Best roof box for camping in 2021: from budget to big brand

Our round up of the best roof boxes for all your camping gear

best roof box for camping

The roof box game is pretty much dominated by two big brand manufacturers, Yakima and Thule.

Their roof boxes are next level in terms of ergonomics, aerodynamics and quality.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some decent budget options.

Whether you need roof box storage options for off road camping or you just want a secure place to transport your skis, we’ve got you covered.

In a hurry? Here’s our top 3 picks for best roof box for camping.

Yakima SkyBox 16 Carbonite Cargo Roof Box

Most aerodynamic roof box for camping

  • capacity: 16 cubic feet
  • weight: 47lbs
  • dual-sided opening

Thule Force XT XL Cargo Roof Box

Best for storing lots of gear

  • capacity: 18 cubic feet
  • weight: 47lbs
  • dual-sided opening

Goplus Cargo Roof Box

Best budget roof box for camping

  • capacity: 14 cubic feet
  • weight: 25lbs
  • available in white and titanium grey
  • dual-sided opening


Our test

Here’s a quick list of some of the main things we tested for –

  • water tightness
  • noise
  • added fuel consumption
  • durability and longevity
  • aerodynamics
  • ease of mounting and installation

Best roof box for camping

Yakima SkyBox 16 Carbonite Cargo Roof Box

The most universally suitable roof box for transporting your camping gear


  • capacity: 16 cubic feet
  • weight: 47lbs
  • dual-sided opening
  • made in the USA from up to 80% recycled ABS

The Yakima SkyBox 16 is by far the most popular roof cargo box for camping, and for very good reason.

Yakima produces some of the best quality roof boxes on the market today, and the 16 cubic feet of storage provided in this model is perfect for most average-sized families’ needs.

best roof box for camping

If you’re planning a camping trip that also involves some winter sports, you will be able to fit up to 6 skis and 8 snowboards up to 185cm long in the SkyBox 16 with a little space left over for gear.

It comes pre-assembled and is super easy to mount, but could be a little unwieldy if you’re mounting alone. We would always recommend at least two people when mounting the box for the first time.

Its dimple-textured lid and excellent aerodynamic design ensure there is no drag. Even at high speeds, the increase in noise is almost negligible and the box itself doesn’t get damaged from being battered by the wind like other models often do.

Check current price on REI.com


Thule Force XT XL Cargo Roof Box

A huge choice for a big adventure


  • capacity: 18 cubic feet
  • weight: 47lbs
  • dual-sided opening

If you’ve got a big family or just need to carry a tonne of gear on your next camping trip, the Thule Force XT XL roof cargo box is a HUGE and super convenient option.

It’s designed to fit on your vehicle in a forward position to allow easy access to your trunk with minimal risk of hitting the roof box.

The Thule Force XT XL features a PowerClick mounting system, designed for quick and easy installation.

Similar to the Yakima SkyBox, its size and weight can be a little unwieldy to manage on your own. While it is possible, we would always recommend two people to install it.

The PowerClick system also features is an integrated torque indicator that clicks when the roof box is securely mounted, so you’ll always know that your gear is safe.

As a rough guide, the roof box can store 5 people’s ski gear including skis, equipment, and personal belongings.

As with the Yakima SkyBox, the ergonomics of the Force XT ensure that there is minimal drag and noise, even at high speeds.

We found the fuel increase to be almost negligible, which, when you can store this amount of gear is highly impressive.


Goplus Cargo Roof Box

A fantastic budget option for weekend camping trips and getaways


  • capacity: 14 cubic feet
  • weight: 25lbs
  • available in white and titanium grey
  • dual-sided opening

If the big brand names are out of your budget or you just don’t plan to use it enough, the Goplus is a neat little cargo box that will store most, if not all, of your camping gear.

It’s also one of the few roof boxes that is available in both white and dark grey. Perfect if you have a white car and want it to blend in more.

While it’s not quite as aerodynamic as the higher-end models, it definitely succeeds in its ease of installation.

At only 25lbs in weight, mounting and installation are a breeze and can easily be done by one person.

It’s equipped with 4 quick connect anchors that make it super easy to install and features secure latches to ensure your lid is secured to the base.

While not quite as smooth-riding as the higher-end options, the road noise, and extra fuel consumption is totally acceptable at this price point.

Check current price on Amazon


Recommended accessories

Thule MultiLift Storage System

If you don’t plan to use your roof box year-round the Thule MultiLift Storage System is a fantastic way to store it.

It’s suitable for all types of rooftop cargo boxes (not just Thule), kayaks, surfboards, and more up to a weight of 220lbs.

Check current price on Amazon


CargoLoc 2-Piece 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set

Need some roof bars to go with your new roof box? The CargoLoc cross bar set is one of the most popular options. They are tough, strong, and easy to install on most cars including raised roof cars.

Check current price on Amazon


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