You have often seen vehicles on roads with different cargo carriers and roof racks. The surprising thing is they are installed in most SUVs and hatchbacks. However, we mostly get into a dilemma when we need to haul our luggage. So, do I need a roof rack for a cargo carrier?
If you love long-distance trips, carrying luggage isn’t exceptional. More so, if you are heading for mountain hikes because you will need tents and foodstuffs.
That aside, you may be going skiing, so you have to store some fragile sports items on the roof. Think of ski length too. It may be hard to keep them in the trunk.
Thankfully, you’ll have clear information on whether to install a roof rack for your cargo carrier by the end of this writing.
But before you can read further, you need to answer the difference between a roof rack and a cargo carrier. Here’s a sneak peek of some recommended products.
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Do I Need a Roof Rack for a Cargo Carrier?
Differences between a roof rack and a cargo carrier
What is a Roof Rack?
A roof rack is a framework installed on the car’s roof to carry luggage. The framework helps create room inside the vehicle, especially when traveling with several occupants.
Other times you may be traveling with pets and kids. And considering how hot summer seasons can get, you need more space in the car.
And when it gets to that point, installing a roof rack becomes necessary.
Which Type of Cars Use Roof Racks?
Roof racks are installed on SUVs, hatchbacks, and minivans. However, you may find a few sedans with shorter roof racks.
Although most sedans have minimal roof area for various items, you can take advantage and haul some extra cargo if your trunk is full.
Furthermore, a roof rack without a cargo carrier can carry various items. Examples are bikes, skis, kayaks, canoes, ladders, etc.
But you would want to properly secure your items to avoid losses once you decide to haul them on the rooftop.
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Advantages of Using Roof Racks
- Roof racks create an aesthetic look on your car.
- They are easy to install and remove from the cars.
- They provide more space for cargo.
- They help create a room inside the car for better air circulation.
What is a Cargo Carrier?
Cargo carriers are the best choice for carrying items more securely because they are locked to protect the luggage from theft and weather.
However, you may also choose some soft-sided cargo carriers that are open on the upper side.
Types of Cargo Carriers
There are three main types of cargo carriers for your rooftop. But you may also find some other types minor types.
However, this article will discuss only the three main types. Let’s dive in;
1. Hardtop cargo carriers
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They are also called the hard shell rooftop cargo carriers. These cargo carriers are the safest solution because they have a lock.
Secondly, they are made of hard plastic or fiberglass materials that protect your luggage from the weather.
Hardtop cargo carriers are easily mounted on the rooftop using straps or bolts. Examples are rooftop boxes.
2. Soft top cargo carriers
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Soft top cargo carriers include bags. For bags, they are more secure because they have a zipper to protect the items.
Additionally, some bags are made of waterproof material to secure your items during rainy seasons.
Unfortunately, if you purchase a cloth bag, your items may not be safe from the rain.
3. Cargo baskets
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Cargo baskets are suitable for adventures. They have an open top and a unique side design. Luckily, they are the best choice for your wet sporting items like skis.
Moreover, you can store some perishable goods like vegetables in the cargo basket.
Read: Types of roof rack mounts
Do I Need a Roof Rack for a Cargo Carrier?
At times you may need roof racks for your cargo carriers. Other times it might be unnecessary.
To understand further, take a look at the three types of carrier bags.
Types of carrier bags.
Hardtop Cargo carriers
For hardtop cargo carriers, you need a roof rack. That’s because most hardtop cargo carriers are mounted on the roof using screws. So, you require crossbars to secure them firmly.
Secondly, hardtop carriers are designed for heavier items. As such, you cannot secure them directly on the roof because they may damage the paint. It’s also risky because they may slip and cause damage.
Soft top cargo carriers
Soft cargo bags can be safer to use without roof racks. But some soft bags carry heavier luggage, which makes it riskier if the car has a sunroof. So, it’s good to have a roof rack for heavier cargo bags.
However, if you plan to use a soft car top carrier without a roof rack, spread a mat before laying the bag to protect the paintwork.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t lay the bag on the sunroof because the glass material may not be firm enough to withstand the weight.
Most cargo baskets are made of steel or aluminum materials. As such, you need to properly mount them on the rooftop to avoid damaging the paintwork.
Well, for cargo baskets, you need a roof rack. But when not in use, remove them because they offer wind resistance.
How to Find a Suitable Cargo Carrier for Your Luggage
First, consider the size of your luggage and your car roof surface. Their sizes are usually measured by cubic feet.
Consider the height of the areas you may want to go to or park your car. Unfortunately, some garages or underground parking lots may be shorter in height.
Most modern carrier boxes are sleek in design to offer minimal wind resistance. However, you may find some carriers have no aerodynamic features.
Purchase carriers that are durable. Moreover, choose a good material to protect your luggage from the weather.
Read: Safest place for dog in SUV
FAQs on Cargo Carriers
Do You Need Crossbars for Cargo Box?
You need crossbars to install a cargo box because they are usually secured using bolts and screws.
Do Roof Boxes Come With Bars?
Usually, roof boxes don’t come with bars. You may need to purchase bars separately.
What are Crossbars Used for?
Crossbars are installed across the vehicle roof width to support the load.
So, do I need a roof rack for a cargo carrier? A roof rack is necessary to offer firm support to your cargo carrier.