The Best Mazda 3 Roof Racks for Skis, Bikes, Kayaks, and Boxes
The Mazda 3 is one of the most popular cars in the world, especially for people who like to use their cars to get out on an adventure.
Since Mazda3 owners are often the type to head out cycling, kayaking, camping, skiing, or any other activity outside, we’re constantly asked for advice on the best way to carry your gear on one. Below you will find all the answers you need to get the best possible roof rack on to your Mazda.
What is the Best Base Roof Rack for a Mazda3?
There are a lot of roof racks which will work with your Mazda, but for this vehicle the only ones we like to recommend come from Thule. In addition to being the best looking rack for your car, Thule makes use of the fixed mounting points Mazda has built into your vehicle.
If you look closely at the black stripes running front to back on your roof, you will see that there is a little port hole where you can attach the rack mounting hardware.
After adding the Thule Podium fit kit into that hole, the rack mounts to that spot for a solid, clean, fit able to carry just about anything (long loads may interfere with the ability to open the rear hatch).
There are three different Thule racks you can choose from:
The 460 Podium with a Square bar.
The 460 Podium with a Rapid Aero Bar.
The AeroBlade Edge (in black or silver).
You can see the difference between the three racks above. The Edge racks reduce to total amount of usable bar space, but for those of you who aren’t trying to fit as much as possible on your roof, these can give your car a more ‘factory’ look, without sacrificing any other performance.
To find the exact fit for your car, use the Rack Attack fit guide:
Once you have a roof rack, you can then add accessories to carry your gear.
What is the Best Bike Rack for a Mazda3?
The first question you need to answer is if you want to put your bikes on the roof, or behind your car on a hitch. The Mazda3 can have a Class 1 (1 ¼”) hitch added easily which will allow you to carry up to two bikes on a rear-mounted bike rack. If you have heavy bikes, or already have your roof filled up with other gear, this may be the best option for you.
Alternatively, you can use your base roof rack to add any standard bike racks to carry up to four bikes on your roof (only three if you choose the AeroBlade Edge rack). While any of the standard bike racks would work, we suggest sticking with Thule (to keep all of your locks keyed the same) and choosing one of the following racks, depending on if you would rather keep your front tire on, or off.
The Thule 594XT Sidearm allows for quick rooftop loading while accommodating most bikes regardless of frame design, suspension, or wheel size. The Sidearm mounts to Thule, Yakima and most factory cross bars. Requires two lock cores, sold separately.
The Thule 599XTR Big Mouth bike racks are well designed with an easy to reach adjustment lever. The Thule 599xtr Big Mouth holds bikes with oversized down tubes safely in an upright position without having to remove the front wheel.
The Thule 528 Sprint Fork Mount Carrier combines security and convenience with patented assurance technologies, making it the most complete fork mount carrier on the market. Fits most disc brake and suspension combinations with standard 9mm axles.
The Thule 527 Paceline Fork Mount Carrier's one handed closure system allows you to load and unload your bike with one hand. The Paceline will fit most racks on the market.
Transport your bicycle quickly and safely with the Thule 516 Prologue, a lockable fork mount bike carrier. The Thule 516 Prologue is the ultimate value in fork mounts, yet still delivers style, sleekness, and most importantly security.
Of course if your Mazda has become the default shuttle car for you and all your buddies, you could combine both systems to carry as many as six bikes up the hill.
What is the Best Ski Rack for my Mazda3?
The Thule Flat Top 6 is one of the best ski racks in the world. This rack will fit seamlessly on your Thule roof rack (or other factory/third party brands can use this rack, sometimes requiring an adapter) and will carry up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards.
To be entirely honest, the best ski rack for a Mazda3 is the Thule Flat Top 6. If you only ever want to carry snowboards, and you need to save room on your rack for something else, like a cargo box, Thule sells a rack built for carrying two snowboards at an angle, freeing up that space on your bars.
The Thule 92725 Universal Flat Top 6 is a fully locking premium rooftop ski & snowboard carrier that provides ultra-soft rubber arms and oversized buttons for maximum protection and easy access. New Speedlink hardware mounts fast and secure.
What is the Best Cargo Box for a Mazda3?
When it comes to carrying a luggage box on your roof, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to have a roof rack before you can put any ski box or cargo box on your vehicle’s roof. After you have the rack installed, a cargo box may be added to carry your gear.
The best choice for a Mazda3 roof box is either the Thule Sonic XL, or the Hyper XL. Not only will these carriers work out of the box on your rack, they're large enough to carry just about anything, including skis, and won’t interfere with the opening of your rear hatch.
The Thule Sonic Box combines efficiency with style. It's designed for those looking for an aerodynamic box with a wide variety of sizes and convenience options. The Thule 635B Sonic XL Black has a 17 cu.ft. cargo capacity.
The Thule Sonic Box combines efficiency with style. It's designed for those looking for an aerodynamic box with a wide variety of sizes and convenience options. The Thule 635S Sonic XL Silver has a 17 cu.ft. cargo capacity.
The new Thule 612 Hyper XL cargo box offers luxurious space with outstanding quality, security and ultra-conveniences. The Thule 612 Hyper XL is the perfect combination of style, protection and quality.
There are many other cargo boxes you can choose from, just beware that not all boxes will mount to the 25” bar spread required by a Mazda3 rack. This means some boxes may need to be modified slightly. More importantly you need to make sure any box you choose won’t prohibit you from opening the rear hatch.
What is the Best Mazda3 Kayak Rack?
With the low height of a Mazda3, the best kayak rack for putting a single boat on your car is probably just the most basic Thule kayak rack available: the Top Deck.
The Thule 881 Top Deck kayak rack offers a great alternative to full featured kayak saddles. The Thule 881 Top Deck is a complete kayak carrier system that includes everything needed to transport a kayak safely and securely - at an economical price.
If you need to reduce the amount of space your kayak takes up on the roof (so you can fit more gear or another boat beside it) you can go with a ‘J’ style carrier, such as the Thule Hull-a-port. (Note, the product below is the Hull-a-port Aero. This rack folds down when not in use. The standard, non-folding, Hull-a-port is also available for $50 less.)
The Thule 838 Hull-a-Port Aero is a premium vertical kayak carrier that folds down with one hand for aerodynamic efficiency and has universal roof rack system compatibility. Fits Thule square bars, round bars, and most factory racks out of the box.
That’s basically it. Please note that most all Yakima products will work with the Mazda3, and it’s only the base rack where Thule holds a distinct advantage with this car. The only reason for suggesting nothing but Thule for this car is in the interest of keeping all of your rack items within the same brand. This ensures compatibility, and gives you the great convenience of using one key for all of your racks.
If you have any questions at all, contact us.