Outdoor Federation

How to Carry Luggage on Top of Car

No matter where you are going, there are usually thing that are packed up and loaded with you to take on the road, but many people need to know how to carry luggage on top of car as it saves space.

how to carry luggage on top of car

Your top priority when traveling for yourself as the driver and your passengers should be safety, especially when traveling to the local grocery store or even going outdoor activites like camping or hiking.

Learning How to Carry Luggage on Top of Car

You don’t want your luggage flying off and on to roads and possibly injuring you, your loved ones, or complete strangers so this guideline will give you the tips you need to avoid these types of damages.

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Checking Load Capacity

Before you start packing things up and away atop your vehicle, you need to estimate how much the load weighs and the overall load capacity of your car. If you have a minivan or an SUV, then you are able to bear more weight that what a typical sedan is able to. Even so, you should check with the manual of the vehicle you use to determine how much to load. Another important tip is to ensure that all the individual items are bound together to make them easier to travel for longer distances. These are fragile items that should not be at risk to breaking should any sudden movement occurs.

Getting the Right Packing Materials

Depending on what you are carrying, you will need certain strapping packing materials like heavy-duty rope, ratchet straps, and if possible a roof-rack that makes the process all the more easier. Use ropes and straps to hold down loads as it provides more flexibility. Also, bungee cords are great for providing extra support and also helps balance out the load.

Placement Checks

The items on top of the car should be lined up properly on the roof as efficiently as possible. The center of the roof should support the heaviest parts of the load. This is where placement is absolutely important and centering ensures that the load travels effectively. You certainly don’t want any objects hanging over the edge and possibly providing damage to the vehicle.

Tying Down

When it gets to tying the load down, begin with the windows down, squeezing the objects together and centering the weight directly in the middle of the car’s roof. Then, you take the rope across the object, pass the rope through the open windows, and then tie them all inside the vehicle.

Load Testing

How the car functions with the load on top is crucial and will need to be tested before you really get going, so first start out with a few stars and stops with the brakes to see how secure the objects are and if they are sliding back and forth. A short test drive around your neighborhood should be enough to ensure safety. Remember to drive within the speed limits as higher speeds increase risk of detaching ropes and damaging the objects.


When in transit, if you hear any rattling noises, you should stop as soon as possible and check your ties for any loosening. You also may need to place a cloth between certain areas so there are no gaps in space. The goal is to remove any space and leave little to no wiggle room.

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