The Ultimate Guide to Choosing and Using Roof-Top Cargo Carriers
Are you an outdoor adventurer who needs extra storage space for camping gear, sports equipment, or other bulky items for your next road trip? Do you have a growing family but don’t want to buy a larger vehicle? If you answered yes, then a roof-top cargo carrier may be the perfect solution for your storage needs.
Roof-top cargo carriers are a great way to add significant cargo capacity without taking up valuable interior space. They securely mount to your existing roof rack and provide a weatherproof compartment to safely transport luggage, camping supplies, snowboards, kayaks, and more. But with so many models on the market, how do you choose the right cargo carrier for your needs?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about roof-top cargo carriers, using the CargoLoc Deluxe Roof-Top Cargo Carrier
as an example. You’ll learn how cargo carriers work, what to look for when shopping, proper mounting and loading techniques, driving safety tips, and how to care for your carrier. Let’s get started!
All About the CargoLoc Deluxe Roof-Top Cargo Carrier
The CargoLoc Deluxe is a rugged, versatile roof-top cargo carrier that provides 15 cubic feet of extra lockable storage space. Constructed from a durable weatherproof material
with a PVC-lined interior
, it securely transports your gear while protecting it from the elements.
The CargoLoc mounts to your vehicle’s existing roof rack using 8 adjustable straps
with side-release buckles. This allows a tight, custom fit to minimize shifting and bouncing while driving. The straps are easy to attach and detach when loading and unloading the carrier.
with protective flaps seal the CargoLoc shut to prevent your cargo from falling out. The zippers have extra-large pulls so you can open and close while wearing gloves or in inclement weather. The zipper flaps provide an additional layer of security.
The bottom of the carrier has a nonslip, nonscratch EVA foam base
. This soft padding creates friction to keep the carrier from sliding around during transport. It also prevents the roof of your vehicle from getting scratched or damaged.
With its durable and weatherproof construction, abundant storage capacity, and easy yet secure mounting system, the CargoLoc Deluxe is an excellent choice for your roof-top cargo needs. Next, let’s go over the key features and benefits of this carrier in more detail.
Key Features and Benefits of the CargoLoc Deluxe
Keeps Your Cargo Secure
The CargoLoc uses 8 adjustable straps with side-release buckles to firmly secure the carrier to your roof rack while providing a custom fit. The heavy-duty straps have click-closure adjusters so you can tighten them down with ease. Just position the carrier, route the straps around the roof rack, pull the straps tight and click the buckles closed. The side-release function allows you to detach the carrier from the roof when needed.
Once mounted, your gear stays protected within the walls of the cargo carrier. The weatherproof enclosure seals shut with beefy zippers and flaps to prevent your belongings from falling out on the road. The PVC-lined interior provides an additional barrier against the elements. With the CargoLoc, you can drive with confidence knowing your cargo is safely contained.
Fits Most Vehicle Roof Racks
This cargo carrier is designed to work with most factory and after-market roof rack systems. As long as you have cross rails or crossbars spaced 16-36 inches apart, the CargoLoc should fit. The adjustable straps allow you to center and align the carrier properly. Just be sure to check your roof rack’s weight capacity first to ensure it can handle the additional load.
Keeps Gear Dry
Thanks to the durable waterproof fabric exterior and PVC interior liner, the CargoLoc excels at shielding your cargo from precipitation and puddles. Rain, snow, and condensation will stay outside, while your gear stays safe and dry inside. No more unpacking soaked camping supplies or golf clubs at your destination!
The water-tight design also prevents dust and road debris from getting inside to sully your possessions. And you don’t have to worry about spills from leaky coolers or containers either. Any liquid will simply run down the protective PVC interior to the bottom of the carrier.
Built Sturdy Yet Lightweight
Even though the CargoLoc is roomy enough for bulky cargo, the empty carrier is under 40 pounds. The fabric shell makes it lighter than traditional plastic and fiberglass carriers, yet it’s still very rugged and tear-resistant. The interior PVC film and welded seams provide structural stability to handle heavy loads.
You’ll appreciate the carrier’s light weight when lifting it onto the roof and when driving. The improved aerodynamics and lower center of gravity from the lighter carrier also help save gas mileage compared to boxier cargo options. Just be sure to evenly distribute the load within the carrier and not exceed your roof rack’s weight limits.
Helps Prevent Roof Damage
Rubbing and friction from a cargo carrier can scratch or scuff your vehicle’s roof paint over time. But the CargoLoc has a soft EVA foam base layer to help protect your roof. The foam creates a nonslip barrier as well as a cushion between the stiff bottom of the carrier and the roof surface.
The nonscratch base both reduces slipping and absorbs vibrations from the road. Your vehicle finish will look as pristine as possible even after loading and unloading the carrier multiple times. The foam also helps the carrier stay put in windy conditions at highway speeds.
Spacious 15 Cubic Feet Capacity
With its generous interior volume, the CargoLoc provides plenty of space for camping coolers, backpacks, travel luggage, strollers, sports gear, and much more. Take everything you need on your next adventure without sacrificing room in the passenger cabin. The rectangular shape makes it easy to neatly arrange bulky or odd-shaped items.
For perspective, 15 cubic feet is enough room for:
- 3-4 airline carry-on suitcases
- 6-8 backpacks/duffel bags
- Camping supplies for 2 people
- Golf bags for 4 people
- 1 kayak or canoe
Now let’s go over the key specifications and included components of this cargo carrier.
CargoLoc Deluxe Specifications
- Capacity: 15 cubic feet interior volume
- Dimensions: 38″ wide x 38″ deep x 18″ high
- Weight: Approximately 40 pounds when empty
- Warranty: Lifetime on manufacturing defects
- CargoLoc Deluxe rooftop cargo carrier
- Owner’s manual with usage tips and care instructions
So those are the essential details about the CargoLoc Deluxe Roof-Top cargo carrier. Next, we’ll explain what to look for when shopping for the right roof carrier for your vehicle.
Choosing the Best Roof-Top Cargo Carrier for Your Needs
Keep the following factors in mind while comparing roof-top cargo carriers:
- What type of roof rack do you have? Most carriers fit crossbars and roof rails, but some may only work with specific roof rack configurations.
- Measure the dimensions of your existing roof rack system to find a carrier that properly fits those length and width parameters.
- Check your vehicle manual for the roof weight limit to avoid overloading. Low-profile roof racks often have lower weight capacity.
- How much storage space do you need for the items you’ll transport? Add up the approximate volume of the cargo to choose a carrier with sufficient capacity.
- Will you need the carrier for long trips where you’ll need more room? Go larger rather than too small.
- Keep in mind gas mileage suffers with oversized carriers that create wind drag and extra weight.
- Lockable zippers, combination locks, lock holes, or latch systems help deter theft of roof-top carriers and their contents.
- Interior straps, nets and dividers keep cargo from shifting around during transport.
- Top-quality zippers with rain/dust flaps prevent accidental opening and lost cargo.
- Waterproof outer shell and seam construction keep moisture out and belongings dry.
- UV coating prevents sun damage and fading to the carrier.
- Well-sealed zippers, buckles, and openings prevent dust and fumes from entering.
- The carrier should be relatively easy for one person to securely fasten to the roof rack.
- Look for nonslip padding to prevent the carrier from sliding around up there.
- Well-placed handles and access points make loading and unloading easier.
- Adjustable mounting straps with buckles allow tightening it down to varying roof rack configurations.
Durability and Warranty
- Steer clear of flimsy bargain carriers that can deform, tear or crack easily.
- Opt for sturdy outer shell materials and waterproof interior liners that withstand abrasion and the elements.
- Extended warranties provide protection in case manufacturing defects occur down the road.
Brand Reputation and Reviews
- Established brands like Thule, Yakima and CargoLoc are known for quality and performance.
- Check buyer reviews on sites like Amazon for real customer experiences and insights.
- Look for consistent positive feedback on a carrier’s durability, security, ease of use and value.
Securely Mounting Your Cargo Carrier
One of the most important steps with a roof-top cargo carrier is properly and securely fastening it to your roof rack before loading anything inside. Here’s how to correctly mount your carrier:
- Read the instructions on positioning and attaching the mounting straps according to your specific roof rack type.
- Park on level ground and measure to center the carrier and straps across the width of the roof rack.
- Attach the buckles to the corresponding hooks on the bottom of the carrier.
- Pull the straps tightly underneath the roof rack crossbars and fasten the cam buckles. Press down firmly to engage the buckle teeth so they don’t slip.
- Give each strap a strong tug downward to verify they are cinched tightly and properly fastened.
- Check that the carrier sits flat and doesn’t wobble or seesaw on the roof rack. Adjust straps further if needed.
- Open the carrier and visually inspect the interiorfastening points to ensure they align with the roof rack side rails and don’t have any gaps.
- Carefully try lifting up on the carrier to confirm it is held securely in place and cannot detach from the roof rack.
- Double check the owner’s manual and follow any other mounting instructions specific to your cargo carrier model.
Taking the time to correctly fasten your carrier will give you peace of mind that it won’t go flying off on the interstate! Next we’ll review how to load and pack it for safe travels.
Loading and Packing Your Cargo Carrier
Once your carrier is firmly strapped onto the roof rack, it’s time to start loading up your stuff. Follow these tips for safe, smart loading:
- Refer to your vehicle manual and roof rack weight limit. Do not exceed load capacities or you risk damaging your car and losing cargo.
- Organize and arrange contents neatly to fully utilize the available space inside. Avoid just throwing items in haphazardly.
- Heavier gear like coolers should go toward the rear over the back wheels for weight balance.
- Pack soft goods around bulky items and edges to prevent shifting. Use built-in tie downs if your carrier has them.
- Distribute weight evenly side-to-side to avoid imbalances. Don’t load all heavy cargo on just one side.
- Make sure no cargo protrudes above the walls of the carrier or it could act like a sail at highway speeds.
- Plan wisely how you’ll access certain items so you’re not unloading everything to reach gear at the bottom. Pack accordingly.
- Avoid overstuffing the carrier beyond recommended capacity. Contents should not put pressure on the fabric sides.
- Lock zippers and secure any clasps after loading to keep possessions protected inside.
Using common sense when loading your cargo carrier will result in optimal weight distribution and prevent a lopsided mess on your roof! Next let’s go over driving safety.
Driving Safely with a Loaded Roof Carrier
Adding a heavily packed cargo container to the roof affects your vehicle’s handling and increases risks. Follow these tips for safe travels:
- Take it slow – Accelerate, brake and turn gradually. Sudden inputs can make the top-heavy vehicle sway.
- Mind the extra height – Be aware that overhead clearances are lower with a rooftop load. Watch for overhangs at gas stations and drive-thrus.
- Allow extra following distance – Increase the gap behind the car ahead to provide more time for smooth braking. Avoid tailgating.
- Beware of wind effects – Wind buffeting is stronger the higher and boxier your roof cargo. Be prepared for sudden gusts that push the car.
- Check cargo often – Pull over regularly on long trips to verify cargo is still securely fastened and hasn’t shifted.
- Adjust driving style – Corner gently, no fast starts/stops, and maintain control of the heavier-handling vehicle.
- Obey carrier weight limits – An overloaded roof places excessive strain on your car and roof rack components.
- Reduce speed – Slower highway speeds help stability in crosswinds and corners. Only go as fast as you feel in total control.
Simply allowing extra room for braking and turning, driving smoothly, and staying attentive to the changed vehicle dynamics will keep you safe with roof-top cargo in tow.
Caring for Your Cargo Carrier
A quality cargo carrier like the CargoLoc Deluxe can provide years of service life. Follow this care guidance to maintain and extend the life of your carrier:
Keep It Clean
- Check the interior periodically and clean out dirt or grime that can abrade the lining over time.
- Spot clean the fabric exterior with mild soap and water. Allow to fully dry before storing to prevent mold.
- Apply vinyl/rubber protectant spray on weather stripping and zippers to prevent drying and cracks.
Store Properly When Not in Use
- Fully clean and dry the inside before extended storage.
- Roll up the cover flap and leave the zipper open halfway for ventilation.
- Store indoors or cover with waterproof tarp to avoid UV and weather damage.
- Avoid piling other gear on top that could bend the walls or base.
Inspect Security Features
- Check mounting straps for wear and make sure buckles latch properly.
- Test zippers for smooth operation and lubricate if needed. Replace worn pulls.
- Ensure locking mechanisms engage fully and keys/combos function properly.
- Exceeding weight capacities strains the fabric and seams.
- Distribute cargo evenly so load is not concentrated in one spot.
- If bulges appear in the sides, redistribute cargo immediately to prevent tearing.
Treat your cargo carrier as the valuable investment it is and perform regular upkeep to get years of utility from it!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cargo Carriers
How much weight can roof cargo carriers hold?
Do I need special tools to install the carrier?
- Check your specific carrier’s capacity, but most range between 100-200 lbs.
- You must also consider your roof rack’s weight limit, which is often under 100 lbs.
What’s the difference between a hard carrier and a soft one?
- Usually not, beyond a Phillips screwdriver for some attachment hardware. The included straps allow tool-free mounting.
Will a cargo carrier reduce my gas mileage?
- Hard plastic or composite carriers offer more protection and security. Soft-sided versions are typically lighter, easier to mount, and cost less.
Can I keep the carrier mounted when not in use?
- Yes, the added weight and wind resistance will reduce MPG. A lighter carrier and proper loading helps minimize the impact.
How are cargo carriers locked?
- Leaving it atop an empty roof rack will lower gas mileage and stability in winds. Remove when not needed.
Do I need to take special precautions driving with a loaded roof carrier?
- Locking mechanisms vary. Most feature lockable zipper pulls or separate locking bars/cables to slide through zippers or latch holes.
Should I still use my interior cargo space?
- Yes! Drive slowly and smoothly. Allow extra braking room, watch for low clearances, and beware of wind gusts.
What factors affect the cost of cargo carriers?
- Yes, continue filling seats and trunk space as you normally would for optimal weight distribution.
- Size, weight, durability, weatherproofing, mounting system convenience, security features, brand, and materials determine the price.
Hopefully these common cargo carrier questions have been answered. Please let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!
Adding a roof-top cargo carrier opens up a world of possibilities for road trips and outdoor adventures. The CargoLoc Deluxe is a smart choice that provides ample secure storage thanks to the following attributes:
- Durable weatherproof construction
- Generous 15 cubic foot capacity
- PVC-lined interior to protect belongings
- Foam padded base prevents roof damage
- Easy mounting with adjustable straps
- Lockable heavy duty zippers keep gear secured
Just remember to properly mount your carrier, distribute weight evenly, drive cautiously, and care for your carrier regularly. Follow our tips for choosing the right cargo carrier for your needs and using it safely. Let us know if you have any other cargo carrier questions!