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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever used one of those cargo roof bags, particularly on their Volt or another car without a rack?
I have a couple of upcoming trips this summer and the cargo of the Volt simply won’t be enough for me and my family, so I was considering getting one.
If anyone has used one, I’d be interested to know what model and what your experience was like (wind noise, decrease in MPG, everything inside completely soaked, exploded once the car hit 55, etc). I’m not planning on buying a high-end one and definitely have no intentions of the added expense of adding rails to my Volt.
My wife has a Subaru Outback, but I’d like to get away with taking the Volt for at least the shorter of our two trips we have planned.
 

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We used to use one on my mom's old caravan. The caravan had a roof rack, and I'm not sure how you would secure it without one.
As for the bag, it worked well. It handled 70mph highway driving just fine, and was pretty waterproof.
I think it was made by Bell, but it was several years ago, and I don't really remember. I don't recall it adding any significant wind noise as long as it was strapped down well and didn't flap.

I would suggest going with a receiver hitch mounted cargo holder. I think it would be much more versatile and probably a lot better aero wise. Of course it will cost more too.
 

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Has anyone ever used one of those cargo roof bags, particularly on their Volt or another car without a rack?
I have a couple of upcoming trips this summer and the cargo of the Volt simply won’t be enough for me and my family, so I was considering getting one.
If anyone has used one, I’d be interested to know what model and what your experience was like (wind noise, decrease in MPG, everything inside completely soaked, exploded once the car hit 55, etc). I’m not planning on buying a high-end one and definitely have no intentions of the added expense of adding rails to my Volt.
My wife has a Subaru Outback, but I’d like to get away with taking the Volt for at least the shorter of our two trips we have planned.
You would need the rails no matter what cargo solution you select for the root if I understand them correctly.

If you need to take range into account, I'd imagine a hard shell solution would be more streamline compared to the bag/soft styles.
 

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Whatever you choose it would be a hassle and expense to fit, and there will be wind noise and range penalties for a not-so-great increase in capacity.

An Outback is the perfect tool for the job. If I had one I'd use that. Your family will thank you.
 

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Contrary to the opinion of folks who have never tried one of these, I bought one about two years ago for my daughter's 1,000 mile "commute" to/from college. We've used it a number of times and there is absolutely no visible damage to the roof, paint or door gaskets. The first time we used it I stopped fairly often to see if there was any shifting or other problems. There were none.

It is often quite full with 'stuff', although we try to not put heavy things in there; only linen, clothing and the like. Then again, it's pretty heavy by the time you add it all up.

I would definitely recommend.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U0FD03E/ref=s9_simh_gw_g468_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=NB8EEC69YN5WNC78MHTT&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Contrary to the opinion of folks who have never tried one of these, I bought one about two years ago for my daughter's 1,000 mile "commute" to/from college. We've used it a number of times and there is absolutely no visible damage to the roof, paint or door gaskets. The first time we used it I stopped fairly often to see if there was any shifting or other problems. There were none.

It is often quite full with 'stuff', although we try to not put heavy things in there; only linen, clothing and the like. Then again, it's pretty heavy by the time you add it all up.

I would definitely recommend.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U0FD03E/ref=s9_simh_gw_g468_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=NB8EEC69YN5WNC78MHTT&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop
Thank you!
Is the vehicle you're using this with equipped with a rack/rails?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have a lease and I wouldn't use it nearly enough to justify hitch plus the carrier. Plus, with the roof bag I could use it on my car and my wife's.
 

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So the one I linked below would require roof bars but just wanted to pass on my experience. I used mine several times in a roof basket on my older Land Rover and worked great. That thinkg got horrible gas mileage (so didnt notice a loss) and usually was on some backroad going camping and kept stuff dry and held quite a bit of stuff. Used it on my Ford Fusion (with cross bars) on a 1400+ highway drive and did its job of holding stuff and keeping dry but killed fuel mileage on highway. As in this was a 4 cyc Fusion that usually got 30mpg on highway and I got 20 mpg. This was with the bag being stuffed so full square shape on top. That was only time I used it on the car. After that trip we traded in for a 7 passenger SUV and ended up getting on the the large cargo boxes and that setup maybe causes a 1 mpg loss on the SUV. Cargo box is much easier to use (outside of just putting on top of the car I guess) and you can lock etc. That being said the bag will work and I have been in a car with cross bars that went through the car (for the straps) and the doors close just fine. Just pretty sure you will suffer in the MPG column but no idea how much



http://www.discountramps.com/car-top-carriers/p/RBG-01/
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So the one I linked below would require roof bars but just wanted to pass on my experience. I used mine several times in a roof basket on my older Land Rover and worked great. That thinkg got horrible gas mileage (so didnt notice a loss) and usually was on some backroad going camping and kept stuff dry and held quite a bit of stuff. Used it on my Ford Fusion (with cross bars) on a 1400+ highway drive and did its job of holding stuff and keeping dry but killed fuel mileage on highway. As in this was a 4 cyc Fusion that usually got 30mpg on highway and I got 20 mpg. This was with the bag being stuffed so full square shape on top. That was only time I used it on the car. After that trip we traded in for a 7 passenger SUV and ended up getting on the the large cargo boxes and that setup maybe causes a 1 mpg loss on the SUV. Cargo box is much easier to use (outside of just putting on top of the car I guess) and you can lock etc. That being said the bag will work and I have been in a car with cross bars that went through the car (for the straps) and the doors close just fine. Just pretty sure you will suffer in the MPG column but no idea how much



http://www.discountramps.com/car-top-carriers/p/RBG-01/
Damn! Really?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
To update this thread, I did end up buying a cargo bag and using the Volt for a long weekend trip up to Ogunquit Maine last week.
I bought this cargo bag:
https://www.amazon.com/Keeper-07203-1-Waterproof-Cargo-Cubic/dp/B00D9C2CDO/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1470167132&sr=1-2&keywords=cargo+bag

And borrowed a pair of inflatable roof racks from my father, the same as these, but a different brand.
https://www.amazon.com/Winterial-Inflatable-Luggage-Universal-Capacity/dp/B01FG99DCU/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1470167182&sr=1-1&keywords=inflatable+roof+rack

I put the “racks” on and attached the bag to it and made the 450 mile round trip without incident. The bag didn’t move an inch, no noise, forgot it was there. The bag itself would be able to fit almost as much as the Volt would be able to fit with the seats down, but I only put the things in there that wouldn’t fit in the trunk (a big ass stroller, beach umbrella and a couple duffle bags).

The biggest negative was the set up time. Putting the racks on the car, then all 8 straps from the roof bag took a while. And because the straps for the roof bag are on the top, you needed to have it loaded and zippered up before you could secure it. The straps for the roof rack were also in the garage and I forgot to clean the undersides, so they did put some very light scratches in my car. Had they been clean, I doubt this would have happened, so this was an error on my part, but you need to be looking really hard to find the scratches and I haven’t tried to buff them out yet.

Was it worth it? I think so. We’ll be using the roof bag on my wife’s Outback for longer trips going forward. I think it’s a good option for anyone worried about not having the cargo space for trips in their Volt that also doesn’t want to drop a ton of money on a hard-shell roof box or the other options.

Here’s a few pictures:





Our view from the front of the hotel:



After the return (never had a chance to charge up there)

 

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Thanks for the update. I didn't even know there is such a thing as an inflatable roof rack. How does it secure to the car? Straps inside?
 

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To update this thread, I did end up buying a cargo bag and using the Volt for a long weekend trip up to Ogunquit Maine last week.
Nice work! Thank you for the detailed summary. I do like that bag, but be careful using those temporary racks, the video on the amazon page mentioned using a permanent rack. Glad you found something to work for you and appreciate you sharing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the update. I didn't even know there is such a thing as an inflatable roof rack. How does it secure to the car? Straps inside?
The inflatable rack runs through the cabin, so it has the benefit of the doors being slammed on it to hold it in place after it is buckled. Trust me, the thing is going nowhere. People put anything from ladders to kayaks on them. I was doing 80mph on the highway and it didn't move at all. They're well built with about 6 D-rings running across the top to strap into.

Here's a pic of someone putting them to use with a kayak:



They suggest mounting the front one as far forward as possible. This prevents it from coming into any contact with your head, but you need to make sure not to put it too far forward or you can't move your visors.

Another negative on the inflatable racks was that they break your door seals, so while the car was parked overnight, it poured out and rain did come in through the strap and got one of the seats wet. I don't think it would have happened if we were driving at the time, but definitely a negative.
 
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