SUV Roof Cargo Box Guide

SUV ROOF box guideWhen you are preparing for a long trip, whether it’s simply a ride to the airport or you are taking your car across the country with you, you will need to make sure that you have everything you need for an enjoyable trip. 

However, there are some problems with this. For instance, you might not have enough space in your SUV for all the luggage you want to bring. 

This can happen when you don’t have the option of putting down the backseat because there are people in it.

Other times, you might find that you have enough stuff in the trunk of your SUV that you cannot easily find the space for some extra suitcases and travel bags.

In some cases, you might have some luggage that is a strange size, such as pairs of skis or snowboards. No matter what you are trying to bring with you, and no matter where you are trying to go, one of the worst problems that you could run into is the issue of not having enough space.

You might feel at a loss as to what you should do to fit your luggage into your car because, after all, you cannot physically increase the amount of space in your trunk. While this might be true, there is a way that you can increase the amount of storage space that your SUV offers. For example, you could look into SUV roof cargo boxes and see which options suit your needs best.

Adding a roof cargo box to your SUV can drastically increase the amount of space that you have to utilize, including accommodating awkwardly shaped items, such as skis and snowboards. This means that no matter where you are planning to go, you will surely have enough room in your SUV for everyone to bring the luggage they need.

Be sure to check out some of our guides for specific SUV models:

As you begin to search for SUV roof cargo boxes, you might want to get to know the different types of roof boxes first. There are two main types of roof boxes that you will need to keep in mind. 

One type of roof box has a hard outer shell and will be referred to as a hard roof box. The other type of roof box is made out of a flexible material and will be referred to as a soft roof box. Both of these roof boxes have their pros and cons over each other, and you might need to do a good bit of research to determine which one is best for your needs. 

With that being said, there is no definitive answer of whether a soft roof box is going to be better than a hard one, as it depends almost entirely on your situation and what your needs are. Our soft box guide might help.

What Are Hard Roof Boxes?

When you search for SUV roof cargo boxes, you will surely come across a number of hard roof boxes. Hard roof boxes are characterized by their hard outer shell, which almost always provides the box with substantial durability and security. 

Hard roof boxes are what you should be looking at if you value safety and security over price. With a hard roof box attached to the roof of your SUV, you can rest assured that the storm of rocks, pebbles, and branches that can be kicked up by passing cars is not going to harm your belongings in the slightest. 

The most that would happen is that your roof box might become slightly scuffed, and while nobody enjoys a scuffed appearance, it just goes to show how durable hard roof boxes are.

For SUVs, you will usually be able to look at cargo boxes that offer between 16 and 18 cubic feet of space, depending on the amount of space your SUV’s roof has. 

Check out our Roof Box size guide for ideas on boxes of that size. An example of a well-rounded and versatile hard roof box would be the Thule Force cargo.

Where Do Hard Roof Boxes Fall Short?

Sadly, there are a few drawbacks to these roof boxes. For one, they are significantly more expensive than their soft counterparts. This is, of course, to be expected with the level of security that is offered by that hard covering, though. 

Generally, a good-quality hard roof box is going to range in the mid-hundreds and even in the low-thousands range of pricing, depending on the size of the roof box and the brand of the box.

This means that purchasing a hard roof box is going to be a sizeable investment, and it should really only be considered if you feel that you are going to get your money’s worth out of it. In addition to the initial price, most hard roof boxes can only be installed when your SUV has roof racks on it. 

While there are many SUVs that already have these roof racks, there are also many that don’t. If your SUV doesn’t have these roof racks, you will need to add this into the investment of the roof box itself.

Secondly, you will have to consider the weight of the roof box. Most hard roof boxes are somewhat heavy, coming in between 30 and 60 pounds. You will have to add this to the maximum load weight (which is usually around 100 pounds or a little bit more), and you will have to think about whether or not your SUV can handle that weight. 

Hard roof boxes are spectacular and can keep your belongings safer than ever before, but the price is something that cannot be disregarded.

What Are Soft Roof Boxes?

Unlike the hard roof boxes, the soft SUV roof cargo boxes are known for their relatively flexible fabric. These types of cargo boxes do not have a hard, defined shape as the others do, but instead, they can sometimes be classified as bags. 

There are many, many benefits to choosing a soft roof box over the hard ones. For instance, soft roof boxes are often a fraction of the price of the hard ones, usually sitting around the 50-60 dollar range and rarely crossing the hundred-dollar mark. 

Some people might think this means that soft roof boxes don’t offer as much space, but this would be mostly untrue. Rather than 16-18 cubic feet of cargo space, soft SUV roof boxes will usually offer around 15 cubic feet of space, which is more than enough for multiple suitcases and carry-on bags.

In addition to this, you won’t have to factor in the price of roof racks, as almost all soft roof boxes can be installed regardless of roof racks. Most soft roof boxes have ways to adapt to most SUV roofs, which means that you won’t have to spend anything extra to keep the roof box in place, unless you want to strengthen the security of the box. 

These soft roof boxes are all designed to be water and weatherproof, so no matter what type of weather you are driving through, you won’t have to worry about your belongings experiencing any of it.

Finally, soft roof boxes are significantly lighter than their harder counterparts. Depending on the size of the roof box, most of the softer ones will weigh in below ten pounds, and usually closer to six or seven pounds. 

An excellent soft roof box to consider would be this Keeper model of roof bag.

Where Do Soft Roof Boxes Fall Short?

Unfortunately, all SUV roof cargo boxes are going to have some shortcomings, and the soft roof boxes are no exception to this. Soft roof boxes, as the name might suggest, do not offer the same amount of protection as the hard ones do. 

For instance, if you fill your soft roof box completely and you pass under a low-hanging tree with sharp branches hanging out, you run the risk of having your roof box torn open. Nobody wants this to happen, but this is one of the few risks that comes with using a soft roof box as opposed to a hard one. You will need to stay cautious on the durability of these roof boxes.

These roof boxes also tend to be less aerodynamic, which can affect mileage and gas in very long car trips. This is completely fine if you are driving to an airport, but you simply don’t want to have the trunk of your car filled to the brim with luggage. 

However, in long cross-country trips, this can severely affect how much you are spending on gas although there are some types of softboxes that claim to be as aerodynamic as the sleeker, hard boxes.

Finally, the last thing that you will want to be wary of with soft roof boxes on an SUV is the security. While these boxes can stand up to weather and rain as if it’s nothing, this is less the case with the zippers. Most soft roof boxes close shut with zippers, and this can become a problem when you are travelling in a sizeable SUV.

It can become easy for someone to unzip your car in the middle of the night, which means that you might have to unload the soft box and bring things in when you stop for the night, which can become incredibly inconvenient for a tall SUV.

With all this being said, soft roof boxes are excellent for the occasional long journey, or if you want something to hold your belongings in during a drive to an airport, but hard roof boxes are better suited to repeated journeys across the country, where the investment pays itself off in security and durability.

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