roof load carriers

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Roof Load Carriers


Having the option to carry cargo on your car is perfect for large items, long trips, and other stuff that you need to haul or take somewhere else. The beauty of roof load carriers is that they can improve the hauling capabilities of all vehicles, small and large alike. 

In fact, most of the time, a roof is all that you need. This short guide gives you an insight into the different types of cargo roof racks and their respective pros and cons. 

Roof Bags

A roof bag is usually made of heavy-duty waterproof textiles. It only takes one person to easily mount these bags because they are not that heavy. They also have a carrying capacity of approximately 15 cubic feet. 

How to install roof load carrier soft cargo roof bag

Pros

Here are the main benefits of roof bags:

  • Roof bags have an adjustable fit on different types of rooftop baskets or roof racks.
  • They feature an aerodynamic construction to decrease air friction as much as possible while driving.
  • A roof bag has a lightweight profile suggested for easy setup with the help of securing straps.
  • These roof load carriers can be easily removed or folded when not in use to take up minimal space.
  • Roof bags are compatible with various SUVs, hatchbacks, sedans, and other types of vehicles.
  • These are fully compatible with numerous lockdown systems for a more secure fit.
  • The softer materials are recommended for oddly shaped objects such as musical instruments.
  • Roof bags have an extra carrying capacity of up to 16 cubic feet.
  • They offer waterproof protection.

Cons

Below are a few downsides associated with roof bags:

  • Roof bags may be incompatible with moonroofs and sunroofs.
  • These don’t provide the best level of protection for delicate or fragile items
  • These may create amplified wind noise at higher speeds
  • Roo bags are not recommended for bigger objects like sports equipment
  • They don’t have the best design for protection against theft.
  • Some designs may have limited long-term durability.
  • Roof bags have reduced carrying capacity, unlike roof boxes.

Rooftop Baskets

It was during the 1970s when rooftop baskets originally appeared and have mostly remained unchanged, featuring a metal profile and great versatility for various items that can be secured using different straps. 

Roof load carriers in the shape of rooftop baskets
Roof load carriers in the shape of rooftop baskets originally appeared during the 1970s and have mostly remained unchanged, featuring a metal profile and great versatility.

Pros

The primary benefits of roof baskets include the following:

  • Rooftop baskets feature a tough and cool appearance.
  • These can be easily installed on any type of roof rails or roof racks.
  • They allow easy loading and unloading of cargo. 
  • These systems boast good aerodynamics.
  • Rooftop baskets offer increased carrying capacity for heavy and large objects that can be secured with cords or straps.
  • These roof load carriers offer an increased load capacity because most designs are crafted from metal.
  • These can be quickly mounted and unmounted on most cars. 
  • Rooftop baskets are recommended for oddly shaped items.
  • There are reduced storage space requirements when unmounted from the vehicle. 

Cons 

While rooftop baskets may be convenient, these are also some of the most exposed in terms of cargo safety when traveling at high speeds. This means that you need to take additional measures to ensure the safety and security of your cargo. Here are the downsides of rooftop baskets:

  • The cargo is directly exposed to fluctuating weather conditions.
  • There is no anti-theft protection.
  • These are not meant for large sporting equipment.
  • A poor lockdown can certainly go wrong when driving at high speeds.
  • These can cause reduced top speed for most vehicles.
  • You need special straps or a cargo net.

Rooftop Boxes

Rooftop boxes are among the leading options you can consider if you need maximum security and carrying capacity. These are also very popular, giving you multiple designs you can choose from many brands. 


Roof load carrier boxes come with an amplified carrying capacity
Roof load carrier boxes come with an amplified carrying capacity of up to 160 pounds.

Many rooftop boxes also feature good aerodynamic performance for decreased drag and anti-theft protection. 

Pros

Here are the top reasons to consider using a rooftop box:

  • They allow full trunk access to let you store additional cargo.
  • There are better wind resistance designs, unlike other cargo carriers.
  • These can be fitted without special tools in most cases.
  • You can open these in both directions in some cases which can come in handy in some parking spaces.
  • Rooftop boxes come with an amplified carrying capacity of up to 75 kilograms or 160 pounds.
  • These roof load carriers are compatible with almost all types of vehicles using roof rails or a roof rack.
  • These are backed by a lifetime warranty with premium designs.
  • There are locks included with anti-theft protection.
  • These are recommended for sporting equipment like snowboards or skis.
  • There are UV-resistant designs for improved durability, even with plastic materials.
  • There is a waterproof construction for cargo protection.

Cons 

Rooftop boxes have some downsides. The main concern for some people is that they require a helping hand to put these into position on their vehicle’s roof. Another disadvantage to this system is the fact that you require considerable space for storage if you are not using the rooftop box on your vehicle.

Here are the drawbacks of using rooftop boxes:

  • These create an increased lateral and frontal wind resistance when driving.
  • Increased storage space is required when not in use.
  • The weight design and large size mean one person may find it hard to install some models.
  • There is limited carrying capacity for taller items.

Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carriers

Despite being less popular these days, drivers still find hitch-mounted cargo carriers useful in some circumstances. If you have a vehicle that cannot be fitted with roof rails or a roof rack, for example, and it features a hitch receiver, a Withcar hitch-mounted cargo carrier is a good option to consider. 

Hitch-mounted roof load carriers are useful if your vehicle can’t be fitted with roof racks or roof rails.

Equipped with a design that goes at the back of the car, these carriers also often come with decreased wind resistance, unlike rooftop cargo carriers.

Pros 

Here are the main benefits of hitch-mounted systems:

  • These are compatible with most modern SUVs today.
  • They don’t need extra overhead clearance if you need to go into indoor parking.
  • These offer easy access for shorter people.
  • These systems have good weight capacity for heavier items, usually 300 pounds or 135 kilograms. 
  • These are recommended for taller and odd-sized objects that won’t fit in rooftop cargo carriers.

Cons

Even the solutions mounted beside the vehicle trunk may have some disadvantages that you have to keep in mind before you make a purchase:

  • Considerable storage space is required when not in use.
  • An extra clearance is required when reversing.
  • These roof load carriers are heavy to install.
  • These are not recommended for small items.
  • These can cause obstructed rear parking sensors.
  • The taillights are obstructed.
  • It poses a risk of possible license plate obstruction.
  • A trailer hitch is required.
  • Some designs feature poor anti-theft protection.