Roof Rack vs. Crossbars: Which Is Right for You?

Roof Rack vs. Crossbars: Which Is Right for You?

Safety and security are of the utmost importance when it comes to travel, and our luggage is no exception. There are different methods to packing our gear for things such as off-roading or overlanding, but the main two methods employ the use of crossbars or roof racks. These two tools are effective in some ways but are lacking in others, so the choice is yours depending on your needs.

Roof Rack

The roof rack is a system of bars that attaches to the top of your vehicle and takes various forms. These storage systems need assembling but come with the pieces necessary. There are plenty of cars that aren't Jeeps or trucks that can’t haul any gear unless a roof rack is attached.


In the roof rack vs. crossbars discussion, the roof rack offers multiple benefits to travelers. Roof racks come in numerous shapes, sizes, and materials. There are various methods to secure your vehicle's luggage with a roof rack since it comes with different options for horizontal bars and raised vertical bars.

Roof racks are sturdy, so you have the option of storing heavier items. You also have different style and customization choices that will fit your preferences and specific options for a vehicle, such as a Toyota 4Runner rack for your 4Runner.


Since roof racks don't come with the car, you will need to seek out one that fits and sustains the items you plan to carry. Roof racks may cost a bit, especially for higher-end vehicles, and they will take time to configure and assemble.


Crossbars are attached to the roof of a vehicle such as a Jeep or truck. These features are generally two raised vertical bars running along the car's entire roof. These items use cords and ropes to secure items on the car's top.


Crossbars have a simple design and take less time to put together than roof racks. In addition, you won't have to worry about assembling a roof rack for your vehicle, and the lack of extra bars makes tying down simple.


When considering roof racks and crossbars, it's important to note that the simplicity of the bars may lead to a less secure storage system. There are only two bars, and if one is loose or attached improperly, the whole system is unstable.

The use of roof racks or crossbars depends on each driver’s ultimate needs, preferences, and pocketbook. Both have their perks and downsides, but they enable to driver to get off-roading while keeping their gear secure.

Reading next

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The Pros and Cons of Roof Racks vs. Hitch Racks

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