If you are planning a staycation, it may well come as a surprise just how much stuff you need to take with you. If you are camping you literally need the kitchen sink. A roof rack gives you a whole other level of storage potential – literally – and can be a game changer, not just for holidays, but trips to the dump or adventure days out. Here, our experts talk you through what you need to consider when investing in a roof rack.
While you want your roof rack to be as strong as possible, you don’t want to add a lot of unnecessary weight to your vehicle, as it will add to wear and tear and increase fuel consumption. When it comes to weight, aluminium is considerably lighter than steel and it won’t rust, either. It is, however, more expensive but generally worth the extra cost.
If you are not sure what you want your rack for, it may be worth looking at modular racks rather than single pieces. Modular racks offer flexibility to add additional rails, roller bars, and accessories so that your roof rack can evolve as you do. Likewise, take a look at the accessories available. From bike attachments to compatible storage bags, a roof rack that has a range of additional accessories will offer you more versatility in the future. Bear in mind, it isn’t always possible to put a different rack brand’s accessories on your rack, so if you want a specific accessory, your choice may be limited by the racks that will work with it.
There is a balance between light weight and high strength and durability. Of course, if you invest in a roof rack, you want it to last! Make sure you understand the spec of the racks you are looking at, and the rough weights that you will be carrying, as well as the terrain that you will be travelling on; some racks may be fine on the motorway but fail to withstand the pressures of bumpy country lanes.
When we talk about style, we are not referring to how great your roof rack looks (well, not completely). A low profile roof rack will produce minimal wind resistance and therefore have the least impact on your fuel economy. Think sleek aluminium bars rather than giant roof baskets.
There are always good brands and not-so-good brands. Do your research, and look at the customer support and warranty of your roof rack before you commit to buying. Some of the more reliable brands may be a little bit more expensive, but they come with peace of mind.
If in doubt about the right roof rack for you, ask your local garage. They will be able to advise on which brand and model would suit you and your vehicle and they may even be able to install it for you.