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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 useCar top carrier soft vs Hard

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. 

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. 

BONUS TIPS 

Rooftop Carrier Brands Options without a roof rack

We carry a variety of rooftop carrier brands such Thule, Yakima, Rightline, WeatherTech and Sherpak that fit on an assortment of cars. Here are our top 3 options for rooftop carriers for cars without roof rack. 

1. Rightline Sport 3 or Rightline Sport 2

2. Yakima Get Out Pro

3. Sherpak Elite 15 

Rooftop Carrier Brands Options with a roof rack

Here are our top 3 bag options for rooftop carriers for cars with a roof rack. 

1. Rightline Sport 3 or Rightline Sport 2

2. Thule 867 or Thule 868 

3. Sherpak Elite 20 

If you are interested in hard case and have cross rails check out the thule sidekick option.

 


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

Still, Need Help?

Do you want our help picking out the right carrier for your upcoming trip? We are glad to help! Send us an email at info@rentluggage.com and will pick the right carrier for your trip based on your needs and car size. 


Enjoyed our pro rooftop carrier tips? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter as a bonus. We will send you rental deals and travel tips to make your life more adventurous and less stressful. 

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