From the pioneers who strapped armoires to wagons, to the Great Depression-era farmers who roped pianos to Model Ts, the tradition of loading up your ride with oversized items and cruising across the country is a rich one. Mattresses, kayaks, lumber, or simply suitcases that won’t fit in the trunk — whatever it is that doesn’t go in your car can often be carried on top, provided you take the right precautions and make sure your load is latched on.
- Stack items evenly across your roof, or roof rack if you have one. Place heavier items on top of lighter items to help hold them down.
- Cover the load with netting or a trap to prevent items from shifting or falling out.
- Use a tie-down strap to prevent items from shifting front to back. Attach the tie-down to your vehicle’s frame or roof rack. Do not attach the tie-downs to your bumper.
- Use 1-2 additional tie-down to secure items from shifting left to right. If you don’t have a roof rack, run the tie-down through the car’s open windows and attach the hooks together inside the car.