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3 Reasons Why A Typical Roof Rack Basket Is Beyond Budget Friendly

In today’s world, where finances may be less fluid, it makes sense to find an option for transporting items on your vehicle that is cost-effective. The market sees an assortment of roof racks, roof rack accessories, cargo boxes, and roof rack baskets. Each of these is designed to offer a unique mode of transporting your goods. When it comes to adventure travel such as camping or Overlanding the space these roof rack systems offer will come in handy.

For the most cost-effective design, we choose the typical roof rack basket. These baskets come fashioned from powder-coated metal. This coating makes them durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. The roof basket is an open system, meaning that it does not fully contain your luggage. It features curved sides that hold your items in place. Consider these baskets as the happy medium between a roof rack and a cargo box. These baskets can be used with roof racks or existing raised rails on a vehicle. Their versatility is what makes them cost-effective and straightforward to install. An excellent example of the best roof basket for Overlanding is the Rhino Rack XTray Pro.

What Are Roof Rack Baskets Used For?

The roof rack basket is undoubtedly a stiff contender when it comes to the best roof rack for Overlanding. While not much to look at, the humble roof basket provides ample space for storing many items. Curved sides and a system of support bars keep your luggage in place and offer various locations to tether your possessions down. Be sure to tie your items down securely with bungee cords. The car top carrier’s open design differs from a car roof box in that it doesn’t offer a completely closed or weatherproof solution. But, the roof basket does offer far more space and freedom to choose the items you wish to pack, some of which may not fit in a cargo box.

Do you need crossbars to use a roof basket?

Roof baskets need to attach to something. Roof baskets attach to the crossbars of your roof rack system. Sometimes, they may connect directly to the raised rails that come factory-fitted to your car. Without a crossbar system of some description, your roof basket cannot link to your vehicle.  These cargo baskets often come pre-fabricated, which makes them simple to install. But how exactly does one go about installing a roof basket?

How do you attach a roof basket?

Attaching a roof basket to your pre-installed crossbars is a quick and straightforward task. In essence, the basket clamps directly to the crossbars of your roof rack system. Let’s take a look at how it’s done:

  1. Place the prefabricated roof basket onto your roof racks. Position the basket to fit correctly with the crossbars. The included instruction guide will inform you about the distance required between the two crossbars. The distance must be correct for the roof basket to sit correctly.
  2. Clamp kits come included with your roof basket. Forming the clamp kits are a top bracket plate, a lower bottom plate, a bottom bracket plate, bolts, washers, and nuts. Place the lower bracket between the crossbars and the basket. 
  3. Next, place the top bracket over the basket and the bottom bracket underneath the crossbars.
  4. You should now have a bracket sandwich.  One bracket underneath the crossbars. One between the crossbars and the roof basket. And one bracket on top of the roof basket. 
  5. Each of these brackets should have holes that line up.
  6. Next, thread the bolts through these holes so that the top of the screw sits on the top bracket.
  7. Secure the three brackets by tightening the screws with the included washers and nuts.
  8. Tighten the screws on either side of the brackets a little at a time, alternating between them. Doing this ensures the clamps are balanced correctly.
  9. Ensure the clamp is firm, and repeat the process for the other clamps until the roof basket is secure.

So What Makes a Typical Roof Rack Basket Beyond Budget-Friendly?

Now that we have taken a look at what these handy baskets are and how simple they are to install, it is time to see what makes them so budget-friendly. Before we dive in, let’s first see why roof racks are so expensive.

Why Are Roof Racks So Expensive?

Roof racks, while they may seem like simple pieces of metal with bits of rubber and plastic, are a lot more complicated than they appear. Many considerations go into the crafting of a set of roof racks. Included is the material they are made from and their design.

  • Materials

Specialists and design engineers perform many tests on different types of metal. They do this to develop the metal that is best suited to making roof racks. Most high-priced roof rack sets are made from lightweight aluminum that is then powder coated. The lightweight nature of the aluminum prevents the roof rack system’s weight from taking up too much of your car’s dynamic capacity. 

Dynamic capacity is the maximum load your vehicle can carry while moving down a street. A powder-coating, usually in black or a slate-grey, adds a protective layer to the aluminum. The coating prevents the metal from air and water exposure. In essence, the coating prevents the roof rack system from rusting or corroding.  Parts of the roof rack system not made from metal also come fashioned from high-quality materials. These quality materials ensure your roof rack system is both safe and long-lasting.

  • Aerodynamics

The design of a roof rack system takes aerodynamics into account.  Aerodynamics refers to the properties of a solid object, in this case, the roof rack system, and how air flows around it. Roof rack systems that have not been aerodynamically designed will be pushed down by the wind when you travel at high speeds. As a result, it increases the weight substantially on your roof and could lead to damage or even an accident. Another outcome is that the wind could lift the rack system and its cargo straight off your roof.  Should this happen, your vehicle could be badly damaged, and the loose cargo could damage other vehicles or even cause an accident. 

Understandably, engineers spend time and funding to design roof racks that are aerodynamic. In turn, this prevents costly problems for motorists. 

Another aspect of aerodynamics is drag. A set of roof racks that are not designed to have the airflow around them with minimal contact will cause drag. Think of it like this: you are walking on the beach into the wind; it is tricky to do as you push against the wind. Now, lift your beach towel behind you like a sail. It becomes even more challenging to walk, and it uses up more of your energy. This is drag. Roof racks that work against the wind by not being aerodynamic in design make it more difficult for your car to propel forward. In turn, the amount of fuel you need will increase.

  • Weight Distribution

Another aspect design engineers need to take into consideration is weight distribution. Roof rack systems see a unique layout that allows the weight of your load to be evenly distributed across the roof of your vehicle. Why is this important? Firstly, if your luggage's weight becomes focused on one part of your roof, it will cause denting and damage to your vehicle. Secondly, incorrect weight distribution affects your car's ability to handle corners. Should your weight distribution be off, turning a corner could lead to your car toppling. It is understandable then that roof rack systems are designed to connect with your vehicle on at least four contact points. This allows for the even distribution of weight. 

The time, effort, and research it takes to design a set of roof racks and the material used lead to these systems' expense. But, it is essential to remember that the design and sturdy material work together to keep you and your vehicle safe. This makes the expense worthwhile. 

Roof baskets, while similarly designed, are more cost-effective. These roof baskets come made from aluminum, too, and also feature a powder-coated finish. So why then, are they so much more budget-friendly? Let’s take a look:

  • Design 

The design of these food baskets allows them to clip easily onto pre-installed crossbars. A universal clamp system makes it simple to attach these roof baskets to any roof rack system. The lack of need for a specific design reduces the price of these useful baskets.  Because they don’t need to be crafted to work with different roof types, they cost less to manufacture.  Compared to cargo boxes that see a closed design, roof baskets offer an open, basket-style shape. This means that they need less material to manufacture, making them more cost-effective.

Roof baskets see a webbing of smaller support beams, allowing the air to flow through them with ease. By working with the roof racks to elevate your load a little higher, the baskets improve airflow around the roof racks, too, creating less drag. A wind deflector often forms part of the design of a roof basket. This neat little gadget further improves the aerodynamics of the basket, forcing the air to flow easily, reducing drag. Reducing drag means that your car won’t have to work harder to propel forward, saving you from increased fuel costs. What budget doesn’t appreciate minimal fuel costs?!

Made generally from aluminum, roof baskets come with a powder coating. The coating protects the aluminum from rain, snow, UV rays, and the oxygen in the atmosphere. Together, these weather elements can cause the metal to rust and corrode, making the coating necessary. A durable roof basket will last for years, making it far more budget-friendly than one that needs frequent replacing. The Prinsu Design Cargo Basket Kit  is a first-class example of a durable roof basket. 

  • Shape

The shape of the roof basket makes it simple to transport a range of items. A cargo box limits the type of things you transport, narrowing the scope down to luggage pieces that fit within the box. Roof racks as a stand-alone make it simpler to carry larger items like kayaks, but they aren’t ideal for suitcases or jerry cans.

A roof basket creates a happy medium. The raised sides of the roof basket create a protective space to pack your luggage in neatly. Because the roof basket has no lid, it won’t limit the type of items you carry. This carrier’s versatile shape makes it budget-friendly. It takes away the need for multiple accessories to transport your luggage.

  • Convenience

Convenience is vital when it comes to keeping your budget on track. The easy-to-install design of the roof basket makes connecting the roof basket to your car a breeze. Meaning there is no need to send your vehicle to a dealership to have the roof basket installed and pay a fee. 

Roof baskets take a matter of minutes to put together too. Some even come pre-fabricated, so you don’t need to waste time putting it together. And you know what they say: time is money. 

The style of the cargo basket also adds convenience, especially for Overlanding expeditions. Raised sides make it more difficult for your luggage to fall off the basket should the ropes become loose. It is always best to ensure your goods are fastened securely to your roof basket. But, the jolting of the vehicle over rocky terrain may cause a loosening of the ropes. Any extra support to keep your luggage on your roof and not lost in the wilderness is a bonus. Keeping your luggage where it should be and not having valuable items become lost or damaged by falling off will save your budget.



Understanding roof baskets and what they have to offer allows us to see why they are beyond budget-friendly. Presenting a sturdy and well-thought-out design that will last, these roof baskets provide years of use. The easy to install system makes setting up your roof basket something you can do yourself at home. There is no need to pay someone to do it for you. Because they are designed to be aerodynamic and lightweight, the roof basket won’t add to your fuel consumption. Instead, they work to help keep your fuel consumption down. Roof baskets also offer fantastic versatility. This makes transporting a range of goods simple and cost-effective.  For our Toyota 4Runner owners, be sure to see our blog on best 4Runner roof rack options.  

Compared to other luggage carriers, such as cargo boxes and roof rack systems with many accessories, the roof basket holds its own. It also offers greater scope in terms of what you transport and is a more budget-friendly option. Now that we have laid out exactly why typical roof baskets are the most budget-friendly, take a look at the roof baskets we have to offer.