Last Updated on December 31, 2020
If you are planning on going camping for the weekend, then it’s important to make sure that you bring all of your essential gear with you – foodstuff, clothing, survival gear, a tent and whatever else you are going to need.
Sometimes though, you may just not have enough room in your car to fit everything you need inside of it.
The solution to this dilemma is to get a rooftop cargo bag.
There are a whole bunch of rooftop cargo bags on the market specifically designed to make packing for a camping trip exceptionally easy.
With so much choice out there though, you may find it difficult to determine which one will be the best option for you.
We’re here to help you to make that decision!
Read on for more about the best rooftop cargo bags. We’ve also written a handy buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision.
For ample durability, the Roofpax Car Roof Bag is a fantastic choice. This bag is ideal for long car journeys where you need just a little bit of extra room for your luggage.
This fantastic car roof bag features an amazing 19 cubic feet worth of storage space where you can put all of your gear. Getting into the bag is incredibly simple too, as it has a waterproof zipper.
It consists of military grade fabric that has been made with powerful dual seam technology, in addition to water repellent coating. This means that it is more than equipped to deal with anything the weather throws at it.
It’s also pretty easy to mount this cargo bag onto your car. You don’t need a roof rack, as the bag comes with 6 different straps that can attach right onto your car. In addition to this, it comes with a set of heavy duty straps and some NIFCO buckles.
To give you even more security, the manufacturer has added a TSA approved combination lock onto the bag. Of course, the bag is pretty big. While this is certainly a good thing for space, it isn’t ideal as far as fuel consumption is concerned.
- Doesn’t require a roof rack
- Very durable
- It’s pretty big, which means it’s not ideal for fuel consumption
- ✅ SAFETY COMES FIRST: RoofPax is the ONLY brand that produces its Car Roof Carriers for maximum safety with the Patented 4+2 extra free door hook straps (included), instead of using straps that go inside the car. Tying down any car top luggage involving straps going through the inside of the car is HIGHLY dangerous as they interfere with air bags in case of emergency and are illegal to use in some states. RoofPax is the safest and most secure Car Roof Cargo Bag on the market today.
- ✅ DOUBLE ZIPPERS FOR EXTRA WEATHERPROOFING: This premium quality car top bag is made of military grade materials with TWO waterproof closing zippers, waterproof dual seam technology and water repellent double coating. This roof bag features include a built-in protective mat and 10 elastic Velcro strap restraints to prevent strap flapping. Security features also include a heavy duty SBS zipper, 10 sturdy straps with NIFCO buckles and double strap covers with 8 Velcro stripes.
- ✅ WORKS WITH or WITHOUT a ROOF RACK: Use the RoofPax spacious 19 cubic feet car roof top luggage carrier with any sized car or SUV. It can be quickly and easily installed in minutes using either; raised side rails/crossbars/roof rack/basket and if none of them is installed - you can always use the included 6 door hook straps which attach under the door's rubber seal gasket.
- ✅ EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS INCLUDED: Our set includes the 19 cft. rooftop cargo carrier, 6 patented door hook straps/clips, a TSA approved lock, and a sturdy storage bag, offering you a better and safer solution for safely storing your car top luggage when traveling.
- ✅ FREE EXTENDED WARRANTY: Our customers mean the world to us! We promise to be there for you whenever needed, that's why our cargo rack rooftop is backed by a lifetime warranty on zippers and buckles and a 5-year warranty on tears and fabric. Our 24/7 customer care is ready to address any issues you might have in no time!
When buying a roof bag, you don’t want to get something that’s overly complicated to set up. Fortunately, the set up for the Rightline Gear Sport Jr is simpler than you can even imagine. This multifunctional bag will be a great asset to you on all of your camping trips and beyond.
The bag is made out of UV protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT fabric. This means that it’s ideal in most weather conditions, and it’s rugged enough to deal with all sorts of bumps and scrapes when you’re out on the road.
It’s totally waterproof, and it even has welded seams and a waterproof zipper. When you open up the bag, it has an incredibly 10 cubic feet of space. This is more than enough for you to store all of your most important gear for that highly anticipated excursion.
Another big advantage that this rooftop cargo bag has is that there’s no need for you to invest in a roof rack to take advantage of the product. You can attach the bag right onto your car with or without your roof rack.
It also comes with all of the tools that you need to set it up. The shape is somewhat boxy however, which means it isn’t the most aerodynamic option out there.
- Can work with any car
- Slightly boxy shape means that it’s not very aerodynamic
It can be a little worrying buying a cargo bag – after all, there are many options out there that are quite expensive.
The Keeper Rooftop Cargo Bag is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a great option on a budget. It is a pretty basic bag, but it’s still a great option.
The bag will give you a substantial amount of storage space – up to 15 cubic feet in total! This is plenty of space for all of your gear. It can work with pretty much any roof rack too. It’s been made out of heavy duty fabric for extra durability.
When you’re off the road, packing away the rooftop cargo bag is pretty simple. You just need to fold it down into its smallest size so you can store it easily. The bag is waterproof too.
Unfortunately the main drawback of this cargo bag is that you will need a roof rack in order to attach it to the vehicle.
- Fairly affordable
- Compact when folded down – easier to store
- It requires a roof rack to attach it to a vehicle
- Protect Your Cargo: Keeper Roof Top Cargo Bag features 15 cubic ft. to protect and secure cargo loads from road grit, sun, wind and rain.
- Measurements: This cargo bag measures approximately 44 in. x 34 in. x 17 in. with rubber-laminated nylon material.
- Features: Soft sides flex to fit odd-shaped loads and folds into a compact size for easy storage.
- Ideal Use: Fits most roof racks on standard vehicles and smaller SUVs with attachment capabilities on all four sides.
- Disclaimer: Please use extreme caution when not utilizing all four side attachments.
If you are looking for an option with plenty of storage space, you should certainly give the Reese Explore 63604 Rooftop Cargo Bag a try. This is the ideal choice for a family camping trip.
The bag will provide you with 15 cubic feet worth of storage where you can put all of your essential gear. You can be safe in the knowledge that your items will be safe and dry inside of the bag, as it has a rainproof construction.
To secure it to the vehicle, the bag comes with 6 straps and tie down points so you can keep it secure on your roof. When you aren’t using it, you can even fold it down completely flat.
It doesn’t matter what cargo bag or basket you have, this bag will fit in it. You just need to make sure that its dimensions are 60 by 18.5 inches or more.
You can use the bag to store all of your gear, whether you’re going camping or hiking, or anything else.
- Well constructed
- The straps can work loose sometimes
The RoofBag Waterproof Car Top Carrier is by far one of the best waterproof rooftop cargo bags on the market.
You don’t need to worry about any of your belongings getting wet with this option, thanks to the triple seal technology it is made out of.
It’s easy enough to set up the bag on whatever kind of roof you have. It doesn’t have to be a roof rack – you can set it up on side rails, crossbars, or even without a roof rack. Set up is simple!
The bag has been made out of high quality, heavy duty materials. This helps to make sure that everything inside of the bag is safe from the elements. It doesn’t matter what you throw at this bag, it will stand the test of time.
In addition to this, the bag features water resistant straps. You can be secure in the knowledge that your gear will be safe on the roof too thanks to the 4 YKK buckles.
It’s a pretty expensive rooftop cargo bag though, so you should make sure that you have a bigger budget if you plan on buying this option.
- High quality construction
- It’s quite expensive – it will require a larger budget to buy this option
- FITS ALL CARS: With or without rack, sunroof, moonroof. The original RoofBag car roof cargo carrier was designed in the USA to safely fit any model car. The generous dimensions of the 15 cubic feet model (48" L, 38" W, 11"-18" H) are large enough to hold the contents of 5 suitcases. You'll be surprised how spacious it is. It will fit safely on any roof 58" or longer (SUVs, vans, large sedans, pickup trucks). Large Set includes Liner Bags for easier packing and unpacking your rooftop cargo bag
- MOST SECURE DESIGN: Your belongings are safe at any highway speed with the roof top car cargo carrier boasting the strongest nylon straps: 1.5” wide, 3,000 lbs strong. RoofBag’s exclusive pass-through straps have been safety-tested for 18 years. They don’t interfere with side curtains since they enter at corner of door frame. Door hooks or clips are not safe for most cars in the US: they don’t have the required lip under door gasket. However, if you car has lip, buy door hooks from RoofBag store
- TRULY WATERPROOF: RoofBag keeps your valued contents dry, offering the benefits of a rigid roof top car cargo carrier and the practicality of a roof cargo bag. Peace-of-mind waterproofness is achieved by making the RoofBag car roof bag from a single piece of waterproof material with no exposed stitching. A double flap protects the zipper and stays in place without the need for velcro. Straps are water-repellent. For ultimate water-tightness, zipper has no gap. Tip: install with logo to the rear
- HEAVY-DUTY: Not only is the RoofBag car topper luggage carrier waterproof, but it is also extremely sturdy. 18 years of improvements led to a roof bag cargo carrier made to last: military-grade fabric that will not peel or tear, is resistant to cold, heat, and UV, and best of all, is free of harmful chemicals, so that you can safely use it for baby clothes. Customer satisfaction is ensured by experienced US staff and by a 2-year warranty. Tip: fill bag completely to avoid wind-flapping damage
- QUIET, FUEL EFFICIENT, EASY TO INSTALL: Our car rooftop car carrier is lower at the front, higher at the back for best fuel economy and a quiet ride. Built with heavy fabric to reduce noise, RoofBag was engineered to maximize storage space and fuel economy. 2 sizes available: 11 and 15 cu ft. (Larger bags than 15 cu ft are not recommended: they are unstable and noisy and greatly increase gas use). Tip: fill bag completely to keep aerodynamic shape - Leave 8” clear roof space in front of bag
Best Rooftop Cargo Bag Buyer’s Guide
Why Should You Get a Rooftop Cargo Bag?
There are a number of different reasons why you should invest in a rooftop cargo bag.
The biggest reason of all is that rooftop cargo bags can give you a lot more room in your car. This is perfect if you’re going camping or you’re going on a weekend trip and you need a little bit of extra space.
Some cars simply don’t have the space for all of your gear – this is not an issue with a rooftop cargo bag.
Not every cargo bag is the same – they can different in terms of features, size and the overall quality. This also means that you are likely to find one that will be the perfect fit for you.
Of course, you could get a cargo roof box, but bags are much more convenient for many people as they cost less money and can be folded totally flat. You don’t even need a roof rack to use your cargo roof bag, which means that it’s less effort to get the bag loaded onto your car.
Things to Consider
When buying a rooftop cargo bag, you want to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal for you and your requirements. This means having a thorough knowledge of what you’re looking for!
Here are some of the key things to think about when it comes to buying a rooftop cargo bag.
Not all rooftop cargo bags are made the same – as such, the sizes can widely vary. Consider the sorts of things that you want to put in the bag, and the capacity that you need.
Once you have done this, you will then need to consider the shape and size of every thing you plan on putting in the bag. The amount of space you have in the bag can be impacted by the shape of the item.
You will also need to measures out how long and how wide your vehicle’s rooftop is so that you can ensure your bag is the ideal size for your car’s rooftop.
Your cargo bag is going to be on the roof of your car, so it’s important to make sure that all of your belongings are nice and secure inside of the bag.
Look out for certain features such as buckles and heavy duty straps.
You should also check that the bag is resistant to UV rays and is waterproof so that it doesn’t get damaged by the rain.
The shape of the bag on top of the rood is going to change your car’s aerodynamics.
Sadly, rooftop cargo bags are already pretty poor in the aerodynamics department. This is mainly because the bags are shaped almost box like, and this can cause it drag a little as you are driving.
In turn, this ultimately means that you have less bang for your buck in terms of fuel for your car as your mileage will decrease.
To avoid this issue to some degree, you should look out for rooftop cargo bags that have been designed to be aerodynamic.
Of course, they may be a little more difficult to pack, but this will be the more economically advantageous option in the long run as they are better for your car’s gas mileage.
Compatibility with Your Vehicle
One of the most important things to consider is whether your cargo bag is going to be a good match for your car.
Unfortunately, buying a rooftop cargo bag that just isn’t compatible with your car means that you will have wasted your hard earned money, not to mention it will have wasted your time.
There are some cargo bags that you can mount without having a roof rack, while others require a roof rack. If you do not have a roof rack on your car then it’s incredibly important that you buy a rooftop cargo bag that you can strap right onto your car without needing a roof rack.
The whole point of a rooftop cargo bag is to attach it to the roof to save space inside of your car, so you need to make sure that the way it is attached to the car is solid.
The kinds of mounting hardware used on your cargo bag is largely going to determine the overall security of the installation, and how easy it is going to be to set it all up.
You should double check that you aren’t going to need any specialist tools other than what comes with the purchase. There are certain bags that will also need two people to install them, and some may take longer than expected to set up depending on the overall size of the bag.
Make sure that you also think about the amount of straps, what sorts of buckle systems are used, and what the straps are made out of.
It’s important that the straps aren’t fragile, and that they can deal with the force of the wind and other inclement weather that may come up while you are travelling.
Cost is often a key factor when it comes to making the decision to buy a product. With that being said, it’s essential that you don’t buy a rooftop cargo bag just because it’s the cheapest option available.
Most of the time, the cheapest options aren’t going to last for very long and the quality is pretty poor. This means that you are likely to need to buy another one in a few months anyway.
For the cost it would take to buy two bags, you may as well just buy one slightly more expensive bag to save you needing to replace it later down the line.
Naturally, when you are buying a product you are going to want it to last for a long time.
You want something that is going to give you good value for money. How do you do this?
First of all, ensure that the cargo bag has been well made, and that it has been constructed out of high quality, durable materials. It is important that the bag consists of thick, strong materials.
Some of the best materials that you can have for a rooftop cargo bag are PVC or vinyl. You will also need to ensure that the outer covering of the bag resists any weather issues such as wind and rain. This helps to make sure that your belongings don’t get damaged.
Make sure that any attachments, like zippers, straps or buckles are all sturdy. This means that it will be much easier to attach and open and close the bag, and it will help to ensure that it lasts longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a suitcase inside of a roof bag?
If you are going to put your suitcase inside of your rooftop cargo bag though, you should try to make sure that it is packed lightly so it doesn’t weigh much.
If possible, put any heavy bags or suitcases into your car’s trunk as they can cause damage to your car’s roof.
Is it safe to use a rooftop cargo bag?
So long as you install your rooftop cargo bag, there’s no reason that it should be unsafe.
Your visibility should not be impeded by using a rooftop bag, which is an added bonus as stacking your trunk up too high may obstruct your view.
If you are still a little bit apprehensive, you should set up some Cargo Anchors. These are great as they ensure that all of your items will stay perfectly still, even if you do have to stop the car all of a sudden.