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5 Best Roof Racks for Van Life

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Adding a roof rack to your camper van is a great way to increase your storage capacity and organize your outdoor gear. Here are the 5 best roof racks for van life! Plus answers to all your roof rack questions.

White camper van with roof rack

Pros and Cons of Roof Racks on Camper Vans

Like everything, there are pros and cons to having a roof rack installed on your camper van. Before we jump into everything you need to know about having one, let’s see if a roof rack is right for you.

Pros of a Roof Rack

The benefit of a roof rack on your van:

  • Increased storage – obviously one of the most obvious benefits is the increased storage space. Roof racks are also perfect for storing large items or bulky adventure equipment like surfboards, kayaks, bikes, camping gear, or your spare tire.

Cons of a Roof Rack

Increased storage is a massive bonus for van dwellers because vans inherently have limited space. However, there are some downsides to consider before installing a rack:

  • Security issues – having your expensive gear on the outside of your van can be tempting for would-be thieves. If you do invest in a roof rack, make sure you also invest in quality security measures.
  • Added weight – a roof rack is another accessory that adds weight to your camper van. It is essential for any van lifer to be aware and cognizant of the overall weight of their rig to avoid safety issues.

What to Look for in a Roof Rack for your Camper Van

If you’ve decided that a roof rack is the right accessory for your camper van, there are some key things you want to look into when you’re choosing the right rack for your van.

Young woman sitting on top of white van with a roof rack and red canoe

Weight and Size

Like we mentioned in the cons section, a roof rack is added weight to your van. So when you’re out shopping for a new roof rack, keep in mind the weight and overall size of the rack. The rack needs to fit the length of your van and also the width.

Choosing a lightweight option – like one made of aluminum versus steel – will also help your fuel economy. Depending on what accessories you already have and what your future van build-out entails, you also want to be mindful of the overall dimensions.

If you plan to install a rooftop vent, solar panels, or skylights, you need to consider the space that will be required for these as well. There are only so many square feet of real estate on a van’s roof.

Cargo Capacity and Type

The next thing to consider is the cargo capacity and type. Cargo capacity is the amount of space (measured in cubic feet or pounds) that can hold cargo. In the case of a roof rack, you will have a limited amount of cargo-carrying capacity and you will need to determine if the rack is sufficient for what you have.

The other thing to consider is the cargo type . Some roof racks come with a cargo bag or net. You might also find fully enclosed cargo carriers that can be great for when you have gear you don’t want to be exposed to the elements.

Van Roof Rack Placement

When you’re installing your van’s roof rack, consider how it will fit around your rooftop vent, skylight, or any other accessories.

Plus, consider how you will access the cargo stored up there. Do you have a ladder you can climb up? Do you need a step-up? Can you access it from the side door? If it’s inconvenient to get to the storage then you’ll need to ensure that the stuff you’re storing doesn’t need to be accessed frequently.

How it Attaches to Your Van

There are different ways to attach a roof rack to your van’s top. You just need to decide which installation method is best for you. Commonly roof racks attach to your vehicle’s crossbars; if your van doesn’t have these, then you’ll need an adaptor or alternative method.

When you’re investing in a roof rack keep in mind that you’re attaching loose cargo to a metal rack and then hurling down the road at highway speeds on your van. This is not the time to get a cheap, poorly made or flimsy roof rack that could cause a serious accident or worse.

Can You Put a Roof Rack on a High-Top Van?

Extra tall roof rack on a high-top van

Yes, you can put a roof rack on your high-top van. You can install an extra tall gutter-mounted roof rack. These mount in your vehicle’s gutters and can be made with high clearance so they extend higher than the fiberglass top. Always double-check the height of your high-top and the height of the roof rack. Not all racks (even extended ones) will be compatible.

A second option is to DIY your own mounts to the fiberglass. Due to the unique curvature of the high-top fiberglass, you will need to create custom mounting feet that fit the curve – a block of wood or metal brace would work.

Can You Put a Roof Rack on a Sprinter Van?

Absolutely you can put a roof rack on a Sprinter van! This is a super common upgrade to see within the van life community on Sprinters.

Now let’s get into the 5 best roof racks that are perfect for van life!

1. FreedomVanGo Sprinter Van Roof Rack

Aerial view of an adjustable roof rack by Freedomvango on a gray Mercedes Sprinter van

These adjustable roof racks are perfect for your DIY camper van build. This roof rack has many options so you can find a seemingly custom rack just for your can. They are available in three sizes: 144″, 170″, and 170″ EXT; two finishes: raw aluminum and powder coated; with an optional awning add-on.

No professional installation is needed. Your kit comes with 6 mounting brackets, 4 crossbars, and all the hardware needed.

2. Arksen Cargo Roof Rack for Cargo Vans, Sprinter Vans, and More

Product shot of an Arksen 84 inch wide universal roof rack

Add an additional 150 pounds of cargo space to your van with the Arksen roof rack.

Arksen cargo roof racks come in four different widths so you can find the size that fits your van: 30″, 43″, 64″, and 84″. With each size comes optional accessories including the cargo rack, a cargo bag, and cargo nets.

These roof racks are easy to install to your van’s crossbars and use universal mounting hardware.

3. Yakima Lock-n-Load Roof Rack Platform

Secure your gear with a roof rack that integrates T-slots on every slat and outer frame. The Yakima roof rack platform comes in six sizes so you can choose to have a roof rack that spans the entire length of your van or just a portion. This system has a cargo capacity of 165 pounds.

4. MaxxHaul Universal Steel Roof Rack

MaxxHaul Universal steel roof rack

This all-steel system is easy to install and instantly gives you 150 pounds of cargo carrying. The rack installs to your vehicle’s crossbars with a universal U-bolt mounting system.

The MaxxHaul universal steel roof rack comes in two different sizes so you can work around existing rooftop accessories or leave space for future buildouts.

5. Prime Design AluRack for Sprinter Style Vans

Next up is the Prime Design AluRack for Sprinter style vans. This rugged and durable aluminum roof rack weighs 30% less than a similar steel version and has a weight capacity of 350 pounds! For reference, the other steel options we listed have a weight capacity of around 150 pounds.

This roof rack system is available for two different wheelbase lengths: 144″ and 170″. For the 144″ wheelbase, the system comes in two different widths: 59″ and 67″.

DIY Van Roof Rack

If you’re jonesing for a DIY project, you can definitely DIY a van roof rack. As mentioned earlier in regards to installing a roof rack on a high-top, there are lots of different installation methods or alternatives you might opt to use based on your van type and needs.

Here are just a couple of DIY options and ideas to inspire you:

No welding aluminum rack for under $300

A roof rack and deck for under $200

DIY unistrut roof rack

Store your recreational equipment outside and avoid dragging water, sand, and dirt into your home with a van roof rack. Whatever van roof rack you decide on, the added storage space is going to be a wonderful addition to your tiny home on wheels.

Related Reading:

10 best vans for your camper van conversion, best air conditioners for a camper van, best campervan window covers for summer and winter, how much does van life cost per month, 25 must-have campervan accessories.

camper top safari rack

About the author…

Jennifer and Kendall are avid RVers and part-time van lifers who share their years of experience both as full-time RVers and nomads through writing.

Jenn and Kendall have explored Canada, the USA, and Mexico while RVing and living full-time in all 3 countries.

They have been fortunate to work not only as part of the RVBlogger team but also with RVLife, DIY RV, Camper Report, RV Magazine, Rootless Living, Vanlifers, and more.

They have also shared their RV experience through DashboardDrifters.com and are the founders of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.

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Sprinter 144" High Roof Safari Roof Rack with drop front

Sprinter Van Safari Roof Rack

SKU: SP0107B

  • In stock - Fast and Free Shipping
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The updated version of our Safari Style Sprinter Roof Rack is loaded with all-new features, including a forklift-free installation - this is the most DIY-friendly Safari Rack on the market, and a single person can install it with basic hand tools. The removable decking panels eliminate the need for cutting out fan locations. The 8020 compatible crossbars with drop-in slots allow you to mount solar panels, MaxTrax, and storage boxes easily. The optional front drop-down section and integrated wire chase channel around the perimeter of the rack are designed to make adding lighting straightforward. 

This Sprinter Van Roof Rack comes standard with wall-mount awning attachment brackets. We recommend the Fiamma F45 awning for its superior design and long-lasting quality. Other wall-mount awnings are compatible and can provide full coverage on those rainy days.

  • Forklift-free Installation & DIY-Friendly with basic hand tools
  • Removable, aluminum decking panels strategically placed for fans & A/Cs
  • Integrated wire chase channel around the perimeter of the roof rack
  • Optional front drop-down section for mounting lighting and increased deck space
  • 8020 crossbars make it easy to mount accessories - the new crossbar design has built-in slots for hardware
  • 1.5" diameter tubing on all sizes
  • Compatible with most Roof Top Tents (RTT's)
  • Stainless steel pucks for the stock or aftermarket roof track
  • View the Installation Guide  »

COMPATIBILITY

  • 2007+ High Roof Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vans

camper top safari rack

Wall-Mount Awning Compatible

Fiamma F45S Awning brackets are included with all Safari Roof Racks. Mounting a wall-mount awning is a simple process with the included mounting brackets.

camper top safari rack

Fast & Free Shipping

Ditch the outrageous freight fees other basket-style roof racks have. Like all our products, the Safari rack ships for free to the lower 48.

camper top safari rack

L-Track Compatible Decking

L-track compatible decking panels and drop-in hardware slots are designed to make mounting accessories extremely easy.

DIY-Friendly Design

Forklift-Free Installation

The simple and straightforward installation requires basic handtools, and there's no need for a forklift.

Modular Crossbar Design

Removable Decking Panels

Each Safari roof rack comes with 10 (144") or 12 (170") removable decking panels that eliminate the need for cutting out fan locations.

Lightweight Aluminum Design

Lightweight Aluminum Construction

The all-aluminum construction keeps the rack lighweight and extremely strong.

camper top safari rack

Details like the removable laser-cut decking panels and crossbars with drop-in hardware slots are designed to give you ultimate control and customization. It’s never been easier to mount accessories like solar panels, MaxTrax, or gearboxes. Or, keep it empty and have the ultimate lounge area for sunset watching and stargazing on top of your van.

Sprinter Roof Rack with MaxTrax

Easily route electrical with the integrated wire chase around the perimeter of the rack. Say goodbye to loose and unsightly wires, and say hello to lighting up the trails at night with our optional Drop Front designed to hold the lighting of your choice.

The latest version of our Safari Sprinter Roof Rack was designed from the ground up to be DIY-Friendly. One person can now install our Safari Rack with simple hand tools - no forklift needed.

Blue Sprinter Van Driving

WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Carbon Black & Titanium Dioxide which are known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov .

Customer Reviews

Very positive experience from start to end. Being a noob, the install took me much longer than I had anticipated, but I was able to complete it, and I could not be happier with how everything turned out. The rack is very high quality and feels rock solid on the van after assembly and installation. I feel very confident in my handiwork, which is pretty huge for an inexperienced builder like myself. It looks great! I've already gotten several compliments from family and neighbors. Excellent customer service. I thought I had been shorted some hardware and the FVC representative I corresponded with was helpful, professional, and patient. Eventually I realized that my issue was user error (the "missing" hardware was tucked away in a separate box) so things self resolved, but I am still very happy with my interaction with customer support. I highly recommend FVC and plan to purchase more components from them as my build progresses!

User picture

Just got the sprinter safari rack installed and looks rad! The staff at flatline were super helpful and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended them.

Excellent customer service. Very much appreciated.

Great rack! After debating on several racks Im very happy I chose the Safari rack from FVC. Because I've purchased other products from FVC I was confident the rack would be a quality product. They ship immediately and so far, you can't go wrong with their products. You can install the safari rack on your own as I did (although it would be easier/quicker if you had a helper), the directions are very strait forward and none of the individual pieces are to heavy for one person to handle.The end result is a great looking, sturdy, platform on the top of your van. I purchased a drop down front so it would be easier to load my kayak. I've found there is no additional wind noise at speeds up to 70 mph. If you are on the fence on which rack to buy, you won't be disappointed with this one. Overall, super satisfied with the rack!

User picture

Great Stuff. Really Adds to the Build and Customers Excitement is Highly Rewsrdibg.

I installed the FVC Safari rack by myself with absolutely no issues. It is super well designed and well thought out to make the installation super easy. You cannot even tell that the rack came disassembled. It looks like one solid piece. The welds and laser cut panels are top-notch quality. I couldn't be more pleased with how it all turned out! Thanks for a great product!!!

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1" Cam Straps With L-Track Anchors

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Surco S5072 50" x 72" Safari Rack

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Surco S5072 50" x 72" Safari Rack

Purchase options and add-ons, about this item.

  • 5 inch deep basket
  • 3/4 inch aluminum square tubing
  • Durable black powder coat finish
  • Crossbars included
  • Fits any factory rack

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Surco S5072 50" x 72" Safari Rack

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Racketon 84” x 50” x 10” Large SUV and Commercial Van Roof Rack Cargo Basket

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From the manufacturer

Surco Products Inc American Made Jeep Roof Racks Van RV Baskets Ladders Bike Racks Deck Racks

Proudly Made in the USA

Surco products have been crafted in Los Angeles, California for almost 50 years , and are made from only premium quality raw materials , that are formed, machined, and assembled by skilled local craftsmen , ensuring superior quality.

Surco Products Inc. - Rugged Accessories for Work or Play

Family owned, completely manufactured in the united states.

From Roof Racks to Deck Racks, RV and Van Ladders to Bike Racks, Surco has been manufacturing rugged, high-quality accessories for cars, trucks, suvs, vans, and RVs that increase your vehicle's versatility, helping you get more gear to your next adventure or worksite, right here in America. Through three generations of Surkin family ownership, Surco has proudly provided durable, attractive accessories to discriminating customers that place a premium on quality.

  • Founded by Ludwig and Uri Surkin in 1971
  • Domestically made in Los Angeles, California
  • Precision cut, formed, and welded aluminum or stainless steel materials
  • Abrasion resistant powder coating
  • Simple assembly

Surco Products Inc American Made Jeep Roof Racks Van RV Baskets Ladders Bike Racks Deck Racks

Product Description

Designed specifically for sport utility vehicles, the rack's light weight sturdy aluminum construction, allows for quick installation and removal. The 5 inch deep Safari rack has a durable black powder coat finish. The Surco Safari roof rack will mount to your factory roof racks, rain-gutters, multi-sport rack systems or with permanent mount rails with vehicle specific adapter kits sold separately.

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samruai driveshaft installation

Ford Expedition Roof Rack and Ford Excursion

Ford expedition roof rack.

For the ultimate in a great looking safari rack at top quality, we offer racks by Garvin. Manufactured from 3/4" HD steel tubing, these racks can mount to either your factory rail system, or to the rain gutters depending on the mount system you choose and how your vehicle is set up.

All Wilderness racks are powdercoated black for a durable lasting finish. And best of all... bolt together to make it UPSable which seriously reduces shipping costs as opposed to other safari racks which must go truck freight at typically double the cost. The simple bolt together system also makes this a VERY easy installation. Anyone, and we mean absolutely ANYONE can put one of these racks together and bolt it to their roof.

All Racks come with Floor kits included as shown.   Wilderness Racks also come with a wide range of great accessories. Every rack uses a double crossbar system engineered for heavy duty service and to provide support for the floor kit.

Scroll down for pricing on various vehicle's racks.   

camper top safari rack

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camper top safari rack

Designed to fit any light with a bottom stud mount.   

camper top safari rack

Click on the picture for more information.  

camper top safari rack

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camper top safari rack

Also unique to the Wilderness rack series is the ability to mount Thule and Yakima accessories. We use this system on our own vehicles to carry our Kayaks and Mtn Bikes. Fits about any accessory as you can see which makes this Safari rack THE MOST versatile setup on the planet.

Ford Expedition Roof Top Tent

We are happy to carry the best RTT tent kits on the market at this time in kits which will perfectly mount to your vehicle.

Rocky Road is very pleased to offer these tent kits, the racks to support them, and also pleased that TEPUI used our rack kits on their own vehicles to display their tents in various sales literature and online. If you go to the Tepui website, many of the photos showing the tents mounted are using Rocky Road rack systems!

Click on the picture at right for more information and detailed pricing on RTT kits with free shipping!

Pickup truck shell racks

Please read before ordering.

Racks and accessories ship directly from the manufacturer to us when an order is placed, and so are usually in stock. Turnaround time on rack is typically fairly quick. Sizes shown are recommended for your vehicle. We can supply any size rack you wish, though cost may vary and Rocky Road could not be responsible for fitment complications.

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camper top safari rack

The Best Rooftop Tents for Overlanding Adventures Near and Far

Turn your truck or SUV into a comfy basecamp with these car-topping tents.

best rooftop tents

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

If you frequently go overlanding or camping during long road trips, a rooftop tent is a game-changing upgrade. Popularized by adventurers in the Australian Outback who needed an elevated place to sleep to keep away from predators, it’s now an incredibly convenient, if expensive, camping shelter option for anyone who sets up camp near their car. Just attach a tent to your vehicle’s roof or truck bed rack, and you can deploy it very quickly when you make camp for the evening.

Since you’re high off the ground, you can set up just about anywhere. Is the ground uneven? Or soft and muddy? Is your trailhead parking lot made of large, sharp chunks of gravel? No matter, you can set up just about anywhere and you’ll stay warm and dry with your tent several feet in the air. It’s kind of like being in a tree fort that comes with a soft foam mattress and a watertight roof. It’s a whole new way to camp out.

Best Rooftop Tents

Falcon 2

Best Hardshell

Roofnest falcon 2.

Tepui Foothill

Best Softshell

Thule tepui foothill.

Aer

Unique Design

Crua outdoors aer.

Ranger Overland

Tuff Stuff Ranger Overland

Roof Top Tent

Budget Two-Person

Front runner roof top tent.

BunduTop Super King Electric Hardshell Rooftop Tent

Best with Built-in Lights

Bundutec bundutop super king electric hardshell rooftop tent.

SkyRise HD Medium

Easy To Install

Yakima skyrise hd medium.

The Expert: As a veteran gear tester for Travel + Leisure, Outside Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, REI, Runner’s World, Sierra Magazine, and Popular Mechanics, you’ll often find me overlanding in my Toyota Tundra, working on my assignments out of my rooftop tent. I especially like how high my office is, shaded and bug free, parked next to a river, where the sound of water running makes a nice soundtrack for my writing.

What to Consider When Buying a Rooftop Tent

A rooftop tent requires more from you than the average pop-up shelter. What you gain in comfort and convenience, you will lose in rooftop storage. It’s a big purchase, both in terms of the cost and actual size. Many weigh more than 100 pounds, so double check that your vehicle’s roof or factory rack is rated to carry the load. If not, you may need a stronger, aftermarket rack.

In addition to the hit to your wallet and rooftop storage capability, the added drag from storing a large tent on top of your car may hurt your car’s fuel efficiency, so you may need to fill up more often. Then again, think of all the money that you’ll save on hotel rooms and snake-bite kits.

Hardshell vs. Softshell

A softshell is going to be a lot like a standard tent—think a canvas roof and walls. This helps keep its cost and weight down. Hard Shell tents are a bit heavier, but the shell adds more protection, both to the tent during transportation and to you during inclement weather like sleet or thunderstorms.

Soft tops are easy to unfold, but many hard shells either pop open or even rise automatically. As for cost, most soft shell rooftop tents come in around $1,000 to $2,000, while a hard shell can run $2,000 to $5,000.

interior of a rooftop tent

Mounting a Roof Top Tent: Everything You Need to Know

Attaching the tent to the roof rack of your vehicle is a simple installation that doesn't require much in the way of additional hardware. You will need a car with a roof rack that’s rated to handle the weight of your tent. In some cases, the space between the bars may need to fit within a certain range.

Even small cars can accommodate a rooftop tent with the right aftermarket rack. If your vehicle does not have any sort of roof rack apparatus, you'll need clips like these from Thule that attach to your vehicle's roof frame, plus a set of crossbars like these . Be sure to check the weight limit of your car's roof in the owner's manual.

While the process isn’t complicated, installing and uninstalling rooftop tents isn’t exactly breezy: These tents are very heavy and you need to lift them high. You’ll want to install the tent on your car before you start your trip and leave it attached until you return home. Once installed, though, putting up and taking down the tent is incredibly easy. Some hard shell tents even have push-button setups.

It’s also worth pointing out that even in its flat, closed state, having a tent on the roof of the car will introduce additional drag, which will impact fuel efficiency. Placing a tent on a truck bed rack behind the cab of a truck, but beneath the roof line will mitigate the impact, but at the cost of bed space.

Rooftop vs Truck Bed Tents

If you’re camping with a pickup truck, it’s worth noting that there’s a second type tent you can use. Truck Tents, or truck bed tents, connect to the sides of a truck bed and hold themselves up with supportive straps. Truck tents usually cost far less money than a rooftop tent, but still give you the ability to sleep up off the ground. While you’ll have to clear out the bed to sleep, either before you start your trip or before bed every night, it’s an interesting and affordable alternative if the multiple-thousand-dollar price tags for rooftop tents seem extreme.

How We Evaluated The Best Rooftop Tents

We called in several tents and tested them in every way you would use a rooftop tent, installing them on our cars, deploying and collapsing them, and camping out in them. All the while we gauged them on ease of use, how comfortable (or not) they were to sleep in, and how much they impacted fuel economy and wind noise while installed on our rigs. We also took into account material quality and whether the tents leave room for anything else on the roof, like racks for gear or a storage box.

We’ve also included some models that we haven’t tested yet but that look promising based on our knowledge of rooftop tents and their reception among expert sources and thousands of consumer reviews.

The Popular Mechanics test team loved Roofnest’s original Falcon hardshell tent, and we're just as thrilled about the sequel. The Roofnest Falcon 2 still has all the features we love about the Falcon: Its low-profile closed form still minimizes wind drag. It comes with a 2.75-inch thick foam mattress with machine-washable cover, an anti-condensation mat, crossbar compatibility, a smooth top shell, an 8-foot telescoping aluminum ladder, deployable shoe bags, 4x4 ground mat, universal mounting kit, and two USB-powered LED light strips.

We appreciated being able to enter the tent from three sides. The 320GSM coated Polycotton tent material with blackout coating also gives the tent a waterproof rating of 3000 mm and a chance to sleep in late. The standard Falcon 2 sleeps two, but there is an XL version that can hold up to three if you’re camping in a slightly larger group.

Thule struck a nice balance with the Foothill. Whereas some hardshell tents can accommodate gear racks on top of them, this softshell only takes up half the car’s roof. That leaves room for equipment like a bike, a kayak, or a thin rocketbox . The interior features padding, complete darkness with the windows closed (if that’s your thing), and temperature retention similar to a ground tent during sub-freezing trips.

As with many softshell RTTs, even once you’ve got the Foothill on your car’s roof, it’s an endeavor to set up. “You install the ladder, pop three poles inside the tent, and then attach eight poles for the rain fly,” said our tester. “My first time setting it up took much longer and more effort than setting up a standard tent—it’ll definitely be faster the second time, but there are still lots of steps.”

It also wasn’t a selling point that you have to store the ladder inside your vehicle, taking up valuable trunk space. Breakdown was slightly less complex, with our tester describing it as a “bit easier than the universal struggle of trying to fit a tent back into its bag.”

Because it sits fairly high on the roof, the Foothill dragged down his efficiency by about 3 mpg and created a lot of noise in crosswinds. But its small build makes it easy to get on and off (with two people) should you need to use the full roof. Overall, it’s well built and well designed.

The Crua AER won our “Best Rooftop Tent” in 2021 . Based in Ireland, Crua debuted the first rooftop tent that could be removed from its base and function as a ground tent. Another first is the Crua Culla Haul, which is a tailor-made inner tent sold separately that provides thermal insulation, temperature regulation, noise cancellation and blacking out the light.

Best of all, it is quickly set up through inflation. But our favorite feature is the ability to connect this tent to other Creations so we could each have our own separate tents but still be connected like a hub to a central space where we can eat together.

The AER accommodates 3 people. Leading textile experts designed the mattress, which is made of high quality density foam 10 cm in thickness, and we all had the best night of sleep on it. Accessories include shoe bags, an awning, an anti-condensation mat, blanket, picnic table, gear hammock and firepit.

Many rooftop tents give you the option of adding an annex room beneath the tent where it hangs over the side of the vehicle, but few include one with your purchase. The Ranger Overland does, and it comes in at an impressive 90 x 90 inches. That’s plenty of room for more campers (or lots of gear) in addition to the main tent itself, which can accommodate two adults on its foam mattress. Of course, if there are only two of you, then you’re free to use the annex as a kitchen, living room, or changing room.

The tent install is easy and shouldn’t take two people more than an hour or so. It garners praise for offering high quality for a relatively low price.

If you’re worried about fuel economy or having to install a heavy tent on the top of your car, this one from Front Runner could be your ideal shelter—it weighs less than 100 pounds. And yet, its Oxford tent fabric is still waterproof, strong, and breathable.

You’ll also get handy features like interior pockets, overhead Velcro light loops, and a mesh window in the roof for stargazing. One reviewer on the brand’s website wrote that they bought the Front Runner because of it's light weight and quick--release mechanism, which makes it easy to put on and take off.

Made in South Africa, BunduTec’s BunduTop roof top tents are the ultimate luxury overlanding shelters. Once you’ve installed the tent on your truck, you can raise and lower the motorized tent with the push of a button. Instead of fiberglass, the shell is made of aluminum, which is lighter and warmer. Inside, the built-in mattress is thick and comfortable. It also features built-in fans, LED lights, and a 12-volt outlet. Frankly, it doesn’t get any more comfortable than this.

Yakima’s SkyRise HD Medium is one of the only rooftop tents that features rack locks and a toolless mounting system, which makes the installation process simple. When installed, it conveniently packs down to low-profile square between uses, minimizing the extra wind resistance you get from having a tent attached.

That said, be careful to check both the make and model of your truck and your bed rack to make sure it’s compatible.

This three-person, four-season waterproof tent features four large windows, including two skylights in the rainfly, which offer more ventilation and the ability to study the night sky through two sky windows even on rainy and snowy days. Without the rainfly, you can even stand up through the windows. Inside, it features a 2.5-inch thick mold-resistant mattress. (You can buy specialty fitted sheets for it separately.) It also features a light strip, storage hooks, hanging storage bag, and an annex.

setting up the rooftop tent

Q+A With Our Experts

PM: How can I check if my roof rack can handle a rooftop tent?

LHO: After making sure that your rooftop tent fits on the type of rack you have mounted on your car–crossbars, rails, etc.–you need to make sure that your rack and roof can support the weight of the tent. Gather the load ratings of your vehicle, your roof rack, and the tent. The component with the lowest load capacity sets the effective maximum load you can safely carry.

It’s worth noting that most vehicle and tent ratings are for dynamic loads, or what they can handle when you’re driving. You also want to consider the maximum static load, or how much weight the car, rack, and tent can handle when the car is parked. That number needs to be high enough to accommodate the tent, plus all the people and gear inside the tent while you’re resting inside. According to Prorack , you can expect that your tent’s static load rating should be about three times its dynamic load rating. For example, if the dynamic load rating is 70 kg then the static load rating would be 210kg (70kg x 3 = 210kg).

Math aside, if your car and roof rack can handle the weight of the tent, you should be able to safely sleep inside so long as you don’t overcrowd it.

PM: How Do I Level a Rooftop Tent?

LHO: Leveling is important for both ground and rooftop tents if you want to sleep on an even surface. Always try to choose the flattest place to park. If you have no choice but to park on an incline, position the ladder toward a hill. Make sure the ladder fully contacts the ground.

A leveling tool such as a T-level or electronic level and angle gauge or a leveling app on your phone can measure pitch and roll. Then build a pyramid with leveling blocks, adjust air suspension, use 2” x 6” lumber about 10” long, logs or rocks. After leveling, make sure the wheels are chocked and test the stability of your ladder.

PM: How do I prevent condensation inside my tent?

LHO: The easiest way to prevent moisture from building up inside your tent, which will get you and your clothes wet overnight, is to bring along an anti-condensation mat , which is installed under your mattress on top of your tent floor. If you don’t have one, leave the tent windows slightly unzipped and let the breeze flow through the tent. If there’s no air circulation, use a rechargeable fan or realign your vehicle so the tent faces into the wind. It also helps to avoid bringing any excess moisture into the tent: Keep wet clothes and gear outside or in the car.

Many brands offer specific condensation guides for their tents, so always check the manufacturer’s websites for a more thorough breakdown. In many cases, though, some condensation is inevitable, even when your tent isn’t in use. Make sure to air out your tent every few weeks to prevent mildew and mold from growing inside.

Headshot of Will Egensteiner

Will is the director of product content for Hearst’s Enthusiast Group, leading reviews and gear coverage across Best Products , Bicycling , Popular Mechanics , and Runner’s World .

Headshot of Leslie Hsu Oh

Leslie Hsu Oh is an award-winning travel journalist and veteran gear tester for Outside Magazine, Popular Mechanics, REI, Runner's World, Sierra Magazine, and Travel+Leisure . She believes that having a stress-free or comfortable experience outdoors depends on the quality of your gear. She's tested fly fishing gear beneath a waterfall in Iceland, canyoneering kits in Jordan's Wadi Mujib and Old Town, and Ocean Kayak pedal kayaks in Puerto Rico's bioluminescent waters. Leslie has a degrees in biology, ethnobotany, and an MFA in creative nonfiction, as well as a public health degree from Harvard.

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Places For Pleasant Recreation in Moscow Region

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We suggest you a review of sanatoriums, hotels, lodges and guesthouses around the capital. Moscow region has a big variety of places for rest and these are the most noteworthy of them.

YAKOR GUESTHOUSE

Almost like an American motel, but situated at the Oka River

Yakor

There are: equipment for winter sports, a massage salon, a beauty shop, a bath-sauna with a sweating room and a font, billiards, karaoke. Things to do: go to Tarusa, visit the House-Museum of Tsvetaeva’s family, the Musatovsky slope, memorable places connected with Paustovsky.

Yakor is arranged by principles of an American motel. Rooms are clean; there is a shower, TV, towels, and heat if it is necessary. In some rooms, you will also find a refrigerator. Almost full size wooden fishes act as key charms. In warm season, you can buy cheap fruits, vegetables and flowers in a nearby shop.

If you want to have some cultural adventures, you can go to Tarusa or visit a place where Marina Tsvetaeva wanted to be buried. In addition, there opens a wonderful view over Oka River with its fogs and plains.

Tarusa, Decembrists Street, 4 +7 48435 2 55 81 tarusa-yakor.ru

The price of a double room starts from 1250 rubles (€12.61).

NIKOLA-LENIVETS

«Beaubourg», «Lighthouse» and other land-art objects in the park: romanticism in a spirit of «The True Detective»

Nikola Lenivets

There are: a kitchen-dining room with three meals a day, sledges, ice-boats, skis and snow-scooters, a Russian bath, hootch and other gifts of local farmers. Things to do: walk around art objects.

It is ok to go to Nicola-Lenivets in any tome of the year. In winter, art objects look differently, than in summer. Houses in Koltsovo are very warm; you will find valenoki in each of them- to change your footwear in case of a bad weather. Directly near the porch of the house, guests can take sledges and iceboats and go riding to «Lighthouse». It is possible to order skis. The bathhouse costs 1500 rubles (€15.13) per hour.

Kaluga region, Kiyevskoye Highway, Nikola-Lenivets +7 499 504 43 33 www .nikola-lenivets.com

Prices start from 1300 rubles (€13.11) for a place in hostel; double rooms in Koltsovo cost about 1600 rubles (€16.14).

A health resort, turned from the XIX century estate into the President’s Office Health Resort with unexpectedly democratic prices

snegiri

There are: a Russian bath and a modern Spa center with pearl bathtubs and other delicacies, medical services with a decent choice of experts and procedures, massage, a pool, a fitness club, a sports hall, a skating rink, a music hall where classic musicians perform from time to time. Things to do: go to the New Jerusalem Monastery, the Museum of Wooden Architecture or find a park grotto in Rozhdestveno that looks exactly like a hobbit dwelling.

The place has gone through some repairs recently and became very modern. It has fine communications, billiards, a big beautiful dining room, summer outdoor café and a beautiful view of local architecture. It is possible to order lunches previously in a day in the dining room. However, service is a little Soviet. To diversify food, you can go to one of four restaurants at the territory. Besides, it is possible to prepare a barbecue on coals. For entertainment, you can ride a bicycle through the paths or go to a swimming pool – an outdoor one during summer or indoor during cold season. The most important winter entertainments are tubing (there is a hill with an elevator), skis and skating. Pleasantly, that Snegiri’s territory is huge, so the place does not look crowded even in high season.

Moscow region, Istrinsky district, Rozhdestveno village, Southern Street, 20 +7 495 994 76 32 www.do-snegiri.ru

The price starts from 1500 rubles (€15.13) for a room.

BEKASOVO SPA HOTEL

The new cottage territory at the old rest house — it is ideal for team buildings, but will also be good for a romantic weekend

bekasovo

There are: a Spa center, a wellness-center, a skating rink, a pool, table tennis, a sensor room, a gym. Things to do: examine squirrels in the wood, participate in cultural actions and master classes on decoupage or barbecue; there are also special programs on holidays.

Rooms here are usual, with an easy Soviet fleur. The main surprise is food – a buffet with a great variety of Russian dishes: Russian salad, coulibiac, ‘Herring under a Fur Coat’. There is a nice pool and a good choice of different cosmetic procedures. The territory is really big, beautiful and worth having long walks – there is a wood and a lake.

Moscow region, Naro Fominsk +7 495 992 04 37 www.bekasovo.ru

The price of a double room starts from 2400 rubles (€24.21).

VERETYEVO ART ESTATE

Eight hectares with a river and a wood, installations, taiga lodges, Russian bath with a view. All that is situated at the place of a former pioneer camp for difficult teenagers

veretyevo

There are: breakfasts at a fireplace with Lenin’s portrait in the only survived building of a former camp; rabbits, squirrels and rams at the territory; a Russian bath with a glass verandah hanging over the Dubna River. It is possible to admire the river from the bridge, and it is possible to roll down into it from the verandah by a trench, which leads directly to the river (obviously not in winter). Things to do: go to the science city Dubna, look at the Lenin’s second-large monument in the world and a hydroelectric station reservoir.

Here you can enjoy races on snowmobiles, a sit-round gathering at a fireplace, pajama parties, dances — and music. There is wonderful nature with dogs barking and mosquitoes flying in the garden near the house. The purest air can be literally eaten with spoons. Veretyevo is made with taste rural cluster that has ideology and style.

Taldomsky district, Veretyevo village +7 916 956 28 82 www.artveretevo.ru

The price starts from 2500 rubles (€25.22) for a room; Russian bath costs 10 000 rubles (€100.87) for a company.

HELIOPARK SUZDAL

Old Russian styled place with a bathing complex at the suburb of Suzdal

heliopark

There are: 11 types of Russian baths — from country blackly to imperial on hay with opportunity to jump in the ice-hole; horse walks, billiards, fishing. Things to do: walk to the center of Suzdal, sightseeing on the way — the trip will take no more than 20 minutes.

Heliopark is a hotel with good restaurant and a number of different Russian baths. Some rooms are equipped with a Jacuzzi bathtub— directly in the bedroom. There is the Shchurovo Ancient Settlement complex nearby, where Lungin’s «Tsar» was shot. Here you can taste food, prepared according to Old Russian recipes.

Vladimir region, Suzdal, Korovniki, 14 +7 492 312 40 00 www.heliopark.ru/hotels/suzdal

The price of a double room starts from 2700 rubles (€27.23).

Hotel with country-style rooms and ‘all-inclusive’ system

Solnechniy

There are: a restaurant complex, Spa, a Russian bath, a grill bar, an outdoor warmed-up pool, a gym, animation and a cigar rooms. Things to do: walk around nearby Zhivaginsky ponds.

This place has European all-inclusive system, rare for Moscow region hotels, and a great view over the river. The most interesting thing at the territory is an outdoor pool with warm water whole year round. High quality breakfasts, lunches and dinners are served in huge and unlimited quantity. There is animation in the hotel— live music, competitions, concerts. Very small rooms are one of a few downsides of the hotel.

Moscow region, Solnechnogorsky district, Dulepovo village +7 925 922 42 00 www.sunnyhotel.ru

The price of a double room starts from 3100 rubles (€31.27).

KONAKOVO RIVERCLUB

A hotel complex with a view over wakeboarding and other fashionable sport

konakovo

There are: slopes for driving on anything: from snowboards to tubing, skiing and over-snow runs, a skating rink, baths, a zoo, the Moscow sea —Ivankovskoye Reservoir. Things to do: ride from mountains, master winter windsurfing and other extreme sport in winter, enjoy sandy beaches, water skis and other active water pleasures in summer.

The place offers many different activities – skating, fishing, water skiing and many more. The most impressive place at the territory is an island with a tent for two: it looks like a usual tarpaulin tent, but inside it has a toilet, a plasma TV and a terrace. in addition, there is landing-stage house to rent for a big company.

Tver region, Konakovo, Suburban station +7 495 626 23 33 konakovo.com

The price of a standard double room starts from 3150 rubles (€31.77), a lodge with a bath — from 40000 rubles (€403.47) per day, the landing-stage house— from 44000 rubles (€443.81).

ROMANOV LES ECO HOTEL

Silent haven at the bank of the Volga River is a good place for lonely rest with many opportunities for personal care

Romanov Les

There are: a Spa center, baths, a sauna and hammam, hydro massage bathtubs, detox-programs, massage, therapist and cosmetologist services, a pool, a ski track, a skating rink, a zoo, horse walks, flights by plane over Kostroma. Things to do: walk through the wood and along the lake near the hotel and visit Kostroma.

It is a quiet place simply to have some rest, sleep, take a walk. The rooms are purely cleaned, silent, surrounded by beautiful forest and the Volga River. The Volga riverbank is a great place for long walks.

Kostroma region, Lunevo village 50 +7 499 704 41 47 www.romanovles.ru

The price of a double room starts from 3600 rubles (€36.31).

A small hotel with wooden lodges on the way between Vladimir and Suzdal

Veles

There are: a bathing complex, Spa, a pool, a bowling, billiards, possibility of accommodation with pets.

Things to do: walk in the wood and if you came by car — go sightseeing in Vladimir.

The territory of the hotel consists of beautiful wooden constructions – from reception to summer arbors with an equipped place for a brazier. There is a river and a great pinewood. The air is so pure that you fall asleep instantly as your head touches the pillow. Besides, beds in the cottages are very comfortable. Generally, this a good place as for cheerful rest with friends and for having some romantic rest.

Vladimir region, Kameshkovsky district, Dvoriki village +7 495 796 21 35 www.club-veles.ru

The price of a double room starts from 4000 rubles (€40.35).

SVEZHIY VETER

Numbers and lodges surrounded by beautiful landscape and situated near skiing places

Svezhiy Veter

There are: rent of snowmobiles and other winter equipment (skis, skates, sledges, snow-scooters and so forth), Finnish saunas, pools, a restaurant complex, etc. Things to do: to ride from slopes at Sorochani.

The hotel is stuck between a village from one side and a break from the other. The landscape here is stunning — each lodge is situated at a hillock. Inside the lodge, you will find everything necessary to spend a couple of days. Free pass to the pool and sauna is a pleasant bonus for renting a lodge.

Moscow region, Kurovo village +7 495 777 26 65 www.freshwindhotel.ru

The price of a double room starts from 4600 rubles; a cottage will cost about 9000 rubles (€90.78).

A boarding house that looks as drawn on a gift card: stucco molding, pines, horses

Bor

There are: a beer restaurant and a pizzeria, a library, Spa, sports equipment, bowling, etc. Things to do: walk in a pine forest and ride horses at the territory.

The name (‘Bor’ means ‘Pinewood’) corresponds to reality- the boarding house is situated in a large pine forest. Rooms are accurate and a little Soviet. Food is rather good and divertive. There are many opportunities for entertainment – horses, Russian baths and pools.

Moscow region, Domodedovo district, Odintsovo-Vakhromeevo +7 495 565-37-05 www.pansionat-bor.ru

The price of a double room starts from 4600 rubles (€46.40).

YAKHONTY NATURAL RESORT

Beautiful and well-groomed hotel near Moscow

Yakhonti

There are: an indoor pool with a panoramic view and a bar, a fitness center, Spa, a skating rink, a zoo, horse walks, billiards, bowling and night clubs. Things to do: walk in the wood and along the coast of the Koversha Lake, go horse riding.

The territory of the hotel is very well groomed; rooms are clean and spacious, with panoramic windows and a view over the lake. In the evening, the territory is beautifully highlighted. The pool has large windows and a mirror on a ceiling. Food is one of the main advantages of the hotel – very tasty Russian dishes.

Moscow region, Noginsk district, Zilino village +7 496 515 19 40 www.yahonty.ru

The price of a double room starts from 4800 rubles (€48.42).

ISTRA HOLIDAY

A quiet place for private rest in nature’s lap

Istra Holiday

There are: Spa, billiards, a disco, a fish-Spa (small fishes that clear skin, as in Asian resorts), a salt cave, a Finnish sauna, a Russian bath etc. Things to do: walk in the forest decorated with touching small lamps in Scandinavian style.

The hotel is situated in the wood far from any settlements therefore, it is secluded and pleasant. There are wooden ‘izbas’ and big housings with rooms. It is a nice place with many activities for any season.

Moscow region, Solnechnogorsky district, Trusovo village +7 495 988 70 62 istraholiday.ru

The price of a double room starts from 5500 rubles (€55.48) a day.

Two-day retreat practice in a modern wooden lodge on the bank of the Pleshcheev Lake

Yoga Dacha

There are: thrice vegetarian feeding, yoga practices 2 times a day, a Russian bath. Things to do: practice yoga (a pranayama daily, asanas in the morning and in the evening), walk along vicinities, and discover ancient monasteries and other beauties of Pereyaslavl-Zalessky.

Yoga-Dacha is very modern wooden building with modern bathroom equipment. However, conditions in rooms are rather Spartan — only a bed and lighting. The price includes two days of accommodation with thrice vegan feeding and two yoga practices a day.

Pereyaslavl-Zalessky +7 916 408 40 01 www.mos-yoga.ru/Pereslavl

The price of a two-day program is 6000 rubles (€60.52).

Two-level rooms in a building made by a unique design project at the bank of a lake

Fox Hole

There are: helicopter excursions, indoor and outdoor shooting galleries, Spa, a safari center, Red Deer restaurant with delicacies from wildfowl. Things to do: enjoy flying in helicopter over vicinities.

The place suits excellent for a family holiday: fathers can do some shooting, mothers can take a walk and children can breathe fresh air and play. The territory is very pleasant. Lodges are comfortable, light and clean. There is a lot of additional services and entertainments, such as a mini zoo.

Moscow region, Dmitrovsky district, near Ignatovo village +7 495 995 13 83 www.foxlodge.ru

The price of a 40-square-meter room starts from 6500 rubles (€65.56).

RADISSON ZAVIDOVO

A luxury hotel in the Tver region near aqua club «Summer Aquatorium»

Radisson Zavidivo

There are: a pool, Spa and wellness center, a nursery, concierge services, a fitness club, hunting. Things to do: go to «Summer Aquatorium» where you will find numerous entertainments for any season.

An advantage of world network hotels is being confident in a certain level of service. The hotel is located directly at the bank of a reservoir. It has equipped beach and a wood around. A pool, a Russian bath and hammam are free for visitors. The restaurant serves European cuisine: meat, fish, potato, salads. There is also the second restaurant with dishes a la carte.

Tver region, Varaksino village +7 482 42 78 0 78 radissonblu.com/ru/hotel-zavidovo

Prices start from 6400 rubles (€64.55).

TAIGA DACHAS CHALET-HOTEL

Interpretation of a four-stars hotel situated near Moscow: izbas, studio apartments and apartments with huge mushrooms, skins and chandeliers

Taiga Dacha

There are: craft master classes, home cuisine, a Russian bath, massage, Spa, an indoor pool. Things to do: study neighbors’ eclectic lodges and rooms. Lodges of different degree of elitism are situated at quite big and picturesque territory. Design of rooms and cottages is a courageous fusion from the Soviet heritage, Provence, Alpine chalets with a curtsey towards the ninetieth. The food in the dining room is simple and nourishing, the service is strict, as in a Soviet sanatorium.

Zvenigorodskoe Schosse, Rakitinskoye village +7 495 411 99 72 www.shalerus.ru

The price of a double room starts from 6800 rubles (€68.59) a night.

Chic place with an emphasis on Spa procedures — a couple of hours of Ayurveda or in hammam are included in the price

Artus Spa

There are: numerous body and spirit care services, a bathing complex and a pool with a little aquapark, a cigar room with a fireplace, a children’s club, a restaurant of Armenian cuisine, a restaurant-theater with the eclectic dishes from five continents and dietary menu. Things to do: lie and think about eternal in an outdoor Jacuzzi.

The territory is wonderful; it is pleasant to walk among pines to a pond with ducks. Cottages are nice and have spacious rooms. The restaurants serve tasty food. A sauna with an outdoor Jacuzzi are good opportunities for recreation.

Moscow region, Mytishchi district, Larevo-Lyskovo village 3, build 1 +7 495 644 41 21 www.arthurs-hotels.ru

The prices of a double room starts from 6900 rubles (€69.60).

VELEGOZH-PARK

Expensive tidy country houses at the bank of the Oka River and near lokavore restaurant «Mark and Lev»

Velegozh

There are: a skating rink at the lake, a horse club, a Russian bath; there is free Wi-Fi, a six-string guitar and a brazier in each country house. Things to do: try all dishes at «Mark and Lev» and visit local farmers who deliver products for the restaurant.

The main reason for going there is the first and only Russian lokavore restaurant «Mark and Lev» – a place where dishes are prepared only from local products. The restaurant has its own kitchen garden, uses products only from Tula region, bakes bread and invents new Russian cuisine. Not to spend all the time in the restaurant, you can leave the territory of the Park and reach a wild beach at Oka; it is also possible to go sightseeing to Polenovo’s estate.

Tula region, Zaoksky district +7 495 664 83 69 resort.velegozh-park.ru

The price of a country house with two bedrooms starts from 5000 rubles (€50.43) per day.

This is our translation of Afisha-Gorod article.

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Our moscow tours, all-in-one moscow essential private tour, moscow metro & stalin skyscrapers private tour, moscow art & design private tour, soviet moscow historical & heritage private tour, gastronomic moscow private tour, «day two» moscow private tour, layover in moscow tailor-made private tour, whole day in moscow private tour, tour guide jobs →.

Every year we host more and more private tours in English, Russian and other languages for travelers from all over the world. They need best service, amazing stories and deep history knowledge. If you want to become our guide, please write us.

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The best pannier racks and pannier bags for bikes 2024: sturdy and high-volume options put to the test

Bike panniers are a great option to carry luggage if you're going touring or using your bike for commuting

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The Quick List

Best rear racks, best overall, best for compatibility, easy to install, best budget, best rear pannier bags, best overall bag, best for wet weather, best for versatility, best for urban riding, best for bulky cargo, best 2-in-1 bag, best fork mounted bag, best micro panniers.

  • What to look for in pannier racks

How we test

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

best pannier racks and pannier bags 2024: Jump Menu

The list in brief ↴

Racks 1. Best overall 2. Best for compatibility 3. Easy to install

Bags 1. Best overall 2. Best for wet weather 3. Most versatile

Advice Buyers guide to panniers and racks How we test

The best bike panniers will let you carry your luggage in comfort. But the first time you ride a bike with a rack and loaded panniers fitted, the sensation is somewhat alien. When full, panniers can add a substantial amount of weight to the bike and make any side-to-side rocking feel odd. You quickly get used to the added weight, although climbing out of the saddle may feel awkward; that's why the best touring bikes tend to have low gearing for climbs.

If you're carrying a heavy load, then placing the weight on your bike can certainly save your shoulders and back from undue stress – and you won't get the sweaty triangle associated with a backpack. Panniers can place the load lower down and may attach it more securely to your bike than even the best bikepacking bags , making for a more stable ride.

Pannier racks and panniers are popular among commuters, touring cyclists and anyone who needs to carry a substantial volume – they're great for day-to-day tasks like food shopping too.

Panniers are usually fitted to the rear of the bike, but if you've got a lot to carry - maybe on your touring bike - then front panniers are an option too.

Pannier bags need to sit on pannier racks – and thus setting yourself up is a story of two halves. We've tested a wide variety of both and divided the results into our picks of the best pannier racks and best panniers. You can also scroll down to the end of the page for our buyer's guide to how to choose the best bike luggage for you.

Pannier racks

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

Easy to install and can be removed or remounted in under a minute, making it well suited to those with just one bike.

Read more below

Fits a wide range of bikes and wheel sizes. Well-made, durable and competitively price - what's not to like?

Ideally suited for bikes without mounts, it's a breeze to fit, but is only compatible with QR dropouts.

Pannier bags

Tool-free adjustment, shoulder straps, and waterproof, the Back Roller is a roomy bag that's built to last.

100% waterproof with an easy-to-use roll-top closure and reflective detailing, it's suited to both tours and commutes. 

Most versatile

Aimed at adventure riders, it's ideal for commuting and errands, too. 100% waterproof and durable.

1. Ortlieb Quick Rack

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

Ortlieb's Quick Rack is a revelation where racks are concerned. Not only is the initial installation exceptionally simple, it can be removed, or remounted, in less than 20 seconds. 

It's suitable for 26” and 28” (limited suitability for 29” wheels – up to max. 2.35” tyre width). Extra accessories include mudguards and adaptors for bikes that don't have eyelets. 

If you only have one bike the Quick Rack enables you to quickly transform it from a road warrior to a tourer, commuter or shopper at the drop of a hat. This makes transportation a breeze too. The hooks that remain on the bike when the rack is removed are hardly noticeable. 

With two hanging levels, it comfortably accommodates panniers and a rack bag at the same time without one interfering with the other. 

The rack looks tidy on the bike and is well-made, encouragingly it comes with Ortlieb's 5 year warranty. While it might be more expensive than the likes of Blackburn and Topeak , our tester deemed its convenience and versatility well-worth the extra expense. 

Read more: Ortlieb Quick Rack review

2. Topeak Uni Super Tourist Pannier Rack (Disc)

Topeak's Uni Super Tourist is an aluminium bike rack with stainless steel fittings. It's designed to 'fit most 24” to 29” wheel MTB and 700C touring bikes with disc brakes'. Out of the racks we tested, this one came out on top where compatibility was concerned; it fitted all the bikes that we tried it on.

The quality of construction and finishing is impressive. Unlike both LifeLine's and Decathlon's, the finish remained unmarked despite plenty of bike panniers being used on it. 

With an RRP of $68.99 / £44.99, we'd say that this is definitely a value-for-money rack that should stand the test of time. 

The maximum load of 26kg makes the bike rack ideal for anyone reliant on their bike for heavy shopping loads, keen tourers or those wanting a sleek system to carry a trunk bag; it features an MTX QuickTrack® plate which is compatible with any Topeak MTX TrunkBag or MTX rear basket.

Read more: Topeak Uni Super Tourist Rack review

3. Blackburn Expedition 1 Disc Rear Pannier Rack

The  Expedition 1 Rear Rack is Blackburn's legacy product. Designed by Jim Blackburn in 1975, it's made from aircraft-grade aluminium, specifically for 700c or 29er wheels, but should suit most bike wheel sizes with 9mm QR axles. As the name suggests, this is a disc brake compatible bike rack, but there is also a standard rim brake version too. 

It's hard not to love the simple mounting that the supplied quick-release skewer offers. It means that you can fit the rack to a bike that doesn't have mounting eyelets. Two different sizes of P-clips are also included for attaching the arms to the frame. If you swap bikes and have mounting points, it can be directly mounted to the frame too. 

This is certainly a bike rack to invest in if you have a disc-brake bike and are reluctant to fettle with a rack that claims to 'fit-all'. The Expedition 1 will likely fit the vast majority of QR, disc-brake bikes with 700C wheels. 

In addition to its simple mounting and reliability, it's well-made and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Read more: Blackburn Expedition 1 bike rack review

4. LifeLine Alloy Rear Pannier Rack

LifeLine's Alloy Rear Pannier Rack is an aluminium option with a maximum load of 25kg for those looking to keep their costs down. 

Affordability doesn't guarantee quality though. When moving the bike rack from bike to bike while testing, we noted deterioration of the bolts. This is perhaps a rack you'll want to fit once and leave on the bike to avoid rounding the bolt heads, or maybe source better quality bolts. 

LifeLine claim that the rack fits 'all wheel sizes from 26" to 700c'. We didn't agree; the arms lacked length to achieve a horizontal position on a few of our bikes. 

There are eyelets for mounting reflectors and lights, though compatibility may pose issues here; we couldn't find anything to fit. The spring-loaded luggage bar is a nice addition and works well.

Overall, the Lifeline bike rack is an affordable, functional option if you know that you won't be moving it from bike to bike. If you think that it'll be swapped at some point, it might be worth investing in some better quality fixings. 

Read more: LifeLine Alloy Rear Pannier Rack review

5. Decathlon ELOPS 100 Bike Pannier Rack

The Decathlon ELOPS 100 bike rack is probably the cheapest option on the market. But just like LifeLine's bike rack, affordability doesn't always deliver compatibility, or quality. 

The rack is a combination of aluminium and steel with a rather delicate finish. It would be advisable to use some insulating tape at pannier contact points if you want to prolong the aesthetical appearance of the rack. 

The biggest drawback of this bike rack is its flatpack status. You'll need to be a little patient and happy to fettle if you are going to mount it yourself. On the plus side, all the tools you need are supplied.

We found compatibility to be on a par with the LifeLine Alloy Rack; it certainly doesn't fit 'all 24" to 28" bikes with frames equipped with inserts'.

The 10kg weight limit makes this a good choice for anyone wanting to carry light loads.

Read more: Decathlon ELOPS 100 Bike Pannier Rack review

Once you've got your rack sorted, it's time to choose a pannier, or two, to attach to it.

When comparing prices, be sure to check whether you are getting a pair or a single pannier; many manufacturers sell single panniers, while others only sell pairs. 

1. Ortlieb Back Roller Free

Ortlieb's Back Roller panniers are the choice of tourers worldwide for good reasons. The Back Roller Free boasts every feature that the long-standing Classic features: the Quick-Lock2.1 system that attaches to any pannier, tool-free adjustment, interior pouches, shoulder straps and an IP64 rating. So what's different? The latest Back Roller comes from Ortlieb's PVC-free line of products and is made of a polyurethane-coated polyester fabric.

Our tester felt that the fabric was slightly more malleable than that used on the Classic, and perhaps more vulnerable to abrasions. However, the overall performance was impressive and certainly wasn't affected by any scuffs. Indeed, the more malleable material made packing out the pannier easier. 

LIke many of Ortlieb's products, these are built to last and also come with a 5 year warranty. This makes the initial $210 / £140 for a pair investment perfectly palatable. 

Read more: Ortlieb Back Roller Free pannier review

2. Altura Thunderstorm City 20 Pannier

Altura is known for making practical kit that stands out at night; the Thunderstorm City Pannier is no exception. Its quality impressed hugely, rivalling other manufacturers for construction and waterproofing. 

The roll-top closure with a single clasp is really easy to use, making the pannier ideal for anyone wanting regular, quick access to the pannier. 

Reflective detailing is very good; those undertaking dark commutes will stand out in traffic. 

Inside, there are two ‘open’ pouches and a zipped one, plus a key loop, while light padding protects anything in the pouches.

There's a single carry handle that is comfortable enough, though quite small. There's no supplied shoulder strap.  

Given its durable, robust nature, the Thunderstorm City 20 shouldn't be confined to commuting duties; it would make for a decent touring pannier too, providing you are not trying to be too stealth.

Read more: Altura Thunderstorm City 20 Pannier review

3. Brooks Scape Panniers

Brooks' Scape range features a small and a large pannier. They tick the usual boxes that you would expect from Brooks: well-made, stylish and durable.

While the range is primarily targeted at adventure riders, the Scape Panniers won't be out of place on a commuting bike, or on the rack of someone simply doing errands. 

There are no interior pockets but a sizeable, watertight exterior one goes some way to make up for this; it's a functional addition that many 100% waterproof panniers don't boast. 

The carry handle is not designed for comfort; it's not much more than a piece of cord. There's no supplied shoulder strap, something to bear in mind if you considering investing. 

The aesthetics are certainly subtle and stylish, with just a very small amount of reflective detailing on the sides. 

These may be versatile but some commuters might consider the lack of carrying options and minimal reflectives a sticking point.

Read more: Brooks Scape pannier review

4. Cube Travel Pannier

The Cube Travel Panniers are the only ones we tested that are sold as a pair. They are certainly best suited to commuters and those relying on a bike more than a car. 

We wouldn't recommend them for touring any distance in uncertain weather conditions. While they are well made, they don't offer the waterproofing of Altura's or Brooks's. A water resistant shell comes with each pannier. It does a good job of fending off light rain, while increasing visibility. Anything heavier penetrates it. 

We loved the pockets and pouches, both inside and out, though would have liked the outer zipped pocket to be a little larger. 

Shoulder straps are included for both panniers and chunky buckles make these easy to use with gloved and/or cold hands. 

They are roomy and well-shaped for anyone carrying bulky kit to the gym, workplace or back from the shops.

Read more: Cube Travel panniers review

5. Chrome Industries Urban Ex Pannier 2.0

Chrome prides itself on made-to-last kit for urban cyclists; the Urban Ex 2 Pannier is typical of the quality, robustness and style that it offers. 

It's not as spacious as some, so be sure it offers the room you want before investing. Interior pockets and pouches offer excellent protection for electronic devices; a compact office is possible there. On the outside, there is daisy chain webbing to attach a D-lock to.

While we didn't find an official IPX rating on the website, we can confirm that it didn't let a droplet of water get to contents while we were testing; waterproofing is as good as the best. 

Carrying options impressed hugely; two different options for carrying by hand, plus a robust, detachable shoulder strap. It's designed to be carried just as comfortably and conveniently off the bike as it is on it. These practical options, in our opinion, make the pannier one of the best for urban, office-based commuters.

The price is eye-watering, but with a lifetime warranty this is a buy-once-buy-to-last option for any discerning urban rider.

Read more: Chrome Industries Urban Ex Pannier 2.0 review

6. Topeak Pannier Drybag DX

The Topeak Drybag DX is undoubtedly a pannier for anyone with a bulky load; its stated 25l capacity belies its seemingly bottomless form. 

While reinforced side panels offer great protection for contents, they are removeable should you want a more pliable bag. It's 100% waterproof and seriously well-made. 

We missed internal pockets and a shoulder strap but found the carry handle much more comfortable than something like Brooks'. 

You may need to place the Drybag DX further back on your rack than other panniers; its depth could cause heel-striking. 

Two colour options should satiate everyone; bright yellow for those wanting to stand out and black for those happy to blend in. 

This is a single pannier purchase and we'd say be careful; fully loading it may make you feel a little unbalanced if you opt for just the one.

Read more: Topeak Pannier Drybag DX full review

7. New Loox Varo Backpack

If you are commited to commuting and errand riding in dry weather, the New Loox Varo Backpack could be worth considering. It's a well-made piece of kit that offers decent capacity, thoughtful internal storage and is comfy as a rucksack. 

The lower Velcro strap (for securing the pannier to a rack) is a little fiddly and the Railtime clamp system isn't as easy to use as some quick release panniers. Securing shoulder straps (if they aren't detached) is necessary while riding too. All of these are niggles but not major issues. Overall functionality is good with quick access, external pockets, reflective detailing and a detachable neoprene laptop sleeve. 

Our tester felt that the Varo Backpack wasn't a great option for rainy weather, though; it's 100% waterproof but no one wants to put a damp and dirty pannier on their back. Stowing the shoulder straps in the pannier while riding and carrying a cloth to clean the rear is an option if you happen to venture out in the rain.

Read more: New Loox Varo Backpack full review

8. Ortlieb Fork Pack

This is an ever-growing variety of bikepacking bags which utilize the triple-fork bosses which are becoming ubiquitous on gravel bikes of almost all stripes. To some extent, this range of options means that there are very many ways of just not quite getting it quite right. But on the other hand, it means there are fork packs out there which are really very nicely designed - and Ortlieb’s offering is one of those.

Where other brands (such as Apidura and Tailfin) go for taller and skinnier designs on their fork packs, Ortlieb has gone shorter and wider. This means that the bags do protrude a little more and don’t follow the slim lines of the fork legs quite so nicely. But it does mean that it’s much easier getting your stuff in and out with the helpfully wide entrance to the bag.

The mounting system is also excellent. If you have a triple mount fork, it’s as simple as screwing on the backing mount and then clipping on the bags. Some other brands use a more generalist cargo cargo and rely on straps for the attachment, but those can be quite a bit of a faff - especially when you have to adjust them every time you put something bulky in or out of the bag.

Ortlieb’s quick release attachment means that it’s easy to take things in and out of the bags - and it’s also easy to take the bag with you into the tent or a cafe, as it takes just a second to unclip. The bags are held on firmly and the roll top also rolls really quite far down, so you can still cinch things down pretty good when the bag is mostly empty. 

The price is cheaper than quite a few of the alternatives out there - especially when you factor in the cost of a cargo cage for designs which require one. But there are also cheaper options. Still, the straightforward simplicity and effectiveness of this design makes it one of the best options out there.

9. North St. Adventure Micro Pannier

These are neat little panniers, but there are a few features that they’re lacking. Despite that, there’s still a few good reasons to consider them - let’s jump in.

First, the good: their size is a really good balance between capacity and weight. They are much lighter than a full sized pannier, but the 14L capacity is still a really good volume for bikepacking or commuting. The front zip, internal divider and roll top all make organizing your things and accessing them really easy. They attach with velcro straps, which is convenient and the fabric has proved robust and durable too.

The downside is that they do rattle more than other systems which have some form of clipfast or cam lever attachment. Tailfin has 10L mini panniers which are particularly good for this and are a little cheaper. Which is really the next point, that these panniers are really quite expensive for how comparatively basic the design is. Altura has pannier bags that are much cheaper with about the same level of features.

But on the other hand, the North St bags are made with recycled materials, have a lifetime warranty and are made in Portland, Oregon. If you’re after something simple and rugged - and you're happy to spend a little more on manufacturing in the US - then these are a great option. 

Buyer's guide to bike panniers and racks

Will my bike fit a bike rack.

Firstly, not all bikes are designed to have pannier racks fitted with ease – so you'll need to ensure your bike is suitable before you go and buy a rack. A compatible bike will have eyelets for panniers near the tops of the seatstays and sometimes specific rack mount eyes next to the mudguard eyes above the rear dropouts.

If your bike doesn't have eyelets, you can buy mounting systems which attach directly to the frame and rear axle. Here it's important to pay attention to if the rack is or isn't compatible with your braking system, e.g disc brakes. 

You can even buy seat post clamps with integrated bosses. Alternatively, there are loads of frame and saddle bags available now which are ideal for lighter-weight tourers and bikepacking . They have the advantage of not needing specific mounting points on your bike (although top tube feed bags may be designed to mount on the bosses that are a feature of many of the best gravel bikes ).

Assuming you have a bike set up for a rack, or you know you can get a mounting system, it's time to choose a rack.

Do I need a front or a rear rack and panniers?

The most common style of pannier rack is fitted to the rear of the bike – but you can also opt for a rack at the front too. If you're carrying a moderate load it's probably easier to go with the rear. 

If you're taking a lot of kit, opting for both and distributing it so that the greatest weight is at the back but there's some at the front will improve handling. It also makes the bike easier to push around and carry and less front-light if the rear is loaded so that the weight is close to or aft of the rear wheel. 

Just having a front rack and panniers may affect your bike's steering, so should be avoided.

What are pannier racks made of?

Pannier racks are typically made from steel, aluminium or titanium. Aluminium is generally cheapest, and it's perfectly adequate. Steel is the strongest, though it can rust over time – unless you opt for stainless steel. Titanium is lightweight and it doesn't corrode – but it's more expensive.

What else should I look for?

The maximum weight that a pannier rack can withstand is a pretty crucial stat, so check this before buying.

Some bike racks offer more heel clearance than others. Purpose-designed touring bikes usually have long chainstays designed with panniers in mind, but if you're using a classic road bike with shorter chainstays (or your feet are on the larger side) then it's worth opting for one with more space allowance.

Many brands also supply add on mounting kits that help create a better fit with your bike – providing more heel clearance, adjusting the height at which the rack fits to offer a more natural centre of gravity, or with an extended mounting system to cater for pesky disc brakes.

One thing to be aware of is that while many racks will claim to fit 'all bikes' with specific wheel sizes, the ever evolving geometry of bike frames often means that they don't. The three we had on test recently certainly didn't 'fit all'.

What should I look for in the best bike panniers?

Your choice of pannier will be heavily influenced by intended use: durability, waterproofing, maximum weight/capacity and personal style all come into the equation.

Ortlieb is pretty much the market leader. The German-based manufacturer creates highly durable, totally waterproof panniers, with roll tops that keep the moisture out.

For those carrying a lighter load, there are plenty of panniers which can be removed from the bike and used as a standard backpack or shoulder bag, useful for shoppers and commuters.

Where should I ride?

If you are looking for where to ride tour, check out our top eight places to ride in the UK or head off the beaten track with an adventure road or gravel bike ride tour.

Also check out our guide to absolutely everything you need to go bikepacking . Much of the list is the same for the well-prepared bike tourer.

The  Cycling Weekly  testers put these racks and bags through their paces in a wide variety of conditions, from commutes into work to longer tours. They were reviewed for ease of installation, functionality, durability and more

Our experience means that you'll have a consistent, in-depth viewpoint, which is reflected in our product scoring.  You can find out more on our  How We Test  page.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan the Editor of Cycling Weekly website. An NCTJ qualified traditional journalist by trade, Michelle began her career working for local newspapers. She's worked within the cycling industry since 2012, and joined the Cycling Weekly team in 2017, having previously been Editor at Total Women's Cycling. Prior to welcoming her daughter in 2022, Michelle raced on the road, track, and in time trials, and still rides as much as she can - albeit a fair proportion indoors, for now.

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The Best Bike Trunk Bags

Best Bike Trunk Bag

Bike trunk bags (or bike rack trunks) quite literally take the weight off your shoulders. When compared to backpacks, trunk bags are generally more durable, hold more stuff, and allow you to enjoy your ride freely.

The most important things to consider when buying a bike trunk bag are storage space and build quality . We put several bike trunk bags to the test to find out which ones are worth buying. The Ibera Bike Trunk Bag is the best bike trunk bag because of its generous storage, sturdy design, and its one-click quick-release mechanism.

Before buying a trunk bag, it’s worth spending some time thinking about what you will be carrying. Many come with a large main compartment for laptops and files, but some also come with a water bottle holder, and some with a shoulder strap to make carrying heavy bags easy while walking.

  • 1 Bike Trunk Bag Comparison
  • 2.1 1. Ibera Bike Trunk Bag — Best Overall Trunk Bag
  • 2.2 2. BV Commuter Carrier Trunk Bag — Best Budget Bag
  • 2.3 3. Rock Bros Bike Trunk Bag — Best Extendable Trunk Bag
  • 2.4 4. Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EX — Best Cheap Clip-on Trunk Bag
  • 2.5 5. Rock Bros Bike Rack Bag — Best Leather Bike Trunk Bag
  • 2.6 6. Roswheel Convertible Bike Trunk Bag — Best Small Bike Trunk Bag
  • 2.7 7. Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EXP — Best Quality Bike Trunk Bag
  • 2.8 8. Bushwhacker Mesa Trunk Bag — Most Storage Space
  • 3.1 Size and Storage Capacity
  • 3.2 Special Bike Rear Rack Requirements
  • 3.3 Bike Trunk Bag vs Bike Pannier Bags

Bike Trunk Bag Comparison

Trunk bags that are mounted by clipping onto a rack allow for a one-click release that is very convenient. When testing, we found it so much easier to use click release bags than having to secure Velcro straps every time the bag needs to be detached.

With clip rack mounts, you may need to buy a suitable rack mount. This will add a little upfront cost, but you’ll be grateful for it when it’s raining and you can detach and attach the bag in 1 second rather than 30 seconds.

Below is a list of the best bike trunk bags that are easy to attach and detach and hold up to all weather conditions.

1. Ibera Bike Trunk Bag — Best Overall Trunk Bag

Ibera Bike Trunk Bag - PakRak Clip-On Quick-Release Bicycle Commuter Bag

The Ibera Bike Trunk Bag is the best bike trunk bag I’ve ever used. It clips effortlessly on and off the Ibera rear rack and holds firm while riding with no rattling or looseness.

It holds more than you’d expect and has reinforced, padded walls that protect not only the main compartment but also the side pockets. Instead of a rear water bottle holder, this bag has a rear zipped pocket that offers more protected storage space and is more suitable for commuting.

A detachable padded shoulder strap comes as standard and makes carrying the back easy and comfortable.

Features of the Ibera Bike Trunk Bag include:

  • High storage capacity
  • Plenty of protected side pockets
  • Detachable strap
  • SUPER EASY Clip release mount
  • Reflective trim for added visibility

The overall build quality, padding and protection, and the clip release rack mount make this the best bike trunk bag available today.

2. BV Commuter Carrier Trunk Bag — Best Budget Bag

BV Commuter Carrier Trunk Bag

The BC Commuter Carrier trunk bag offers generous storage and high-quality build materials for a fraction of the cost of its competitors.

Three velcro straps attach the bag securely and are very strong unlike some of the straps found on other bags this affordable. The bag features a rear water bottle holder and two side pockets that are well-padded and protected.

As for space, I’ve comfortably been able to carry sneakers, lunchboxes and even iPods with plenty of room to spare.

Features of the BV Commuter Carrier Trunk Bag include:

  • Lots of storage space
  • Very well padded
  • Sturdy velcro straps
  • Carrier handle and shoulder strap
  • Reflective lighting
  • Very cheap!

I rate the BV Commuter Carrier bag as the best budget bike trunk bag around. The low cost compared to the high quality and durable materials used makes it hard to justify the more expensive models. Not having to buy a special rack for your bike also helps keep the costs down.

3. Rock Bros Bike Trunk Bag — Best Extendable Trunk Bag

ROCK BROS Bike Trunk Bag

The Rock Bros trunk bag comes in the style of a normal trunk bag but has the option to be extended to a pannier style carrier.

This bag is perfect for riders who want the best of both worlds when it comes to trunk bags and bike panniers. For short commutes, the normal storage is plenty and the bag looks nice and compact.

If you plan a longer trip, just extend the main compartment and you have a pannier bag that can hold so much more stuff.

It comes with all the usual compartments such as two side pockets, read water bottle carriers, and a large main compartment that’s perfect for keeping your prized possessions safe from the elements.

Features of the Rock Bros Bike Trunk Bag include:

  • Extendable to pannier bag to increase storage
  • Lots of well padded pockets
  • Sturdy Velcro straps and carrying strap
  • Dividers to keep sharp keys away from screens
  • Very large capacity

This is the best bike trunk bag for riders who can’t decide between a trunk bag and panniers. You don’t have to decide! You can have both.

4. Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EX — Best Cheap Clip-on Trunk Bag

Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EX

This MTX Trunk Bag from Topeak is a super compact bag that offers more storage than meets the eye.

As with other clip rack models, the best thing about this has to be the easy attachment and release mechanism. You do need a suitable Topeak rear rack to enable this, but I can’t stress enough how much easier it is when compared to Velcro straps.

The zippers on this bag are excellent and I saw no signs of any water making it into the pockets even in some pretty harsh rainy conditions.

Features of the Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EX include:

  • Very sturdy compact design
  • Easy clip mechanism for release in a second
  • Nicely styled and understated
  • Carry handle is very well made and super comfortable

If a clip-on trunk bag is what you’re after (I think they’re the best kind), then this is one of the cheapest you’ll find. Highly recommended.

5. Rock Bros Bike Rack Bag — Best Leather Bike Trunk Bag

Rock Bros Bike Rack Bag Trunk Bag

This Rock Bros rack bag brings a bit of class with a composite carbon leather construction that is blended with 840D Nylon making it totally waterproof and weather-resistant.

It has a large capacity of 35L and a main compartment that has removable dividers to help keep sharp objects like keys away from screens.

Super thick padding on each of the side pockets of this back also help to protect your possessions even in the event of a drop.

Features of the Rock Bros Bike Rack Bag include:

  • Reinforced side for shock protection
  • Detachable pads and dividers
  • Huge storage capacity
  • Sleek leather and nylon design

If you prefer leather to a nylon or polyester bag, then this is hands-down the best bag for you. The velcro straps aren’t as convenient as the clip-on models, but they save on rack costs, and aren’t a dealbreaker by any means.

6. Roswheel Convertible Bike Trunk Bag — Best Small Bike Trunk Bag

Roswheel Convertible Bike Trunk Bag

Roswheel’s convertible bike trunk bag is made of 300 denier polyester and PU leather to keep the bag’s shape extremely effectively.

You attach it using 4 velcro straps that leave it feeling very secure. No rattling or looseness at all during the week where I tested this bag.

Storage is plenty for short commutes, but a larger bike trunk bag would be better suited to those who want to carry electricals such as tablets.

Features of the Roswheel Convertible Bike Trunk Bag include:

  • Nicely sized bag
  • Holds shape very well when empty
  • Looks way more expensive than it is
  • Very sturdy on a rack

I’d recommend this highly to riders who prefer a smaller trunk bag. Unlike some of the bigger bags around, this is inconspicuous enough that you’ll barely notice it’s there while riding.

7. Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EXP — Best Quality Bike Trunk Bag

Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EXP

This Topeak MTX EXP Trunk Bag is one of the highest quality trunk bags for bikes available.

The molded panels keep the shape of the bag extremely well and offer superior protection to padding alone. A 600 denier nylon fabric keeps water and dirt well away from the contents of the bag.

There are expendable compartments meaning you can boost the storage when you need it with panniers that are usually tucked away inside the bag. The bag clips to Topeak’s Beamrack and can be removed and attached instantly with the click of a button making it super easy to use on short trips.

Features of the Topeak MTX Trunk bag include:

  • Optional panniers to extend the storage
  • Super high-quality build
  • 600 denier nylon and molded sidewalls
  • Very easy to attach and detach in seconds

The premium cost of this trunk bag might be prohibitive to some, but if you have the budget for it, then this is one of the best bike trunk bags ever made.

8. Bushwhacker Mesa Trunk Bag — Most Storage Space

Bushwhacker Mesa Trunk Bag

The Bushwhacker Mesa is massive. Of all the trunk bags I tested, this one holds the most stuff.

It’s made from a 600 denier polyester fabric and has very good padding and insulation throughout making it feel well made and very secure.

Once attached via 4 velcro straps, the bag doesn’t so much as budge even when on rocky terrain. It’s a super impressive large trunk bag that would be perfect for those needing to carry more than the other compact trunk bags allow.

Features of the Bushwhacker Mesa Trunk bag include:

  • Sturdy Velcro Straps support it well
  • Very large storage capacity
  • Super high quality build feel
  • Well padded and insulated

The 4 Velcro straps can be a little time consuming to attach properly when on the move, so I’d recommend this for longer trips or grocery shopping where storage is more important than fast detachment times.

Guide to Choosing a Bike Trunk Bag

Bike Trunk Bags Explained

Before you go buying a trunk bag there are a few things worth thinking about. The main thing you should be concerned with is the storage design and capacity.

Size and Storage Capacity

I’d recommend taking a second to write down everything you would typically need to carry in your trunk bag, and use that as a guide to choosing the best rear trunk bag for you.

For instance, I never carry a cycling water bottle because my commute is short and I’d never use it, so choosing a trunk bag with a rear pocket instead of a rear water bottle carrier makes much more sense to me.

I do require separate protected compartments to store my cycling sunglasses along with essentials such as mini bike pumps and a chain degreaser , so it’s important to me to find a trunk bag with dividers.

Similarly, you may need to carry tablets or other electricals that can take up quite a lot of space.

The size of the main compartment differs enormously between bags. There are some trunk bags that have 8L of storage and others with 35L.

Special Bike Rear Rack Requirements

I love bike trunk bags that clip on and can be attached and detached in seconds. In almost all cases, these require a special rear rack that allows the bag to slip on and off.

These special rear racks are sometimes unique to the bag’s manufacturer, so it’s worth checking if you’ll need to buy a rear rack to accommodate the trunk bag you’re interested in.

I’ve used several rear racks over the years, and the quality is generally very good. Rear racks designed to hold the exact trunk bag you choose offer a far sturdier attachment than Velcro straps do, but cost a little more upfront.

Bike Trunk Bag vs Bike Pannier Bags

I get asked quite often why I would choose a bike trunk bag over bike panniers. For me, the less I have attached to my bike the better.

Panniers are great in certain situations where storage is more important than mobility and weight, but for my day-to-day commutes, a trunk bag is always best.

Panniers are a style of bike bag that hangs over each side of the rear of your bicycle. While panniers generally hold more because of the larger compartments, they are harder to remove quickly, and can sometimes interfere with your ride due to their large size.

Bike trunk bags have the advantage of being smaller, more compact, and can be removed with the click of a button.

People who are planning long journeys that require a lot of storage space with varied compartment sizes should choose a pannier bag. Panniers for bikes generally handle heavyweight items better as long as weight is distributed evenly on both sides.

Bike rack trunk bags are best for riders who don’t need to carry loads of stuff but need more storage than a seat bag allows. Trunk bags sit on top of the rear rack of your bicycle.

Filling a rack trunk with really heavy items can bring the center of gravity of your bike higher u

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