Pros & Cons of Car Top Carrier without Roof Racks (For Beginners)

When the vacation season comes in, millions of Americans will be on the road going to camp in the mountains, swim in the beautiful beaches or visit parks and zoos far away from their home.

But you need to pack a lot of things for your trip and one question that arises in your mind is how to fit everything in your car.

More the passengers in your car mean more the luggage along with tents, sports gear and all kinds of stuff needed for your trip.

Car Top Carrier without Roof Racks

Roof bags for cars without racks

One of the most simple and cost effective means of hauling your stuff over your vehicle is the roof bags, which are much cheaper than rooftop boxes, as you need a roof rack installed if you need to load you cargo in a cargo box.

So your investment gets doubled, but with roof bags, you don’t need a roof rack and you just saddle up your bags on top of your vehicle with the straps provided along with the roof bags.

Soft car top carrier without roof rack

One of the main reasons people prefer soft car top carrier like cargo bags as it is one the cheapest mode of storage space available in the market and  is made using a tight-knit polyester material to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, be it heavy rain, snow or during extreme heat conditions.

Difference of using cargo carrier with/without roof rack

Some of the aspects that people go for cargo carrier over roof racks and some for cargo carriers without roof racks are that:

  • Installing cargo carriers over roof racks means you need to spend additionally for purchasing a roof rack as well.
  • When you install roof racks, the cargo bags or baskets placed over the racks become a little higher and you need to get a ladder or stool to load /unload stuff in your cargo carrier.
  • But installing cargo carrier is easy over roof racks, as the straps or screws can be easily tightened on to the roof racks than onto the top of your car.
  • Cargo carriers without roof racks are easy to install and easy to remove quickly after you return from the trip.

Installing Roof Bags

Installing your roof top cargo carrier on top of your vehicle is simple and is explained below in easy steps:

  1. Clean your roof before placing your rooftop cargo carrier.
  2. Also, don’t forget to place the non-slip mat protective before placing the cargo carrier.
  3. Place the cargo carrier on top of the mat with the logo facing forward.
  4. Make sure to place the rooftop carrier 8 inches from the front edge of the roof a quiet ride and also to save fuel.
  5. The strap angle is also important for stable attachment of your cargo carrier with your vehicle. Best strap angle is both the front and back straps in vertical position.
  6. Load the cargo bags to the maximum load, as you can have a smooth ride, if the bag is full and occupied.
  7. Close the zipper completely and fasten the straps properly.

Detailed Video

YouTube video

Pros & Cons of Roof Top Carrier without Roof Racks

When it comes to rooftop carriers, there is both advantages and disadvantages which are detailed below clearly.

Let’s see the advantages first.

  • Roof Cargo Bags are the most economical option for someone looking for storage space on top of your car
  • Completely waterproof
  • Can withstand extreme temperatures
  • Easy installation, as you don’t need to lift some heavy weight cargo boxes on top of your vehicle and tighten it with your roof racks. With roof bags, you don’t need an extra hand to have it installed on top of your car, you can just DIY (Do it yourself).

Let’s see some of the disadvantages:

  • Non-slip protective mat nor provided with some roof bag products
  • Clips to hold the straps also not provided along
  • The Zipper is also too tight sometimes
  • With cargo bags,  you cannot carry large gear like bikes, canoes or kayaks.
  • And you have no security, as anyone can remove the strap and take away your roof bag easily.

Best Car Top Carrier Without Roof Rack

RoofBag Explorer Waterproof Soft Car Top Carrier

RoofBag Explorer Soft top carrier comes with a set of straps along with an installation booklet with details for easier installation.

Non-Slip protective mat is provided along with the roof bag and you have to buy it separately, as it important to hold your bag on top the vehicle without slipping.

Aerodynamic design helps to reduce fuel and you almost forget that there is a roof bag on top of your vehicle that you can’t hear any noise from your roof bag.

The roof bag weighs 8.8 pounds and available in either 11 or 15 cubic feet of storage space. This is one of the most economical roof bags which you can find along with the waterproof facility.

Explorer is made up of tight-knit polyester canvas to withstand all kinds of weather conditions and is also coated with an abrasion resistant vinyl layer for added protection.


  • Cheapest roofbag.
  • 99% waterproof.


  • Non-Slip protective mats not provided.



Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag (15 Cubic Feet)

With a storage space of 15 cubic feet, you can haul a lot of cargo on top of your vehicle and free up lots of space inside your vehicle.

Designed with soft sides flex to incorporate all sizes and shapes of your gear and stuff. When back from your trip, you can easily fold the roof bag and store it easily.

With the Keeper Waterproof cargo bag, you never need to limit your cargo as you have almost 15 cubic feet of storage space on top of your vehicle and with a special waterproof design, all your cargo is completely protected from the rigors of long travel,  rain and all elements of nature.

Its dimensions are 44” x 34” x 17”.


  • Lots of cargo space.
  • Strong zippers.
  • Quality straps.
  • Affordable price with huge opportunity.


  • No clips provided to secure the straps.
  • Adjusting the straps is difficult at first.


RoofBag Car Top Carrier Cross Country 100% Waterproof 

RoofBag Car top carrier cross country 1005 waterproof cargo carrier from RoofBag provides an excellent storage solution for loading your cargo on top of your vehicle.

It comes with a protective non-slip mat that helps prevent the bag from slipping from the top of your vehicle.

With Roof bags on top, you can ensure that you always have a quiet travel. The

Roof bags are aerodynamically designed to save fuel to a greater extent.

Made up of heavy duty tight nit polyester canvas, these roof bags are designed to withstand all kinds of weather conditions and provided with waterproof zipper and flaps, so that there is no possibility of a drop of water entering into the roof bags. It has a storage capacity of 11 or 15 cubic feet of storage.

Easy Installation


  • Solid Design.
  • Completely waterproof.
  • Looks good on top of your car.


  • Zippers are sometimes hard to pull to close/open.
  • No clips provided to secure the straps.



If you want to have a memorable trip without any hassles regarding your luggage and stuff, it is important you plan, research and invest in the right kind of carrier solution. Or else you would have all the headaches in facing troubles like a damaged carrier midway through your trip, drenched stuff due to rain and all of that.

Selecting the right car top carrier depends on many factors, including your budget, type of vehicle and the amount of luggage you need to carry.

If you are looking to go for some cheaper solutions, then you may consider installing a cargo carrier without roof rack as it provides enough space on top of your vehicle and also costs less when compared to cargo boxes. The installation process is simple too and you can quickly load/unload stuff on to your cargo carriers.

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