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Caravan Roof Box Buying Guide

Do you have space or weight limitations for your outfit? You might need extra storage, but not enough space? A roof box may be the solution.
We have always been worried about the weight of the kit that we can bring onboard our caravan since the day we got up the nerve to go to a public weighbridge. While we do manage most of the trips well, we had to make compromises when we were taking the full awning with us on longer trips. Because we have the solution in a roofing box, I say “had”.

First, we needed to figure out how the roof would attach to the Range Rover. This car had no roof rails. It was the beginning to a steep learning curve on how roof boxes attach.

We went to visit a friend who owns a similar car with roof boxes. The Range Rovers are equipped with six mounting points. They are all hidden behind a hinged plastic cover. Our friend used the four frontal points to anchor a pair bar ends to which the roofbox was securely attached.

Each mount has a bolt that is held by a wingnut, and is covered with a lockable cover. The bars were aerofoil-shaped to minimize drag and wind noise. This solved the problem. All we needed was a pair of these.

Size and shape

Next was the size and form of the box. The size and shape of the container is important. It can be opened from one side or both. If you need to store other items on the roof, such as bicycles, a narrow or moderate-width box is more practical.

While there are not many restrictions regarding length, it is important to make sure you can open any tailgate that has the roof box attached. You might consider allowing the box to extend slightly at the front so you don’t see it while driving.

You should ensure that caravan roof boxes can hold the long objects you want to store in it. In our case, this included our awning poles. However, we thought it might be nice to also include the windbreak.

Even if there are no such items, more storage space is better so it’s worth getting a larger box, especially if the family will be using it.

Roof bars

Roof boxes attach directly to the roof bars, which extend across the car from one end to another. Bars can be attached to roof bars that are already mounted to the roof, to rails that run along the length of your roof or to the bodywork. Only a few cars have traditional rain gutters that are able to be clamped.

Some cars, like that of the editor’s old Passat CC have no mounting points for roof bars. Therefore, his Thule roof clamps are mounted between the roof swageline and under the top edges of the window frames.

Although it was not easy to mount, it was very stable once fixed. Thule’s aerodynamically-shaped WingBars, which are 55% better at reducing drag than their predecessors, was also his choice.

So we were faced with two options: to find roof bars that fit the car’s body or to purchase roof rails. To keep the car looking clean, we chose to use body clamping brackets with aerofoilrails to reduce noise.

Locking mechanisms

To lock a roof box lid securely, it might need to be fastened at several points. Manufacturers have designed central locking systems in order to make this simple.

You will need to pull down on the sides of the roof box to lift the lid.

Kamei has come up with a way to overcome this problem: pull-to-click shut mechanisms. Once each point clicks shut, you then press the key.

Be aware of your weight

What weight the roof box can hold and what the roof bars and roof bars could weigh was something we didn’t really think about. Each model of car has its own roof-loading limit. It is usually between 50 and 100 kilograms. You can find more details in the handbook.

Roof boxes with their roof bars are approximately 12 to 25 kilograms in weight. Before you can determine the maximum weight of the roof box, it is necessary to subtract this weight from your car’s roof loading limit. The box’s weight limit is also something to be aware of. This ranges from 50 to 75 kg.


Capacity ranges from 250 litres to 600 litres for small boxes with half-width to large ones.

The new VW Golf has an approximate boot capacity capacity of 380 litres while the Volvo V70 (a popular towcar) has a maximum boot capacity 575 litres. This is the ideal vehicle for beach gear, including long items like windbreaks and umbrellas… as well as annoying whiny children.

There are many options for opening

Roof boxes may be accessible from the rear, one side or both. The advantage of dual side opening rear and side is that you can access the box either from one side or the other, making it easier for roof bars to be attached and loaded.

Our choice

Any roof box must be large enough to accommodate our awning. Our Isabella, which is 51kg in weight with its poles, was chosen. This would mean that it would need a big box. We thought it would be nice to have a couple of lightweight bikes on the roof bars. So we didn’t want a too large box.

After much research and careful consideration, we chose the Thule Motion800, also known by the Motion XL. It is a quality item, with a capacity for 460 litres of storage and a weight rating of 75 kg. The box weighs 19 kg (or 25 kg) with the roof bars.

It can carry 100kg, which makes it an ideal match. It is rated at 130 kmh (80 MPH), which is great for us.

The cost? The cost for the box was just PS439.95 The cost of the bars, fixings and locks were PS189.00. This made it a total price of PS628.95.

Fitting the roof bars and box was very easy once we understood the pictorial instructions. Although it took two people to lift the roof box and roof bars, this is common for roof boxes.

It is difficult to access the new roof box due to its height. A caravan step can be a great help. You can also stand on the car seats while holding onto the roof bar.

The awning can be kept in the roof box and out of the way until we are ready for it to go up. You can carry additional items with you thanks to the roof bars.

Fitting – there are some complicated systems for cars with no roof bars. Take a look at YouTube. There is a solution for almost every problem!