Van Roof Rack: Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Option

van roof rack
It’s finally summer, which means it’s high time you outfitted your vehicle with the best van roof rack for your needs. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip, going on holiday, or just need an extra storage solution, the options for roof racks are practically endless. Never fear, though—we’ll help you sift through the styles and aspects that come with a van roof rack, so you can choose the perfect one for your vehicle. So get ready to get the lowdown on how to find van roof racks that meet your car’s needs and fit your budget. Let’s get started!
You can purchase van roof racks from a variety of automotive stores or online retailers. Be sure that the roof racks you select fit your specific van model for optimal compatibility and security.

Benefits of Van Roof Racks

Van roof racks provide extraordinary versatility and storage opportunities for those who take their adventures on the road. Not only are they great for transporting items that won’t fit inside your vehicle, but they also offer a wealth of other benefits. Here are some of the main advantages to consider when shopping around for van roof racks:

  1. Increased Cargo Capacity: The extra space that a van roof rack provides will help to increase the carrying capacity of your vehicle. Not only is this ideal for transporting anything from skis to tents and outdoor gear, but it can also be used to store tools and equipment in a professional setting.
  2. Versatile Usage: With the addition of a van roof rack, you have the ability to store cargo in different ways. The height, length and size of your rack will determine how much you can store and you can also customize the type of content depending on availability. Perhaps you need to transport larger items like furniture or sporting equipment? You may even have multiple uses for both personal and commercial transportation needs.
  3. Security: A securely-mounted roof rack will add an extra layer of protection to your valuable cargo while traveling, as it reduces the risk of theft or loss during transit. Additionally, many brands offer 360-degree tie-down points for more secure cargo placement which are designed specifically for vans and make loading items quicker and easier too.

While there are numerous advantages associated with having a van roof rack, it’s important to note that they will come at a price; increased gas mileage due to additional drag created by the rack is something you should be aware of before making your purchase. As long as you take all these factors into account, then investing in a van roof rack could prove beneficial in the long-term.

Now let’s move onto exploring some of the best options for carrying heavy items using a van roof rack.

van roof rack

Carrying Heavy Items

Carrying heavy items can be difficult with a van roof rack, particularly if your roof rack is not designed to handle the excess weight. For example, while some van roof racks are able to carry up to 600 pounds, others may only be able to carry 300 pounds or less. It’s important to know the weight capacity of your roof rack before attempting to load it with heavy items.

Additionally, loading and unloading items onto a heavy roof rack can be a daunting task. Safety must always come first when trying to lift heavy objects onto your van’s roof. If you find yourself struggling with these tasks, it may be beneficial to consider investing in specialized tools meant for lifting heavier items and securing them safely onto the roof of your vehicle.

When debating whether or not carrying heavy items on a van rooftop is safe, there are two sides to this argument. On one hand, opponents argue that any extra weight poses a safety hazard – particularly when driving at higher speeds on highways or in inclement weather – and should be avoided at all costs. Supporters of the practice argue that as long as the item is properly secured and within the recommended weight limits, carrying heavier items using a van roof rack is a viable and convenient option.

Now that we’ve discussed how to go about safely carrying heavier items with a van roof rack, let’s explore the different types of van roof racks available and how they can best meet your needs.

  • According to market research firm Grand View Research, the global automotive roof rack market is estimated to reach USD 4.5 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2%
  • The recreational vehicle (RV) segment of the automotive roof rack market is expected to show the fastest growth rate over the forecast period, due to increased recreational trips and long distance vacations.
  • A 2020 survey found that truck owners are the most likely to purchase an aftermarket roof rack for their vehicles, with 45% of respondents indicating they would be likely or very likely to purchase one.

Main Takeaways

It is important to know the weight capacity of your van’s roof rack before carrying heavy items, and the best way to do so is by investing in specialized tools meant for safely lifting and securing them. There are two sides to the debate on whether or not it is safe to carry heavier items with a van roof rack – opponents believe it is a safety hazard while supporters argue it can be done safely as long as the weight limits are followed. Different types of van roof racks are available and can be used to meet various needs.

Types of Van Roof Racks

Van roof racks provide many benefits for drivers who need to easily transport extra cargo. This accessory can make it easier for you to access the gear you need without needing to fit everything inside the vehicle itself. Before deciding on a van roof rack, it is important to consider the different types available and what each can offer in terms of functionality and convenience.

First, there are adjustable crossbar systems. These allow for side-to-side adjustability and feature compatibility with a wide range of components such as bike, kayak, and canoe carriers, ski racks, and so forth. They are often the most economical option, making them ideal if you want to save money but still get a good quality rack that meets your needs.

The second type of van roof rack is a fixed bar system. These are usually made from thicker materials like steel or aluminum, which makes them more robust than their adjustable counterparts. However, they may require custom fitting depending on your vehicle’s measurements and shape, which means that installation may take longer and cost more. On the flip side, these roof bars tend to be sturdier than adjustable models, which is extremely beneficial if you plan on carrying heavier items like boxes or furniture.

Finally, there are also custom fitted tracks for those who want an even higher degree of security and stability for their cargo. Though these tend to be more expensive than the other two categories mentioned above, most have a longer lifespan due to their special design and construction. They provide maximum protection against theft and damage as well as excellent weight distribution for heavier items.

No matter which type of van roof rack you choose, it should be able to meet all your needs in terms of convenience as well as mount types available. Make sure you keep this in mind when shopping around so that you can make the best decision possible when it comes to carrying cargo safely and securely on top of your vehicle.

Now that we’ve covered van roof racks and the types available on the market today, let’s discuss how cargo boxes & cargo bars can give you even more customization options when transporting your gear efficiently.

Cargo Boxes & Cargo Bars

When it comes to van roof racks, cargo boxes and cargo bars are essential accessories that offer enhanced storage and customization options for your needs. Cargo boxes are rigid containers, often made from plastic or fiberglass, that attach directly to the top of the vehicle’s roof rack system. In contrast, cargo bars, also called cross bars, are typically adjustable-length bars with either a fixed or a sliding mechanism that can accommodate a wide variety of items.

The advantage of using a cargo box is that they provide a secure and weatherproof location to store items. These universal containers fit most roof rack systems and can be easily installed with no drilling or cutting required. Furthermore, because they are attached to the roof rack system, they do not affect your fuel economy or drag coefficient like traditional trunk-mounted carriers. However, people who have large items to transport will have difficulty fitting them in cargo boxes due to their limited size – generally speaking, they measure between 25” and 34” in length.

Cargo bars provide an alternative option for those looking for increased transportation versatility. Although cargo bar systems hold significantly less weight than mounting platforms – many only hold up to 150 lbs – they enable users to mount various items such as bikes, kayaks, boards and skis with relative ease and security. Unfortunately, these types of racks also create a bit more wind resistance on the road which has been suggested by some studies to reduce fuel economy by up to 10%. Nevertheless, one feature many people like about this type of system is its ability to be quickly Installed without tools.

In conclusion, cargo boxes and cargo bars offer different advantages depending on the item you need to transport and the best option for you will depend on what you intend to use it for. The next section will discuss how to install a van roof rack so that you can make sure it is securely fastened when transporting heavy loads.

van roof rack

Installing a Van Roof Rack

Installing a van roof rack is a relatively straightforward process when done safely. That being said, roof racks are often quite heavy and should not be attempted by an individual on their own. If possible, try to get assistance from one or two more people since the safety and stability of the roof rack is the highest priority.

When installing your roof rack, unpack the parts according to the instructions included with the purchase, as different makes and models will vary slightly in installation procedure. Assemble the parts following the instructions as necessary before beginning installation on your car/van. Place each piece where it needs to be on your vehicle’s roof and secure down with bolts or screws provided with your purchase. Once everything is assembled and tightened securely, test out your roof rack with light weights and make sure that everything feels stable before loading heavier cargo onto it.

Of course, using a professional installer may be an even safer option depending on how large and heavy your roof rack is. A bulky or hefty roof rack may require more than two people to install it safely and could potentially cause injury if handled incorrectly, so keep that in mind when making decisions about installation.

Finally, if you do decide to go ahead with professional installation services – make sure that appropriate firms are selected to do so! Using a product from an experienced provider like AutoAnything is a great way to guarantee safety during the installation process and ensure that no damage will be incurred from improper fitting of materials.

Leading into the next section about “Accessories for Van Roof Racks”, there are many options available for customization & additional protections for your van’s roof rack. Stay tuned to learn how to best care for & enhance your van’s roof rack through accessories!

Accessories for Van Roof Racks

When you have a van and need to transport large items such as bikes or kayaks, adding a roof rack or accessories can provide the extra capacity needed. Accessories for van roof racks can range from different types of brackets and mounts to baskets, boxes and cargo nets. Which type of accessory best suits your needs depends on what items you intend to load up and the size of the vehicle.

Brackets and mounts are specifically designed to hold large items, like bicycles or kayaks, on your vehicle’s roof. Typically, these involve adjustable brackets attached to crossbars that secure the items in place. Depending on the size and shape of your van, you may be able to fit more than one item on top at once. Of course, it’s important to make sure you check the weight limits so as not to exceed your van’s capacity.

Another option is using a basket or box on the roof rack that provides additional storage space above the cabin of your van. These baskets or boxes come in various sizes depending on how much additional storage space you need and if you plan on carrying any tall items such as tents or other camping equipment. Cargo nets are also a great way to secure loose items that may shift during transit, such as extra bags or blankets.

The choice between brackets and mounts versus more traditional accessories like baskets and cargo nets ultimately boils down to personal preference and what best fits your transportation needs. No matter which choice you make, it’s important not to exceed the weight limit set by your vehicle manufacturer when loading up your roof rack.

With so many accessories available for van roof racks, it’s easy to find something that fits your lifestyle and will enhance the efficiency of safely transporting large items with your vehicle. In the next section we’ll look at some of the most popular bike and kayak mounts that can be used with a van roof rack.

Bike & Kayak Mounts

When it comes to transporting your bikes and kayaks, a great way to have both securely fastened to your vehicle is with bike & kayak mounts. There are many different variations available on the market ranging from sleek, low profile racks to more robust, heavy duty versions. Benefits of these types of mounts can include compatibility with most standard roof rack systems, stability when traveling at speeds of up to 70 mph, and convenience for those wanting quick access to their items rather than having to continually lift them off the roof of the car.

On the other hand, some may argue that installing bike & kayak mounts can be a relatively difficult process that requires additional tools and knowledge. Additionally, there is a risk of uneven weight distribution on the roof rack which can potentially damage the car if not installed properly.

Designed specifically for those looking to transport their outdoor recreational equipment with ease and security, bike & kayak mounts are an effective option for carrying such items with your roof rack system. Moving forward in this article, we take a look at how to safely transport skis and surfboards with your vehicle.

Transportation of Skis and Surfboards

When it comes to transporting skis and surfboards, using a van roof rack is an excellent option. These racks provide plenty of space for your gear, allowing you more room inside the vehicle for other items. Furthermore, they provide a secure place to store skis and surfboards that won’t slide around in transit.

One point of contention surrounding the use of van roof racks to transport skis and surfboards is wind resistance. Because these vehicles tend to be top-heavy with large items atop them, they can be harder to handle than when empty. However, there are solutions such as aero bars which can reduce wind drag and make the overall experience better.

The use of a van roof rack for traveling with skis or surfboards also greatly depends on the size of the equipment being transported. For example, larger boards may require multiple racks and additional bracing, or alternatively simply not fit at all. Smaller boards will be far easier to find suitable solutions for.

Lastly, certain models of van offer built-in racks for skis and surfboards, making it even easier to pack up one’s board and ski gear before setting out on the road. This is by far the most convenient option if you have the right equipment available.

When it comes to transportation of skis and surfboards, there are various factors to take into account when choosing whether to install a van roof rack or look into other solutions. Ultimately it will depend on individual needs and priorities when deciding what type of rack is best suited for their particular vehicle.

Moving on from this discussion, the next section will explore how to come to a conclusion about which roof rack is the best option for your particular vehicle.

Responses to Common Questions

Are there any safety precautions that should be taken when installing van roof racks?

Yes, there are certainly safety precautions that should be taken when installing van roof racks. Make sure your vehicle has been parked securely on a flat surface before beginning installation. Additionally, it is important to distribute the load evenly across the van roof rack to prevent overloading. Additionally, always double-check all necessary attachments for the van roof rack such as screws, nuts and bolts to ensure that they are tight and secure. Furthermore, be sure to leave enough clearance between the roof rack and any other objects on the roof of the vehicle. Finally, take time to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure you have installed the roof rack correctly.

What types of materials are used to make van roof racks?

Van roof racks are typically made from aluminum or steel, as these are both strong and lightweight materials. Aluminum is corrosion-resistant and requires little maintenance, making it the preferred choice for many van owners. Steel is another popular option; however, it is heavier than aluminum and may require more frequent maintenance. Some van roof racks may also be made of other materials, such as composites or plastics; while these materials tend to be lighter and more cost-effective, they are not as durable and may deteriorate over time with exposure to environmental conditions.

What are the pros and cons of different van roof rack styles?

The pros and cons of different van roof rack styles largely depend on personal preferences and the specific needs of each driver, as well as the type of vehicle they are outfitting.

Traditional ladder-style racks offer simplicity and reliability, and are easy to install. However, their design is limited in terms of customization; for example adjusting the racks to fit different vehicles, or carrying multiple over-sized objects at once.

Modular roof racks, however, give drivers a lot more options in terms of configuration. Adjustability is one advantage these racks offer, since they typically modify to fit larger vans and SUVs, while also working with smaller vehicles. They can be customized to include specialized attachments for carrying multiple objects or transferring large items like kayaks and bicycles.

However, modular roof racks can end up being more expensive than just buying one pre-built ladder rack. And because they require more parts (such as crossbars and towers) they can also be a bit more difficult to install—especially if you don’t have any prior experience with setting up these kinds of accessories.


Van roof racks are an essential addition for any vehicle owners looking to safely transport luggage and equipment around. After researching the best options available, most drivers will likely find that installing a van roof rack will be well worth their time, effort, and money.

Not only does a quality van roof rack greatly increase the vehicle’s storing capacity, but it can also save time, money, and hassle since you won’t need to hire a separate delivery truck for large items or leave them behind at home when you hit the road. Additionally, many roof racks provide superior performance in terms of strength and durability to ensure your items remain safe during transport.

On the other hand, some may feel uneasy or unconfident about installing a roof rack onto their vehicle by themselves. Their worries are understandable as there is certainly a degree of technical know-how required to properly secure the racks with enough torque. Thankfully, there are plenty of professional services available to help with both installation of a roof rack as well as choosing which type suits one’s needs best.

In conclusion, while there are advantages and disadvantages to consider before deciding on roofing solutions for your vehicle, the benefits of having an efficient and high-quality van roof rack far outweighs its cost. The enhanced capacity for gear and luggage storage will allow for more convenient travel experiences in addition to better safety performance on the road.

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