Your Cart Is Empty

How to Shop for and Use Your Roof Rack Accessories

Function Factors

Tie-down straps, kayak lifters, cargo nets … there are numerous roof rack accessories designed to ensure hassle-free loading. Once you find the right roof rack to meet your needs, you can configure those cross bars to easily transport your:

Ready to purchase your roof rack? Click here to shop our Base Roof Rack Systems or our Roof Rack Accessories or find the roof rack addition you need in the above list. Need additional information? Read on...

Other Things to Consider

Don’t let a hefty price tag scare you away from purchasing a particular accessory. First impressions are hard to forget, but our accessories come in a variety of materials and styles that can impact their cost. Before you completely disregard a costly accessory, consider its function, look and fabric. For example, those rack awnings might exceed your intended budget, but since the awnings are constructed from rip-stop, UV-, water- and mold-resistant canvas, you can bet on a long shelf life. Some of the higher-priced accessories are constructed from expensive materials that ensure durability or boast enhanced style and design. A more expensive accessory may be worth it depending on how often it gets used.

Installation Instructions

For detailed installation instructions, please visit our How to Install a Roof Rack and Attach Accessories article.

How to Load a Bike Rack

Change up the scenery and take your favorite two-wheeler on new trails. Thanks to our trustworthy bike racks, transporting your bikes is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here are some tips to keep in mind when loading up the bikes for your next outdoor adventure. Read More

How to Load a Kayak Rack

Cruise the waves with a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or canoe, and transport your favorite beach toys in stealthy, secure fashion with one of our roof racks. Check out these simple tips to get your boat where it belongs. Installation will depend on your vehicle and the size of your water toy. Read More

  1. 1. Position your boat at least two feet away from your vehicle.
  2. 2. Open the hold-downs and clear the roof rack of straps.
  3. 3. Pull out rack extensions to their full length.
  4. 4. For small kayaks, lift from the cockpit until you set the craft into the J-style kayak carrier.
  5. 5. Lift the bow or stern of larger crafts until it rests on one of the extensions or canoe rollers.
  6. 6. Support one end and lift the opposite end to slide the boat into its cradle.
  7. 7. Securely lock your watercraft in place.

How to Load a Surfboard Rack

When loaded correctly, your surfboard can act like an airplane’s wing when it’s on top of your roof rack. However, if improperly installed, it can be as deadly as a missile when it flies off your vehicle. Here are some tips to keep in mind when prepping for your next surf session.

  1. 1. Securely attach your roof rack to your vehicle.
  2. 2. Inspect the straps and buckles for damage or worn spots.
  3. 3. Load your surfboard with the fin up and facing forward on the rack. This prevents the surfboard from sliding backwards off the roof rack.
  4. 4. Secure your board. Wrap the straps around the crossbars (through side rails) of the rack and over the top of the surfboard, then around the crossbars on the other side. Repeat for the other crossbar.
  5. 5. Make sure your surfboard is secure by shaking the roof rack enough to make your car move.
  6. 6. Tie off excess strap, but avoid surfboard damage that results from over-tightening the strips.

How to Load a Ski/Snowboard Rack

Whether you’re loading a single pair of skis or multiple pairs, these durable ski roof racks have you covered. You can hit the slopes in no time once you take these installation tips into consideration.

  1. 1. Don’t load skis with tips facing forward because they increase wind resistance.
  2. 2. If you’re only loading one or two pairs of skis, keep them in the middle of the ski rack to maintain balance.
  3. 3. Open the top bars of the ski rack.
  4. 4. Slide one set of skis to the middle of the roof rack. Make sure the bindings are between the front and back bar. The tips should be facing the back and the tails of the skis should be facing forward.
  5. 5. Put your second pair of skis next to the first pair, positioned the same way.
  6. 6. Go to the driver’s side of the car. Pull the first set of skis close to the rack’s hinge.
  7. 7. Push the second pair of skis toward the first set. Leave about an inch between the two pairs.
  8. 8. Load any additional pairs of skis, following the same procedure.
  9. 9. Close and lock the top bar.

How to Load a Cargo Carrier

Your roof rack should include side rails (stationary parallel bars that run front-to-back along your car’s roof) and crossbars (removable parallel bars that ride perpendicular to the side rails). Roof-mounted cargo carriers often include cargo boxes—hard-shell, enclosed containers—luggage baskets, which can carry bikes, kayaks, luggage and other large items; and cargo bags, which are similar to cargo boxes but aren’t constructed from plastic.

No matter what accessory you have, make the most of its width by sliding the crossbars apart to stabilize the carrier. Box or rack carriers are often installed with screws and brackets that create a clamp so you can secure the crossbars to the carrier. Make sure you securely load your carrier to prevent shifting during a long trip.

Related Videos

Bike Racks for Popular Vehicles

Cargo Boxes for Popular Vehicles

Kayak Racks for Popular Vehicles

Ski & Snowboard Racks for Popular Vehicles

Surf Racks for Popular Vehicles

Next Steps

Shop Popular Roof Racks and Accessories

Shop Top Roof Rack & Accessory Brands

Shop All Roof Racks

Questions & Comments