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As cities grow denser, and the need for compact vehicles becomes more prevalent, the need for clever storage rapidly becomes essential. Over the years, many YouTube fail videos have shown us what can go wrong when your gear isn't properly strapped down. Thankfully, mainstay brands like Yakima and Thule continue to offer us smart and easy to use roof storage systems to prevent your next outdoor excursion from accidentally going viral. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite roof racks and storage systems.
from $650 BUY NOW
Sleek, aerodynamically styled roof pods aren't exactly a new phenomenon, but this latest offering from Thule is by far the best-looking of the bunch. Its design is not only stylish enough to suit any of the latest and greatest Audis and BMWs, but it's also quite functional and aerodynamic. It's incredibly easy to set up, with an integrated torque indicator that clicks when it's mounted. And regardless of your parking situation, dual-sided openings ensure easy access to all your gear.
$295 BUY NOW
Just about every roof rack company offers a standard bike mount for their racks, but not many offer a storage combo setup like the folks at Küat. The Skinny is designed to allow for a combination of a single bike mount and space for up to 160 pounds of gear, leaving the second half of the roof open for anything else you might want to pack on your adventure. Its powder-coated black finish is made to withstand any abuse you can throw at it, and unlike some other racks, the Skinny is designed to attach to any generic rack system on the market. All that's left to figure out is what you want to strap into it!
$679 BUY NOW
Yakima's new premium rooftop cargo box has clean lines and modern style that today's travelers demand. It's also plenty capable of getting dirty, though, so it's the perfect way to add storage for off-road camping trips. Yakima simplified the installation of this unit, so you'll spend less time in setup and more time exploring the wilderness. The smaller option (15 cubic feet) is great for quick trips, while the larger one (20 cubic feet) is ideal for families or longer jaunts.
Roof not equipped to mount a cargo box or bike rack? Mount these universal crossbars from Yakima and attach almost anything you want! They are strong, aerodynamic, can carry heavy loads, and they look damn good doing it!
$312 BUY NOW
Most off-road fanatics will agree that you can never have too much space to pack your gear, and a rough-and-tumble roof basket — like this offering from Go Rhino — is a great solution for Jeep and SUV enthusiasts looking to venture well off the beaten path. This rack is great for strapping down anything from spare fuel to camping gear, and includes additional LED lighting to brighten up camp after sundown.
$43 BUY NOW
These funky curved brackets are a great cheap solution for a roof rack setup to haul Kayaks, small canoes, and even your prized surfboards. They quickly clamp on to your factory crossbars, so all you need to do is strap your gear down and go. The kit comes with a pair of tie-down straps and can accommodate kayaks that are up to 36 inches wide.
$120 BUY NOW
Maybe you're vertically challenged. Maybe your roof is occupied with mountain bikes. Or maybe you're the worst at packing and you always bring way too much gear. Whatever the case, this heavy duty cargo rack attaches to your trailer hitch in a jiffy. Keep a few coolers here for easy access to snacks on the road, or load it up with muddy gear that you'd rather not bring inside the car. Let road trip season begin!
$200 BUY NOW
Cargo bags are a great way to add roof storage for campers and hikers, as well as for any big road trip where storage is a problem. This offering from Thule can carry up to 16 cubic feet when crammed full, and based on the majority of the reviews out there, it's pretty true to its word when it comes to water and weather resistance.
$900 BUY NOW
Love the idea of camping, but hate finding a perfectly flat spot, setting up a tent in the dark, and sleeping on the ground? This roof rack tent kit from Smittybilt is the perfect solution. Now you can roll up anywhere in the backcountry, no matter how rough the terrain, and you'll always have a flat, elevated surface to sleep on.
$199 BUY NOW
If you've ever wasted an hour or two trying to load a kayak or canoe to your roof without a proper rack system (we have), you'll find this to be a godsend. Padded supports and a roller system allow the boat to glide backwards and tilt down for quick and easy loading and unloading. The kit does require a base Yakima rack to work from, but the whole thing takes less than an hour to set up — then you're good to go for the summer.
$100 BUY NOW
If you want a cheap and easy roof rack solution for short trips, and don't want to look at a set of roof bars every time you walk out to your car, look no further. This inflatable setup from Malone can carry up to 180 pounds, making it ideal for things like kayaks, skis or snowboards. You may want to add a couple extra straps for a bit more security, but if your usual paddling spot or local hill are just a few miles away, this will do the job just fine.
$120 BUY NOW
For those in need of some serious hauling capability, this roof cargo bag from Rightline has an almost-ridiculous capacity of 18 cubic feet and is rated as being 100 percent waterproof. Beware with any fabric roof cargo bags — if not completely filled, leaving the bag to flap in the wind can definitely lead to premature failure. But if you're looking for an affordable option and don't have crossbars, this will do the trick.