When choosing between a roof bag and a roof box, consider that a roof bag offers flexibility for storage and installation on various vehicle types, while a roof box provides enhanced protection for items and better aerodynamics. Your decision should align with your storage needs and vehicle design.
Roof Bag vs. Roof Box
While planning for a long travel trip, making sure that you have enough room for everything in your car is one of the most important things that are on your mind.
Nobody wants to plan a perfect trip across the country while you have only sufficient storage space to carry a portion of everything you need to take with you.
There are various kinds of methods to increase the amount of storage space that comes with your car. If your car can put down the back seat of your car, then it almost doubles the amount of storage space you have.
Nonetheless, for most trips, especially for family trips putting down the backseat isn’t an alternative because passengers are usually sitting there.
This can turn it quite a problem if you have a lot of baggage to take with you. You will be very happy to know that there are yet lots of options for your luggage. For example, you could keep your luggage on top of your car inside a rooftop cargo carrier. Now the only thing you have to do is choosing the best rooftop cargo carrier.
Finding the Perfect Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Finding the best rooftop cargo carrier can be a little bit hard, and especially if you have no plan at all about what you actually need. Generally, there are some important things that you will want to consider while choosing the right rooftop cargo carrier for you. First of all, you have to consider how much storage space you want and how much weight can the roof of your car tolerate.
As usual, smaller cars have more limited options for rooftop carriers because of the shortage of space. Usually, smaller cars come with around 11-13 cubic feet of space, which is enough to accommodate a few suitcases and carry-on bags. On the other hand, bigger cars such as vans and SUVs are able to accommodate rooftop carriers that come with around 15 to 18 cubic feet of storage space, which is a lot more space.
You will also need to consider your budget and how often you will use the rooftop carrier if you intend to spend a good amount of your time traveling around the country in your car. In that case, you will apparently want to buy an expensive as well as durable rooftop cargo carrier so that it can pay off its investment by defending your luggage the whole trip from being damaged.
But, if you are only searching for a rooftop cargo carrier to get some extra storage space while you ride to the airport so that you can unload suitcases and carry-ons more comfortably, you obviously desire to save your money for your purpose and buy in a much less expensive rooftop cargo carrier.
This is a significant thing to consider because the price of a high-quality rooftop cargo carrier can easily reach around several thousand. In contrast, the price of something that can hold your suitcases on the way to the airport will not be high more than one hundred.
At last, you will need to consider the level of security you require for your stuff. Except you are leaving your car at the airport, there is a very good possibility that you will be visiting somewhere overnight. While not many people want to think about this, there is always somebody who is up to no good.
The rooftop cargo carriers that come with a zipper or strap opening can easily be opened by anybody who can touch the roof of your car. In contrast, there are rooftop carriers that come with a lock and key option so that your items stay as safe as they were if they were inside your home. This is a very important thing to consider because the price of a protected rooftop carrier is much higher than a zippered one.
With this being said, two different kinds of rooftop carriers will be observed, and the most high-grade of each kind will be determined. The kinds of rooftop cargo carriers vary a lot according to their advantages and purposes, so it is important to consider the best one from each when you are looking for the best rooftop cargo carrier.
Considering Hard Rooftop Cargo Carrier
The first type of rooftop cargo carrier is the hard shell ones. These carriers are known for their safer, hard outer shell that defends the items inside of the carrier. Hardshell rooftop cargo carriers are the perfect choice for you if you are looking for something that can provide you with durability and security. After all, hardshell rooftop cargo carriers come with the option to have locks installed, which means that as long as you keep the key secure to yourself, The carrier will be safe, and you can only access your stuff inside the cargo carrier.
Moreover, the durability of the hard outer shell is more than enough to last for several years of traveling before they really show any signs of wear and tear.
Hardshell rooftop cargo carriers can come in many different sizes that range from 11 cubic feet of storage space to 22 cubic feet of storage space. But, no matter how much storage space a hard shell rooftop cargo carrier can provide you, the weight carrying capacities are almost the same, that is, around 165 pounds.
The only thing that actually changes among the sizes is typically the measurements, affecting your capacity to carry items such as skis and snowboards. This is essential to remark if you are going to use your rooftop cargo carrier to carry items that don’t comfortably fit in your car’s trunk, willingly than looking for more space in general.
The best quality hard rooftop carrier you can choose is the whole lineup of Thule Force XT cargo boxes. Not only does their size range from supporting approximately small cars to large trucks, but the carriers come with a weight carrying capacity of over 150 lbs. This model of rooftop carrier weighs less than previous versions, which is really important when you recognize how much weight the roof of your car can hold. And after all, these rooftop carriers enable you to lock the carrier itself for supreme security.
The Shortcomings of Hard Rooftop Cargo Carriers
All rooftop carriers are going to have some weaknesses, even the top-of-the-line ones. The most significant concern with these carriers is going to be the price. For the extreme durability and security that these carriers provide, you have to pay the price truly. These types of cargo carriers cost hundreds of dollars, with the largest size of carriers can even cost just over 1,000 dollars. Obviously, if you intend to devote much of your time to explore, this purchase will ultimately pay itself off, but it is not a little expense to get in the first place.
This is particularly the situation if you have to install roof racks so that you can own such a rooftop carrier in the first place. Nearly all hardshell rooftop cargo carriers require to be installed with roof racks. A few modern, large cars can come with factory roof racks installed, especially if those cars are determined to be used for cross-country travel.
Nevertheless, most other cars do not come with these racks installed. This indicates that you have to spend your time to find the best quality racks to install while also regarding the full amount of money that you will have to pay for those racks in addition to the hardshell rooftop cargo carrier.
You will notice this deficiency in all hardshell rooftop cargo carriers and not just the best ones. Moreover, many people think it worth it to have such a durable and secure rooftop carrier. Many people might not like to spend much money on just a rooftop cargo carrier rather than the tour’s destination being proposed. This will be something to keep in mind if you are suspicious about how much use you will actually receive out of the rooftop cargo carrier.
Considering Soft Rooftop Cargo Carriers
Another type of rooftop cargo carrier is the soft bag type cargo carrier. These carriers do not come with an exterior shell design to protect your luggage from rocks and gravel that other cars might bring up. Still, they can provide you with great flexibility that hard rooftop carriers naturally cannot provide. Soft rooftop cargo carriers are usually made out of a unique type of weatherproof and waterproof fabric material that will keep all of your items in place while you are going on a trip.
This versatility might allow you to carry items in a more casual way than hardshell rooftop cargo carriers would allow, which is excellent for people who do not like to waste a good amount of time by rearranging their items so that everything fits correctly.
Soft rooftop cargo carriers can provide you with the possibility to save a huge amount of time and money in terms of the installation process and purchasing in the carrier itself. You can easily find these carriers practically always cost less than 100 dollars. Moreover, they also do not need anything on top of your car to be installed.
Most soft rooftop cargo carriers come with a variety of options for installation, which means that they will get installed on top of your car whether or not it has roof racks installed.
With many soft rooftop cargo carriers, you just have to strap the carrier in and boom! You will be entirely ready to start your adventure. This means that you are having the opportunity of saving hundreds, or probably even a thousand dollars, on your rooftop cargo carrier, besides preserving the time and difficulty of looking for the best roof racks and install it on top of your car.
This is unusually significant to regard if you do not intend to go on a lot of trips with your rooftop carrier and only need that for a few special events because nobody wants to have the trouble of fitting items that are going only to be used once or twice.
Some people can think that soft rooftop cargo carriers might come with a smaller design to carry everything you want to take with you securely, but this is really not like that. Mostly you will be able to get one of two sizes of the carrier. Smaller cars will work great with an 11 cubic-foot carrier, and it is just standard for smaller cars, but it mostly depends on the brand of the cargo carrier.
Cargo carriers with 15 cubic feet of storage space will be great for larger cars, such as vans and SUVs. This is just a little smaller than the hardshell comparables, but there is still more than enough space for many suitcases and carry-on bags. No matter what size your car is, you will still have more than enough space required to carry all of your items to your target without anyone feeling uncomfortable in the journey.
For finding the best quality rooftop cargo carrier of this category, you should check out the RoofBag Waterproof line of soft rooftop cargo carriers. These cargo carriers are available in two different sizes and in two versions. There is an 11 cubic foot and a 15 cubic foot variant, and these two sizes are available in both standard and premium form.
This provides you sufficient opportunity to pick out the right rooftop cargo carrier for your car without having to emphasize it. These soft bag cargo carriers are weatherproof and amazingly easy to install. After buying one of these, you can easily install it in your car, pack it up, and you will be ready to go on the trip.
Shortcomings of Soft Rooftop Cargo Carriers
If you notice the drastic price difference between this type of carrier and the hard shell carrier variants, you will obviously understand that there is a weakness around. The weakness of the soft rooftop carriers is revealed in terms of both durability and security.
At first, the security of these carriers is really important to consider because they often come with the closing of the union of straps and zippers. If there is someone whose will is not good and your car isn’t accurately guarded, you might not have any baggage to bother about when you wake up in the morning after a stop-over. Nevertheless, this deficiency becomes more insignificant when you are just using this type of cargo carrier to enhance the volume of trunk space on the way to the airport, and you plan to leave the carrier empty to bring your bags onto a plane.
The next significant weakness is the durability of this cargo carrier. A piece of fabric will not be as tough as a strong material; no matter how much you might require that this isn’t the case. Sometimes you might notice that when you come back home, your soft rooftop cargo carrier has more than a few minor scars and tears in it. But it mostly depends on the distance of your trip.
Usually, these carriers are great for people who do not want to travel very often but want to free up storage space in the car. Regarding the value, they are more suitable for a particular trip, and people should treat them as such. After all, these soft cargo carriers are great for their work, and they will obviously convince you if you plan to use these carriers carefully.
-our editorial board has reviewed this article, and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.
What is a roof bag?
A roof bag is a flexible storage solution that is strapped to the roof of a vehicle to carry luggage, sports equipment, or other items.
What is a roof box?
A roof box is a hard-shell storage container mounted on the roof of a vehicle, providing secure and weatherproof storage for luggage, outdoor gear, and other belongings.
Which is better, a roof bag or a roof box?
The choice between a roof bag and a roof box depends on personal preferences and specific needs. Roof bags are often more affordable, lightweight, and easier to store when not in use. Roof boxes, on the other hand, offer better protection against weather and theft, as well as providing more organized storage options.
How much storage capacity do roof bags and roof boxes offer?
Roof bags typically range in capacity from 10 to 20 cubic feet, while roof boxes can vary from 12 to 20+ cubic feet. The specific size depends on the brand and model you choose.
Are roof bags and roof boxes easy to install?
Both roof bags and roof boxes come with mounting systems that make installation relatively straightforward. However, roof bags are generally easier to install and remove due to their flexibility, while roof boxes may require additional time and effort for mounting and removal.