How to Pack a Roof Cargo Boxes? (2023)

When packing a roof cargo box, start with heavier items at the bottom, distribute weight evenly, use soft items to fill gaps, secure everything with straps, and ensure the box is properly closed and locked for safe travel.

How to Pack a Roof Cargo Boxes?

When packing a roof cargo box, start with heavier items at the bottom, distribute weight evenly, use soft items to fill gaps, secure everything with straps, and ensure the box is properly closed and locked for safe travel.

If you are looking for a roof box carrier to buy or have just purchased one, there is still a lot of information related to the installation process, packing, and visiting with one rooftop cargo box on top of your car that you should know.  If you know everything that has the possibility of going wrong and how to stop, then you will be able to enjoy a great vacation without any problem.

If you know how to pack a roof box carrier, you know where to keep your things and how things should be adapted. The process can be changed depending on what types of things you are taking with you on your trip. 

Nevertheless, many important tips will help anybody pack their cargo carrier for their next trip. When packing a roof box carrier, you are actually organizing your items in a storage space that is actually more limited than your car’s rear trunk. 

So if you want to maximize the amount of your storage space, you will have to be a little more tricky with how you load items in your rooftop cargo carrier.

In this article, you will find some of the most significant points that you should keep in mind when installing, packing, and traveling with your rooftop cargo box carrier. If you want to enjoy a great tour experience without having to bother about your items inside the box or the roof box carrier itself, then you will need to obey these tips carefully. 

A well-packed cargo carrier box will be more comfortable to unload in the future than a however packed cargo carrier. It is also more secure to travel with. So you should follow the rules while keeping your items inside the cargo box.

5 Best Tips for Packing a Roof Box

In order to enjoy a safe and successful trip, you have to make sure that your roof cargo box carrier is accurately installed on top of your car. Once you have successfully installed your rooftop cargo carrier, now you can begin learning how to pack your items inside the roof box carrier.

How to Pack Roof Box

Each roof cargo box is different, so it is essential to follow all of these steps so that you can get your roof box installed accurately before you start your journey.

How to Pack a Roof Box?

1. Read the Instructions.

Every rooftop cargo box comes with its own installation processes and requirements. Some of them may also require assembly, but the cargo carrier may not attach correctly if you do not assemble that properly. Hence, it is important to read and follow the instructions provided in the user manual.

You should also know the exact way to install the carrier and look for if there are any indications, locks, or devices that you need to know about

2. Pay Attention to and Understand the Torque Settings

A few of the cargo carriers will come with specific torque settings. So it would be best if you looked for them. Following these settings will help you to make sure that you do not over-torque or under-torque your rooftop cargo carrier. 

A correctly installed cargo carrier will obviously work without any problem for your complete trip, but installing it incorrectly could actually end in harming your vehicle. Some carriers, as like the Thule Motion XT, come with torque indicators that show you when your cargo carrier is perfectly positioned.

Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier, XXL, Black
  • Oversized roof-mounted cargo box provides 22 cubic feet of additional packing space.Height off crossbar : 17 in
  • Designed for optimal space efficiency, aerodynamics, and vehicle fit
  • Quick-mount system "clicks" when roof box is secure and properly mounted
  • Dual-side opening for quick access from either side of the car
  • Easy to open and close with grip-friendly handles and supporting lid-lifters
  • Full trunk access and no roof box contact
  • Lid automatically locks in place and indicates a secure closure (One Key System compatible)
  • Fits 5-7 pairs of skis / 3-5 snowboards
  • External dimensions: 91.5 x 37.5 x 18 inches; Internal dimensions: 84.5 x 33 x 16 inches
  • Load capacity: 165 lbs; Product Weight: 55 lbs

3. Consider Lubrication

The possibilities are that your cargo carrier will convert revealed to the parts at some point throughout your travels. In order to stop various fittings from rusting over time, you can use grease to lube parts such as the mounting bolt wires.

Doing such will cover them from rainwater and corrosion, and it will also make using them in the future a lot easier.

4. Get Help When You Need it.

Installing your cargo carrier can be a little hard than you think. While many cargo carriers weigh more than 40 lbs. you may not want your carrier to anyhow come to the ground or scratch the roof of your car or your back, so it will be great to have a person with an extra pair of hands to help you than trying on your own.

5. Make Sure that You have the Right Roof Rack

Except you buy a soft roof cargo bag, you will most probably need a roof rack to mount the roof box on top of your car. Your car or the truck might already have one, so you should check before you make any purchase. If you already have one, you need to make sure that your existing roof rack is compatible with the roof cargo carrier you are willing to buy.

Many roof boxes will fit with factory racks, but you will need to buy a rack specifically designed for that carrier for other products.

10 Tips for Packing a Roof Box – How to Pack Cargo Box?

While packing a roof cargo box, you need to remember the weight limit so that you do not overload it, so the first thing you should make sure of is the weight capacity of your roof cargo box. Both your vehicle and your cargo box carrier will have their own weight-carrying capacities, and while they will normally be high enough that there is no probability of damaging them, you still need to know what they are. 

You will easily find the weight limit of your roof cargo carrier somewhere in the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you follow all of the given advice, you will not face any problems in loading your box carrier.

1. Pack the Heaviest Things in the Car First

If you are having a good amount of trunk space volume in your car, you should start keeping items from there. Once you have completed keeping items in your car up to the place from where the rear windshield starts, you can start to load your items in your rooftop cargo carrier.

You should keep the heavier and box-shaped items in the trunk of your car because your car’s trunk will have a higher weight limit than your car’s roof.

2. Put Your Suitcases in Your Overhead Storage.

Rooftop cargo boxes are mostly great at handling suitcases. So you will face no problem keeping suitcases and bags side by side in your rooftop cargo box. 

It will usually have enough storage space so that you can easily fit all your items comfortably and stable enough so that your items do not slide all over the cargo box. If you can keep your suitcases up in the cargo box, then you will have a lot of trunk space for the rest of your cargo.

3. Put Your Sports Equipment up top

If you are going somewhere to enjoy any outdoor sports or you just want to take your sports equipment with you, these items are usually better in a storage box on top of your car. Especially, items such as skis or snowboards usually fit pleasantly in a rooftop cargo box, and some of these are specially designed to carry skis and snowboards. 

So if you can keep any long, heavy item in the roof cargo box, it means that there will be more space to sit with comfort in your car.

4. Distribute the Weight Evenly.

Correct weight distribution is an essential part of knowing how to pack a roof cargo box carrier. If you keep more weight on one side of your roof cargo box, it could be a problem and might end in a lot of skidding around.

If you do need to keep heavy objects in your rooftop cargo box, you need to distribute the weight as equally as possible. It is usually more beneficial if you can keep heavy items and make them stay in the middle of the cargo box. Still, if you cannot keep all the heavy items in the middle, you can manage to keep half of the things on one side and half on the other; that could be as useful as before.

5. Take Advantage of Any Straps or Holders.

 Many cargo carrier boxes might come with multiple straps or holders on the inside, and you can use these to keep all of your items in place. If you do that, you will be able to manage the movement of your items inside the cargo carrier as much as possible and that you reduce noise during your trips.

If your cargo box comes with ski holders, you can use these as section dividers and easily organize your things.

6. Wrap Things in Plastic

Most cargo boxes are waterproof. So your cargo box will always keep your items dry and clean in the rain as they are sealed and guarded with locks. But as an extra safety precaution, you might want to think about wrapping some items in plastic bags, particularly if they are expensive.

A few cargo boxes and storage bags do not perform well in heavy rain, but the possibilities of getting water into your cargo box are much low. Whatever, there is no harm in being careful.

7. Keep the Locking System Clear

The locking system of your cargo box will keep your items secured, so you will want to be observant of these elements when you are packing. If you block them or block the closing of the lid, your cargo box may open in the middle of your journey.

Many roof cargo boxes come with multiple locks, so make sure to check and assure that they are all locked perfectly before you leave for your destination.

8. Tie-down the Box

You can tie down your rooftop cargo box with straps or bungee ropes as another act of precaution, simply to present yourself with some peace of mind. The box itself should certainly be secured to your roof, but if you want that extra protection, do not hesitate to tie some straps across it after you have kept everything inside the cargo box.

9. Get Somebody to Help you Load

Packing a rooftop cargo box can be a little hard from standing on the ground, so it would be best if you get somebody to help you. One person can stand on the ground to hand over the luggage to you while you are on the floor of the backseat so that you can easily load your roof cargo box.

If you do not have anyone to help, you could also use a ladder or some other tool to help you to reach the cargo box. This will provide you with more comfort, and you will be able to contribute more time to adjust your storage box for the best load.

10. Know Your Limits

Usually, standard car roof racks come with a weight limit that ranges from 75 lbs to 250 lbs, including the weight of the cargo box itself, which could be around 50 lbs. So always make sure that you do not overload your car’s roof and do not damage anything.

Strategic planning is the core to a successful load as well as a quiet and tension-free travel experience.

Nevertheless, if you know how to pack a roof box carrier, you can bypass any possible costly blunders and ensure that your items are fully protected for the complete journey.

Some More Tips from Roof Box Makers (Yakima)

Things to Keep in Mind when Travelling with Roof Box

After efficiently loading everything, you can now harmlessly leave for your travel destination. Nevertheless, there are also a few things that you will need to keep in mind while you are traveling. Memorizing all of the following tips will help you to save on gas and avoid expensive blunders.

Best Rooftop Luggage Carriers

1. Remember Your New Vehicle Height.

You should always remember that if you install a roof cargo box on the top of your car, you might not enter all of the places you could before. You might need to keep this in mind when entering parking lots, residential garages or carports, and drive-thru restaurants. 

In most circumstances, you will apparently be fine, but if your roof cargo box is unusually tall, you have to be careful to bypass damaging your car or any other thing.

2. Know the Weather Conditions

If you were not thinking of covering important items in plastic or strapping your cargo box, you could change your mind if you check the weather condition. If the weather on the way where you are going is alerting for heavy rains, you should prepare before you leave rather than being suddenly attacked by the bad weather and likely getting into problems.

Most rooftop cargo carriers are 100% waterproof, which is a great feature for any kind of bad weather condition. 

3. Check for Speed Limits

You should always give some consideration to the speed limits on the way because some roof cargo boxes come with a maximum speed limit that you should be conscious of. Most roof cargo boxes are created to be aerodynamic; still, there is a chance of increasing the drag with your speed, and if you find a speed limit mentioned in your product’s manual, you need to abide by that.

4. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

After installing a rooftop cargo box on top of your car, you will face some drag, and it may lessen your fuel economy; but there isn’t a lot you can do to make this better. There is something you can do to prevent this from getting more dangerous.

If your tires’ air pressure is low, it will also decrease the fuel economy, So you have to air them up correctly so that you do not have to worry about slowing down your vehicle.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Last Update : 2024-03-26

Automotive products are like an addiction to me. Years ago, I started my job at a Roof Box installation co. Then I realized that I have a passion for cars. It is a perfect scope to share my different experiences about automotive products.

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