How to Tie a Mattress to a Car Roof Rack

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 8 minLast updated on July 7, 2022

So, you're about to buy a new mattress you want to transport home in your vehicle. Or, maybe you're looking to move your things to a new home and are wondering what's the best way to tie a mattress to a car roof rack securely and with ease. 

Today, we'll share helpful and easy-to-implement tips to help you adequately prepare, elevate and fasten your bed to your car roof regardless of whether it's a conventional or hybrid mattress.

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Why It's important to know how to tie a mattress to a car roof rack

Not everyone needs a rental truck to move a mattress, especially when your vehicle can do the job of moving your stuff. Strapping a mattress atop a car is a simple process, but it could be potentially dangerous if not done right (1).

Tools for fastening your bed to your vehicle

You don't need an arsenal of equipment to secure your bed to your car roof. The tools you'll need to tie a mattress to a car roof rack are available in retail stores around you. 

Here's a list of what you'll need:

  1. A plastic wrap
  2. Duct tape 
  3. A pair of scissors 
  4. Strong Ropes
  5. Good old fashioned strength

How do you put each of these things to use? Here is how;

  • A plastic wrap

The essence of a plastic bag is to protect your mattress from the elements. Dust, rain, snow, etc., could ruin your mattress during transportation. If you can't find a plastic bag, used bedsheets would do fine as long as they completely cover your bed. 

  • Duct Tape

Your duct tape does the work of sealing openings in your mattress bag or plastic wrap. Take care to double-seal openings to ensure a thorough job. Also, Double-check for any gaps in the mattress bag as the wind could tear right through the slightest of space in your wrapping. 

  • A pair of scissors

Sawing through duct tape with your teeth might seem a quick, harmless thing to do. But it isn't ideal.

  • Strong Ropes

The ropes you use have to be thick enough to ensure they don't snap mid-journey. However, try not to use overly thick ropes that can make knotting difficult. Not too thin, not too thick, is the right fit here. 

  • Good old-fashioned strength

Depending on the size and make of your mattress, you may or may not need an extra pair of hands during sealing and movement.

How to firmly secure your mattress atop your vehicle

Now that you've gotten the tools needed to tie a mattress to a car roof rack, you can commence the mounting and fastening process. 

1. Mount Your Bed

After ensuring that the mattress is completely sealed, mount it on the car's roof rack. Remember that if you're using a king-size mattress or a queen-size mattress, you'll need to lift an item weighing nearly 90lbs. So having someone close by to help you in elevating the bed might be a worthy consideration. 

Also, try not to fold or bend your mattress in a bid to get it to fit atop your car, as it may be harmful to your bed. This is especially true for folks who use hybrid mattresses with springs and polymeric materials susceptible to damage under strain. If your mattress is too big for your car, getting a truck would be the best option.

Also read: Best Mattresses for Adjustable Beds.

2. Secure the mattress with ropes

Once the mattress is elevated to your vehicle's top, ensure it's balanced.  Then standing by the door side, throw the rope over the roof so that it traverses the width of the mattress. 

Now, with all the doors shut and the windows rolled down (excluding the driver's door), pass the rope through one window and out the window opposite it, and traverse it over the mattress again, pulling it tight to make a tight bind. Do this two more times, then knot the ropes inside the car, that is, under the roof. 

Quote Box

When moving a mattress by car, you must make sure the knot is super strong and that there's little or no space between the mattress and your car roof.

Is it legal to tie a mattress to your car?

Generally, nobody will stop you from moving around with something that gives you a comfortable and peaceful night’s rest in the US. But, if that item causes discomfort or poses a threat to others while you move it about, then you could be penalized for it. 

Mostly, it boils down to what's appropriate and what's not.  Take, for example, a person who's carrying a thin mattress— known for its moderate thickness and length—with a honda civic. The mattress dimensions fit the car's small frame, and it isn't likely to obscure the driver's view and those behind him. 

But, assuming the exact honda civic driver was hauling a 90lbs, 6foot-wide king-size mattress, a mattress that is so large that it wobbles from side to side atop the petite vehicle. Then we know that our driver is begging to be booked.


What other fasteners can I use to tie my mattress to my car roof rack?

Ratchet straps are also excellent fasteners that you can use on car roofs. However, they are more pricey than ropes.

How long should a mattress remain folded during transport?

How long a mattress should remain folded depends on the mattress composition. For example, memory foam mattresses can handle three or more weeks of folding. In contrast, pocket spring mattresses have a high susceptibility to damage after a few hours of folding.

What safety rules should I follow when driving with a mattress?

The primary safety rules to follow when driving are; drive slowly, stop at intervals to retighten your mattress, and avoid busy routes.


It's not uncommon to see mattresses strapped to moving vehicles. And this article has shown that to tie a mattress to a car roof rack is a no-brainer. 

The only thing worth noting here is to make sure you transport your bed doesn't endanger the lives of others. 

Have you moved your mattress before? Would you say it is easy or hard? Have you witnessed accidents related to flying mattresses?  Kindly share your experiences with us in the comments below.


  1. Brian C. Tefft. (August 2016). The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Road Debris, United States, 2011-2014. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Retrieved from

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