When you’ve run out of space in your car and caravan for the family’s essential holiday luggage, what are you going to do? Stick some of the lighter items on the roof so that you can move around more easily! If you’re shopping for roof racks or roof bars, the good news is that we’ve tested a batch of rival products with caravanners in mind. We’ve concentrated on the types of roof bars that will fit almost any car.

The price differences between brands are quite surprising. The most expensive roof bars we tested cost £150, with the mid-range versions costing a little more than half that. Meanwhile the cheapest set of roof bars belongs to the Cruz SR+ range, and this is the brand that we’ll focus on in this review. 

Branded roof bars don’t get much cheaper than these Spanish examples, and the Cruz SR+ 130 roof bars are quick and easy to fit. They are designed for tow cars that already have roof rails. You won’t have to assemble these roof bars, because they come ready to use, and have a respectable maximum load of 75kg.

The Cruz SR+ 130 roof bars are made of rectangular galvanised steel bars covered with a black polymer coating. This makes them both strong and highly resistant to rust.

The only drawbacks are that locks are an optional extra with this set, and these roof bars weigh 4.55kg, so they are a tad heavier than the competition. A set of Cruz locks for SR+ roof bars costs £15 including VAT.

Several variations are available in the Cruz SR+ range, so you can choose the length of roof bar that suits your car best. The SR+ 110 is 110cm long; SR+ 120 is 120cm long; SR+ 130 is 130cm long and SR+ 135 is 135cm long. They are all made from steel measuring 30mm x 20mm and 1.5mm thick. 

We also liked the door-aperture versions, which you can buy if your tow car has no built-in roof rails. The feet are metal, with a plastic trim in front and behind. A single bolt detaches these covers, so attaching your car’s specific clip is simply a case of bolting metal to metal with nuts and bolts. The resulting foot and clip is rigid, so you only need to adjust the position of the feet along the bar to lock the bar firmly in place.

The other roof bar sets we checked out on the Practical Test Bench included the Halfords Roof Bar System E, priced at £85, which we awarded three stars, and the Summit 500 Series, at £89.95, which gained four stars in our test. Mont Blanc Supra 004, priced at £103.43, gained just two stars, mainly because it seemed a bit pricey.

Our Practical Caravan roof bar test winner was the Thule WingBar, at £150.50 which impressed us so much that we awarded it five stars in total.

Read a selection of Practical Caravan roof bar reviews to see what’s on offer in the shops and online before you decide which set is the best one to buy to suit your own tow car – and your wallet.