You understand how vital cargo space is if you’ve ever taken a road trip or driven to a vacation destination. Unfortunately, even if you have a large SUV or minivan, there isn’t always enough room for your belongings, especially if you’re traveling with others. So rather than cramming your belongings into the backseat, consider investing in a car roof carrier. These space-makers provide you with the storage space you require to bring more than just the necessities on your next trip.
There are several factors to consider when looking for the best rooftop storage solution. First, it’s critical to think about all of your options, including your vehicle’s dynamic weight limit the presence of certain accessories, such as a cargo roof rack and fuel economy. This article highlights your best options for selecting a suitable carrier to haul your gear.
Types of Rooftop Cargo Carrier
A box is what most people envision when they think of a cargo ship. These are hard-sided, often heavy, and secure containers, also known as rocket boxes. They provide the most protection for your gear by enclosing it in an enclosed shell and keeping it out of the elements. Many of them have lockable lids as well as rack/bar attachments. A box may require some fiddling to get onto the roof of your car, but once there, it’s simple to use, requiring no tying of ropes or cinching of straps to keep your belongings from flying away.
The disadvantages are that, despite reasonably aerodynamic designs, boxes will stick out into the wind, reducing your gas mileage and increasing noise levels due to increased drag. They are also the most expensive of all-cargo carriers.
Consider a soft-sided carrier if your vehicle lacks a roof rack and you can’t justify modifying it to accommodate one, or if it does, but you want to keep things simple. These are attached to the very top of your roof with straps that either attach to mounting points on your rack or loop through your windows. Soft-sided bags are typically lighter, easier to store, and versatile enough to accommodate bulky or irregularly shaped items. The disadvantages include:
- Faster wear.
- Damage to the window weather stripping over time.
- A greater chance of scratching your car’s paint.
In addition, when stuffed, they become pretty blocky, presenting a broad, drag-increasing surface to the wind.
To put it simply, these are large metal baskets. As a result, they expose your gear to rain, sun, and wind, making them better for transport but less suitable for all-weather storage. Baskets also necessitate the use of cam straps or, at the very least, a rope to secure whatever you carry in them. However, they are more aerodynamic and are less likely to reduce your miles per gallon because they lack solid bodies. Furthermore, the low profiles mean they’re more likely to fit into a garage without needing to be removed once unloaded. Baskets are also more durable and less expensive than boxes. Furthermore, the low profiles mean they’re more likely to fit into a garage without needing to be removed once unloaded. Baskets are also more durable and less expensive than boxes.
Best Overall: Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box
Hundreds of Amazon customers have agreed that this Thule car roof carrier is one of the best options available. It provides 22 cubic feet of additional storage space and has a clean aerodynamic design that is built to last. In addition, it will protect your belongings in all weather conditions, open on both sides for added convenience, and come with a quick-mount system that customers say is extremely simple to install.
Best Hard-shell Option: Jegs Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Because of its sleek and spacious design, this Jegs rooftop carrier is the best-selling hard-shell carrier. The sturdy plastic shell is straightforward to install, holds up to 110 pounds of stuff at a time, and provides 18 cubic feet of extra storage space. It has three clips to keep it closed on the road (one on each side and one in the front) and a lock in the back to keep it secure.
Best Roof Bag: RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier
RoofBag’s roof carrier is made of heavy-duty tear-proof material with a waterproof coating and thick, durable straps that fit most standard-sized cars. In addition, the lightweight bag includes a carrying case and a slip-resistant mat to protect your car’s roof. Even better, it consists of a two-year warranty.
Most Affordable Option: Roofmaster Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Roofmaster’s roof carrier is the most affordable option at $90, but hundreds of customers say it’s just as good as its more expensive counterparts. Soft-shell carrier provides “five times the wear resistance and strength” as PVC, says brand. It includes a protective mat and can be rolled up when not in use for easy storage.
Best waterproof option: Fivklemnz Waterproof Cargo Roof Bag
Even though many car roof carriers claim to be weatherproof, some leak when driven through severe weather conditions; however, The Fivklemnz soft rooftop cargo carrier is waterproof and keeps belongings dry even in a downpour. Thanks to heavy-duty materials and heat-welded seams. In addition, the Fivklemnz 15-cubic-foot roof bag includes an anti-slip mat and adjustable straps to hold the carrier in place without denting or scratching the vehicle. This soft rooftop cargo carrier is a best-seller in the marketplace, capable of carrying everything from multiple suitcases to a full camp setup complete with sleeping bags and a tent.
Best storage rack: Arksen Universal Roof Rack
Over 1,000 Amazon customers adore the fact that this versatile roof rack can be used in various ways. You can transport sporting equipment such as skis and kayaks by attaching them to this rack, use the rack as a base to keep roof bags in place, and even load your luggage into the rack and secure it with a net or tarp.
Best for sporting equipment: Yakima Instant Roof Rack
Consider purchasing this Yakima roof rack if you need a car roof carrier to transport paddleboards and snowboards. The sleek rack can hold up to 80 pounds of sporting equipment (or other gear) and can be installed in just 10 minutes.
Cargo carriers are now sleek enough to blend in with the aesthetics of your vehicle without sacrificing gas mileage. It would be best if you had a roof rack—though you don’t always need one—and you can add cargo capacity to the top of your car.