How to Tie Things to Your Roof Rack

Last Updated on April 7, 2023 by Paul S.

Tying your precious gear or luggage to your roof rack is important for the protection of your things but also for the safety of yourself and others. 

In this article, we will provide the best ways to tie your things so you can get to your destination safely, and quickly and have a stress-free trip. 

Ratchet Straps For Roof Rack

One of the best ways to secure things to your roof rack is the ratchet straps.  If you have never seen one they look like the photo below. 

They allow you to tighten that strap around things very tightly and even more than you could by hand.  They are very versatile and come in a wide variety of sizes to fit your needs. 

Another great thing about ratchet straps is that they are relatively cheap and can find them on the web or in many different box stores.

How To Operate A Ratchet Strap

The operation of a ratchet strap is best done with video.  Refer to the video below that does an outstanding job on explaining how to use it and some other helpful tips.

A great tip from the comments on that video was to place the ratchet strap on the passenger side of your vehicle so that in case you need to make any adjustments on the highway you are away from the traffic.

Rope Tie Downs On Roof Rack

Using rope is definitely way behind using ratchet straps because you are relying on your own strength to tighten it down and lock it in place with a knot.  It is very hard to do both at the same time.

But sometimes you are in a pinch and only have rope available to you.  Here are some important things to understand:

Load Tie Down Knots

If you are going to use rope then you need to learn how to tie the proper knots on both sides of your roof rack to hold your gear or luggage. 

It is recommended to use a half/full hitch on one end, create a loop in the middle to cinch it down, and then finally use a half hitch at the end to secure it.  This method allows you to tighten down the load easily and then also recover your rope easily without having to spend time messing with tricky knots.

Check out this great video here:

Other tips for using a rope on your roof rack

  • Depending on the load you may have to loop around your cargo a couple of times to ensure it’s weighted down and tight
  • If your cargo has handles or anything you can pass the rope through do it!  This will ensure its connection to the rope.

Roof Rack Net

These are a great option as you can secure a large number of items with one device.

Here are some tips for Roof Rack nets:

  • Ensure your net has a way to tighten down the net after it is connected to the roof rack.  Avoid any nets that do not have this as your cargo will shift during sudden starts and stops.
  • Verify that the net will fit around your roof rack.
  • Verify that the net can withstand the beating of the harsh sun because it is going to see a lot of it!

Bungee Cords For Roof Rack

From our point of view just stay away from bungee cords as the main device to secure your things down to the roof rack. You could use them for minor things like keeping items together or keeping things from flapping around.

Conclusion – How to Tie Things to Your Roof Rack

Don’t believe us that you need to secure your loads?  In 2016 AAA released a study that found more than 200,000 crashes involved debris from unsecured loads causes approximately 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014.  See the article here:

Use ratchet straps and roof rack nets to tie your things to your roof rack!  These two options are going to be your best options to secure the goods and arrive at your favorite destination without worrying about what you have flying off your roof!

One last tip is to always check your connections right after you make them, after the first 5 minutes of driving, and after every stop along your journey.  It is better to be safe than have a yard sale on the highway. 

Drive safe!

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