If you love long distance drives with your family and or with friends, one critical factor to consider is comfort in your vehicle. Families with children, in particular, need to create additional space in the car, and this is where rooftop cargo carriers play a significant role in freeing up space for a more comfortable driving expedition.
Depending on the size of the rooftop cargo carrier that you decide to purchase, you can carry a variety of load on your trips like camping gears, kayaks, ski and snowboards and other personal luggage that you’ll need on your journey.
Rooftop cargo carrier also comes in a variety of makes and sizes from bags, boxes, and baskets each with its advantages and disadvantages. We are going to look at the ten best Rooftop Cargo Carriers you can find in the market in 2023.
- Features to consider in Good Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- Top 10 Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier 2023
- 1. Rightline Gear Sport Jr. Rooftop Carrier
- 2. Thule Force Cargo Box
- 3. Yakima MegaWarrior Rooftop Cargo Basket
- 4. Leader Accessories Roof Rack Cargo Basket
- 5. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box
- 6. Keeper Waterproof Cargo Bag
- 7. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- 8. RoofBag Waterproof Carrier
- 9. Roofpax Car Roof bag
- 10. Egofine Rooftop Waterproof Cargo Bag
- Guide to Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers
- Bottom Line
Features to consider in Good Rooftop Cargo Carrier
The dimensions of the carrier determine the amount of load you can carry as opposed to capacity in liters. Cargo carrier ideal for small vehicles is usually compact but spacious enough with a load capacity of 140 pounds.
While medium to large carriers feature a capacity of more than 150 pounds and carry a lot more luggage like bikes, ski boards, camping gear, and surfboards, a large carrier also requires two or more people to properly fit and secure it on the roof of a vehicle.
Size and Weight
The load capacity of your vehicle will determine the size and weight of a cargo carrier which you can read from your car manual. Once you check the load capacity of your car, look for high-quality rooftop carriers with a high weight limit so that you can load heavy luggage without worry.
If you are the person who wants to carry oddly shaped cargo, we’d recommend a solid carrier like a basket or a soft bag. Also, baskets are an excellent choice if you want to carry large and heavy objects as they can be strapped using straps and cords.
Not all cargo carriers feature 100% waterproof protection. Unlike bags, manufacturers will not guarantee waterproof protection on boxes. If you’re living in areas that receive a lot of rainfall, you may need to consider purchasing a waterproof bag for maximum safety of your luggage.
On the other hand, baskets feature simple extended designs for carrying extra load capacity but don’t have waterproof protection.
Design and Aerodynamics
A cargo carrier should feature an ergonomic and intuitive design that let you store your luggage securely at the same helping you create more space in your vehicle. Additionally, an aerodynamic design will help you cut down on gas mileage saving money on your trip.
Unlike bags, boxes and baskets come with universal designs that feature excellent aerodynamic performance. Most aerodynamic carriers are intuitive as they come with mounting hardware making them easy to install and maintain and a popular choice with people who need to carry sporting equipment and camping gear.
Ease of Use
Most cargo carriers can fit a majority of roof racks. However, there are those that are specifically designed to outfit vehicles that don’t have a roof rack such as bags. Bags come with ease of use, installation, and storage. If your car doesn’t have a roof rack, you must fit a one so that you can use a roof box or a basket.
Newer roof boxes feature a dual-sided opening system that lets you access your luggage from the right or left side. They also feature security systems that keep all your luggage safe when moving. However, most don’t guarantee 100% waterproof capability so you’ll have to take precaution when storing electronics together with other personal items on the rooftop. Besides, boxes and baskets don’t have security or waterproof features. With rooftop carriers, you’ll need additional straps and nets to secure your cargo properly.
A majority of carrier bags are foldable and waterproof meaning they feature fabric material construction. They possess a compact design for ease of storage after use. They are also reasonably priced but on the other hand, tend to wear to wear out quickly.
Boxes are made from rigid plastic while baskets feature hard galvanized iron. Unlike bags, boxes and baskets are more durable thanks to their sturdy construction and will last you a long time to come.
Quick and Easy Installation
Roof bags feature a lightweight profile for easy mounting by one person. Furthermore, bags are suitable for use in cars that come without racks like hatchbacks, SUVs, Sedans and other compact vehicles.
Most roof boxes are easy to mount on vehicles that have racks. They feature a sleek design but can also limit carrying oddly shaped luggage. Baskets feature metal construction making them more massive than their counterparts. They require to be fitted by more than one person, and due to their weight, you can opt to install them permanently if your garage size allows.
Top 10 Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier 2023
This top carrier features a Hydrotuff material and PVC mesh construction that’s 100% water-resistant keeping wind-driven rain and all moisture away from your bag and belongings giving you peace of mind as you travel.
Additionally, the Sport carrier ZipRight System with a coated and concealed zipper located on the flap will keep rainwater from entering the carrier. The urethane zipper is welded in place by the protective zipper flap to make the seam waterproof.
This aerodynamic carrier features Hydrotuff materials and ultraviolet safe PVC semi-glazed mesh XT construction for strength. The UV protection makes the carrier fade resistance from.
The sturdy stitching featured on the Sport Jr. enhances robustness and durability that will last you a long time to come.
If you’re planning to use the Sport Jr. for your family vacation or backwoods expedition, you’ll be sure you are going to save some bucks at the gas pump with this aerodynamically designed carrier. The product is the only car top carrier specifically designed for compact cars.
In addition to this feature, there are car clips included in the package for attaching on the straps on your vehicles door frames to firmly secure your bag. Similarly, the kit contains straps for looping around the roof rack to ensures your belongings are in place when on the move.
If you’re looking for a rooftop cargo carrier, Sport Jr. could be your best bet for compact cars. It has a large capacity of 9 cubic feet to carry all your belongings on a family vacation. It’s also durable and 100% waterproof keeping all your gears dry.
- 100% waterproof
- Sewn-in guide
- Aerodynamic design for compact vehicles
- If the bag will flap loudly when the car is moving at speeds above 50Mph
This diamond-textured shell with durable five layer ABS plastic construction holds up to the harshest weather conditions.
The aerodynamic design on this product provides users with reduced noise and drag when the vehicle is moving even at speeds over 70Mph.
The Force cargo box features an exclusive diamond-textured AeroSkin surface that gives it robustness and durability.
The Force cargo box requires no assembly and comes with comes with a tool-free mounting capability making it ready to mount out of the box. This product attaches easily to roof racks thanks to the Quick-Grip Knob hardware placed on the floor of the box. The installation takes less than five minutes in most applications.
Most users will open and close the box more frequently than completely mounting and un-mounting form their roof. Thule Force offers ease of use through its dual-side access system that eases opening and closing making it user-friendly. Also, the locking system of the lid ensures that all your belongings are adequately secure.
In addition to this feature, the box comes with extreme rack compatibility making the Force box compatible with Thule rack systems, round bars, and most factory racks
The Force cargo box with one of the fastest mounting system is an excellent choice for those looking for short term storage as cargo boxes aren’t designed to be driven empty. Also, if you don’t have a garage that can accommodate a roof box, you can consider purchasing this product.
- Fast, easy and secure installation
- Sleek matte black finish design
- Sturdy lid
- Easy to use
- Lacks a handle
- Not waterproof
The MegaWarrior comes with a universal attachment system that works with square, round, and most factory roof racks. This basket is versatile and comes with additional accessories that can be purchased like a spare tire carrier, a high lift jack carrier, a light mounting bracket and increase the carrying capacity for more luggage.
The basket comes with a movable load bar that allows you to free up space inside your vehicle and carry smaller items such as jerry cans on the basket.
This Yakima basket features a heavy-duty steel tube construction that’s weather and corrosion resistant for greater durability and strength. Its full body can fit any luggage, camping gear, and sporting equipment.
In addition to this feature, the MegaWarrior comes with a wind deflecting and custom wind fairing that cuts down both wind and noise vibrations.
Attaching the MegaWarrior on your rooftop takes about ten minutes thanks to the aerodynamic design! To secure this basket, you’ll need to place it and screw it down using the provided clamp by giving it a few turns. Once it’s tightly secured, you can load your luggage, and you’re ready to hit the road.
You can leave this basket permanently fitted on to your vehicle even if you’ll not use it often to carry luggage. However, it will add wind noise on the road.
The Yakima MegaWarrior is an ideal option of those looking into carrying large capacities of luggage, camping gear, and sporting equipment. Once installed, you can leave it permanently fitted even if you’ll not be using it often.
- Quick and easy to fit and remove
- Well built
- Simple to use
- Wind noise can be annoying
The Leader Accessories roof rack features an overall dimension of 64 inches length, 39 inches wide and 6 inches high offering a tremendous capacity to carry any luggage like camping gears, cargo bags, and sporting equipment.
Furthermore, if you want to increase the capacity on the roof of your vehicle, ensure that the bar’s distance is above 29 inches so that the extension will fit perfectly.
Leader Accessories basket feature heavy duty steel construction with a black powder coating making it durable and resistant form weather elements, rust, and scratches.
In addition to this feature, this basket comes with a wind fairing that reduces vibrations and noise that occur from the wind while moving.
Leader Accessories features lightweight materials and therefore, you can assemble it on your own. Leader Accessories cargo basket features a simple and straightforward design. It can take around 20 minutes to mount it up the roof of your vehicle.
Always remember to secure your load with straps to keep it in place when the vehicle is moving to avoid things falling out posing a risk to other motorists.
The Leader Accessories Cargo basket is compatible with most modern SUVs, trucks, and vans. The metal profile on this basket offers durability with greater versatility for items that can be attached to the basket and increase the capacity.
- Quick and easy to mount
- Not weatherproof thus changing weather conditions can damage luggage
The Skybox Carbonite Cargo box comes fully assembled and is ready to use out of the box. It features an extremely easy to open and close handle with a dual-side opening system. The dual side opening allows you to conveniently open from the left or right side.
With no assembly required with this box, you’ll easily and quickly mount it on the roof of your car while the Quick-release mounting hardware is designed to fit Yakima round, square and all factory crossbars.
Yakima included recycled ABS materials in the construction of Skybox Carbonite cargo box for durability and strength. The matte black finish gives it a sleek look and resistance from weather elements. The carrier box also features internal lid stiffeners for added firmness.
The above average construction and elegance with a long, lean body, is most suitable to larger vehicles. However, you should take extra precaution while driving in the rain as the manufacturer doesn’t claim waterproofness in this product.
The aerodynamic design featured in this cargo box increases your vehicle’s efficiency at the same time cuts down wind and noise vibrations.
In addition to this feature, the Superlatch security system which is easy to turn and click ensures that the lid remains firmly secured to its base, and your load is safe from falling off.
This sleek designed Yakima cargo box is a value purchase for people looking into saving money. Compared to products in its category, it’s arguably a favorite pick for daily use since its durable and will allow you to carry a wide range of load making it an excellent choice for skiers.
- Sturdy construction
- Comes with an ergonomic handle
- Easy to set up and clamp on
- Not completely waterproof
Keeper cargo bag is waterproof and keeps luggage moisture free and dry. The soft-sided design allows you to store luggage with odd shapes and comes with straps that enable you to attach and remove from your vehicle quickly.
The bag also allows you free up space in your car with a surface space of 15 cubic feet which can be a bit larger for smaller models. Always ensure that you measure the size of your vehicle before purchasing any rooftop cargo equipment.
Keeper cargo bag features a rubber laminated nylon textile with an easy to attach design that requires minimal effort to install and remove after use. It will take you a short time to fix this bag on the roof of your vehicle.
In addition to this feature, the bag stores easily when not in use and can be stored away in a small space.
Keeper Waterproof Cargo bag features a rubber laminated nylon material construction a soft and flexible fabric that allows you to carry extra luggage in your car. Keeper also included adjustable buckles on this rooftop bag to fit SUVs and smaller vehicles.
This cargo bag features waterproof qualities and will keep all your luggage dry. It can also hold a lot of cargo and comes with an easy to install design. Keeper Waterproof Cargo bag suits SUVs and all compact vehicles.
- Easy installation
- Wears easily
- Security is lacking
Alongside efficiency, this rooftop carrier features an easy to mount design with broad, pre-installed power click quick –mount system that helps to keep your luggage sturdy on your journey. Furthermore, Motion XT cargo carrier automatically locks the lid in place for increased safety of your luggage.
Additionally, the Secure Slidelock system indicates whether your cargo carrier is adequately secured or not. You can’t remove the key on the security system unless all the latches are appropriately closed ensuring the box will never open while driving.
Motion XT cargo carrier features hard plastic ABS materials that are durable and robust to offer you many years of service.
Thule also included three color options to choose from – a glossy black, glossy titan, and white. The product also comes in various size options that you can choose from to suit your needs and your vehicle’s cargo capacity.
Thule Motion XT carrier also features a dual-side opening system from either side so that you can easily pack and access your stuff. There’s minimal risk of your trunk being in contact with the with the cargo box thanks to the forward position on the roof of the car.
In addition to this feature, Motion XT cargo carrier is a sturdy product that features fiberglass construction with a glossy finish making it lightweight and elegant. This product is very quiet on the highway and an excellent choice for SUVs.
Thule Motion XT rooftop carrier is the most aerodynamic box that you can find in the market that offers you a quiet ride for cross country rides saving you gas mileage for better fuel economy.
- Saves on gas mileage
- Sturdy construction
- Look out for damages when shipping
The RoofBag can fit cars that have roof racks and those that don’t have roof racks with an easy to install design for fast and easy mounting. The continuous zipper in the bag along three sides and the two zipper sliders gives you easy access to your luggage for greater convenience.
Also, this carrier bag will help you save extra bucks as you enjoy a quiet ride thanks to the aerodynamic design.
The unique fabric featured in the RoofBag carrier is sturdy and will not rip or tear. The double vinyl coated polyester can resist up to 480 pounds making it robust and durable. This fabric is also weather element resistant – it will not fade as a result of the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Additionally, the vinyl material can also resist freezing temperature below -40 F and scorching temperatures of above 250 F. This bag feature heavy-duty buckles and straps that are virtually impossible to break.
This US-quality RoofBag features 100% waterproof materials that offer safety and protection of all your gear even under heavy rainfall. All the joints are sealed electrically for extra waterproofness ensuring that no water leaks into your luggage for greater peace of mind when driving under different weather conditions.
In addition to this feature, the RoofBag can fit all types of cars with open roofs and those with side rails, crossbars or baskets. The product has a 30-day return policy and a one year warranty if you’re not satisfied with your experience.
This high quality soft top carrier by RoofBag with abrasion resistant and waterproof design can withstand extreme temperatures and is an excellent choice for travelers who like camping or those looking for a sturdy bag that will serve them a long time.
- 100% waterproof design
- Extremely sturdy
- Quiet and fuel efficient
- Fits all vehicles
- Doesn't come with a roofing mat
You can never run out of space with Roofpax roof bag. The bag features a large capacity that can hold four to six suitcases to maximize your vehicle’s size fully. This soft rooftop cargo bag is also easy to install and remove with a secure non-slip design.
Roofpax cargo bag features a military waterproof double seam design with a double coating for extra protection. The built-in protective mat in this bag is sewn for strength and welded to keep your luggage safe from weather elements.
To ensure that water doesn’t get inside the car along the strap when it’s raining, keep the edges down.
This bag comes with four-door hooks and two other extra free hooks that are used to secure your cargo instead of the straps that are used by a majority of rooftop carriers in the market for maximum safety.
In addition to this security feature, Roofpax included heavy duty SBS zipper and ten sturdy straps with robust buckles for durability. Furthermore, the bag also features double strap covers with eight velcro bands.
Roofpax cargo bag with an extra-large size is a suitable choice for people with a lot of luggage to carry on their trip and can work with or without a roof rack. It’s also sturdy with military quality waterproof protection and a lifetime warranty on the zippers and buckles.
- Very spacious
- Thick waterproof cover
- Sturdy construction
- Wind noise
When you’re camping or going for a road trip, you’ll find that not all your personal belongings will fit into the trunk of your car especially if you have children that you plan traveling with on your journey.
Egofine cargo bag features an extra-large capacity and is an excellent choice if you want to pack more clothes, baby prams, walkers and other personal belongings.
Egofine cargo bag is incredibly simple to install, remove and requires minimal storage space thanks to the textile material construction. It’s compatible with most car roof racks like SUVs, Vans, and Sedans with a capacity to carry more than 200 pounds of cargo.
The bag is 100% waterproof and will ensure that your luggage stays safe and dry even under torrential rains. It keeps all moisture out thanks to the heavy duty lining vinyl and nylon construction.
Egofine rooftop cargo bag is an excellent choice for short trips and people traveling as families or a group of friends. It will help you free up space in your vehicle for greater comfort during the journey.
- Folds up and stores easily
- Easy to install
- Extra-large capacity
- Wind noise can be annoying
Guide to Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers
Here are the most common types of rooftop cargo carriers in the market. This buyer’s guide will help you choose what best suits your car type and needs.
Cargo bags are also known as soft top carriers that feature flexible textile materials. They fold easily and have the advantage of compact storage when not in use. They are also easy to mount and remove and most feature weather-resistant protection for your luggage.
Cargo bags are also affordable and a convenient alternative to hard-shell boxes. However, they are prone to wind noise and don’t guarantee total security of your luggage.
Additionally, a significant drawback of soft styled carriers is that they are not waterproof and can be a problem if you encounter wet weather on your road trip. Also, not all soft top carriers can withstand pressure from sharp objects like knives making them easy to tear and less durable than their counterparts.
Cargo boxes also known as roof boxes come as hard traditional box type or large soft bags that feature thin plastic construction and much cheaper than the hard types. The hard traditional roof box has long transformed from a square shape to stylish aerodynamic designs that cut down wind noise as you drive. They also feature fairly lightweight material construction and are easier to install making them an excellent choice for small to medium vehicles.
The hard boxes feature a larger carrying capacity for bulky equipment like ski boards, bikes, surfboards and camping gear. Families with young children find the traditional hard cargo box useful for storing things like pushchairs that can quickly fill up the trunk.
Aerodynamic boxes feature high-security measures with at least three latching points locked through a key. Many cargo boxes in the market can securely store your luggage safely.
If you bought your vehicle without a roof rack, you could purchase and install one easily. A majority of cargo baskets work well with most vans, Minivans, and SUVs adding extra storage space on your vehicle.
The most common type of cargo baskets that you’ll find in the market is the raised rail roof rack that attaches to the edge of the vehicle’s roof and runs from the front to the back of your car.
What Makes a Good Rooftop Cargo Carrier?
The length of a rooftop cargo carrier will be determined by what you’re looking for in a carrier. Some cargo carriers like roof mounted cargo boxes feature a lean and long body making them the best option of carrying golf bags, ski, surfboards and other luggage that’s lengthy.
Rooftop cargo carriers often create a drag when you’re driving. This drag results in wind noise that can be annoying and can also negatively affect your vehicle’s performance.
Premium rooftop box and baskets feature aerodynamic designs that reduce gas mileage and wind noise for excellent car performance and quiet rides.
Some rooftop cargo carriers are broad if you need to store large items or if you have a hatch backed vehicle.
The security of a rooftop cargo carrier is a crucial element if you don’t want to lose your items when making your road trip. Also, you want to ensure that your luggage doesn’t fall off and other motorists are safe when you’re on the road.
Carrier Warranty and Quality Control
Rooftop cargo carriers that feature high-quality construction materials like ABS plastics are pricey. They are rigid and durable structures that can withstand weather elements making them the best for use for a long time.
Some rooftop cargo carrier manufacturers will ensure that they offer you excellent product warranties since they have confidence the carrier is a high-quality product.
Rooftop cargo carriers can be quite an investment but one which is worthwhile. The soft bag styles are always the most affordable option in the market while the mounted rooftop boxes and baskets are the priciest options.
Another factor that will determine the cost of a rooftop cargo carrier is the construction materials and the finish. The more the durable and well-constructed a product, the more the money you’ll pay when purchasing.
What are the Benefits of Purchasing a Rooftop Cargo Carrier?
If you’ve ever found yourself lacking storage space in the trunk of your car when traveling, probably you never considered making use of the wasted space on the roof of your vehicle. A rooftop cargo carrier maximizes this space to give you extra storage for your luggage.
Some cargo rooftop carriers are designed for permanent use while others are intended to be for temporary use. Therefore before you decide to purchase one make sure you research the best options that are available to suit your needs and how much extra space you’ll need to add.
There are various benefits that you can rip from a rooftop cargo carrier
- Additional Storage Space – This is the most significant advantage of adding a cargo carrier on your vehicle. It also ensures that you free up space inside your car for greater comfort of your passengers.
- Versatility – A cargo carrier will offer you a lot of versatility. It can be used to transport a variety of cargo like sporting equipment, camping gear, personal luggage and more.
- Cargo organization – With a rooftop cargo carrier, you can say goodbye to losing items on your trips. The product will help you to properly organize and manage your luggage at the same time secure your cargo.
Rooftop Cargo Carrier Safety Tips
Many people love the adventure and the excitement that a road trip can offer. Once you purchase a rooftop cargo carrier, you’ll have the advantage of extra space that you can use to haul your luggage and create more space inside the vehicle for a more comfortable ride.
However, as much as your passengers appreciate the extra room they have, several precautions need to be taken into account when using rooftop cargo carriers whether it’s the hard or soft type.
- Make sure the carrier fits – A properly fitting rooftop carrier should be your number one priority. It should match the size of your roof to avoid it sliding off the vehicle.
- Watch your clearance – The additional height added when you load your vehicle with cargo can cause the car to have low clearance. Watch out for low hanging branches, carports, and the garage.
- Balance – The higher the load that you attach to the roof of your vehicle the more you shift the center of gravity which can cause swaying at high speeds. Make sure that you have balanced your load evenly for a more stable ride.
A road trip can be the most critical time you’ll ever spend with your family. You don’t want to overstuff your vehicle, especially when doing long distance travels. The best option is to relocate your luggage to another place in your car and create more space for greater passenger comfort.
That’s where rooftop cargo carriers play a role as they help you to create more space in the car allowing your passengers to enjoy a luxurious ride. Whether we have roof racks or not, many options are available in the market that is easy to install with various carrying capacities that can meet your personal needs.