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Roofbox advice urgently needed

(25 Posts)
TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 27-Aug-14 18:30:19

Hello, this is my first post in camping but I have been lurking heavily during the run up to our first big family camp. Thanks for all the sage advice!

Today we laid out all the camping stuff in the living room and it is clear we don't have enough room in the car. I have made as many noble sacrifices as I can (sling not buggy for baby, minimal clothing) but I don't want to go camping if it's going to be too austere and uncomfortable. I want snugly blankets, plenty of good wine (ie not what's available in a rural Spar) and DS wants to take toys and his ukelele!!!

So the only solution is to buy a roofbox. I am really reluctant to do this from a cost point of view - roof boxes seem to cost anything from £80 to £500 plus. BUT as needs must does anyone have any recommendations at the cheaper end? Do you get what you pay for?

NB I am also horrifically neurotic so can people reassure me that they are safe and not prone to falling off when you are taking sharp mountain corners or going at 70mph on the M4???


freckleonear Wed 27-Aug-14 19:41:49

I searched local selling pages on Facebook and managed to find a large box for £5, along with cheap new roof bars from Ebay for £20.

I've heard about several roof box accidents this week, but mostly they seem to come open rather than fall off so a ratchet strap around it helps.

Rhubarbcrumbled Wed 27-Aug-14 21:09:58

Our roof box is 25 years old from my dad and it's still going strong after years of use. We bought new roof bars as I wanted to make sure we had the right ones but they were Halfords own brand for about £50. If I'd known what I was looking for then I'd have bought 2nd hand.

TaperJeanGirl Wed 27-Aug-14 21:27:01

We have the halfords own brand, it's huge and was about £350 for box and bars, it's brilliant, we bought it for when we drove across France, and use it for every day out, double buggy and body boards and muddy boots, all sorts of crap gets chucked in ours, we couldn't be without one now ( 5 kids, a LOT of crap) we have never had any trouble with ours coming undone or falling off, I don't think you're supposed to go over 70mph with them on, obv shouldn't anyway but I remember reading that when we got thing we have had a prob with in a few car parks is going under the barriers, it's helpful to know the height of your car plus box, rather than ( like us) just stand outside and guess...we have a few scrapes on ours!

MissWimpyDimple Wed 27-Aug-14 22:03:14

When I looked into this the main issue was the roof bars rather than the box. If you don't already have bars (or roof runners that take the universal bars), that's more likely to be the problem in a hurry.
In the end I went for a HandiRack and HandiHoldall and whilst not perfect and a bit of a git to pack, it totally did the trick and didn't leave me with bars and a huge box to store! I think I read about them on here in the first place actually...

Pixel Wed 27-Aug-14 22:08:10

I've been in multistorey car parks where I've driven in with no trouble but then once parked I haven't had space to open the roofbox to get the buggy out as the ceiling came down low over the parking spaces. And that was on a Peugeot 205, not a high vehicle by any means. Something to be aware of though it probably won't affect you on a camping trip.

The box fits very securely onto the roof bars so is unlikely to come off but you do need to make sure you have the right roof bars! We always locked our box shut with the key to make sure it couldn't come open en route.

Mylovelylovelyhorse Wed 27-Aug-14 22:13:51

We've got a handirack too. It's done us very well

We couldn't be doing with roof bars as we change our car every year and they seemed to be quite specific to each car

Also it folds up teeny weeny so no storage issues

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 27-Aug-14 22:19:48

Thanks for all your advice. I clearly needed to do more research as I wasn't clear on the difference between boxes and bars and what was needed. As MissWimpy alluded, you can't really do a roof box purchase both cheaply AND in a hurry!

Anyway I've just managed to pack almost all of it so clearly the boot is a bit of a tardis. The rest can fit in the front. I've made a couple of further sacrifices but the ukelele has made the cut grin

This thread has been handy though as we will almost certainly buy one soon as we are already planning our next camps - hopefully next week won't put us off! Thanks so much all for replying. I'm pleased to see the Halford ones get good feedback.

BikeRunSki Wed 27-Aug-14 22:37:04

We have a roof bag. Big heavy weight bag. Hard bottom which attaches to roof rails. Compression straps to keep it from flapping about. Much cheaper than a roof box and easier to store.

wishmynamewasdave Wed 27-Aug-14 22:39:05

We hire ours out locally grin Have a look and see if anyone does the same near you smile (am based Portsmouth)

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 27-Aug-14 22:55:08

I am googling hire places now Dave - we don't really have anywhere to store a roof box when not in use so that might be the solution. DH is talking about buying an estate car hmm - we live on a tiny side street so I am NOT convinced.

wishmynamewasdave Wed 27-Aug-14 23:10:54

Hope you find something grin I think there are a few big companies that hire them out - but you might also find households like us that just want to make a little extra cash.
We bought it after doing the exact same thing as you - have now paid for it through the hires and are making money on it.

Woodenheart Wed 27-Aug-14 23:14:30

Does anybody know if you can leave store them outside uncovered?

AbbieHoffmansAfro Wed 27-Aug-14 23:20:15

You can get a soft roofbox, we have one. The fabric is tough and waterproof, and it packs down to a quite compact size. We got it because we've no other storage but the loft and a hard box was too big to get up there. We're pleased with it. It's a Thule one. They are much cheaper than the hard ones.

I guess you can leave them out, some people leave them on their cars all the time.

One difference between cheap and expensive boxes is that with some cheap ones you need spanners to attach them to the bars, whereas ours (Thule) has hand turn knobs and is very easy to put on and off. Also not sure if cheaper ones open either side, which is handy. We didn't think we had anywhere to store one but found it fitted onto an eaves shelf in the garden shed (they are light), also you can get strappy things to hang them from a garage roof.

Pixel Thu 28-Aug-14 00:32:24

We've got one that came with our trailer, I'd quite like to hire it out. How much is the going rate? thanks

wishmynamewasdave Thu 28-Aug-14 09:56:23

I currently charge £15 a week, but charged £25 last year and still got lots of takers. Put prices down this year as we've paid for the box now! We also have standard roof bars that we hire out too (if they fit) as not many people have their own.

Cheebame Thu 28-Aug-14 13:51:02

We have a roof bag too because we have nowhere to store a box. Ours was less than £20 - it's not huge, but it's usefully sized and waterproof, and takes up next to no space when it's empty because the rigidity comes from steel poles (like old tent poles) that break into sections which you roll the bag around.

MrsPnut Thu 28-Aug-14 13:59:04

We bought our original bars and box from Halfords during a camping trip.

We set off and spent one night at a friend's house, next morning when we were trying to cram the kids and stuff back into the car to go camping, we noticed that they didn't have much room so we drove to Halfords and had it fitted there and then.
I think we paid about �200 for both in 2009 and we are still using the box. (needed new bars when we changed our car).

poocatcherchampion Thu 28-Aug-14 16:46:07

where are you op? I'll hire ours out..

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Thu 28-Aug-14 16:47:32

North London

poocatcherchampion Thu 28-Aug-14 17:12:36

that's not going to work then! we thought the roofbags in go out doors looked pretty good if that's any help?

Pixel Thu 28-Aug-14 19:03:15

Thanks Wish. We actually had two roof boxes and sold one, wish we hadn't now! How do you make sure people bring them back, a largish deposit I suppose?

droogie Thu 28-Aug-14 19:43:07

We also found friends were more than happy to loan us one in return for beer/wine. We only bought one this year when we all booked a trip away on the same weekend, so now we'll pass the favour forwards.

We got out own bars to fit the car but those are easier to store and less expense. We also got to try a couple out so we knew what size to get (big!)

wishmynamewasdave Thu 28-Aug-14 21:31:56

We ask for a cheque to cover the cost of the Roofbox, and hand it back when they return.
Only problem is that a lot of people don't use cheques any more!! We have a lot of people saying 'I'll need to get a cheque from my mum'!

I advertise via a popular local mums Facebook group that's happy to have adverts on. It's not a huge money spinner, and takes a bit of effort - but we have more money than if it was just sat in storage!

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