Roof Racks & Cargo Carriers

Buyer’s Guide

Pick the perfect rooftop cargo carrier for your vehicle and get extra storage space to take along additional belongings wherever you go!

car for traveling with a roof rack on a mountain roadSo you need to carry extra gear in your vehicle but are unsure of how everything will fit in?

If the question that’s bothering you is :

How are you going to carry all that luggage and gear, since you need space for the passengers; then fortunately, there is a solution.

If you do not have enough space in your car, getting a rooftop cargo carrier will help you carry all your stuff and that too, by utilizing space that’s not otherwise available.

Rooftop cargo carriers allow you to carry cargo or luggage that would otherwise consume valuable space in your car. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes; therefore it is important to pick a car rack that meets your cargo carrying needs.

As a buyer, you need to have complete information on roof racks to make sure you have adequate space for your cargo. Some vehicles come with roof racks that are factory installed, whereas other vehicles allow for aftermarket parts to be installed. As a buyer, you should also carefully analyze the benefits of a roof rack that’s installed permanently, versus a roof rack that could be removed easily when not needed.


Picking the perfect rack for your vehicle: Roof Racks Buyer’s Guide

You’ll be able to find a number of racks in the market in different sizes and shapes designed for different vehicles. In order to determine the style and make of the roof rack that best suits your needs, it is a good idea to have sound knowledge of the different roof racks available in the market.

Is a Car Rack Suitable for your Vehicle

Without a shadow of doubt, when it comes to roof racks, soft top convertibles are not worth considering. However, you’ll be able to find a number of car racks that’ll perfectly fit just about any vehicle. These racks can be easily installed on a secure and rust free area on your vehicle and help you carry the luggage of your choice.


Picking the perfect Rooftop Cargo Carrier for your vehicle

Picking the perfect one that suits your unique requirements can be a little daunting and like many buyers there must be a lot of questions on your mind like, “what size do I need?”, “which one is better, soft sided roof (bag style carrier) or a hard sided roof box?

In order to make the perfect selection, you need to take into account your unique requirements and situation. Have a look at some cases and you’ll figure out which of these situations describe your case in the best possible manner.

Situation I – Planning a Family Vacation

You’re planning to go on a vacation with your family and you’ve a fully packed car and several bags stuffed with your favorite items.

Situation II – Transporting Stuff from one place to another

You need to make a one-off trip and transport your stuff using your vehicle from one place to another or you’re planning a house move and you need to use your vehicle to transport some stuff from your old home to your new home.

Situation III – You make frequent trips with a car packed with passengers and lots of stuff

You make frequent visits with a car packed with passengers and an overwhelming amount of luggage or stuff that doesn’t fit well in the trunk such as camping gear, luggage or other stuff. Or you want to make sure your stuff is secure in your car and you can park your vehicle with complete peace of mind knowing your possessions are safe.

If you think situation I or II describe your needs better, you probably do not need to invest in a hard top cargo carrier. A better idea would be to invest in a soft sided roof carrier that can be removed easily once the job is done.

If, however; you think situation III describes your needs better, investing in a hard sided roof box might be your best bet. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it all depends on your personal preferences and choices.

While rooftop cargo carriers/cargo boxes cost a little more compared to other options, they are more secure, durable and versatile than other types of carriers available on the market. In the long run, the benefits offered by rooftop cargo carriers’ balance out their high cost.

Here our top choices on rooftop cargo  carriers :

Yakima Skybox 1292 x 26 x 18 inches
Check Price on Amazon
Yakima RocketBox 1474 x 33 x 16 inches
Check Price on Amazon
Thule Atlantis 160074 x 36 x 16.5 inchesCheck Price on Amazon
Yakima Skybox 1682 x 36 x 18 inchesCheck Price on Amazon


Some other things to consider

  • Items you’ll carry

Your unique situation, needs and preferences will determine the dimensions/shape of your cargo box carrier. Whether you need extra space on your car roof to haul extra stuff such as bicycles?

If this is the case, you need a relatively slimmer cargo box that doesn’t take up the entire width of your rack. Additionally, if you’ll be carrying heat sensitive items in your carrier, don’t opt for a black colored box as black absorbs more heat than any other color.

  • Your vehicle

It is essential to buy a rooftop cargo box that is the right size for your vehicle. You can always check your vehicle’s manual or contact the manufacturer in order to determine the best roof rack for your vehicle.

Having a good knowledge of the weight limit of different car racks is also important to help you select the perfect one for your vehicle

  • Base rack and attachments

Additionally, you’ll also need to check that you’ve the correct attachments and base rack fitted for your vehicle. You’ll also find this information easily on your car manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Roof racks are popular for their versatility. When installed using the right accessories, a roof rack can be used to carry just about any equipment. The roof of some vehicles is equipped with factory installed side rails, mounting points and towers.

However, not all vehicles have factory installed mounting points. For these vehicles, a roof rack system needs to be built from scratch.

  • The height of your garage door

It is also a good idea to take measurements of your garage door before making your final decision. Because if you end up buying a rooftop cargo carrier that’s not the right size, you will not to able to reverse your decision.

  • Where to store when not in use

Even though the system used to support these boxes like side rails, need to be attached permanently to the vehicle, you can easily remove cargo boxes and reinstall them without a great deal of effort. Therefore, you’ll need a place to store the carrier, rack or box when not in use. If you’re buying a roof cargo rack, there won’t be a problem as it can be easily folded and stashed away.

Car Racks vs. Cargo Carrier Boxes

To help you pick the right product for your vehicle, we have listed down a list of pros and cons of rooftop cargo carriers. First, let’s have a look at the pros :

  • They are available at affordable prices
  • These are versatile and are suitable for hauling a wide range of equipment
  • Mounts are available that can be easily locked for added safety
  • These racks are popular as they do not offer any visual obstruction to the driver
  • You will also find a wide variety of products to help you load your gear/equipment on the rack.

Although rooftop cargo carriers are the most popular types of car racks used for carrying equipment, there are some cons or limitations which need to be taken into consideration when picking a right product for your vehicle.

  • To safely load gear on top of your vehicle, you must reach overhead.
  • The resistance caused by the wind has an impact on your vehicle’s aerodynamics. It may have an impact on the gas mileage.
  • The resistance caused by wind may produce some noise which is easily noticeable.
  • When driving a vehicle with a rooftop cargo carrier installed, the driver needs to be well aware of height restrictions (low hanging bridges, parking structures, and garages) especially when the roof is loaded.
  • You may find it difficult to load equipment on top of a tall vehicle.
  • These racks are permanent in nature. Even though you can remove these, it is not a very easy process.

Have a look at some pros and cons of cargo boxes. Let’s first have a look at the benefits of using cargo boxes.

  • These are perfect for storing loose gear outside your vehicle
  • Unlike roof racks, these do not cause any visual obstructions
  • These can be easily removed when not in use
  • Great when planning a trip with the family

Following is a list of some cons :

  • They are costly
  • Cargo boxes can cause wind resistance
  • Like roof racks, the resistance caused by wind may produce some noise which is easily noticeable.

What’s your Budget?

Roof racks are a relatively cheaper option than cargo boxes. Additionally, they offer a good alternative to buying a bigger car just because your small car doesn’t have enough space to let you carry gear and equipment.

Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful. Keep the points discussed in the article in consideration and you’ll never go wrong when buying rooftop carriers.