Car Roof Top Bag Guide
While roof cargo boxes are a great option for adding some extra storage to your vehicle they can be quite bulky to store when you don’t need them. Fortunately, you do have another option besides renting a larger vehicle or trailer for your trip.
What is a Car Roof Top Bag?
A rooftop cargo bag is handy extra storage that you can fit on the roof of your vehicle. Typically made of nylon or canvas this can give you the extra storage you need but be easily stowed away during those times when you don’t need it. It may prove to be a better option for people who rarely need the extra storage and don’t want a bulky cargo box taking up space in their garage.
Their flexibility also means you can fit oddly shaped items more easily such as musical instruments or sports equipment.
Car Roof Top Bag Types
Car roof cargo bags tend to be much simpler than their hard-shell cousins. While you can get a variety of sizes there aren’t too many other differences in terms of features. When shopping for a rooftop cargo bag you will find that there are basically two types of car roof bags to choose from.
Roof Top Bags For Use Without A Roof Rack
The majority of these could probably be used either with or without a roof rack since they feature straps that are designed to go through the door.
Roof Top Bags For Use With A Roof Rack
The attachments on this type of bag mean that they can only be fitted to a vehicle that has a roof rack.
Finding The Right Roof Top Bag
As with most consumer goods, the general rule of thumb applies that you get what you pay for. If you spend more then you will probably get a better quality product made from high-quality materials with more features. So the largest cargo bags with waterproof materials will tend to cost a bit more than a much smaller bag that isn’t waterproof for example.
If you’re looking for a rooftop cargo bag then these are the criteria you need to consider.
Size. Arguably the most important criteria since it’s no good buying a storage solution that isn’t big enough to carry the possessions that you want to take with you on your trip. They are typically available in sizes from 10 to 20 ft³.
Shape. If you have a particular shaped object that you have to carry then obviously you’re going to need to find a cargo bag that can accommodate that shape. The majority of cargo bags tend to be fairly square so if you have something long and thin to transport then your options are going to be more limited.
Waterproof. Depending on the types of climate you tend to travel through and the cargo you’ll be carrying you may need to opt for a waterproof cargo bag. Be careful to choose one that is waterproof and not water-resistant however as the difference could mean damage to your possessions.
Fits Your Vehicle. If you don’t currently have a roof rack fitted and aren’t intending to add one then straightaway that limits your choices to bags that can be mounted directly on the roof. However, vehicle compatibility is probably less of an issue with a cargo bag than with a cargo box.
Aerodynamics. While many hardshell cargo carriers tout their dynamic designs the simple fact is that a softshell cargo bag just won’t do as well.
Security. A soft-shell cargo bag is never going to be as secure as a hardshell model but you might want to take that into consideration when buying one.
Protective Mat. When purchasing a model designed to fit directly on your roof you might want to pay extra attention to cargo bags that offer a protective mat to prevent damage to your paintwork.
Installing A Roof Top Bag
First and foremost you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Both the bag manufacturer and the manufacturer of your vehicle. You don’t want your possessions flying off as you drive down the road for obvious reasons.
I think we are all guilty from time to time of not bothering to read the instructions for a new piece of equipment only to end up regretting it later!
Make sure you stay within the weight limits for the roof of your vehicle and the total load for your vehicle as well. Don’t forget it’s not just your cargo but your passengers that you need to include.
Car Roof Top Bag Guide: Conclusion
A rooftop cargo bag can be an excellent option for your cargo needs. They are much easier to store when not in use and relatively inexpensive in comparison to hardshell containers. If you are still undecided then compare cargo boxes and cargo bags.