Soft-Shell Roof Boxes: Pros, Cons, and Ideal Activities Explored

Soft-Shell Roof Boxes
Are you considering soft-shell roof boxes for your next adventure? These carriers have their own set of pros and cons that make them suitable for certain activities. Soft-shell roof boxes are often lightweight, less expensive, and easier to handle compared to their hard-shell counterparts. However, their durability and weather protection might not be as robust. These carriers are best for short trips and lighter loads, where the need for extra space is more important than maximum protection.

Key Points

  • Soft-shell roof boxes are lightweight and easier to transport and install on a vehicle, and offer a larger storage capacity compared to hard-shell models.
  • Drawbacks of soft-shell roof boxes include reduced security and potential vulnerability to weather conditions.
  • Soft-shell roof boxes are suitable for family outings, road trips, adventure sports excursions, and short-term or occasional use.
  • Soft-shell roof boxes offer a flexible and potentially more affordable option for temporary or occasional storage solutions.
  • It is essential to consider the potential drawbacks related to security and weather resistance when evaluating whether a soft-shell box is the right choice.

What Are Soft-Shell Roof Boxes?

Soft-shell roof boxes are a type of rooftop cargo carrier designed to provide additional storage space on top of a vehicle. These carriers are made from flexible, durable materials like heavy-duty polyester or vinyl, which allows them to conform to the shape of the cargo they hold. Soft-shell roof boxes are particularly useful for travelers who need extra space for items like luggage, sports equipment, or camping gear.

There are several advantages to using a soft-shell roof box. Firstly, they are generally lighter and less bulky than hard-shell alternatives, making them easier to install, remove, and store when not in use. In addition, soft-shell carriers tend to be more affordable than their hard-shell counterparts.

Another benefit is that soft-shell roof boxes can often compress and adapt to the items they contain. This can help increase the cargo capacity and improve the aerodynamics of the carrier, ultimately resulting in better fuel efficiency for the vehicle. Their flexible nature also allows them to conform to various roof shapes and sizes, making them a versatile option for different types of vehicles.

However, there are also some drawbacks to using soft-shell roof boxes. One downside is that they may not offer the same level of protection and security as hard-shell carriers. The flexible material is more susceptible to being punctured or torn, potentially exposing the contents to the elements or theft. Additionally, soft-shell boxes may not provide the same rigidity and support for heavier items, which could cause the carrier to sag or deform under the weight.

Soft-shell roof boxes are particularly well-suited for travelers engaging in recreational activities that require the transport of bulky but lighter items, such as camping equipment, skiing or snowboarding gear, and sports equipment like soccer balls or tennis rackets. The flexible nature and adaptability of these carriers make them an excellent choice for those who require extra storage space for occasional trips or excursions.

Pros of Soft-Shell Roof Boxes

Easy Installation and Removal

Soft-shell roof boxes are known for their ease of installation and removal. Since they are lightweight, they require minimal effort and can be installed by a single person. Most soft-shell carriers have adjustable straps that can be easily mounted on roof rails, crossbars, or even directly onto the roof of the vehicle. This flexibility allows them to work with a wide range of vehicles and roof systems, making them highly versatile.

When it comes to removal, the soft-shell roof box can be taken off in just a few simple steps. Their compact and collapsible design makes it easy to disassemble the carrier and stow it away when not in use, freeing up your vehicle’s roof for other purposes.

Soft-Shell Roof Boxes

Storage Convenience

One of the benefits of soft-shell roof boxes is their storage convenience. Unlike hard-shell roof boxes which take up a significant amount of space when not in use, soft-shell carriers can be folded or rolled up and stored in a relatively small area. This compactness makes them an ideal choice for those with limited storage space, such as apartment dwellers or those with smaller garages.

Additionally, soft-shell roof boxes typically have generous storage capacities, allowing users to pack a large amount of luggage or equipment, making them perfect for road trips or outdoor adventures.


Soft-shell roof boxes are generally more affordable than their hard-shell counterparts. Their budget-friendly nature makes them an attractive option for those looking to expand their vehicle’s storage capacity without breaking the bank. The lower cost does not compromise on quality, as most soft-shell roof boxes are made from weather-resistant, heavy-duty materials with durable, heat-welded seams to ensure their contents are protected in various conditions.

In summary, soft-shell roof boxes provide easy installation and removal, convenient storage options, and affordability, making them an excellent choice in vehicle storage solutions. They are best suited for activities such as road trips, family vacations, and outdoor sports adventures, where additional luggage capacity is required. Their user-friendly, budget-conscious nature makes them a popular choice among travelers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

Cons of Soft-Shell Roof Boxes

Lower Durability

One of the main drawbacks of soft-shell roof boxes is their lower durability compared to their hard-shell counterparts. Soft-sided bags are typically made from durable fabric materials, such as polyester or nylon, which makes them more prone to wear and tear. This can result from exposure to the elements, like rain, snow, or sunlight, or from being loaded and unloaded frequently.

While some soft-shell roof boxes come with a waterproof or weather-resistant coating, they might still not provide the same level of protection as hard-shell boxes. It’s essential to consider the conditions you’ll be traveling in and the frequency of use before opting for a soft-shell roof box.

Limited Security

Another disadvantage of soft-shell roof boxes is their limited security features. Due to their flexible nature, soft-shell roof boxes can be more vulnerable to theft, as they can potentially be cut open or tampered with more easily than hard-shell roof boxes.

Although some products come equipped with locking mechanisms and reinforced zippers, these security measures might not be as robust as those found in hard-shell roof boxes. It’s crucial to store valuable items securely and consider additional security measures if needed when using a soft-shell roof carrier.

Soft-Shell Roof Boxes

Size Constraints

Soft-shell roof boxes might have some limitations regarding size and storage capacity. While their flexibility can be advantageous for handling bulky or oddly shaped items, they might also struggle to accommodate very large or heavy objects that require more rigid support.

Additionally, some soft-shell roof carriers might sag or change shape when loaded, which might impact their aerodynamics and subsequently affect your car’s fuel efficiency. It’s essential to select a soft-shell roof box with the appropriate size and weight capacity, keeping in mind the items you plan to transport.

Soft-Shell Roof Boxes Are Best For

Soft-shell roof boxes provide numerous advantages for various outdoor activities. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of these carriers can help you determine which situations they are best suited for.

Road Trips

Soft-shell roof boxes are an excellent choice for road trips because they are lightweight and easy to install, making them a convenient and practical option. They also tend to be more affordable than their hard-shell counterparts, making them an appealing choice for budget-conscious travelers.

One downside, however, is that soft-shell roof boxes may not provide the same level of weather protection and security as hard-shell carriers. For road trips that involve unpredictable weather or require the need to store valuable items securely, this may be a significant consideration.

Camping and Hiking

When it comes to camping and hiking trips, soft-shell roof boxes offer several advantages. Their flexibility enables them to accommodate irregularly shaped gear and equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks. Additionally, their lightweight nature helps maintain vehicle fuel efficiency, which can be a critical factor on long trips.

However, soft-shell carriers may not be the best option in all circumstances, particularly if the camping or hiking equipment includes sharp or heavy items. In such cases, a hard-shell roof box might be better suited to protect both the carrier and the belongings inside from damage.

Sports Equipment Transport

Soft-shell roof boxes can be an ideal choice for transporting sports equipment due to their adaptability and ease of use. Their flexible nature allows them to accommodate various types and sizes of gear, such as bicycles, snowboards, and skis. Additionally, some soft-shell roof boxes feature straps and tie-down systems to secure the contents of the carrier, ensuring safe transport.

However, for those who routinely transport valuable or delicate sports equipment, a hard-shell carrier may provide increased security and protection from potential theft or damage. In these situations, the added expense of a hard-shell roof box could be a worthwhile investment.

Top 3 Soft-Shell Roof Boxes

Soft-shell roof boxes offer a lightweight and affordable alternative to hard-shell roof boxes. To help you make an informed decision about which soft-shell roof box best suits your needs, we have curated a list of the top 3 options available in the market.

1. Fivklemnz Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier
The Fivklemnz Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier is a popular choice for travelers looking for an affordable and reliable solution. Made from heavy-duty materials and heat-welded seams, this rooftop carrier offers excellent durability and water resistance. With a capacity of 15 cubic feet, it provides ample storage space for your gear without taking up space inside your vehicle.

2. Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag
The Keeper Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag is known for its weather protection features. Designed with a rubber laminated nylon construction, this carrier ensures your belongings stay dry and secure during your journey. Its 15 cubic feet of storage capacity allows for the accommodation of various bulky items. The easy attachment and removal process adds to the overall convenience of this soft-shell roof box.

3. Rightline Gear Ace Car Top Carrier
The Rightline Gear Ace Car Top Carrier prides itself on its unique aerodynamic design that prevents drag and improves fuel efficiency. Made from heavy-duty PVC mesh and polyester materials, it ensures enhanced protection for your belongings. Offering 15 cubic feet of storage space, this soft-shell roof box provides a versatile solution for various outdoor activities.


Soft-shell roof boxes offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks that make them suitable for different activities and user preferences. One of the primary advantages of soft-shell roof boxes is their lightweight construction. This feature makes them easier to transport and install on a vehicle, reducing the strain on the car’s roof and potentially improving fuel efficiency. Additionally, soft-shelled roof boxes often provide a larger storage capacity compared to their hard-shell counterparts. This increased space can be ideal for family outings, road trips, and weekend getaways.

However, some drawbacks of soft-shell roof boxes include reduced security and potential vulnerability to weather conditions. Soft-shell boxes are typically not as sturdy or theft-resistant as hard-shell models, which may be a concern for those storing valuable equipment or belongings. Additionally, despite being manufactured with weather-resistant materials, soft-shell boxes may still be more susceptible to damage from rain, snow, or hail compared to hard-shell options. Thus, users need to balance convenience, storage capacity, and security when evaluating whether a soft-shell box is the right choice for their needs.

Considering the pros and cons, soft-shell roof boxes could be highly recommended for various activities. These may include:

  • Family camping trips or vacations, where lightweight and extra storage capacity are of importance
  • Adventure sports excursions, where the equipment’s weight is not a significant concern, and ease of access is crucial
  • Short-term or occasional use, where a budget-friendly and easily removable storage solution is preferred

In conclusion, soft-shell roof boxes offer a flexible and potentially more affordable option for individuals and families in need of a temporary or occasional storage solution. The lightweight design and larger storage capacity can make them an attractive choice for various activities. However, it is essential for users to consider the potential drawbacks related to security and weather resistance when making a final decision. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, motorists can successfully determine if this type of rooftop storage solution best fits their needs and activity preferences.

Leave a Comment

Best Roof Box is supported by readers. We may earn a commission when you buy with our links.

Popular Articles

The Best Roof Boxes of 2024 – A Buyer’s Guide

Let’s take a look at what you should look for in a roof box, which options are topping the market, and which of those are ...
Read More →

Best Roof Tents For Your Car: A Detailed Review

Roof tents are easy to set up and offer more versatility than traditional ground tents. They are also space-efficient as you can set up camp ...
Read More →

Best Thule Roof Boxes – The Ultimate Guide

Thule rooftop cargo boxes are a leader in car storage solutions. This guide to Thule’s car roof boxes will give you the information you need ...
Read More →

Roof Box or Roof Bag: Choosing What’s Best

Trying to find the best rooftop carrier can be a bit of a problem, especially if you have no clue what you are looking for. ...
Read More →