What Are Car Roof Boxes Used For?

If you have trouble fitting your family into the car once your gear is loaded, you may need to free up some interior space in your vehicle. Rooftop cargo boxes solve this problem, and you may be surprised at how much gear they can hold.

These large, sturdy boxes attach to the top of your car and provide secure, weather-proof storage for any kind of gear. For most road trip enthusiasts, rooftop storage is the preferred choice for freeing up passenger space and adding storage to your vehicle.

There are good reasons car roof boxes have become standard fare for road trippers. They are available in a versatile range of sizes and shapes that can accommodate equipment and supplies from the tallest skies to the bulkiest glamping gear

Over-packing your car can create a safety risk, and roof storage allows the driver to check the rear-view mirror without obstruction. With the added roof storage, you can reserve the boot for important items that you may need to access during your trip. 

There will be no more playing baggage Jenga at each stop to uncover that snack bag. This discussion of rooftop cargo box features may help you decide what elements are most important to you.

Size and Shape

car roof boxesThe first consideration in choosing a car roof box is the type of storage you need. The size of your family and your vehicle will provide some initial parameters.

A box for an average vehicle will have a storage capacity of 300 to 450 litres, which will generally store gear for two to four people. Larger capacity boxes with over 500 litres of storage are available for larger vehicles. Be sure to take a look our Roof Box size guide.

A shorter style box will be ample storage for a weekend at the cabin or for carrying golf equipment, whereas skiers will need one of the longer variations. If you are a cycling enthusiast and need to transport a mountain bike or two on the roof, you may still be able to accommodate a long, lean box that only takes up a portion of the roof space.

Once you have determined what shape and size will work for your needs, you will have plenty of choices about the construction and aerodynamics.


Most hard rooftop boxes are made of either sturdy plastic or fiberglass and many have metal reinforcements. You can choose a glossy or matte finish. The only consideration other than personal preference is that glossy finishes are usually somewhat easier to clean.

You won’t have to do much to maintain the finish of a roof box, because most are treated to be resistant to scratches and protected from harmful sun rays.

Roof cargo boxes do require your car to be equipped with a roof rack system with crossbars. There is a roof box style out there that will fit nearly every type of roof rack.


Are car roof boxes secure from theft? Your gear will be safe and secure if you need to stop and leave the car at a fuel stop or a parking lot. 

Cargo boxes provide locking mechanisms on all access compartments. Some will have a padlock system, and others a built-in lock with a key or combination.

In addition, it would be very difficult for someone else to remove the entire box from the car. It will generally be securely attached to the crossbars of your car roof rack. Some boxes are fitted with U-shaped bolts that attach the box to the cross-pieces of the roof rack. The screws that secure the box are generally located inside the box, for added security.

Some boxes come equipped with power click mounts, which are factory-installed gripper claws that lock to the bars of your roof rack. Whatever method you choose, the box will be locked to your vehicle, making it very difficult to remove by anyone but you or your clan.


Car roof boxes are designed with convenience in mind. When you are getting ready for a road trip, the last thing you need to confront is a complicated storage system. Most boxes install fairly quickly and are easy to access for loading and unloading. 

Systems with dual side openings are quite easy to load because they provide the most open access. As long as your roof box is closed properly and not overfilled, there is no need to cover it or worry about your gear being damaged by wind, rain or snow. 

Roof car boxes are made with high wind speed in mind and are weather resistant to ensure everything inside will remain clean and dry. Aerodynamic designs are popular because they reduce road noise and minimize drag on your gas mileage.


If you are a frequent car traveler, a roof cargo box may be a sensible investment for you. They are quite durable and can last many years if not mistreated. If price is relevant for you, several variables will factor in. 

Generally, the more durable the box is, the more you will spend. Less durable material is generally adequate structurally but can cause vibration and road noise.

Purchase prices for roof cargo boxes will range from about £120 for the smallest sizes, to £800 or more for larger boxes with premium design and construction. There will be an additional cost for the roof rack if your vehicle is not already equipped with one.

With this overview of car roof box features, you may feel more prepared to begin looking for vehicle storage that fits your needs. Your first decision will be the shape and size of the box, which is determined by the type of gear you have and the size of your vehicle. 

A few features rise to the top as favorites of car roof storage connoisseurs. The aerodynamic designs are preferred for better gas mileage and less road noise. Power click mounts are generally win out over other designs for the speed and ease of installation. 

Most people appreciate the dual access panels over the single-hinged or rear-loading models for easy loading and unloading. These versatile products will increase your car’s storage capacity and make road trips more fun, and they are surely less expensive than a bigger car! 

Whether you’re a ski weekend warrior or a marathon road tripper, there is a car roof storage solution for you.

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