Soft car top carriers are an effective component for long journeys. Most of the time when we go on a picnic or fun trip with family or friends on our vacations, we can’t take with us many essentials as there is not enough space in the car. But purchasing a best soft car top carrier can solve that problem for you. That is why these carrier bags are becoming very popular in 2020.
But choosing a soft car top carrier is not an easy task. In this case, you have to keep a lot of things in mind, but most of the time we do not give much importance to this. As a result, we have to face various problems after buying the product. To solve this problem today we will highlight the three best soft car carriers and see how to choose a suitable one. So let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Top 3 picks
SOFT CAR TOP CARRIER VS. HARD TOP CARRIER
You will find two types of car top carriers in the market according to the structure. One is soft car top carrier bags and the other is the hard top carrier. Most of them are equally famous among the users but there are a lot of differences between them. Let’s have a look.
Soft car top carriers are large bags for carrying luggage that fasten with straps to a roof rack. They are easy to install and remove. They are much affordable and when not in use you can easily store them. Most brand new soft top carriers generally run from $100 to $200. Another good fact is that they can take shape with the irregularly shaped belongings. Most of the soft car carrier bags are waterproof and durable, but few of them may not.
Hard car top carriers are rigid plastic boxes that cannot be strapped and require a roof rack and metal hardware. They need special risers and tools to be attached to the rack. They are waterproof, durable, and don’t lose their aerodynamic shape when empty. But they are expensive. You need to spend around $300 to $600 for a brand new hard car top carrier. Also, they are heavy, difficult to install and remove, and difficult to store. Some can be noisy, because of the turbulence that forms in the space between the roof and the box.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A SOFT CAR TOP CARRIER
They are not expensive. Like the other car top cargo carrier, soft car top carriers are not much expensive. There are a lot of soft carriers that are available in less than $100. With such a decent price, you can have a great quality of soft cargo bag.
They are easy to install. These car top carriers generally come with straps that fasten them with the car rooftop. So, you don’t need any additional equipment to install them. Just put the carrier on the rooftop and fasten the straps to enjoy the driving.
They are easy to store. As the soft car top carrier is made of flexible fabrics, they can be folded and while not in use, you can easily remove them, fold them, and store them anywhere you want.
They provide weather protection to your belongings. Most soft car top carriers are made of waterproof materials. Sometimes they can be heat and cold resistant. As a result, they provide proper protection in extreme weather.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN BUYING A SOFT CAR TOP CARRIER
This is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a soft car top carrier. The purpose of purchasing the carrier is to provide additional cargo room, so you should not buy one that is not big enough.
This feature is generally measured in cubic feet which can be a bit misleading. A cubic foot is a measurement of area, so two different carriers that both hold 15 cubic feet may have very different limitations on what they can carry. For determining what can and cannot be carried, the shape and dimensions of the carrier will play a part. Anything less than 15 cubic feet should be purchased with caution, anything more is gravy.
Materials of the carrier
The material quality of the soft carrier is another important fact to consider. Many brands advertise their product as “waterproof”. In most cases, you will find that they are simply water-resistant. As a result, at the time of heavy rainfall, they cannot tolerate and result in damp or soaked contents. Another thing you should keep in mind that the carrier’s material will affect its durability. There is no real standard here, though artificial fabrics have a tendency to stand up better over time compared to natural fabrics. Moreover, any fabrics should be coated with PVC to aid in waterproofing–inside and out if possible.
Easy to install
Installation involves the combination of carrier dimensions and security measures. The larger the dimensions, the more difficult it will be to install. The number of fastening straps and their required positions impact the installation ease. Using more straps provides more security but it may increase mounting time and difficulty. This is even more relevant if your vehicle does not have a roof rack.
Easy to store
Easy to store refers to how easy it is to store the carrier when not in use. Carriers with stiff inner-lining are generally more difficult to store than carriers whose shell is purely malleable. Moreover, the thickness of the material, whether the shell includes a stiff inn-lining or not, will also affect how easily to collapses for storage.
Soft carriers are not that durable as hard carriers. However, hard carriers are often many times more expensive than soft.
However, the carrier’s “shell” is not the only part you consider when it comes to durability. The zipper and straps are also relevant. A broken zipper can make your carrier less secure both while driving and at rest. Likewise, the durability of the straps directly impacts the security of the carrier in travel.
The carrier’s effect on aerodynamics will directly impact your miles per gallon. If you are going on a long trip or take frequent short trips, this can impact your fuel cost more than you might think. The form of the carrier often influences the carrier’s dimensions, though clever designers are able to skirt around this issue. Regardless, a carrier’s dimensions will impact what it can and cannot carry. More specifically, the largest item you can store in the carrier is directly limited by the carrier’s dimensions.
Probably the most important factor that forms impacts is the carrier’s security. This manifests in two ways. First, if the carrier displays exceptionally poor aerodynamics, the drag it creates at high speeds will test its restraints. Second, some carriers are only designed to fit large roofs. Using an oversized carrier on too small a roof can drastically impact how securely you can fasten it.
Price is not a great indicator of quality when choosing soft top carriers. Each carrier has a tendency to focus on certain factors more than others and appeal to one niche demographic first. However, some qualities are simply more expensive to produce. As such, a cheaper model may suit your needs just fine, while a more expensive one satisfies another’s better. Of course, brand name recognition will always nudge the price up a bit as well.
BEST SOFT CAR TOP CARRIE
2) Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag
The 2nd choice on our recommended list is the Keeper Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Carrier. It is one of the best soft car top carriers. The bag fits on different cars and all roof racks, with an internal capacity of 15 cubic feet.
The Keeper is a great choice for anyone who wants both capacity and durability. The fabric is entirely weatherproof, making sure that dirt, grit, humidity, and rain don’t get the best of your beloved contents.
We actually like the fabric on this one, since the edges can stretch and flex as much as you need for an oddly shaped object to fit inside. You can fold the bag very easily for compactness and portability. The fabric is a tough one, tailored from rubber laminated nylon. This makes it extremely hard to break through, accounting for its high resistance and durability.
The bag provides a very durable fabric. However, there were a few things that stumped us. There are many counts of the bag not being entirely waterproof, owing to loose seams or the zipper.
3) Rightline Gear Sport 1 Car Top Carrier
The third choice on our list is the Rightline Gear Car Top Carrier. The bag comes with an internal volume of 12 cubic feet. Though it is a bit smaller compared with the other two choices on our list, it is big enough to carry your contents. The bag is compatible with all SUVs, wagons, crossovers, trucks, larger sedans and hatchbacks, and almost any heavier vehicle.
The installation is very easy. It can be easily mounted with a roof rack or on a bare roof. Either you can attach the straps to the roof rack of the car or directly clip it onto the door frames. All the seams have been doubled to mimic waterproof technology.
The zippers of the bag are coated with a line of polyurethane to stop any water leakage. So overall, the entire carrier bag is perfectly secure. It also has a height of 14 to 19 inches, depending on the size you buy. The height is great since most bags tend to sag or lose tightness.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Do I need to buy extra straps?
A: The two straps that come with each rooftop carrier are sufficient to hold the carrier securely. However, you can use an extra set of straps, which will add stability and quietness to an installation.
Q: Can you drive with an empty car top carrier?
A: You should remove your rooftop carrier when it is empty for one main reason- it increases your fuel consumption. Much like carriers that are filled with items and heavy, having a carrier on your roof that is empty still affects the mileage on your vehicle.
Q: Do soft car top carriers cause wind noise?
A: The wind noise we hear from some car top carriers is known as Aeolian noise and is produced by the wind when it passes over or through objects. A similar thing will happen when you will use a soft car top carrier. But this noise can be reduced.
Q: Does a soft car top carrier durable?
A: Yes, most of the soft car carrier is enough durable. Though some of them may tear or leak after a few use. But if you choose a carrier with good material, it will last long.
Q: Can I use a lock in a soft car top carrier?
A: Soft car top carrier comes with a proper security system. Buckles and zippers can provide enough security. But if you want full protection of your belongings from being stolen, you can use an extra lock.
You don’t need to be an expert in choosing a soft car top carrier, but you should have the proper knowledge to make the right choice. Hope this review will help you with that.