How Much Weight Can a Roof Box Hold

How Much Weight Can a Roof Box Hold?


Other than the dimensions of the cargo carrier the maximum weight it can carry will be the most important criteria when you are looking to purchase one.

Its load capacity is going to determine the amount of gear that you can load into your cargo box.

Typically roof cargo boxes will be able to carry between 50 kg and 75 kg (100 lbs to 165 lbs). Manufacturers will state clearly what the load capacity is and you should stick within that limit. You also have to determine the maximum load capacity for the roof of your vehicle. Passenger cars might have limits of 50 to 75 kg but obviously, that would include the weight of any roof box and mounting system.

To maximize the amount of luggage you are able to carry you might want to consider a softshell cargo bag that can be strapped directly to the roof. This will be significantly lighter allowing you to load more equipment than if you used a hardshell case which would need some form of rack to attach it to the roof.

The added advantage of a softshell carrier is it is much easier to store when not in use since it should fold down to a relatively compact size.

Don’t forget that roof cargo containers are really designed to carry light but bulky items,  tents, sleeping bags and the like.

Roof Bar/Roof Rack Load Limit

If you are fitting a hardshell cargo box then you will need a roof rack or roof bars of some kind to fit it too. You will need to factor the weight of these into your calculations. You also need to make sure they are rated to carry what you would like to have on your roof.

Static vs Dynamic Load Limit

You may also need to consider the difference between the static and dynamic weight limits for your vehicle. You will generally find that the dynamic weight limit is less than the static limit.

If you’re planning to fit a roof tent then the static limit is the one you need to stay within in order to avoid damaging your car.

If you’re looking to fit a roof cargo box weight limit since you will presumably be driving!

Total Load Limit

You should also consider the total load limit specified by your vehicle manufacturer. For example, a Honda Accord (2008-2012) has a total weight limit for cargo and passengers of 385 kg (850 lbs). Four normal-sized adults could quite easily be 75 kg each leaving you only 85 kg for cargo whether it is in the trunk or on the roof!

Avoid Breaking the Law

According to, there are 15 states which have laws regarding improperly or unsecured loads and all 50 states have laws regarding debris falling from your vehicle.

Wherever you’re driving with cargo on your roof make sure that you don’t fall foul of any local laws. You may even be looking at jail time!

Roof Weight Limits

Here are some example weight limits for some popular cars. Please double-check your owner’s manual before fitting any roof-mounted accessories!

VehicleLimit in KgLimit in lbs
Chevrolet Equinox100220
Toyota RAV 480176.4
Ford Escape45 100 
Ford Escape with moonroof00
Toyota Camry50110
Honda Civic50110
Jeep Grand Cherokee68150
Ford Expedition without moonroof90200
example roof weight limits

How Much Weight Can a Roof Box Hold: Conclusion

So now you know how to avoid overloading your vehicle and potentially damaging your roof or becoming a danger on the road.

Make sure you find out the total load capacity for your vehicle and the dynamic load rating for your roof. Don’t exceed these limits!

If you are looking for a large capacity roof box then check this article out.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

How much weight can a car roof hold?

Smaller vehicles can typically hold 100-110 lbs. Larger vehicles can usually manage 150-200 depending on the particular model. You should always consult the manufacturer documentation to make sure of the weight limits for the vehicle before adding any roof storage.

Don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity for the roof box, the roof or the vehicle as a whole.

How Much Weight Can A Thule Cargo Box Hold?

Thule rooftop cargo boxes can typically hold up to 75kg (165 lbs). Their three ranges, the Thule Vector, Thule Force and Thule Motion all appear to have the same weight capacity irrespective of the box size.

Should I Put Suitcases In My Roof Box?

Many would think that a suitcase is best stored in the trunk but they can also be a good idea to store in the rooftop cargo carrier. For one thing they will stop your belongings from sliding around during your journey.

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