With the emergence of smart and hybrid cars on the market, there seems to be less and less room inside newer cars to pack them up for a road trip, or for a camping trip. If your car has a small trunk, and you want to go for a rather long road trip, the car top carrier is the best option for storing gear and clothes that do not need to be accessed until you reach your destination. Or, at least until you stop for the night. Car top carriers are also great for any vehicle that is regularly used to go camping, fishing, or to the coast to visit the grandparents.
However, there are many styles of car top carriers, and they come in many sizes and types of construction, hard plastic to soft fabric, and zippered closures to lockable, hinged closures.
Some tips for choosing a car top carrier would include, but in no way be limited to;
* Type. There are hard and soft car top carriers, and they can be used on almost all vehicles, from a Smart-for-2 to a Lincoln Navigator or an H2 Hummer. Travelling long distances, you may prefer the hard car top carrier for it’s streamlined construction, which makes them more aerodynamic. This means less wind resistance, and therefore less fuel wasted.
* Construction. Car top carriers are made of either hard resins or plastics, or hard to soft fabrics. The fabric construction car top carriers usually have zippered closures with lockable zippers, much like luggage. The hard car top carriers usually have hinged closures, and are also lockable, but the locks for hard car top carriers are much stronger, making them harder to break into.
* Wind resistance. The bigger the car top carrier, the more wind resistance, and therefore the more gasoline you will use. Over a short, under 1,000 mile road trip, you likely will not notice the difference in gasoline consumption, especially if you drive a hybrid vehicle. Over a longer road trip, you can expect to pay at least 15 to 20 percent more on gasoline than you would without a car top carrier. Hard car top carriers are generally more wind resistant.
* Load. Assuming that a soft and a hard car top carrier are the same size, the soft car top carrier will hold more gear, as it is a bit on the stretchy side. Hard car top carriers will hold whatever fits, but there is no stretching of the fabric to stuff more and more belongings inside.
* Moisture resistance. Most hard top car carriers (read; the more expensive ones) are pretty much moisture resistant, and will hold up under the most sever storms, as long as it is tied tightly to the car top. Softer car top[ carriers can allow some moisture to leak inside, especially on a very strong windy and rainy day.
* Damage to your car. With hard car top carriers, you will need to put down a rigid rubber matting wherever the car top carrier, or it’s straps, touch your vehicle. You should place strips of these mats wherever the carrier’s straps go into the vehicle between the doors and the vehicle, as well as under the entire bottom of the hard car top carrier. Even some soft car top carriers may need some protection between the car and the carrier.
* Weight. In order to bring more gear, the car top carrier is like having another trunk. However, it is suggested that you place softer and lighter gear, clothing and bedding inside the car top carriers, so as not to make the weight too crippling on the car’s roof. Carrying too much weight in your car top carrier could cause a big dent in the roof of your car’s top.
Camp smart. Camp informed.