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3 Ways To Choose The Best Overland Roof Racks and Roof Boxes

As technology evolves, so do our options for moving goods on our vehicles. Gone are the days when everything was piled high on the back seat and fishing rods poked out the back window. We now have a range of different options that make camping and transporting simple. 

Simple and unreliable roof racks are a thing of the past. Today, we have many options about how we stow our luggage. These options include sturdy roof racks, roof cargo units, and even roof baskets. But, knowing which system to choose and why may seem a little tricky. Explore these modern takes on vehicle storage and find out which system suits your overlanding needs.

What are Roof Racks and Cargo Boxes?

Every situation, expedition, or outing will call for a different form of storage. Depending on what you want to carry and where you want to go will play a role in the system you choose. 

Roof racks are open systems that you install onto the roof of your vehicle. These racks make it easy to move any number of items while you travel.  Attaching these systems may mean drilling into the body of your car. Or you might need to connect them to pre-installed raised rails. Because roof racks are open, they do not protect your items from the weather. On the plus side, they allow for the carrying of items such as kayaks, paddles, and fishing rods. The only thing is, you need to fasten them down with the correct ropes and bungee cords. 

Car roof boxes provide a contained structure in which to haul your goods. These closed systems connect to your pre-installed roof racks or roof rails. This makes installation quick and painless. The design they offer makes them ideal for holding more valuable luggage. The compartment protects clothing, books, or sports gear that you wouldn't want to get wet. They  do have a downside in that they won't allow you to fit items in them over a specific size. Unless you get one custom made, a unit that holds a kayak is not something you will easily find. The goods you do cart in your roof compartment will be contained inside.

3 Ways To Choose The Best Overland Roof Box

Car roof boxes are large units that connect to the roof of your car. They offer secure and weatherproof storage solutions. This makes them the go-to for family vacations, college road trips, and overlanding.  Because they are weatherproof, they make freeing up space inside the car easier. No need to worry about your luggage becoming damaged should it rain or snow. If you are wondering how to choose the best overland roof box for your car, there are a few ways to decide. Let’s take a look:

  • Size and Construction - Which Design Suits My Needs Best?

  • Cargo containers come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. The size car roof box you choose will depend on the capacity your vehicle can take and the size it allows. What you will be using the compartment to move  will set the parameters for the size you choose. A skier will need a longer one than someone transporting tennis rackets.  An average cargo box holds around 350 liters, while a larger one offers a capacity closer to 500 liters. 

    These roof holders are made from fiberglass or durable plastic. Offered in a range of styles, colors and you can even choose a matte or gloss finish. The look and feel you want it to have will help you decide which one is best for you. Maintaining these units is as easy as pie. A unique treatment the containers get makes them resistant to scuffs, scratches, and UV rays. 

  • Taking a Look At Security

  • Making sure your luggage stays safe is simple with a roof box. They offer various locking mechanisms. The offerings range from padlock systems to combination mechanisms. Even a built-in lock that requires the use of a key is an option. Deciding which one to get will be simple once you know which locking mechanism works best for you.  

    They are often bolted, sometimes with a U-shaped bolt, to the roof racks or rails. Others attach using power click mounts that grip onto your crossbars. These systems make it impossible for someone to remove them from your vehicle. 

  • Traveling Convenience - Will The Roof Box Protect My Luggage?

  • A roof box is convenient for many reasons. Most importantly, it is weatherproof. This is ideal for carrying luggage or other camping items you don't want to get wet. But weatherproof does not only mean it protects your things from rain, but also wind, snow, and UV rays.

    They are designed to be aerodynamic and wind-resistant. This is important because not only does it reduce drag and fuel consumption, but it reduces noise too. So if you like a quiet drive and prefer to keep fuel costs down, then a roof box is what you need.  

    Speaking of design, the containers are made to install without fuss. No more spending hours trying to fasten a storage system to your vehicle. The simple installation means you can get going on your vacation or overlanding trip in no time at all. 

    And lastly, they open up completely. Finding things you have packed becomes a simple task; if the container is not overloaded, that is. Gone are the days of unpacking everything to find that one item you were looking for. Now you can organize your luggage with ease, a convenient feature any traveler will enjoy. 

    Once you have thought about each of these, choosing the best overland roof box becomes simple. Streamlining your needs will help you narrow down your choices. Considering the size and roof capacity of your vehicle are important too. Together, all these will lead you to the best roof unit for your overlanding adventures. 

    Three Ways To Choose The Best Overland Rack System

    Choosing the best overland rack system depends on many aspects. Your needs and the size and weight capacity of your vehicle all come into consideration. Roof rack systems are more versatile than roof boxes. They allow for the hauling  of larger, more ungainly items. Let's dive in and take a look at three ways that will help you select the best overland rack system for your travels.  For our Toyota owners be sure to check out our top Tacoma Rack choices blog.

  • Looking at Style and Construction

  • When it comes to roof racks, while size matters. But, construction and style are of greater importance. This is because not all roof racks fit every car universally. Roof racks will attach differently to varying roof styles found in vehicles. Some vehicles have raised rails, while others have rain gutters. Each roof configuration requires a unique installation.  Considering the roof style of the vehicle helps to define the best overland rack system for your car.

    These roof racks are durable, and won't corrode. This is thanks to their aluminum alloy or steel construction. This makes them perfect for any weather conditions and ideal for overlanding adventures.

  • Considering Security

  • Vortex-RLT600-Roof-Rack-Track-Silver-00_5000x.jpg (818×818)

    While not offering the same security as a roof box, roof rack systems are also secure. There are rack systems that bolt onto your vehicle's body, making them as safe as they come. Some roof rack systems come with a built-in lock, such as the Rhino Rack Vortex Rack System. This lock allows you to connect them to your vehicle. This system makes it far more difficult for thieves to remove them and make off with your luggage. Others, unfortunately, have no locking mechanism. This is something to take into account when looking for the best overland roof rack systems. 

    Securing your luggage to the roof racks is up to you. Ensuring you have adequate rope, bungee cords, and padlocks if you feel they are necessary. Well bound luggage is not easy for thieves to remove and works as a great deterrent.

  • Traveling Convenience - Does This System Suit My Needs?  


    Roof racks, while they may not offer weatherproof storage, offer many other conveniences. The most important being that they allow you to transport items that won't fit inside your car or in a roof box. Examples of these items include kayaks, surfboards, bicycles, and even jerry cans. Choosing which things you want to carry will help you come to a decision about which roof racks are best for you.

    Roof racks such as the Front Runner Toyota Tundra Slimline II are aerodynamic. They won't create drag or increase fuel consumption. You will need to be smart for packing your items onto your roof rack. Ensure that your luggage does not create drag. Low profile designs ensure a quiet, noise-free trip.  The powder-coated steel or aluminum construction prevents the racks from weathering or rusting. 

    Roof rack systems also offer an assortment of overland rack accessories. These additions each allow for enhanced use of your rack system. The accessories make it simpler to carry  various equipment. You can change up your roof racks to carry varying items. Jerry can holders and hardware for moving bikes are a few additions you can find.

    What is a Roof Basket? 

    An overland roof basket is a happy medium between a roof box and roof racks. Imagine traveling with the family on a college road trip, or going camping out of the rainy season. These are a few examples of instances that put the roof basket to use.  These baskets see a sturdy powder-coated metal design. The construction is durable and resistant to rust. The baskets come as a roof rack accessory that allows you to carry an assortment of items. Offered in an assortment of sizes there is a roof basket for every occasion. Let us have a look at these roof baskets in more detail: 

  • Style and Construction

  • These baskets feature a little more shape to them than your standard roof rack design. The curved and raised sides and a wind deflector guard at the front protect your luggage from bugs and dirt. This deflector also adds an aerodynamic element. The sleek, low-profile design makes sure your car’s handling is unaffected. This shape allows you to steer into corners safely.  Although not a closed system they still offer protection, making storing luggage simple. This shape also keeps goods in place. Like a roof box, the roof basket clamps or bolts to your existing crossbars or side rails.

    They are great for transporting luggage yet they don’t offer protection from the weather. They also limit you in terms of what you can stow in the compartment. The shape of the baskets makes them perfect for storing boxes, jerry cans, or even suitcases. Kayaks and surfboards, but will not fit well with a roof basket. 

  • Security

  • Much like roof racks, these roof baskets require that you bind or tie your luggage to the rack. Bungee cords or rope will do the trick. Securing your items properly will keep them safe and deter thieves. 

  • Convenience

  • A roof basket provides convenience for users. It is quick to install by clamping it to your existing roof rack system. The quick installation makes it simple to install or remove the system whenever you need to.  An aerodynamic design further adds convenience. The basket will not create drag, keeping your fuel consumption at an acceptable level. 

    In Closing

    The top advice we can give when you are searching for the best overland roof racks and roof boxes is this. Keep in mind that what is best for you is not what is best for others. The vehicle you drive, its capacity, and your cargo will steer you towards the best system. It should tick the boxes on size, style, construction, security, and convenience. So go on, make a list of your needs and parameters. Once done, take a look at our fine selection of overlanding roof rack and roof box systems to find your perfect one.