Are you planning a road trip or outdoor adventure soon? You may be considering purchasing a roof box to increase your storage space and make your journey more comfortable. Roof boxes are an excellent solution for transporting bulky items such as camping gear, sports equipment, and luggage. When selecting a roof box, it’s crucial to consider the materials used to make it, as this affects the product’s durability, weight limit, and weather resistance. This article will discuss the best materials for roof boxes and their advantages.

Types of Roof Boxes

Roof boxes come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Before deciding on the material, you must select the type of roof box that suits your needs.

There are two primary types of roof boxes: cargo boxes and ski boxes. Cargo boxes are perfect for carrying large items, while ski boxes are designed to fit skis and snowboards. Cargo boxes come in several sizes and shapes, including long and narrow, short and wide, and wedge-shaped.

Hard vs Soft Shell Roof Boxes

After selecting the type of roof box, you must decide on the shell’s material. Roof boxes come in two types of shells: hard shell and soft shell.

Hard shell roof boxes are made of durable materials that protect the contents from the elements. They offer better security, weather protection, and durability than soft shell roof boxes. Hard shell roof boxes are also more expensive, heavier, and more challenging to store.

Soft shell roof boxes are lightweight and flexible, making them easier to store when not in use. They are also cheaper than hard shell roof boxes. However, they offer less protection from the elements and are less secure than hard shell roof boxes.

Materials Used in Roof Boxes

Roof boxes are made from various materials, including plastic, fiberglass, aluminum, and steel. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Plastic Roof Boxes

Plastic roof boxes are the most common type of roof box. They are lightweight, durable, and affordable. They also come in various colors and designs. Plastic roof boxes are resistant to UV rays, corrosion, and impact. They require less maintenance than other materials and are easy to install.

Advantages of Fiberglass Roof Boxes

Fiberglass roof boxes are lightweight and durable, making them ideal for long-term use. They are resistant to impact, corrosion, and UV rays. Fiberglass roof boxes are also aerodynamically designed, reducing wind noise and drag. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Advantages of Aluminum Roof Boxes

Aluminum roof boxes are durable, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. They offer better security than other materials and are easy to install. Aluminum roof boxes also have a sleek and modern design, making them ideal for stylish vehicles.

Advantages of Steel Roof Boxes

Steel roof boxes are the most durable and secure roof boxes. They offer excellent protection from the elements and are resistant to impact, corrosion, and UV rays. Steel roof boxes are heavier than other materials and require more maintenance. However, they are ideal for carrying heavy loads and for long-term use.

Environmental Impact and Mitigation

When selecting a roof box, it’s essential to consider its environmental impact. Plastic and fiberglass roof boxes are more eco-friendly than aluminum and steel roof boxes. However, some manufacturers offer eco-friendly versions of their products, made from recycled materials or using environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes.

Measuring for Fit

Before purchasing a roof box, it’s crucial to measure your vehicle’s roof to ensure a proper fit. You should also consider the weight limit of your roof rack and the roof box’s weight limit to avoid overloading. Some roof box brands offer fit guides on their websites, while others provide specific measurements for their products.


Installing a roof box can be a challenging task, but most roof box brands provide detailed installation instructions. It’s essential to follow the instructions carefully and secure the roof box correctly to avoid accidents. Some roof box brands offer mounting systems that make installation easier and more secure.

Securing Belongings

Securing your belongings inside the roof box is crucial to avoid damage or loss during transportation. It’s important to use straps, bungee cords, or cargo nets to secure the items inside the roof box. Some roof box brands offer specific accessories for securing your belongings, such as locks, tie-downs, and cargo bags.

Loading and Unloading

Loading and unloading the roof box can be a daunting task, especially if it’s heavy or bulky. It’s important to use a sturdy ladder or step stool to avoid accidents. It’s also essential to distribute the weight evenly inside the roof box to prevent the vehicle from becoming unstable during transportation.


Maintaining your roof box is essential to ensure its durability and longevity. It’s crucial to clean the roof box regularly with mild soap and water, avoiding abrasive cleaners that can damage the surface. It’s also important to inspect the roof box regularly for damage, such as cracks or dents, and to repair or replace it as needed.


Selecting the right material for your roof box is crucial to ensure its durability, weather resistance, and weight limit. Plastic, fiberglass, aluminum, and steel are the most common materials used to make roof boxes, each with its advantages and disadvantages. It’s also essential to consider the environmental impact of your roof box and to select a product that suits your needs and preferences.


Q1. What is the weight limit of a roof box?

The weight limit of a roof box depends on the material, size, and design. Most roof boxes have a weight limit between 100 and 220 pounds.

Q2. Can I use a roof box without a roof rack?

No, it’s not recommended to use a roof box without a roof rack. The roof rack provides the support and stability needed to carry the roof box safely.

Q3. Can I leave my roof box on my vehicle when not in use?

Yes, you can leave your roof box on your vehicle when not in use. However, it’s essential to ensure the roof box is secured and covered to protect it from the elements.

Q4. Can I use a roof box in the rain?

Yes, you can use a roof box in the rain. Most roof boxes are weather-resistant and can protect your belongings from water and moisture.

Q5. Can I install a roof box on any vehicle?

No, not all vehicles are compatible with roof boxes. It’s crucial to check your vehicle’s roof type and weight limit before purchasing a roof box.