Choosing a Roof Rack

Hitting the open road to experience new adventures is a great dream to pursue! But adventures require gear and, sometimes, lots of it. Does your car have the storage space you need? If not, it may be time to consider investing in a roof rack. 

Types of Roof Racks

The vehicle you drive will be a major factor in determining what kind of rack to choose. See our list to determine which model is best for you:

Cars. Most cars can easily be outfitted with rooftop cargo carriers and trunk-mounted bike racks. These options will allow you to carry things like skis, bikes and kayaks. You can even get a hitch-mounted rack installed on some cars with a little after-market work from a qualified expert. Your best option depends on what and how much you want to carry.

Sports utility vehicles. Roof racks and hitch-mounted systems work well on many SUVs. If you’re thinking about a roof rack, remember that you still need to be able to reach your gear, whether you’re putting it in the rack, or pulling it out for use. Decide if this type of rack is practical for you.

Trucks. The best option for trucks is hitch-mounted racks. But, depending on the size of the cab, they can handle some roof racks, too. Trucks also give you the added option of a bed-based rack system, which can be great if you’ve got a lot to carry. 

Consider Your Cargo

Every adventure is different, so consider your gear when deciding what kind of rack you’ll choose.

Modular roof racks. These systems usually offer the versatility to carry almost anything you need. You can switch out attachments for kayaks, skis, snowboards and most bikes, and can even use multiple attachments at a time. You can mount baskets to the roof racks for extra storage or pods for storage and protection as well.

Trunk-mounted racks. They’re great because you can install and load them quickly and they’re usually low in cost. The only drawback of a trunk-mounted rack is that they only allow you to carry the item they are made to carry and can restrict easy access to your trunk. Go this route if your specific cargo calls for it.

Hitch-mounted racks. Like roof racks, these racks are easy to use and very versatile. You can easily carry multiple bikes, or skis and snowboards, or even go with a basket attachment to carry whatever you need to your next tailgating event.

The Carbon Bike Factor

If cycling is your passion and you’ve invested in a carbon fiber bike, it’s important to think about how you transport it. The dominant thought is that bikes with carbon frames should not be transported with pressure on the frame. This means trunk-mounted systems should be avoided, and only a system with full length trays – to support the front and back wheels – should be used.

Once you're settled on a system, be sure to talk with your American Family agent to get the best protection for your gear while it’s on the go. Happy travels!

Related Topics: On The Road , Car Safety , Gas Mileage , Travel