While on vacation we realized that we were going to need more space after our purchases and I ordered this carrier and had it sent to the hotel. My one major concern was that my SUV had a roof rack, but no crossbars as shown in the picture. I was worried that the carrier would slide back due to the wind. As a result, I actually went to Home Depot and bought a pack of 2 load straps to secure the front and back of the carrier while on the roof. In the end, the carrier performed very well and everything got home safely after about a 500 mile drive. I’m not sure the additional straps were needed.
Now about the actual carrier. It’s basically a large nylon bag with a zipper around three sides. The inside has some “rubberized” treatment to make it more waterproof. It’s funny how the box says “waterproof” but inside the instruction sheet says that it’s only water resistant and you should put thing in plastic bags inside if you want to be sure it stays dry. One thing that was disappointing was the bottom of the bag. In the description it says there’s EVA plastic on the bottom. I though this would serve as some kind of padding for the roof of the car. Well, the bottom is just nylon like the rest of the bag. There was no evidence that the bottom of the bag was any different that the rest of the bag. Clean your roof well to avoid any scratches from dirt trapped between the bag and your roof.
The straps are not attached to the bag at all. They are basically a “tic-tac-toe” pattern with the fasteners at each end. The nylon material looks like something you would find on a medium quality luggage or computer bag strap. I thought they were a bit “light weight” for the task. In the end they appeared to do fine, but I would have hoped for a more heavy duty grade of material. This is why I got the extra straps at Home Depot with their metal spring loaded clasps. So the strap is run though 8 loops on the bag to secure it. If there was to be a failure, the loops would be the critical point. I’m glad to report that after our trip, the loops looked fine, but I would check this often on a longer trip.
Finally, here’s a tip when packing the bag. I tried to make it more aerodynamic by placing lower items up front and taller items in the back – forming a spoiler of sorts and having the wind press down on the bag while moving. When situated correctly, the zipper closure ends up at the back. This is to prevent wind from getting into the bag and causing drag and other problems. However with the larger items in back, it was really difficult to close the bag. Imagine closing an overstuffed suitcase except that you can’t really sit on it while you zip it closed. I ended up re-packing with larger stuff in center and some softer items (clothes bags, etc) in the back so that I could pull the bag shut more easily while I zipped.
While driving, I never noticed any adverse affects of having the bag on the roof. I did notice a slight increase in wind noise and also it seemed that I was getting about .4 mpg less. My SUV normally gets 19.7 mpg on the highway. After the 500 mile trip, it was reading 19.4 mpg. So that was negligible. I drove an average of 65-75 the whole way. Got up to 80 on a downhill section, but then slowed when I saw how fast I was going. Again, no evidence of shifting or any problems at all after the trip. Everything stayed put.At the end of the day, the bag did what it was supposed to and did it well. There were a few things I would be concerned with given the quality of the straps and the 4 loops on the bag being the only thing keeping it down, but in the end it was fine. I may not even have needed the extra straps I bought. Since my car had a anchor point midway in the side roof rails, I was able to fasten the straps in a way that prevented shifting. I’ll include some pictures so that people can see how I fastened it. For the price though, it was a very good deal. That’s why I rated it 4 stars. For 5 stars it would need 1) higher quality strap and loop material and 2) some kind of padded bottom.