The 7 Best Car Roof Carriers of 2023 | Tested by Travel Leisure
other car roof racks we tested
The cargo carriers listed below barely made it off our best list, but we still like some aspects of them despite the drawbacks we found.
yakima grandtour 16: this stylish roof rack had impressive capacity and a reliable locking system, but it felt a bit less sturdy than other boxes we’ve put on car roofs.
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thule pulse medium roof cargo box: we loved that this roof rack protected packed camping gear from light rain, but the capacity wasn’t as big as we wanted (we couldn’t fit a cooler ) and the installation process was somewhat cumbersome.
jegz roof rack: while the setup was pretty difficult at first, this rack redeemed itself by keeping luggage safe from the elements during a weekend road trip. still, it didn’t stand out enough against our other ravely reviewed carriers.
our testing process
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We got our hands on 16 roof racks to evaluate and compare after a series of extensive tests. After installing cargo boxes in our vehicles and packing gear like skis and luggage, we rate each roof rack based on ease of use, stability, security, and durability.
travel + leisure / duangkaew randall
After researching popular cargo boxes from trusted brands like Yakima and Thule, we made sure the roof rack was compatible with our testers make and model of car. To get an idea of the ease of use, we assemble each roof rack and carefully examine the quality of the boxes by opening and closing the lids, looking at the tie-down points, and giving them a little shake to see how secure they feel. We pack the roof rack with items like luggage, skis, golf clubs, and camping gear and then load the packed box onto the roofs of our cars before driving for at least an hour. If the cargo box had a security feature, we paid close attention to how secure the key or lock felt.
travel + leisure / melissa inman
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In the end, the best roof racks we tested raved about being ultra-durable against the elements, easy to load and unload, and capable of keeping belongings safe during road trips. Our testers were unaware of the prices for each cargo box, finding out the price only after testing was finished to judge the overall value of the carrier.
tips for buying a car roof rack
consider the type of load you carry
For skiers or outdoor enthusiasts, be sure to get a roof rack that is designed to accommodate the length of skis, golf clubs, or other uniquely shaped gear. Similarly, for packing luggage or camping gear, you’ll want to make sure your luggage rack is tall and wide enough to fit the items you want.
safety and security are key
No matter the size or shape of your baby carrier, the most important thing is that it keeps its contents safe during travel. the best carriers will keep your equipment safe from high speeds and any weather conditions during the trip. Road travelers should also look for luggage racks that have the ability to lock for additional protection.
why trust travel + leisure
anna popp is a trade writer at travel + leisure, where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been writing about travel since 2018 and has been testing products since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors to determine the results of the best car roof racks based on a series of tests conducted by our expert T+L product testers at a real environment.
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