How to Use a Roof Rack for Carrying Luggage on Car Roof

Carrying Luggage on Car Roof

Carrying luggage on the car roof with a roof rack is a great way to create extra storage space for your journey.

Whether it's for a family holiday, camping trip, or moving house doesn't matter! A roof rack can significantly boost your car's capacity. It lets you transport large or bulky items that won't fit inside your car. But it's not just about loading your luggage and driving off.

You must consider how to use a roof rack for luggage to distribute the weight evenly and securely.

In the following sections, we'll explore the best practices for carrying luggage on a car roof. We'll provide the information you need to transport your belongings safely.

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What Can You Put on a Roof Rack

Roof racks are versatile storage tools. They transform a vehicle's roof into an extra storage space. It lets you transport items that wouldn't ordinarily fit inside your car. From camping gear and sporting equipment to luggage and large furniture, a roof rack can hold various objects, significantly increasing your vehicle's cargo capacity.

But understanding what you can put on a roof rack depends on various factors. They're the rack's size, weight capacity, and the type of objects you plan to transport. This block will delve into the myriad possibilities of what you can put on a roof. It will help you use this incredibly useful accessory to its fullest potential.


A roof rack is perfect for stowing away extra luggage on a road trip. Especially when the vehicle is full of passengers, and there's little interior space.

Camping Gear

Tents, sleeping bags, coolers, camping chairs, and other outdoor gear can be strapped to a roof rack. It leaves more room for passengers and pets inside the vehicle.

Sporting Equipment

Surfboards, snowboards, bicycles, kayaks, canoes, and skis are also what you can put on a roof rack. Specialized attachments are available to secure these items properly.

Fishing Rods

Long fishing rods can be transported using a roof rack. It helps to avoid the risk of breaking them if they were inside the car.

Cargo Boxes

These are to fit onto roof racks, providing secure, waterproof storage. They are ideal for clothing, extra luggage, or any items you want to protect from the elements.

Spare Tires

Especially useful for off-road adventurers, a spare tire can be on a roof rack.


Large or awkwardly shaped furniture pieces can be transported using a roof rack.


A roof rack can be a practical solution for tradespeople or DIY enthusiasts.

Building Materials

Planks of wood, pipes, or other building materials can be also carried safely on a roof rack.

Remember, no matter what you can put on a roof rack; the key is to secure everything properly. The weight should be evenly distributed. And you should never exceed the weight limit stated by the rack's manufacturer. Always consider the height of the loaded rack when entering low-clearance areas. With careful planning, a roof rack can greatly expand your vehicle's cargo capacity.

A roof rack is perfect for carrying extra luggage

How to Tie Down Luggage on a Roof Rack

Securing luggage on a roof rack is essential to maximize a car's cargo capacity. Correctly tying down your belongings not only ensures their safety. But it is also the safety of your vehicle, yourself, and other road users.

The items you transport on your roof rack vary in shape, size, and weight. It makes it all the more crucial to understand proper securing techniques. Ensuring your load is correctly tied down can prevent damage to your items. It reduces the risk of accidents and provides peace of mind throughout your journey. It's not just about having the right equipment; understanding how to use it is key.

In this block, we'll explore detailed instructions on how to tie down luggage on a roof rack. We will provide you with the knowledge to transport your cargo effectively.

Inspect the Roof Rack

Before you begin, ensure that your roof rack is securely fastened to your vehicle. Check for any signs of wear or damage.

Arrange the Luggage

Start by positioning your luggage on the roof rack. Try to distribute the weight evenly across the rack to maintain vehicle stability.

Use the Right Gear

The next step in “How to tie down luggage on a roof rack” guide is using ratchet straps, bungee cords, or cargo nets. Make sure they are in good condition, without fraying or wear.

Tie Down Luggage

Starting from one end of the rack, pass the strap over the luggage. Loop it under the rack's side rail and bring it back over. Repeat this process on the opposite side.

Secure the Straps

Use the ratchet mechanism to tighten the straps, ensuring the luggage is firmly held in place. Do not over tighten as it may cause damage to your items.

Cross-Tie for Extra Security

For added security, cross-tie your luggage. Start by attaching one end of the strap to one side of the rack. Pass it over the luggage diagonally. Loop it under the rack's opposite side and bring it back over diagonally. Tighten the strap.

Check All Points

Now the next step in “how to use a roof rack for luggage” guide. After you've secured all straps, give your luggage a firm shake to ensure it's stable. If there's any movement, adjust your straps accordingly.

Tie Down Loose Ends

To prevent straps from flapping in the wind, secure any loose ends using rubber bands or Velcro ties.

Double Check

Always double check your work. Make sure the luggage is secure and the straps are tight.

Frequent Inspections

During your journey, stop periodically to check the luggage. Road vibrations can loosen straps over time. So it's important to inspect them and tighten them if necessary.

door hooks straps

Bottom Line 

In conclusion, the key to carrying luggage on car roof  with a roof rack lies in:

  • The proper arrangement.
  • Secure fastening.
  • Regular inspection.

But even before these steps, choosing a reliable and sturdy roof rack or cargo carrier is crucial. BuyRoofPax offers a range of high-quality, durable car top cargo carriers. They're designed to suit various needs.

Whether on a road trip, relocating, or embarking on an outdoor adventure doesn't matter!

BuyRoofPax ensures a worry-free, space-efficient, and safe carrying luggage on the car roof. Trust BuyRoofPax car accessories for a journey as enjoyable as the destination.


Are there any weight limits for a roof rack?

    Yes, there are weight limits for a roof rack, and they vary based on the vehicle model and the type of rack. Typically, the limit can range between 75 and 200 lbs. It's important to consider both the cargo's weight and the rack's weight. Always refer to your vehicle and roof rack manufacturer's specifications. It's to know the exact weight limit.

    Do I need extra insurance coverage for items on the roof rack?

      This depends on your current insurance policy. Some comprehensive car insurance policies might cover items on your roof rack, while others may not. It's best to contact your insurance provider. It's to understand the specifics of your coverage. If it isn't included, you may consider getting extra coverage for high-value items.

      Can I use a roof rack on any type of vehicle?

        Most cars, SUVs, and vans can be fitted with a roof rack. But the type and size of the rack will depend on the vehicle model and its roof type. It's important to check with the rack manufacturer or your car's manual. It's to ensure compatibility.

        Is there a weight limit for the luggage I can carry on a roof rack?

        Yes, every roof rack has a weight limit specified by the manufacturer. Exceeding this limit can be dangerous and may lead to damage or failure of the rack. Refer to your vehicle's manual or the roof rack manufacturer's guidelines for the specific weight limit.

        Can I still use my car's sunroof with a roof rack installed?

        In most cases, you can still use your car's sunroof with a roof rack installed. However, be cautious about the height of the items you're carrying. Ensure there is enough clearance for the sunroof to open and close without interference. Additionally, check the vehicle's manual or the roof rack manufacturer's instructions for any specific guidelines regarding sunroof usage while the rack is installed.