How to Safely Carry Luggage on Top of Your Car

When it comes to travelling on long journeys, sometimes the trunk and rear seat aren’t spacious enough to accommodate all your luggage and gear. That’s when knowing how to safely carry luggage on top of your car becomes a practical solution. Getting extra storage space requires some knowledge of how to properly load and secure cargo on your car roof. It’s a good thing this blog will walk you through the steps to get to your destination with a full roof load and no hassles.

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Unlock Travel Freedom: Know How to Safely Carry Luggage on Top of Your Car

The need for more space comes from a desire to have a comfortable journey, especially when travelling with friends and family. Extra room on the roof means you have more space to pack all your essentials without crowding the interior of the car.

For outdoor enthusiasts, camping equipment, bicycles, tents and other large items can become cumbersome if you don’t have any place to carry them. Utilising the car roof allows you to carry extra luggage while still enjoying a comfortable ride.

The camp site may be subject to adverse weather, so having additional space means you can pack various protective gear to prepare yourself for the adventure.

Here are some safe and efficient methods on how to carry luggage on top of your car.

Choose the Right Equipment

A roof rack system is the perfect solution for carrying extra luggage. Many cars have factory options for roof racks or you can opt for an aftermarket accessory that is custom-made for your vehicle. It provides a secure foundation for your luggage.

Box trunk car roof on sky background

Distribute Load Evenly

Proper loading and weight distribution are essential for vehicle stability and handling. Place heavy and large items at the centre of the roof to prevent them from falling off. Once you are done with the bigger items, follow up with smaller bags to fill the space.

Good Loading Techniques

You will need a step stool or a ladder to safely load luggage and access the roof comfortably. Flinging bags on the roof, hoping they’ll stay safe is not a good idea. Protect your car’s roof with soft padding or a blanket to prevent scratches. Also, make sure that the weight will not dent the roof while driving.

Secure the Luggage

The best way to secure luggage on the car top carrier is to use tie-down straps, ratchet straps or bungee cords. Ensure that the ropes are made of tough, weather-resistant material that won’t snap under load. The straps should not interfere with driving while staying tight and firm.

Safety Checks

Before transporting items on the roof of the car, take care of the safety aspects. Gently shake the luggage to confirm if it is secured firmly. A bag that flies off while driving could cause an accident and loss of your belongings.

Drive Safe

With the extra weight on the roof, the car’s dynamics will be impacted. Drive slowly and steadily and avoid sudden braking or turns. Ensure a smooth and safe journey even at highway speeds. 

Also, have read through this informative article on the Top 10 car brands in the world, to help you narrow down your dream car.

Choosing a Suitable Luggage Carrier on Car

Some cars come with a roof rack as standard which makes things easier for you. Otherwise, you can install a roof rack accessory that fits your vehicle well. While factory-fitted luggage carriers look sleek and offer a seamless fit, some add-on carriers can handle larger weights and have designs and functionalities tailored to your specific needs, for example, bicycle racks or tents.

In the end, you should choose a roof rag luggage carrier that is compatible with your vehicle to avoid any complications down the line.

Also read Top Car Parts Name Every Car Owner Must Know

Roof Rack Components

Depending on the specifications of your roof rack, you may have to gather crossbars, towers, and mounts that are durable and of high-quality. This will form a solid foundation for your luggage so that it remains secure.

How to Tie Luggage on Top of Car Without Roof Rack – Straps, Tie-downs and Nets

You need reliable and durable straps to anchor your luggage to the roof rack. With the right tension, cords and cargo nets are ideal for securing odd-shaped items and preventing them from moving around.

Carry Luggage on Car top

Protect Your Roof

Car roofs can easily get scratched or damaged with luggage and other equipment moving around. Before loading anything, place a large soft blanket which will act as a cushion to absorb impacts and prevent damage.

A Balanced Approach: Using the Car Carrier for Luggage

Start by placing the largest items first to minimise the risk of imbalance. Luggage such as duffle bags, suitcases, and tents should be used as foundation elements. This will serve as an anchor around which smaller bags can be fitted. You’ll end up utilising every inch of space and the whole cargo section will be balanced.

Before starting off on your journey, perform a gentle shaking test to ensure the luggage is securely fastened and won’t shift during travel. Double-check that items are neatly placed and will not obscure your driving vision. Straps and nets can sometimes unfasten and obstruct the driver’s line of sight.

Acknowledge the added weight on your vehicle with lower speeds for a smooth and safe journey. Stay clear of sudden manoeuvres which may by amplified by added roof weight. Regularly monitor roof-mounted luggage by scheduling periodic stops to inspect and adjust straps. Stay vigilant of unusual sounds from the roof or visible movement.

In this way, you will safeguard your belongings and contribute to better road safety. Also read Helpful Ideas On How To Organise Your Car


As you set off on your road adventures, remember to select the right equipment and secure items for a safe journey. Above all, prioritize safety with careful driving habits and regular breaks to check on roof luggage.

Visit the Carorbis Blog for more informative articles on automotive topics, how-to guides and car accessory reviews and also Check Out The Essential Car Accessories For New Car In India

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is Carrier Allowed On Private Vehicles?

Ans. Private vehicles are allowed to have roof carriers as long as they are within the safety limits in terms of weight and dimensions. A roof rack, cargo box or carrier should not obstruct the view of the driver or interfere with the functioning of lights. Keep in mind the vehicle’s load capacity as extra weight could put excessive strain on the suspension, and engine and may lead to instability. However, check with the local road authorities for the most accurate information on installing a carrier on the car for luggage.                 

Q2. How To Put Luggage On Top Of Car Without Roof Rack?

Ans. If your car has a roof rail, it is quite easy to store luggage on the roof with the help of straps and tie-downs. Otherwise, you can use a soft rooftop carrier that is compatible with the dimension of your vehicle. You can even create your own makeshift roof rack by placing soft padding on the roof, placing luggage and securing it with rope.

Q3. Is roof carrier illegal in India?

Ans. Roof carriers are not illegal in India to transport luggage and other equipment. The motor vehicle act of India states that private cars can use roof carriers as long as it is deemed safe. It is common to see many tourist vehicles and long-distance touring cabs with roof-mounted carriers as well. If you are unsure about the status of your particular roof carrier, consult with your local RTO for more information and to check if a permit is required in a special case.  

Q4. How To Use Roof Rails For Luggage?

Ans. Roof rails run along the length of the car from the front to the rear. They are designed to hold luggage, equipment and other large items on the roof while driving. Roof rails come in handy when the trunk is not sufficient to hold all your luggage, especially on a road trip with friends and family. Some roof rails come with cross bars which serve as a base for lading cargo and add a space between the roof and luggage. You can even install your own crossbars to secure items.

Q5. How To Tie Something To The Roof Of Your Car With Rope?

Ans. You need strong durable rope or thick straps that can hold luggage down. Avoid using thin ropes that could break easily. First, add protective padding underneath the cargo to provide some cushioning to the luggage. Once the items you want to transport have been placed, pass one end of the rope over the load and under the roof rail. Tighten the knot to create tension by pulling the rope as much as possible. Secure the knots to prevent the load from sliding while travelling. Once done, give the luggage a gentle shake and check for any signs of looseness. Make necessary adjustments to the position of the items for a balanced load.

Q6. How To Fit More Luggage In A Car?

Ans. Packing smartly by prioritising essential items can help you avoid overpacking. Roll clothes tightly to reduce their volume and don’t pack in bulky covers for items. Instead, wrap delicate products in bubble wrap to save space. If you don’t have rear passengers and your car has foldable rear seats, this can open up extra space for large items that don’t fit in the trunk. Larger items can be carried on the roof rack. Utilise space under seats for smaller items as long as they don’t obstruct the driver’s foot pedals. Seat organisers such as rear seat hooks, rear seat trays and trunk organisers free up additional space and reduce clutter in the cabin. Remember not to overload the vehicle as this maybe a safety concern. A vehicle above its weight limit will handle differently and could lead to accidents.

Q7. How do you put things on top of your car?

Ans. It takes careful planning to load luggage onto the roof of a car. Make use of a stepping stool to load luggage without straining your muscle and secure the luggage with durable straps to prevent slipping of items. Keep in mind the height limitations of certain roads such as when driving through tunnels or when parking in a low-ceiling garage. Refer to your car’s service manual to check if the roof can support weight, as some small cars are not designed to carry luggage on the roof.

Q8. Can we put luggage on car?

Ans. If you are wondering, is it illegal to carry things on top of your car, the answer is yes. There are no rules that prohibit the use of roof rails for luggage carrying as long as it doesn’t make driving unsafe. In fact, many adventure-themed vehicles come with preinstalled roof carriers that encourage car owners to use them on camping trips, etc. There are also a number of aftermarket accessories to enable a car owner to utilise the roof for cargo holding.

Q9. How do you attach a car top carrier without a roof rack?

Ans. Cars without roof racks can still be used to carry cargo. Open all the doors and pass flat straps through the interior of the car, then place your bags in the desired position on the roof. Ensure the cargo is centred properly and won’t slide off easily. Close the doors and secure the straps over the bags, tightening them to ensure that the luggage is snuggly fitted. This may not be the most elegant solution to carry cargo on your roof, but it will work as a temporary solution. Keep in mind that the doors should be able to close securely with the straps attached. If you frequently transport items on the roof of the car, consider investing in a roof rack or other suitable equipment for a safe and convenient drive.

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