The camper's guide to car roofboxes
Generally cars are getting smaller, which is good for your pocket and the environment, but less so when you need extra load space for your camping trips.
A roofbox is one solution to providing more storage space. Our quick guide gives you all the information you need to buy the right box for your camping needs.
- Roof boxes are fitted to roof bars going across the car and the model you buy will be determined by the shape and size you need, as well as the cost.
- A roofbox can be expensive – prices range from £70 to more than £1,000 plus the cost of the bars and fitting – but they should last for many years.
- A narrow box is better if you want to leave roof bar space for bike racks and a longer box is necessary to carry longer items (obviously!)
- Knowing the exact make, model, trim level and year of your car is a great help in making sure you get exactly the right fit.
- Any brand of roof box can be fitted to any brand of roof bars.
- All makers give a volume figure for their roofboxes/bags, in litres. However, take this as nothing more than an indication of overall capacity – with some suppliers being a little bit more generous in their assessments than others.
- As with most things in life, you get what you pay for with roofboxes. The cheaper the box, the thinner the material is likely to be, and therefore the less robust and secure it will be
- No-one wants to be heading down the motorway at 70mph and suddenly noticing in the rear view mirror that their camping gear is bouncing down the fast lane after the roofbox broke loose. Retailers like Halfords will fit it for you - at a price of course.
- Central locking on a roofbox sounds like a good idea but can actually makes them more difficult to close. You need to make sure the front and the rear of the box are properly closed and at the same time turn the key. This is trickier than it sounds and might need two people.
- Don’t overload your car. Fuel economy suffers when you carry loads, but there may be an adverse affect on ride and handling, too. Braking distances could be longer, also.
- Lining a roofbox with plenty of polythene allows the contents to be well wrapped up and protected if it rains.
- Do think about where you’re going to stow potentially bulky items like roof boxes and bike racks when you’re not using them. They can take up more space than you bargain for.
- Know the combined overall height of your car and roofbox, particularly important when you’re entering multi-storey car parks or travelling by ferry.
Picture courtesy of The Roofbox Company roofbox.co.uk