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Take a trip to any National Park or camping ground, and you’ll probably see a Subaru or Toyota 4Runner zipping by you with a cargo box attached to the roof. Cargo boxes are a campers and outdoorsmen’s best friend — they allow you to carry things you might not otherwise be able to fit. Plus, you can pack things you might not want to put in your car. But if you’ve ever wanted roof racks for a cargo box, you might have noticed that it’s not quite as simple as it seems.
Having crossbars requires first having side rails, which not all cars have. And that’s before you even get to the cargo box. Fortunately, there are workarounds for cars that don’t have side rails and crossbars. We’ve rounded up some of the best rooftop cargo carriers for cars without roof racks.
These cargo bags can be attached inside the car’s doors and can offer a secure way to carry camping and outdoor gear that you might not otherwise be able to keep in your car’s trunk. Of course, if you do have side rails, you can still use these bags. In addition to the cargo bag, most of these options include straps and a textured mat to protect your roof. These are the rooftop cargo carriers to get.
1. P.I. AUTO STORE ROOFMASTER Rooftop Cargo Carrier
This rooftop cargo carrier has ample storage space — it has 16 cubic feet of storage. It’s made from durable nylon Cordura and the seams are heat bonded and stitched to keep water out. The straps fit through loops on top of the bag instead of being attached to the bag itself. That means that the straps won’t be pulling at the seams of the bag, reducing wear and tear over time. The bag also comes with a protective rooftop pad.
Pros: Ample storage space. Bag is made from durable nylon Cordura. Straps are attached through loops on the bag, so the straps won’t tear the seams.
Cons: If you don’t have a roof rack, you have to separately purchase the door hooks, which are available on this same listing.
2. RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag
This cargo carrier is from the aptly named RoofBag brand, and it works with cars with or without roof racks. RoofBag’s carriers are made in the US. The straps fit through loops in the bag, instead of being sewn into the bag. This reduces wear and tear and prevents seams from being ripped. If you don’t have a roof rack, the straps can be looped through the inside of the cabin through the doors. A protective roof mat is included.
Pros: Made in the US. Straps are secured using loops on the bag, instead of being sewn in the bag, helping to reduce wear and tear.
Cons: Water can potentially seep into the cabin of the car through the straps.
3. ToolGuards Car Top Carrier Roof Bag
This roof bag is made from a heavy-duty tarp material and the zippers on the bag are covered to protect against rain. Helpful accessories are also included. There’s a rooftop protection mat, hooks for roof racks, door hooks and even a carrying bag for the roof bag. This means that this option will be ready to go once it arrives, even if you don’t have roof racks or side rails.
Pros: Includes straps for cars with or without roof racks. Waterproof design. Packs into a compact bag when not in use.
Cons: Zippers can be difficult to use. Straps are attached directly to the bag, unlike the other options which use loop to reduce tearing.