Understanding the World Above: A Guide to Roof Rails, Crossbars, Racks, and Baskets

Understanding the World Above: A Guide to Roof Rails, Crossbars, Racks, and Baskets

Posted by Staff Writer on 21st Jan 2024

Embarking on a Journey of Discovery

Imagine you're preparing for a grand outdoor adventure with your family. You've got all the gear, the enthusiasm, and a destination in mind. But wait, where do you put all this stuff? That's where the magic of roof storage options comes into play. Let's embark on a journey to understand the differences between roof rails, factory cross bars, aftermarket crossbars, roof racks like the Front Runner Slimline II, and roof baskets.

The Foundation: Roof Rails

Roof rails are like the foundation of a house. They run along the length of your vehicle's roof, often parallel to each other. Think of them as the base structure on which you can build your roof storage system. They're sturdy, often coming as a standard feature on SUVs and wagons, and are the first step in transforming your vehicle's roof into a storage haven.

The Bridge: Factory and Aftermarket Crossbars

Crossbars are the bridge that connects to the roof rails. They create a horizontal bar across the roof and are the most basic form of roof storage. You can differentiate between factory crossbars, which come with your vehicle, and aftermarket options, which you can add later. Aftermarket crossbars, like those from Thule or Yakima, often offer more versatility and strength, allowing for a wider range of attachments. Either option can support Roof Top Tents, but always reference their load rating and the load rating of your vehicle's roof first. 

The Upgrade: Roof Racks

Now, let's talk about the upgrade - roof racks. A roof rack like the Front Runner Slimline II is the Swiss Army knife of roof storage. It's a more robust, versatile platform compared to basic crossbars. With a roof rack, you're not just limited to what you can tie down; you can attach various accessories like bike racks, kayak mounts, or even a rooftop tent. The Front Runner Slimline II, for instance, is a lightweight, strong, and modular option, making it a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts.

The Basket Case: Roof Baskets

Roof baskets are like the pick-up truck bed for your car's roof. They are perfect for those bulky items that don't quite fit in the car. Unlike roof boxes, baskets don't have a lid, offering more flexibility in what you can carry. They're great for bags, spare tires, and even firewood. Just remember to secure everything properly!

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between these options depends on your needs:

  • For Minimalists: If you're a minimalist or occasionally need extra space, factory or aftermarket crossbars might be enough.
  • For Regular Adventurers: If you're frequently hitting the trails or camping sites, investing in a roof rack like the Front Runner Slimline II is a wise decision.
  • For the Flexible Packer: If you need flexibility and don't mind the open design, a roof basket is your go-to choice.

Sky's the Limit

In the world of outdoor adventures, the sky's the limit, and so is your car's roof potential. Whether it's a simple crossbar system or an elaborate roof rack setup, each option has its unique advantages. At Fort Robin, we believe in making every journey memorable and hassle-free. So, pack up, secure your gear, and let the adventures begin!

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