June 27, 2022

The Correct Way To Tie Things To Your Roof Rack

The Correct Way To Tie Things To Your Roof Rack
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It’s not uncommon to have items that need to be transported. But they can be too large or too many to accommodate inside your vehicle. Sometimes tying these large items to the roof of your car is your only option. In such situations, owning a roof rack comes in handy. Knowing how to secure items on your car’s roof properly is essential for the safety of your belongings, but it’s also a serious safety issue for you and other motorists.

According to a study, in 2010, objects falling from another vehicle caused approximately 51,000 crashes, 10,000 injuries, and 440 deaths in the United States. You don’t want to contribute to statistics like that. Accessories, such as roof racks, help you fasten luggage to your car’s roof; however, these accessories cannot prevent accidents if you don’t install them properly or attach your luggage securely. This is why it is critical to understand how better to secure your load to a car’s roof rack.

This article discusses how to secure your luggage to your roof rack.

How to Attach Gear to Roof Racks

Using the roof racks to transport gear is relatively simple if you follow the tips and precautions listed below. All you require is:

  • One cam strap or ratchet strap for each crossbar
  • Long rectangular bags ranging in length from 1.2 meters (4ft) to 1.8 meters (6ft). Some tents will come with a bag that is the right size and shape. If you need a bag, heavy-duty marquee bags, ideally PVC-lined for waterproofing, are perfect.
  • Weatherproof garbage bags to shield susceptible items from rain and dust.
  • A vehicle with crossbars and roof rack



  • Place the wooden support on top of the roof racks if using any.
  • Place the bag(s) next to each other and close together on top of the crossbars and any timber supports.
  • Bag openings should be facing down for added weather protection, and zipper sliders should be at the back of the vehicle.
  • Tuck bag straps underneath the bag to keep them from swinging in the wind.
  • Adjust the load on the bars so that it is evenly distributed and weighted and not seated too far out or too far back on the racks. Make sure each end extends at least 20 cm beyond the crossbars. If not, tweak the crossbars so that they are closer together.
  • Place the straps above the tops of the bags, buckle facing you, with enough room to tighten. To the other side of the vehicle, throw the other end over the bags.
  • Toss the other end back over the bags and then around the undersurface of the crossbar.
  • Thread the end through the buckle and tighten it around the undersurface of the crossbar.
  • Tie off the leftover strap around the crossbar.
  • Repeat the procedure for each bar.
  • Give the load a good shake to ensure it is secure, and once on the road, check the load after the first 10 kilometers and at each stop. Tighten the straps as needed to keep the bag adequately restrained.


Safety Tips For Securing Load To Your Roof Rack

Reduce roof load

Reduce the weight on the car roof by transporting lightweight and bulky items that will not fit in the rear cargo area. You can also bundle up smaller and loose items to reduce the number of missiles inside the vehicle if it comes to a complete stop.

Avail the rear cargo compartment for bulkier items, particularly those that are more compact and can be packed more efficiently and conveniently. The lower your vehicle’s center of gravity, the steadier it will be on the road and the more secure it will be to drive.

Respect the roof and roof rack load limits

Learn about the vehicle’s load limits and the load limits of your accessories, such as roof racks, crossbars, roof boxes, and trays. Consider the weight of the roof rails, ratchet straps, bags used to contain your gear, and any supporting poles or panels used in your load calculations.


Use only authorized accessories

Use endorsed roof racks and rails for your specific vehicle, and have them professionally installed.


Use appropriate restraint equipment

When tying gear to your vehicle’s roof racks, use appropriate and high-quality restraint equipment, such as ratchet tie-down or cam buckle straps. Some are also equipped with locks for added security.

They should be rated accurately for the weight of your specific load. You should avoid elastic (bungee) cords because their elasticity has the potential to expand and loosen your load. Similarly, a rope is not strongly advised because some types are highly susceptible to slippage, and awareness of load securing knots is needed to guarantee the proper amount of tension is achieved to secure the load properly.


Avoid over-tightening ratchet straps

Ratchet straps have the advantage of being easily clamped without much effort. They can, however, be over-tightened to the point of damaging your gear. This may not apply to soft beddings, mattresses, and clothes, but it may cause damage to tent and marquee frames and poles.



Transporting heavy items on your car’s roof poses risks to its center of gravity, handling, performance, acceleration, and deceleration. You will need to pay rapt attention to differences in how your loaded car performs on the road and drive with greater caution. Also, check your load frequently during your trip to see if it has become loose or dislodged, especially after the first ten kilometers and at each stop.