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Road Trip Pro Tips: Car top Carrier Soft vs Hard Differences

Road Trip Pro Tips: Car top Carrier Soft vs Hard Differences

Road Trip Tips

Upcoming road trip? Trying to figure out if you need a soft or a hard car top carrier? You have come to the right place. 

Here are five main differences to be aware of when determining what works best for your car on your next road trip.

Car Top Carrier Soft vs Hard Difference #1: Cost

Quality (note the word quality as you can buy some non water proof cheap option on amazon but you are going to regret it) soft top carriers generally run between $100 to $200 brand new. Hard top quality carriers run $300 to $600 brand new.Car top carrier soft vs Hard

A few key quality car top carrier features to watch for are water proofing, easy to understand instructions written in plain simple English, and aero-dynamic design.  

Car Top Carrier Soft vs Hard Difference #2: Roof Rack Systems

Quality hard top carriers require what is called a cross rail system on your car.  See options below.  Quality soft top carriers don’t require a cross rail system on your roof, you can have what is called a naked roof and still utilize a soft top carrier.

We rent both hard and soft carrier that can work on a variety of cars. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Renting a Rooftop Carrier to learn more

Car Top Carrier Soft vs Hard Difference #3: Flexibility

Not sure what type of roof rack system you own or will have come the start of your road trip? The certain soft top rooftop carriers such as our Rightline Sport 3 are designed to fit any of the three options listed below.

A hard car top carrier doesn’t have such flexibility.  A hard top carrier will only work on a cross rail system. 

Car Top Carrier Soft vs Hard Difference #4: Storage

Don’t assume hard top carriers will automatically be larger than soft top options. Nowadays soft top manufacturers do make options that can be relatively large. 

Read closely what is called the cubic feet storage description on the carrier you are reviewing to compare “apples to apples” hard v. soft options for your road trip. Soft top carriers generally run between 12 cubic feet to 20 cubic feet. Hard top carriers run generally between 11 cubic feet to 22 cubic feet. 

Car Top Carrier Soft vs Hard Difference #5: Space after use

Soft top carriers can generally fold down into a box around 12 by 12 by 12 when your road trip is over allowing you place them in a closet. Car top carrier soft vs Hard

Hard top carriers don’t have that luxury and can easily take up a significant portion of your garage or basement. Though if you rent either option you won’t face this storage dilemma. 

Want to read more pro tips and tricks? Read our Beginner’s Guide to Renting a Rooftop Carrier to learn more. 

Wanting to watch more pro tips and tricks? Watch our instructional video below to learn more. 

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