansion zips for extra storage - and in fact the Ranger works better with its top slightly supported or bulging, as otherwise the top tends to sag and fill with water, which could conceivably find its way inside. I practice we didn't find any water getting in, even after being driven around on the car empty in the rain for several days. No doubt this is thanks to the Ranger's robust water-proof, shielded and lockable zip.

Installation and folding away is easy with practice with the Ranger held onto any roof bar by stainless steel D bolts which secure with a push and twist clamp on the inside of the box. Although clever and not as fiddly as wingnut style srew-down fixings as found on most other makes of roof boxes, this is still much more fiddly than Thule's excellent PowerClick fixing system, as found on even its cheapest roof boxes.

Otherwise, the Thule Ranger is a clever and versatile roof box that can be used all winter and summer - where its narrower dimensions mean it will easily fit next to surfboards, kayaks, bikes and other outdoor toys - and then folded away and stashed in a corner or under a bed.

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