Rooftop Luggage Racks for Every Budget and Need

When you’re hitting the road, finding space for all your essentials can sometimes be a bit of a tight squeeze. You’re in luck, though, because we’ve rounded up the top 5 rooftop luggage racks to enhance your travel experience, regardless of your budget and specific needs.

We’ve got you covered from sleek designs that meld seamlessly with your vehicle’s aesthetics to rugged options that can withstand the harshest conditions.

To find out which rooftop luggage rack makes the cut for your next adventure and why, let’s explore the options together, ensuring you make an informed decision that elevates your travel game.

What is Rooftop Luggage Rack?

A rooftop luggage rack is an accessory for transporting extra gear on your vehicle’s top, enhancing storage space.

For the best choice, consider material, installation, aerodynamics, weight capacity, and safety features like secure locks and anti-slip surfaces.

Types of Roof Top Luggage Racks

Understanding the different types of rooftop luggage racks will help you select the best option for your vehicle’s needs and budget.

The market offers a variety of racks, each with unique features like material durability, installation ease, aerodynamic design, weight capacity, and security features. Here’s a snapshot to guide your choice:

  • Cargo Boxes: Ideal for securing valuables and protecting them from the elements, cargo boxes boast impressive material durability. Their aerodynamic design minimizes wind resistance, enhancing fuel efficiency. However, they can be bulky and require more effort during installation.
  • Cargo Baskets: These are perfect for bulky or oddly shaped items that might not fit into cargo boxes. Made from durable materials, cargo baskets offer easy installation and flexibility in carrying capacity. Their open design may not protect items from the weather without an additional cover.
  • Roof Bags: Soft and flexible, roof bags offer easy installation and storage when not in use. They’re suitable for vehicles without roof racks and provide decent protection against weather, though they may lack the security features and durability of hardshell options.
  • Bike Racks: Specifically designed for cyclists, bike racks come in various styles to accommodate different numbers and types of bikes. They prioritize easy installation and access to your vehicle’s trunk, though their weight capacity and security features vary.
  • Ski and Snowboard Racks: Tailored for winter sports enthusiasts, these racks ensure secure and easy equipment transport. They feature locks for security and rubber arms to prevent damage to your gear.

Each type offers a blend of features catering to different needs, from material durability to security features. Consider what you’ll primarily use the rack to make the best choice.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Roof Top Luggage Rack

Several critical factors should influence your choice when deciding on the perfect rooftop luggage rack for your vehicle. Here’s a detailed look at what you need to consider to make an informed decision:

  • Weight Capacity: Knowing how much weight your rooftop luggage rack can safely carry is essential. This depends not only on the rack’s design but also on your vehicle’s roof load limit. Overloading can damage your car and the rack, so check the specifications carefully.
  • Material Durability: The material of the luggage rack determines its longevity and resistance to weather conditions. Most racks are made from aluminum or steel; aluminum is lighter and less prone to rust, while steel is typically more robust but heavier.
  • Aerodynamic Design: A luggage rack with an aerodynamic design will reduce wind resistance, leading to better fuel efficiency and a quieter ride. Look for sleek, low-profile models that won’t significantly affect your vehicle’s aerodynamics.
  • Noise Level: Speaking of quiet rides, noise is critical for many drivers. Some racks are designed to minimize noise at high speeds, a feature you’ll appreciate on long trips.
  • Security Features: Finally, consider the security features of the luggage rack. Models with locks or compatibility with vehicle-specific locking mechanisms will help protect your belongings from theft.

These factors are key in choosing a rooftop luggage rack that meets your needs and budget and ensures a safe, enjoyable journey.

5 Best Rooftop Luggage Race

First, race efficiency isn’t just about speed; it’s about how effectively a rack allows your vehicle to cut through the air with minimal drag. Aerodynamic designs play a crucial role here, reducing fuel consumption and noise.

Load security ensures your belongings stay safe and intact, regardless of terrain or speed. Material durability is about longevity and resilience to weather and wear, while installation ease means less time setting up and more time adventuring.

Here’s a quick comparison to guide you:

Race EfficiencyHigh – Enhances fuel efficiency and reduces noise.
Load SecurityCrucial – Keeps your belongings safe during travel.
Aerodynamic DesignsEssential – Minimizes drag and improves vehicle handling.
Material DurabilityVital – Ensures longevity and resistance to elements.
Installation EaseImportant – Saves time and hassle in setup.

1. Thule Pulse Cargo Box

durable rooftop cargo carrier

Ideal for adventurers needing extra storage, the Thule Pulse Cargo Box offers 14 cubic feet of space, ensuring you’ll have plenty of room for your gear on your next journey.

Its durable construction and rugged design protect your belongings, while the FastGrip quick-mount system allows easy assembly.

The passenger-side opening provides convenient access, and the Central Locking system, complemented by the Thule Comfort Key, ensures maximum safety.

Whether carrying 3-5 snowboards or a load of camping gear, its aerodynamic shape minimizes noise and fuel efficiency impact.

Compatible with various rack systems, its installation is straightforward, typically taking under 5 minutes.

With positive reviews on its durability, security, and ease of use, the Thule Pulse is a top choice for road trips and family travel.

Best For: Adventurers and families need extra storage space for road trips and outdoor activities.


  1. Functional rooftop cargo box: The Thule 614 Pulse Rack provides 14 cubic feet of additional packing space, allowing you to store and transport your items easily.
  2. Rugged and durable design: The cargo box is made of durable ABS plastic material, protecting your contents from harsh weather conditions and impact during transportation.
  3. FastGrip quick-mount system: The cargo box can be easily assembled and mounted onto your vehicle’s roof rack in minutes, providing convenience and ease of use.
  4. Passenger-side opening: The cargo box features a passenger-side opening, making it easy to load and unload your items without any hassle.
  5. Central Locking System: The cargo box has a central locking system that provides maximum safety and security for your belongings. The Thule Comfort Key can only be removed when all locking points are securely closed.


  • Rugged and durable design ensures content protection under various weather conditions.
  • FastGrip quick-mount system allows for easy and quick installation.
  • Aerodynamic shape minimizes noise and impacts on fuel efficiency.


  • Limited to a max length of 155 cm for snowboards, which may not accommodate longer boards.

2. FIVKLEMNZ Waterproof Anti Slip Reinforced Suitable

durable waterproof anti slip boots

For travelers seeking a reliable and waterproof solution for extra storage, the FIVKLEMNZ Car Rooftop Cargo Carrier Roof Bag is a versatile option suitable for all vehicle types, with or without a rack.

It comes with 8 reinforced adjustable straps, an anti-slip mat, 6 door hooks, and a luggage lock, ensuring your belongings are secure during your journey.

The carrier offers 15 cubic feet of storage space to fit 4-6 suitcases or other items, making it perfect for road trips.

It’s a practical choice for those without roof-side rails and is easy to install on any car, truck, or SUV.

With a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating from over 6,470 customers, it’s praised for its sturdiness, waterproof capabilities, and ease of attachment.

Best For: Travelers needing extra storage space on their vehicles, regardless of whether they are equipped with a roof rack.


  1. Most Safe Design: The cargo carrier has 8 reinforced adjustable straps to keep it in place and prevent it from slipping or scratching the car.
  2. Large Storage Space: With a capacity of 15 cubic feet, the roof bag provides ample space to hold 4-6 suitcases, travel luggage cases, tents, sleeping bags, and more, freeing up space inside the vehicle.
  3. Easy to Install: The cargo carrier can be easily installed on any car, truck, or SUV. Even if the vehicle has no roof side rails, it can be quickly installed to the roof rack using the 6 included door hooks.
  4. Waterproof: Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the cargo carrier can withstand high-speed, bumpy roads without getting wet.
  5. Additional Accessories: The cargo carrier also includes an anti-slip mat to keep it in place, reinforced straps for added security, 6 door hooks for easy installation, and a luggage lock for added protection.


  • The waterproof and sturdy design ensures belongings stay dry and secure.
  • Offers a generous 15 cubic feet of storage space, accommodating 4-6 suitcases.
  • Easy installation on any vehicle, with or without roof side rails, increases versatility.


  • Some users reported water leakage with wet items inside the bag.

3. ARKSEN Universal Extension Luggage Carrier

ARKSEN Universal Extension Luggage Carrier

Suppose you’re tackling long road trips and need a durable solution for extra storage. The ARKSEN Universal Extension Luggage Carrier, with its hefty 150 lbs capacity, stands out as a top pick for maximizing your vehicle’s cargo space.

It is constructed from heavy-duty steel with a protective black powder coating and features bottom metal bars and side rails for enhanced security.

Installation is straightforward on most vehicles, using four universal U-bolts, making it a versatile option for various uses.

Users have found it easy to assemble despite some alignment issues and challenges with the hardware and instructions.

The additional spacers for fairing attachment enhance its utility. While there are reports of potential rust issues and noise at higher speeds without cargo, the overall feedback highlights its sturdiness, lightweight design, and value for money.

It’s lauded for its secure attachment to vehicles, convenient extension for holding more cargo, and minimal signs of wear after prolonged use, making it a highly recommended choice for efficient cargo hauling.

Best For: Individuals or families needing extra cargo space for long road trips.


  1. Large Storage Capacity: The ARKSEN roof rack cargo basket has a generous storage capacity, allowing you to free up space in your vehicle. With dimensions of 64″(L) x 39″(W) x 6″(H), it can hold up to 150 lbs of cargo.
  2. Rigid Construction: Made from heavy-duty steel with a black powder coating, this roof rack cargo basket is built to withstand the elements and resist corrosion. It offers long-lasting use for several years.
  3. Extra Security: The cargo basket’s bottom metal bars and side rails keep your items secure during traveling. It also features a steel wind fairing, which protects your cargo from wind damage and reduces wind resistance.
  4. Easy Installation: Installing this cargo carrier is a breeze. It can be easily mounted on most vehicles using four universal U-bolts and utilizing your car’s crossbars.
  5. Versatile Cargo Basket: This roof rack cargo basket is suitable for carrying a wide range of items, including camping supplies, firewood, luggage, hunting and fishing gear, and more. It is perfect for camping, road trips, or when moving.


  • Sturdy and lightweight design with a large 150 lbs storage capacity.
  • Easy installation on most vehicles with secure attachment at high speeds.
  • Versatile and durable, meeting weight capacity claims with minimal wear over time.


  • Potential rust issues at weld connections after exposure to elements.

4. MIDABAO Cubic Waterproof Carrier Car Carrier

spacious waterproof car carrier

Travelers seeking extra cargo space without sacrificing durability will find the MIDABAO 20 Cubic Waterproof Duty Car Roof Top Carrier a top choice, thanks to its robust PVC material and generous 20 cubic feet capacity.

It’s designed to fit any car, with or without roof racks, ensuring versatility for all users. The waterproof feature, enhanced by a PVC coating, offers reliable protection against rain, keeping your belongings dry.

With six sturdy straps, it promises secure attachment to your vehicle, minimizing the risk of losing it during travel.

The MIDABAO carrier has garnered positive reviews for its ease of installation, ample storage, and durability.

However, some users suggest extra waterproofing steps in heavy rain, although its overall performance is highly recommended for road trips, camping, or moving.

Best For: Travelers and families looking for extra storage space on road trips, camping, or during moves.


  1. Large carrying capacity: The roof bag has a capacity of 20 cubic feet, providing ample space for additional cargo.
  2. Compatible with all cars: The roof bag can be used on cars with or without a roof rack, making it versatile and convenient for many vehicles.
  3. Easy mounting and storage design: The roof bag has 6 short tie straps and 2 long straps, making it quick and easy to attach and detach from the car. The bag is also malleable, allowing for easy storage when not in use.
  4. Waterproof PVC material: The roof bag is coated with PVC both inside and out, ensuring waterproofing and protection against rain and moisture.
  5. Secure straps for stability: The roof bag has 6 wide and 2 3M straps, providing added security and stability during transportation.


  • Made of durable top PVC material, ensuring long-lasting use.
  • Waterproof design coated with PVC protects belongings from rain.
  • Easy to install on any car, with or without roof racks, and includes 6 tough straps for secure attachment.


  • Some users reported the need for additional waterproofing measures in heavy rain.

5. Rooftop Cargo Carriers Car RoofBag

secure storage solution

Designed to offer 16 cubic feet of additional storage, the Rooftop Cargo Carriers Car RoofBag is an ideal choice for families embarking on camping trips or any adventure that demands extra gear.

Manufactured by P.I. Stores under the brand P.I. AUTO STORE, this carrier is noted for its secure fit, courtesy of four sturdy straps and an anti-slip mat, ensuring your belongings stay in place.

Its weatherproof qualities, including waterproof Nylon fiber and heat-welded seams, protect your items under various conditions.

Compatible with vehicles with or without roof racks, its installation and removal process is straightforward, enhancing its appeal.

Weighing just 5 pounds, its design prioritizes ease of use without sacrificing durability, as confirmed by positive customer feedback highlighting its performance during long trips and its reliable waterproofing.

Best For: Families and adventurers need extra storage space for trips, camping, or outdoor activities.


  1. Large storage capacity: The cargo carrier provides an extra 16 cubic feet of space, allowing ample storage of suitcases, luggage, tents, and sleeping bags.
  2. Secure fit: The carrier features 4 sturdy, heavy-duty straps that securely fasten the bag to the car’s roof, ensuring it stays in place even at high speeds. The included anti-slip mat also helps to protect the car roof from scratches and damage.
  3. Weatherproof design: The cargo bag is made from 100% waterproof Nylon fiber, with heat-welded seams, robust Kevlar threads, and a reliable zipper, providing triple waterproof protection. This makes it suitable for rain, wind, sand, and snow.
  4. Universal compatibility: The roof bag is compatible with vehicles with and without roof racks. It can be mounted to vehicles with side rails, cross bars, or a basket. Additionally, it can be easily installed on cars without a luggage rack using firm door hooks (sold separately).
  5. Easy installation: Installing the cargo carrier is straightforward. Just place the protective mat on top of the vehicle, mount the cargo bag, close the zipper, and secure the straps with fasteners. This allows for quick and hassle-free installation and removal.


  • Secure fit with 4 sturdy straps and an anti-slip mat ensures belongings stay in place.
  • Weatherproof design with waterproof Nylon fiber and heat-welded seams protects against various conditions.
  • Compatible with vehicles with or without roof racks, offering versatile installation options.


  • There is a slight decrease in miles per gallon (MPG) due to wind resistance.

Tips for Choosing the Right Roof Top Luggage Rack

Selecting the right rooftop luggage rack for your vehicle requires considering several factors, including compatibility, capacity, and durability, to ensure a secure and efficient fit. You’re not just buying an accessory but investing in a solution that’ll carry your essentials safely over thousands of miles.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Durability concerns: Look for materials that promise longevity and withstand the rigors of road trips and varying weather conditions. High-quality aluminum or steel racks are popular for their strength and resistance to rust and corrosion.
  • Weather resistance: Your luggage rack must withstand all types of weather. Whether it’s beating the sun, pouring rain, or heavy snow, ensure the rack and its components are designed to remain unaffected by extreme weather conditions.
  • Load capacity: It’s crucial to match the rack’s weight limit with your needs. Overloading can damage your vehicle’s roof or rack, so always check and comply with the maximum load capacity.
  • Aerodynamic design: A rack that’s designed to minimize wind resistance won’t just reduce noise; it’ll also improve fuel efficiency. Look for sleek, streamlined models that blend well with your vehicle’s shape.
  • Security features: For peace of mind, prioritize racks that come with built-in locks or security systems. This will deter theft and ensure your belongings are safe, especially during stops.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Once you’ve chosen the perfect rooftop luggage rack, proper installation, and regular maintenance are key to ensuring its longevity and performance. Here’s how you can make sure your rack stays in top shape for years to come:

  • Follow the Manufacturer’s Installation Guide: Always adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for installing your rooftop luggage rack. This ensures you’re taking all necessary safety measures and correctly securing the rack to your vehicle. Improper installation can damage your car or the luggage rack and cause accidents.
  • Ensure Even Weight Distribution: When loading your luggage, evenly distribute the weight across the rack. This helps maintain your vehicle’s balance and reduces the risk of the rack detaching.
  • Adopt Seasonal Storage Practices: If you don’t use your luggage rack year-round, consider proper seasonal storage. Keeping it in a dry, clean place when not in use prevents rust and wear, extending the lifespan of the rack.
  • Regular Cleaning Techniques: Dirt, road salts, and other debris can erode the rack’s materials over time. Regular cleaning is crucial, especially after long trips or exposure to harsh conditions. Use gentle cleaning solutions and soft cloths to avoid scratching the surface.
  • Minimize Noise Through Maintenance: Loose components can increase noise while driving. Regularly check and tighten any bolts and make sure the rack is securely fastened to your vehicle. Applying lubricant to moving parts can also help in noise reduction.


Do Roof Racks Increase Car Value?

Yes, roof racks can increase car value, especially in regions with outdoor lifestyles.

Their value addition varies across buyer demographics and is influenced by type, condition, insurance, and seasonal demands.

High-quality racks in peak seasons see the most value increase.

Do Roof Racks Decrease Gas Mileage?

Yes, installing a roof rack can increase fuel consumption.

This is due to added weight and aerodynamic drag, particularly at highway speeds.

Opting for streamlined designs and minimizing unnecessary load can help reduce the impact on gas mileage.

Should I Leave Rooftop Cargo Carriers or Roof Racks on My Car When Not in Use?

Yes, you should remove rooftop cargo carriers or roof racks when not in use.

This reduces fuel consumption, lowers noise, minimizes security risks, and prevents weather-related wear, preserving both the accessories and your car’s value.

Do Rooftop Luggage Racks Affect the Handling of My Vehicle?

Yes, installing a rooftop luggage rack can alter your vehicle’s handling by shifting its center of gravity and increasing wind resistance.

This affects maneuverability and fuel efficiency and can increase noise levels. Proper loading is essential for safety.

Can I Use a Rooftop Luggage Rack Without a Roof Rack on My Car?

Yes, you can use a rooftop luggage rack on a car without an existing roof rack.

Select models are designed for such scenarios, employing suction cups or door frame clips for secure installation.

Always ensure vehicle compatibility and adhere to safety and legal guidelines.

Wrapping Up

Finding the right rooftop luggage rack for your needs hinges on understanding the types available and considering factors like size, durability, and compatibility with your vehicle.

Whether you opt for the spacious Thule Pulse Cargo Box or the versatile Rooftop Cargo Carriers Car RoofBag, it’s crucial to weigh your options carefully.

Remember to follow installation and maintenance tips to ensure safety and longevity. Armed with the right information, you’ll be ready to make an informed choice that suits your budget and travel needs.

Majed Ahmed, a passionate globetrotter, and author, navigates the world through My Travels Guide. With an expert touch, Majed unravels essential travel insights, from packing tips to outdoor gear wisdom. Join Majed on a journey of wanderlust and practical exploration through captivating narratives and informed guidance.