Purchasing a roof rack for your RV or pop-up camper may be confusing initially, but I hope we clear things up and steer you toward the right one for you. Those who camp and love outdoor adventures always need more storage to haul our gear and occasional toys. Roof racks can be a game-changer and provide needed storage or a place to strap down a toy or two. Now let’s find your perfect roof rack.
- Types of RVs and Pop Camper Roof Racks
- Roof racks for RV and Pop-up campers With Rails
- Best Affordable Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
- Best Premium Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
- Best Overall Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
- Roof racks for roofs without rails
- Best Affordable Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
- Best Premium Rack for Rvs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
- Best Overall Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
- Things to Consider When Buying an RVs or Camper Roof Rack
Best Option For Those Roofs With Rails
Our favorite option for RVs and pop-up campers with rails is the Mockins extendable roof rack cargo carrier. It has an extendable rack, a heavy-duty luggage rack, and ratchet straps. It has a remarkable 250 lb weight capacity for hauling just about anything you desire. Kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, or extra supplies can be transported easily.
Best Option For Those Roofs Without Rails
For those roofs that do not include rails, our favorite choice is the Rhino heavy duty roof rack. It comes with rails that permanently mount to the camper and then allow for lots of adjustment for different size loads. It is sturdy and well made and includes a sliding crossbar for adaptability and versatility.
Types of RVs and Pop Camper Roof Racks
Roof Racks for Raised or Flattened Roof Rails
Some pop-up campers and RVs have roof rails installed at the manufacturer. Pop-up campers featuring roof rails, raised or flattened, allow a rack to be installed without drilling holes into the roof. This is great as we all know RVs and campers do not need added opportunities to leak. Many of the best pop-up camper roof racks include all the hardware required and have quick and easy installation. Adding rooftop storage is easy, helpful, and practical.
Roof Racks for Roofs Without Rails
If your pop-up camper or RV doesn’t already have roof rails, don’t be alarmed. A majority of pop-up camper roof racks are designed for those without rails and require drilling holes for permanent installation. This can be a scary situation, but it should not cause issues when installed correctly. Adding a rack for storage can definitely be worth the effort and care. Adventures always need extra cargo, added storage, or ways to haul toys. A roof rack can enhance any RV, pop-up, or camper.
Roof racks for RV and Pop-up campers With Rails
Best Affordable Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
Rooftop accessories from Apex are versatile, flexible, and offer customized solutions for all of your roof-rack hauling and storage needs. You can expand the cargo capacity of your RV, pop-up camper, cargo van, pickup truck, SUV, or sedan.
This Apex roof rack is a set of universal roof bars that attach to the existing side rails of your RV or pop-up camper. Universal is just a guide. Please note that it fits most vehicles with roof rails up to 46.5” apart. It also fits a maximum side rail size of: 1.75″W x 1.75″H with at least 1.75″ from roof to rails. These racks will not fit angled side rails.
Adjustable rubber-coated feet will protect your roof for scratch-free installation. There is no need to worry about destroying your roof or paint finish with these rubber feet. They are manufactured from durable, sleek black powder-coated strong steel with a 130 lb. weight capacity. This gives lots of freedom to carry various toys or cargo.
This set includes two rectangle/square shaped roof crossbars which clamp to existing roof side rails. This makes for quick and straightforward installation. These bars are not only easy to install but work great with roof cargo baskets.
Best Premium Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
This Malone rack features a universal crossbar design that fits nearly all factory-installed car side rails. It is ideal for hauling kayaks, canoes, skis, stand-up boards, surfboards, bikes, and more on top of your RV or pop-up.
Square profile bars provide a tight fit for rack accessories. It comes with a lock and key for security without any add-on purchases. There are no tools required for installation, and there is a rust-resistant rubberized coating to prevent decay.
It is available in 50, 58, and 65-inch sizes. It will accommodate up to 132 pounds leaving your options open for various items. Malone uses a Universal Cross Rail system, and it comes complete and ready to install on factory raised side rails on your rooftop in minutes with no tools required.
Best Overall Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (With Rails)
This Mockins rooftop carrier has an impressive 250 lb Capacity. The extendable rooftop cargo basket includes a 15 Cu Ft waterproof rooftop cargo bag. This extra-large cargo bag is made from heavy-duty, abrasion resistant vinyl.
Also included with these roof racks are two ratchet straps and a high quality cargo bungee net to ensure your belongings stay safe and secure during your trip. It is also 100% weatherproof with 3.9″ tight mesh holes to hold larger and smaller loads. It includes 12 adjustable hooks.
This car and SUV car top carrier is easy to assemble and will install on your RV, camper, pop-up, or vehicles crossbars and side rails. You will need both side rails and crossbars to use this roof basket. It is extendable from 43″ to 64″ in length.
The roof cargo carrier is built from heavy-duty steel and enclosed in a rust preventive coating to keep your rooftop carrier in great shape for any future adventures.
The six-inch metal side rails will keep all your belongings safe and in place throughout your drive. Mockins takes customer service seriously. Their customers are their first priority.
Roof racks for roofs without rails
Best Affordable Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
The SportRack Camp Trailer Rack System is an excellent choice for carrying various cargo, including bikes, kayaks, and cargo boxes. It mounts easily on top of RVs, pop-ups, and camp trailers.
Each crossbar has three different notches that allow you to adjust the length to 80 inches, 83 inches, or 86 inches, depending on the width of your trailer. Installation and adjustments are simple by moving the roof rack feet along the length of the crossbars, so they align with the edges of your camper’s roof and securely tighten the feet to the crossbars with the Allen wrench.
It is lightweight, only weighing a total of six pounds. It has heavy-duty square steel bars that are rust and UV resistant, hold accessories safely and securely. It is designed with telescoping bars to accommodate a variety of camp trailers. This rack adjusts from 79″ to 88″ and can accommodate up to 200 lbs or 90 kg. This rack system comes with a one year warranty.
Best Premium Rack for Rvs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
Rhino has designed a versatile yet stylish track mount, roof rack kit. The great benefit of this roof rack system is the ability to slide your crossbars along the track to accommodate various sized loads. If you need to change the width center, it is as easy as sliding the crossbar. This creates tons of opportunities to customize it to your specific needs.
A stylish silver square shaped aluminum crossbars will enhance the look of any camp trailer, pop-up, or RV. And do not worry about the availability of accessories because Rhino offers a wide range of compatible accessories to meet every situation.
This rack is constructed for mounting on cap/topper non-metal rooftops. Installation requires drilling holes for mounting. The great benefit of this roof rack system is the ability to slide your crossbars along the track to accommodate various sized loads.
Best Overall Rack for RVs and Pop-up Campers (Without Rails)
This StarONE aluminum trailer ladder rack is adjustable from sizes from 4 feet to 8 feet 5 inches to fit all enclosed trailers. Remember universal means fits many sizes, be sure to measure and measure twice for accuracy.
Four stainless steel screws per side mount for maximum hold and strength are included. The side mount design is genius for those who do not want to take a risk on roof mounts and leaking. This mounting style almost eliminates the leaky risk of drilling into your roof.
This rack is quick and easy to assemble without complicated tools or maneuvering. All you will need are some simple hand tools and a drill. This kit includes two complete crossbars and mounting hardware to assemble one complete rack.
Things to Consider When Buying an RVs or Camper Roof Rack
Check the Weight
Heavy is not what you are looking for. You are looking for strong but lightweight. Many racks are bulky and are constructed of heavy materials like steel. Don’t sacrifice strength to lose weight but look for a balance of both. A well-engineered, all-aluminum rack will be around 30 percent lighter than steel and have more power and capacity. Also, make sure the rack is rated for the weight of your cargo. Knowing the weight of your kayak, luggage, paddleboard, or skis will be necessary when you choose the best roof rack for your needs.
Go for Modular
A modular rack has easy assembly and lets you add rack slats for a variety of uses. You can build a complete platform, swap damaged racks, and add items like rails. This rack can change to accommodate anything you need at any given time or place. This can be perfect for those whose needs may change on the road or in the middle of an adventure. Having options and versatility means unlimited adventure.
Check Out the Accessory Lineup
The best rack for versatility is one that can meet multiple purposes. Having the ability to purchase a wide range of accessories creates limitless adventure and possibilities. The best rack can accommodate mounts for water and fuel cans, rooftop tents, bikes, skis, surfboards, luggage, canoes/kayaks, and anything else you deem necessary. Companies sometimes make it challenging to use competitors’ accessories on their rack. Make sure you’re not locking yourself out of options you really want by choosing a rack with limited accessories.
Strength and Durability
There is no quicker way to ruin a trip than dodging traffic while rescuing your luggage or bike because of a rack failure. Remember that If you plan on heading into the backcountry, a cheap rack might not make it. Make sure the rack manufacturer has a reputation for good service and in building sound equipment in harsh conditions.
Don’t limit your adventure to the main highways just because you’re concerned about your rack strength. It is no secret that some of the best camping spots are only accessible via fire roads and dirt trails!
Consider the height with the rack installed because it will impact noise and fuel economy. The good news is that it’s possible to limit that impact with a low-profile rack. Also, remember that a shorter rack will make loading and unloading gear easier. It also gives better heights for parking in low parking garages, and creates less drag which means less noise and better fuel mileage.
Not all racks are manufactured the same. There are those companies that sell poor quality replicas, have no customer support, and no guarantees. Buy from companies that have been around for decades and have excellent customer service to assist in rack installation or requirements about performance. There is a reason some companies have been in the business for an extended period of time. Make sure the company and product are time tested.
Learn from the Pros
It is always advised to do your research. Check out reviews and practical information that will help you make your decision. Rv’ers and Campers need the rugged gear for their daily life, and they usually have experience through experimentation to know what works and what doesn’t. Outdoor veterans are usually outstanding about passing on information, tips, and tricks. It is easy to search and watch a few videos and find out everything you need to know.
Wide Product Range
Look for a company that makes racks and accessories for a wide variety of adventures. More rack accessories mean more options for you even if you upgrade your rig. The company will also have potential solutions for various situations. It is most likely your rack will outlast your vehicle or RV, so transferring it to your next one is always a good option.
Metal Vs. Plastic
More plastic components and accessories mean more chance for failure. Plastic becomes brittle and has a low load rating. It may fade the sun, and then crack are much more likely. Companies may use cheap materials to lower costs, meaning you get what you pay for. It is usually just not worth the risk. No one wants to lose their load and destroy their toys because of a shoddy product.
Space, hauling toys, extra luggage, or maybe having storage on the trip back for souvenirs, a roof rack can be your best solution. Asking the right questions and measuring twice can lead you to the best roof rack for your rig, and adding the roof rack can allow the whole family to pack the “essentials.” I hope one of our choices checks all your boxes and meets your needs.