Are you are planning a holiday and are worried that you don’t have enough room in your car for all your belongings? Or maybe you find that you are increasingly running out of space in your car on a daily basis, just doing everyday things? A car roof storage solution could be just what you need. If you have a roof box and are looking for ideas on how to store it in your garage or home, check out our guide.
What is Car Roof Storage?
Car roof storage is essentially a way to increase your car’s carrying capacity. You can use it to transport more stuff, declutter your car, and generally increase the size of your car. Getting some extra storage is much cheaper than buying a bigger car and you can remove it when not in use which makes it very practical.
Types of Car Roof Storage
There are many different options available when it comes to storage for your car roof.
Roof boxes are the most popular type of roof storage for a car. They come in all shapes and sizes and can really increase the storage space in your car. Because they come in different shapes and sizes, it is easy to find a roof box for your situation. If you have a lot of belongings to transport you can go for a full sized box, or if you are planning on also carrying bikes or kayaks you will need to go for a roof box that doesn’t take up the whole roof.
Fitting a roof box onto the roof of your car will require a set of roof bars to be fitted. Even if your car has factory fitted roof rails running along the sides of your roof, you will still need roof bars going across the roof to attach the box to.
Rooftop cargo bag
A roof bag is an alternative and cheaper option of roof storage for your car. If you are planning a one-off trip and need a little extra room, a car roof bag could be more economical than spending a lot of money on a roof box. It is also more convenient,
when you have used it you can fold or roll it up and it will take up much less space than a traditional plastic car roof storage box.
When you look for a roof bag, it is important to check how it will attach to your car roof. Some bags require roof bars to be fitted while some will attach to the factory fitted rails on your car, if you don’t have rails or roof bars you may have to purchase a set of bars.
Folding Roof Box
If you can’t decide whether to go for the sturdiness of a roof box or the convenience of a roof bag, a folding roof box could be a compromise between the two for car roof storage. These types of roof boxes feature only one solid side, which is the base. This is attached to the roof bars like a traditional roof box, and is then used like other roof bags with a zip going all the way around. However these are more common in the UK, so US buyers have less options and are probably better off with the Keeper soft bag.
Folding roof boxes offer more rigidness than roof bags or hard shell car roof storage, and the great thing about them is they can be folded away when not in use, unlike a traditional roof box. Folding roof boxes will require roof bars to be fitted to your car’s roof. In the UK the Green Valley Sherpack is a popular option.
Roof Mounted Bicycle carriers are essential if you want to go on a biking trip, or just take your bikes on holiday. Bike carriers are attached to the roof bars of your car, the same as a roof box, and the bicycle is then attached to the carrier. Each bike will need its own bike carrier, and you can usually fit up to 4 bicycle racks on your car’s roof. If you have a narrow roof box, one that doesn’t take up the full width of your car roof,
you can usually fit a couple of bike racks on the roof too.
In Europe the Thule ProRide 591 is the number one best selling upright bicycle carrier, in the USA the model that replaced it is the Thule 598 Criterium Upright Rooftop Bicycle Carrier. Why it’s the ‘Criterium’ in the US and ‘ProRide’ is more marketing nonsense, but someone has that job.
But heads up Thule the top seller for upright bike carriers in the US is actually the west coast based Yakima Front Loader Rooftop Bike Rack.
There are 3 types of car roof bike carriers:
Frame holders attach to the bikes down tube; they don’t require wheels to be taken off the bike which means less setting up time. The more expensive frame holder racks, such as the Thule ProRide, are generally easier to use and have more accessible levers and clamps.
Fork holders attach to the front forks of the bike, the only downside is that the front wheel has to be removed and stored elsewhere. These types of carriers are more stable than the fork holders,
there is less movement and vibration.
If your bike frame is made from carbon or you have a non-standard frame that doesn’t fit a standard bicycle carrier, then your only option could be a tire holder rack. There aren’t many of these kinds of car roof bike carriers on the market but the Whispbar WB201 Upright Bike Carrier is one of the best.
One of the important things about carrying your bikes on the roof of your car is the added security it brings. The bikes are locked to the bike carriers, and these can then be locked to the roof bars. Because the bikes are high off the ground, it will be difficult for anyone to try and remove them without making a lot of noise.
Other Types of Carriers
These days, you are not only limited to carrying bikes on your car roof. If you prefer kayaking, surfing or any other outdoor pastime, chances are there will be a specific roof carrier for your needs.
If you are looking for a car roof carrier for your kayak, canoe, or any other piece of equipment,
the Thule Hull-A-Port Kayak Carrier is top notch.
Do I Need Roof Bars?
Yup. Despite the prices of a good bike rack, it still needs roof bars to attach to. Roof bars, or roof racks as they are also known, are an essential piece of kit if you plan on carrying anything on your roof. Even if your car has factory fitted roof rails running from front to back, you will still need roof bars that go across the roof to transport your belongings.
Most roof bars consist of 2 metal bars which are attached to your car roof. They can be attached to the existing roof rails on your car or they can be fixed to fixing points on your roof. If your car has no rails or fixing points and has a flush roof, there are roof bars available that can be attached to your car’s bodywork.
Aerodynamic Roof Bars
Aerodynamic roof bars are usually made from aluminum rather than steel, and are generally more expensive than standard roof bars. The benefit of aerodynamic roof bars is that you can use the full width of the bars to attach your carriers, often the feet of standard roof bars get in the way of the fixings and the edges of the bars can’t be used. This may not be a problem if you are only transporting a roof box or one or two bikes, but the extra space will be needed if you plan on carrying a roof box along with other items, such as bicycles or a kayak.
Other benefits of aerodynamic aluminum roof bars include reduced noise from the bars and reduced drag. Most people with standard roof bars really won’t notice much noise coming from the bars, but if you hear
a whistling or humming noise that is fairly loud then you may want to look at aerodynamic bars.
This also applies to the fuel economy of having roof bars attached; most people won’t notice much increase in fuel consumption with a set of standard steel roof bars, but if you plan on traveling long distances or keeping the bars on the car for long periods then it may be worth investing in a set of aerodynamic roof bars.