1. Determine If Your Car has a Rail System on Its Roof.
When looking for cargo carriers, several different options exist. The first option are carriers that are made of a hard plastic called hard shells. These types of cargo carriers require a cross rail system on your car for them to attach correctly. Most cars do not have this cross rail system as a general standard. You will probably need to purchase an additional cross rail system if you want this option. Be prepared to spend $400 to $600 on such a cross rail system and hard shell carrier.
The second option are cargo carriers that are soft shell in that it is soft plastic material that can be rolled up/compressed when finished. Depending on the manufacturer, soft top cargo carriers can either attach to cars with or without a cross rail system on the roof. With this attachment flexibility, they are the popular choice. These soft cargo carriers brand new run between $125 to $250.
2. Determine Exactly What You Want to Haul.
Many people think car carriers have unlimited weight restrictions, and one can put an endless amount of items in them. This belief is completely false. Depending on the type of cargo carrier you select will determine how much stuff you can store in them. This calculation is necessary unless you want your car carrier falling apart as you drive down a busy highway at 70 mph.
3. Have an Idea How Long & Often You Plan On Using the Cargo Carrier.
Many people think they have to purchase a cargo carrier brand new and keep it forever. That underlying belief is not true. If you don’t plan on using your car top carrier more than once a year, think long and hard before you buy.
You can rent a carrier from us for a fraction of the cost to purchase new. Simply mail back the carrier once your trip is over with our pre-paid shipping labels. Keep the memories and not the car top carrier on your next adventure.
4. Understand the Difference between Water Resistant and Water Proof.
This difference is necessary so you completely understand your limits when packing your cargo carrier. If you don’t understand this difference, you may be sadly disappointed after a heavy rain storm. Waterproof means the cargo carrier can be submerged completely underwater for long periods of time, and there won’t be one single drop of water that enters the interior.
Water resistant means under extreme wet conditions such as driving through a heavy thunderstorm some water may get into a bag through such avenues as the rooftop bag zippers. Most carriers fall into this category.
5. Know the Dimensions of Your Car Roof.
Many people think all carriers are the same size and can attach to any type of car. Once again, this underlying belief is completely wrong. Cargo carriers come in many different sizes. You will want a carrier that fits your car well.
If the carrier is too big, it won’t attach correctly on your car and could damage your car’s exterior. If the car carrier is too small, you are not maximizing the amount of space you can utilize for roof storage. Remember the motto, measure twice, select only once.