You’ve seen roof racks countless times, you’ve seen them used to carry countless things, but have you ever considered what you would use them for?
Let’s take a look at some of the best uses of roof racks – some you may know and some you may not have thought of –, and discuss the benefits of installing roof racks on your car.
We’ll begin by defining what roof racks are in relation to roof rails.
Differences between Roof Racks and Roof Rails
You may be thinking: “but my car already has roof racks, doesn’t it?”
More likely, your car has roof rails.
Roof rails are different from roof racks but provide a similar service. The easiest way to tell the difference between roof racks and roof rails is to look at their orientation. Roof racks cross over the car, while roof rails run parallel, front to back.
Another key difference between the two is that roof racks are an attachment that provides a carrying surface. Roof rails are simply the attachment point for accessories.
Some roof rails lay flush to the surface of the car, while others are raised. Your car most likely came with roof rails, but not roof racks.
Roof rails are the mounting surface for car accessories such as roof racks, cargo boxes, ski and bike racks, and more. Do not use the roof rails to carry cargo in the way you would with roof racks, as they are designed to support heavy loads.
If you’re looking into carrying cargo, you should check out the best cargo roof rack vs. roof rails.
Uses for Roof Racks
Roof racks are a useful tool for anyone looking to transport large, heavy objects, but what other uses do they have?
Roof racks can be your best friend if you let them. The average car owner never fully takes advantage of their roof racks. Sure, they may use them on occasion for that new chair they bought or to bring home the Christmas tree, but that’s child’s play, beginner stuff.
An intermediate car rack user may take better advantage of their roof racks by using them for luggage, camping gear, or even sporting equipment. You’ve seen people on the highway with bicycles, kayaks, and surfboards on their roofs. But what if you could take it even further?
Freethinkers and radical roof rack users reap more benefits from their roof racks by getting creative with them. Are you a business owner that can’t afford a truck? Do you regularly need to transport bulky and clients at the same time?
Have you ever heard of offroad roof racks? Perhaps you have never considered just how far you can take roof racks. Another thing many people never consider is that they can use them when the car is parked.
Do you like going to the beach but want more shade, or want a covered outdoor space for camping? With a tarp and a couple of poles, you can easily set up an awning or tent using your roof racks. The possible uses for roof racks are nearly endless. It’s all up to how you choose to use them.
Benefits of Roof Racks
Roof racks are an ingenious feature of some cars. They provide many benefits and advantages to the average car owner. Say you have a family of four, and each kid wants to bring a friend on your trip to the cottage. That’s six people in the car already, so how do you store six people’s worth of luggage for a week-long trip?
Roof racks not only provide the extra storage space you would need for such a venture, but they also have many other helpful benefits.
Roof racks are a safe way to secure large cargo such as sports equipment, furniture, Christmas trees, coolers, and more. Using roof racks can also help you save space in your car and remove stuff that would otherwise be taking up valuable seating or legroom.
If you’re someone who tends to pile luggage high in the trunk or leave things loose in the backseat, you should think about investing in roof racks. Too much volume in the trunk can block out sightlines and be a hazard when driving. Loose objects, likewise, can turn into extremely deadly projectiles should you stop suddenly or have an accident.
The list goes on when it comes to how beneficial roof racks are. They provide extra storage space perfect for heavy-duty loads, large objects and help prevent overstuffing your car.
Tips for Using Roof Racks
The first tip for anyone looking to install roof racks is to get to know the anatomy of your car. What is the model? Does it have raised or flat rails or none at all? Is the roof curved? Flat? Do you have a sunroof?
Knowing your car and what you plan to carry on it will help you select the perfect type of roof rack. For example, if you have a jeep, you’ll want to find the best jeep roof racks.
Learn the basics. Before using roof racks, take some time to figure out the safety protocol and examine the physics of using roof racks. You’re potentially adding a lot of weight on top of your car. If you are driving a tiny, lightweight car and put a fridge on top, the weight distribution changes and your roll risk may increase.
It is also important to learn different ways to tie off cargo. Depending on your load’s size, weight, and shape, you may need to adjust your method. A good rule of thumb is to use the four-point anchor system. If the cargo has a chance of sliding, try using a net, tarp, or ropes as needed.
Finally, think about how you’re going to get the cargo on and off the car. If you had help putting it up but will be taking it down alone, you need to take the necessary precautions and set it up in such a way that it will be accessible later.
Whether you’re looking for adventure roof racks for camping gear, the best kayak roof racks, or something lighter, there are a few key points you should remember.
Most people never take full advantage of their roof racks. They can be used to clear up space in the car, secure loose items safely, carry cumbersome loads, and provide extra storage that doesn’t cost seating.
While roof rails provide a good attachment point, the roof racks do the heavy lifting.