After a few months with a Rhino-Rack Masterfit Roof Box bolted to his roof, Nathan’s ready to give us the lowdown. Let’s just say that ‘too much junk in the trunk’ isn’t an issue anymore (for his car at least).
If you’re a car camper or like to have the ultimate camp set up, there’s nothing worse than heading on a camping trip with your mates and being able to pack everything EXCEPT the kitchen sink. I’ve been using the Rhino-Rack MasterFit 320L Roof Box for the last couple of months on various outings to see if these rooftop coffin look-a-likes* are actually worthwhile and just how practical they are.
*You can actually fit inside if you forget to pack your tent.
Let’s Start With Some Basic Specs
It has a special scientific name but it’s basically super durable plastic
15kg (super light!)
There are 3 internal tie-down points to use with the 3 included straps
Driver’s side only
|Max. Driving Speed
130km/h while the roof box is installed
320L, though there are larger options available
3x locking points
|Roof Rack Compatibility
Will fit most roof racks due to its clamp install system, however roof rack spacing must be between 550-890mm
Alright, now we’ve covered the basics of this thing, let’s get into reviewing it. I want to start by saying that I don’t need one of these on my roof 24/7, I drive a Nissan X-Trail so it’s not like I’m short on space in the boot. I also live in a townhouse in a gated estate with a tiny little garage and the first thing I thought of when I saw the roof box installed was ‘geez this is gonna be a tight fit’ (in the garage that is), and sure enough, when I got home, it was about 10cm too tall and would’ve hit the garage door.
After 10 minutes of pondering my life choices and where else I could park my car, I remembered the guys at ARB showing me the cool clamp system that allows you to reposition or remove the whole box pretty darn easily, so I just took it off! It now lives on a rack in my garage and I just put it on when I need it, perfect!
I give the Rhino-Rack MasterFit Roof Box a 9/10 for practicality. That does have a lot to do with the above situation but, having used it for a couple of months now, it actually comes in handy more than I thought it would. I no longer have to tear apart my boot lining while trying to slide in camping chairs with sharp plastic corners, I don’t have to bother putting my seats down (which actually takes longer than putting the roof box on) just to fit those couple of longer items and, best of all, now I can keep my wet gear like wetsuits, wakeboards and stinky fishing gear out of my car and up in the roof box.
The only point deduction is due to the fact that you cannot decide which way you want the lid to open. It would be nice if you could opt for a passenger opening hinge to truly give you freedom of choice to suit your particular needs.
I’ve deducted 2 points for this one simply because it’s made of plastic and regardless of how durable it may be, the flimsy nature of long lengths of plastic means that the unit can be a little cumbersome to open and close smoothly. If you don’t close it properly, the latches won’t line up and you can’t lock it until they do.
It tends to want to open one half at a time (I.e. the front will lift up but not the back, or vice versa) meaning that sometimes you need both hands to lift the lid evenly and smoothly. The other point is due to the fact that you can’t remove your key from the lock unless the lid is down and the unit is locked shut.
I wouldn’t have thought of this being an issue and I’m sure that it’s a security feature so you don’t forget to lock it (leading to it popping open halfway down the highway and all your stuff flying out), but it would be good to have the option to while you’re at camp and want to have constant access to it without leaving your keys sitting in the lock.
Durability & Security
Due to its highly durable plastic build, I don’t believe there’s going to be any issue with the longevity of this unit. I’ve been pretty rough with it so far: taking it on and off all the time and chucking boards in it and it still feels pretty solid.
The only point deduction for this one is due to it feeling a little flimsy when opening and closing due to the plastic hinges and braces, but if you treat it right I don’t doubt that the unit will continue to deliver.
Security-wise, the single key lock activates 3 separate locking pins, one at the front, one in the middle and one at the back, meaning that would-be thieves can’t simply reef open the back half of the box to reach in and play lucky dip with your gear.
I’ve had absolutely no dramas with the Masterfit Roof Box on my roof. If I didn’t put it on myself, when I’m driving, I wouldn’t even know it was there. I’ve driven with it installed at over 100km/h with no trouble, even when driving coastal routes on a windy day.
Don’t forget about the extra height though! I pulled into an underground parking lot and got to the bottom of the ramp before I remembered I had it on! Luckily it’s a slimline unit and I slid under the maximum height bar…
With an RRP of $639.00 AUD (and that seems to be the going rate across most online stores) this thing is no steal. That being said, if you need it, it’s worth the money, particularly for smaller cars or those going on big, fully-equipped car camping trips.
For me, it wasn’t something I’d considered because there’s a good amount of room in the X-Trail, but now that I’ve tried it out, I’m converted. I can see the value in it and how it makes road trips and camping trips that much more organised and spacious.
- Skiing & snowboarding — keep snow covered gear out of your car and don’t worry about strapping down your boards/skis like you do with roof racks
- Fishing — The 320L unit will fit heaps of fishing rods and keep your stinky tackle out of the car
- Wakeboarding, surfing and other water sports — You could fit smaller surfboards (maybe 6ft and under) into the roof box and I was able to fit 2 wakeboards with bindings attached. It’s great for keeping soaked wetsuits and lifejackets away from the upholstery.
- Camping, particularly if you have a smaller car. You can fit heaps of gear so it means you spend less time playing Jenga in your boot and more time having fun at camp.
Rhino-Rack have made a great little unit with their MasterFit 320L Roof Box. It mounts incredibly easily and it’s super secure; it’s lightweight so you can take it on and off by yourself; it looks nice on the roof of your car and it stores a heap of gear.
The materials seem durable enough to last a lifetime (it does come with a 5 year manufacturers warranty) with the only concern being the flexibility of the lid and how it can be cumbersome to open/close properly and lock. That being said, if you treat it well I reckon this is more of a minor annoyance than a real concern.
It’s a great addition to any car, big or small, if you need to move gear out to give you more leg space, to free up an extra seat or two or protect the interior.
Nathan was provided the Rhino-Rack MasterFit 320L Roof Box for review purposes and got to keep it afterwards. The views are entirely his own.
Get the gear and get out of here!