Packing for family caravan holidays can take a lot of thought, to make sure that everyone has all they need for a week or two away from home. Bulky but light items such as folding chairs and windbreaks can really get in the way inside the caravan when you’re trying to pack and unpack. That’s why buying roof bars or roof racks for your tow car can make life so much easier and sweeter when you’re going on holiday. They’re pretty handy load-carriers at other times, too.

We’ve tested a new batch of roof bars that should fit most cars and funnily enough both the cheapest set of roof bars and the most expensive roof racks are available from The Roof Box Company

The cheapest roof bar set we tested was the Cruz SR+ 130 from The Roof Box Company, which costs just £49.95 plus £15 carriage and comes all the way from Cordoba in Spain. It’s a pretty good roof bar set at a bargain price and we’ve awarded it three stars.

We tested a couple of medium-priced roof bars as well. First up was the Halfords Roof Bar System E at £85, which also gained three stars. Then we tested the Summit 500 Series at £89.95, and were so impressed that we gave the Summit roof bar set a four-star rating.

But then, as if to prove that money can’t buy everything, we tested the Mont Blanc Supra 004 roof bars at £103.43. It may be named after a mighty awesome mountain, but the Mont Blanc Supra 004 roofrack left our testers a bit underwhelmed, so they gave it a two-star rating. 

The Practical Caravan roof bar test winner was the Thule WingBar, priced at £150, which so impressed our experts that they awarded it a five-star rating! It’s quick and easy to assemble and clip to your car without any tools, and it boasts an aerofoil shape that will reduce drag and noise compared to rival roof bars. Finally, it can take the greatest weight of all the roof bars we tested, with a maximum load of up to 100kg being permitted. 

Before you take the plunge, don’t forget to read all our roof bar test reports to see which ones are the best buys for you and your tow car. 

Whispbar pioneered the low-noise, improved-fuel-economy aerofoil shape for roof bars. They called it ‘whisper technology’ and our Practical Caravan tests prove that Whispbar still has the edge — remaining slightly quieter than similar designs from rival brands such as Thule, when a car was driven with unloaded bars. But does that slight benefit, plus the beautiful sleek styling, really justify the premium cost? Well, the maximum load is only 75kg, which is 25kg less than Thule’s mighty WingBar roofrack.

Like the Thule WingBar roof bar set, the Whispbars are modular, but putting them together is a much more involved process than with our test-winning Thule product. These Whispbar S16w roof bars come semi-assembled for door-aperture fitment, which means a fair bit of disassembly is needed for roof-rail applications.