Thule Evo Clamp vs Rapid Traverse

In Gear by Tanner V.

Thule Evo Clamp

Newest Naked Roof Tower

Thule EVO Clamp Feature Image

See Latest Price

Thule Rapid Traverse

Soon to Be Discontinued

Thule Rapid Traverse feature image

See Latest Price
About the Author
Hi Everyone! My name is Tanner, and I am the founder of I started this website as an outlet to pursue my hobby of kayaking, camping, and exploring the world at large. Every post here is written and curated by me so stop-in, have a read, leave a comment, and most importantly, get going on your next adventure!

So you have decided that one of Thule's crossbars are the right product for your vehicle, but the task is not done. Crossbars required towers or feet to connect the actual bar to the roof of your vehicle. For those with Naked or Bare Roofs also defined as roofs without pre-fixed position install points or factory roof rails, the choice is between Thule's Evo Clamp or Rapid Traverse.

The differences are surprisingly small between the two Thule products. In fact, people emailed us so many questions regarding these two products that we decided to do this article.

30 Second Summary: Thule Evo Clamp vs Rapid Traverse

We are going to wrap this article quickly because there really is not much to it. Thule created the EVO Clamp to replace the Rapid Traverse. What customers are experiencing is the overlap period between the old model tower (Rapid Traverse) and new model tower (Evo Clamp). Thule is currently only making new Fit Kits for the Evo Clamp and will discontinue the Rapid Traverse once demand slows down.

Consumers are NOT faced with the choice of either the Evo Clamp or the Rapid Traverse because only one Fit Kit/Tower combination works for each model car. Just choose the one that fits your vehicle and done.

Thule EVO Clamp Review


Thule Rapid Traverse Review

Thule EVO Clamp
Thule Rapid Traverse
Overall Score
Superior bracket design, faster deployment, more colors, longer lengths Key Difference More Budget friendly, smaller & lighter for smaller boats
Sold Separately Locks Sold Separately
165 lbs. Weight Capacity 165 lbs.
WingBar, AeroBlade, SquareBar, & ProBar Crossbar Compatibility WingBar, AeroBlade, SquareBar, & ProBar

Key Information to Know

Thule doesn't exactly make it easy to understand what is necessary to install an actual roof rack system. You must purchase three separate components!

  1. A crossbar that will support the load like the Thule Wingbar or SquareBar
  2. A Tower that connects the crossbar to the car such as the Evo Clamp or Rapid Traverse
  3. A Fit Kit consisting of a bracket and a pad to fit the tower perfectly to the shape of your vehicle.

Lack any of these components and your roof rack won't work!

Related Reading: Roof Rails vs Roof Rack

Tower Shape

Thule marginally improved the aerodynamics of the Evo Clamp. The shorter, rounder body of the Evo Clamps reduces the noise generated disturbances in air flow. However, we doubt most people would notice the differences between the two in a double-blind test. The Evo Clamp nudges out the Rapid Traverse, but only narrowly.

Clamp Tightening

The Rapid Traverse received some acclaim at launch for Thule's inclusion of a green strip to indicate when the clamp was tightened appropriately. The invention prevented vehicles' surprisingly fragile roof from being dented during install. Other manufacturers took note and now clamp torque indicators are an industry standard.

Thule parted ways with the green indicator with the Evo Clamp's tightener. The Evo Clamp clicks twice like many car's gas cap when sufficient torque is achieved. Not really a pro or a con from the customer point of view, but it a necessary change point when converting to the Evo's smaller body size.

Related Reading: Thule WingBar vs AeroBlade

Locks Sold Separately

Nothing angers audiences more than a product photo that is different than what shows up at your door. It's like agreeing to a blind date based on a photo from 10 years ago! The culprit in this case are Thule's One Lock System.

Many photos around the Internet show the Evo Clamp and Rapid Traverse with the One Lock System already installed but this is NOT the case. The One Lock System is sold separately so don't forget to order them!

Measure Before You Buy

The Internet is riddled with 1/5 star reviews because people don't take the time to ensure what they are buying fits their needs. Don't be this person and do the measuring up front. Remember measure twice and buy once or else deal with shipping and customer service!'s fit guide is regarded as being accurate so start there. Once you enter your vehicle information, it will spit out the exact sizings you need to purchase. I am begging you to not stop here though. Take those product sizing and physically take a tape measure to your car or check other website confirm all sizing match up!

Related Reading: Thule SquareBar vsWingBar

Final Thoughts

The Evo Clamp and Rapid Traverse are two incredibly similar products. The Evo Clamp is phasing out the older Rapid Traverse by way of Fit Kits. Customer's don't have to make a decision between the two because either the Evo Clamp or the Rapid Traverse will fit your car. Choose the one that fits!

But you can rest assured, that you have purchased a quality product. Thule roof racks often outlive the life of the vehicle so expect your purchase to be there for years to come.