There’s nothing better than cruising your car on the highways towards your road-trip destination. And it is crucial for you to carry and manage your luggage in an excellent way to keep things sorted during the voyage.
Have you ever found yourself in a tussle with the massive luggage as there is no space left to keep it?
Luggage is the significant thing you need to carry with you, and there is nothing better than the best rooftop cargo carriers to keep the luggage handy while maintaining the spaciousness in your car.
To assist you better, here are some rooftop cargo carrier reviews that are perfect for every vehicle and justify extreme value for money.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers Comparison Table 
- 2 Top 9 Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers for 2021
- 2.1 1. RoofBag Waterproof Car Rooftop Storage Bag – Best for Carrying Heavy Load
- 2.2 2. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier – Best Dual-Side Opening Cargo Carrier
- 2.3 3. Keeper 07203-1 – Best Waterproof and UV Resistant Cargo Bag
- 2.4 4. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- 2.5 5. Amazon Basics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag – Best Budget-Friendly Cargo Carrier Bag
- 2.6 6. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box – Extremely Impressive Aerodynamics
- 2.7 7. Thule Sidekick Cargo Box – Best Compact Hard-Shell Cargo Box
- 2.8 8. SportRack Vista XL – Best for More Storage Access
- 2.9 9. CURT 18115 Roof Rack – Best Easy to Mount Cargo Carrier
- 3 Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers
- 4 Top Safety Tips to Follow when Traveling with a Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- 5 Rooftop Cargo Carriers FAQs
- 6 Final Thoughts
Top 9 Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers for 2021
1. RoofBag Waterproof Car Rooftop Storage Bag – Best for Carrying Heavy Load
RoofBag is not a hard shell carrier like Thule Cargo Box, but it is equally impressive in some terms. As the name is self-explanatory, this product will offer you with waterproof capabilities, and you don’t have to worry about the luggage even in extreme rains.
It comes in a plethora of capacity options, and you have the freedom to mount any of these variants based on the requirement and the roof of your car.
Heavy Duty Construction
The cargo carrier may appear like a soft-touch material, but it is supremely heavy-duty. You have the option to carry a load up to 3000 lbs without the hassles of any damages. Also, there is ample of space on offer so that you can manage your goods in a more comfortable way.
Mounting Requires no Racks
There is no need for any tools or any racks to mount this cargo carrier. You can keep it in the basket or on the existing mechanism of your car with the help of durable belts that holds the cargo box at its place even on higher speeds.
Fits Any Car
As aforementioned, it is available in a multitude of variants which makes it compatible for all vehicles. No matter you have an SUV or you own a sedan, you can use this carrier on the go.
Easy to Store when not in Use
The major problem with hard-shell carrier boxes is that you cannot store them easily. They are not foldable and thus consume a lot of space during storage. But this is not the case with this carrier as you can store it easily by removing the straps and by folding it into half.
You can keep it anywhere without the worries of any dents or scratches.
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2. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier – Best Dual-Side Opening Cargo Carrier
Thule is here with a fantastic rooftop carrier with ample space. From skies to snowboards, you can carry almost anything as the capacity offered by the carrier is 165 pounds.
Just mount it on your car and start driving to the destination you want with ultimate convenience!
The cargo carrier from Thule has a dual-side opening. So, the driver and the passenger both get access to the stored items. The lid feels light, and the metal struts hold it so you can load/unload the goods with ease.
Furthermore, the motion of the lid is smooth, and it isn’t flimsy at all.
Easy to Install
Installing the cargo carrier is a breeze, and you can mount it on your car quickly. The latching mechanism fits well with the roof rack, and the cargo carrier remains securely in place even when you drive at high speeds.
Minimum Air Drag
Forget what air drag is when you have Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier installed on your car’s roof. Thule has designed it aerodynamically, and the carrier cuts through the air to reward you with a smooth ride.
Secure Lock System
Locking your precious items is now possible with Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier. The lid automatically locks in place and indicates a safe closure so that you can start driving to the destination.
The carrier is one-key system compatible, so you can get a Thule lock installed on it.
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3. Keeper 07203-1 – Best Waterproof and UV Resistant Cargo Bag
Another rooftop carrier that will assist you in the long journeys is Keeper 07203-1. The overall construction matches to RoofBag as both are made up of soft-touch material.
It is easy to install and requires no additional tools during the installation process. You can mount it easily, and it becomes ready to use.
Offers Lots of Storage Space
There are a total of four variants available for the buyers, and it makes them choose whatsoever space requirement they want. Two variants have 11 cubic feet capacity, and on the other hand, two options offer 15 cubic feet storage which can accommodate up to 3000 lbs of cargo.
Resistant to Water and UV Rays
One thing that most rooftop carrier users complain about is the color fading of the material. The reason behind is that their cargo boxes are not resistant to sun rays.
But Keeper 07203-1 is a value for money product, as it offers resistance to sun rays and water splashes. So the cargo will remain protected from the heat as well as from the water.
Feather-light in Weight
The gross weight of this cargo carrier will surprise you as it only weighs 5.25 lbs.
Isn’t it amazing?
You can use this cargo carrier, even if you didn’t have an SUV.
Easy to Remove and Store
You can remove the Keeper 07203-1 cargo carrier when not in use and can pack it without any troubles. Just pull out the straps, remove it from the roof, pack it and store it wherever you want.
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4. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Here’s an amazing rooftop cargo carrier that’ll protect your luggage from water. Made using high-quality material, the cargo carrier boasts a water-resistant design, and you can drive in rains without any hassles.
Furthermore, it rewards you with 100 lbs of cargo capacity that makes this cargo carrier a perfect choice for campers and travelers.
Installing the rooftop cargo carrier doesn’t need any tools at all. You can attach it with the roof rack on the go. JEGS provides everything you need to install the cargo carrier successfully.
Also, there’s an instruction manual available that makes the installation a breeze.
Usually, rooftop cargo carriers generate a lot of drag, and it reflects in the reduced mileage and speed of the car. But this isn’t the case with the JEGS rooftop cargo carrier.
The carrier has an aerodynamic design that offers minimal drag, and you can drive with ease.
The cargo carrier has an HDPE plastic hard shell that’s durable and solid. Forget about any easy cracks and damages, as the cargo carrier can withstand almost anything.
Just protect it from scratches, as the surface isn’t scratch-resistant.
Built-in Lock for Added Safety
JEGS rooftop cargo carrier protects the luggage from thefts, all thanks to the built-in lock. The manufacturer offers two keys with the cargo carrier for added convenience.
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Also Read: 21 Must Have DIY Car Repair Tools
5. Amazon Basics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag – Best Budget-Friendly Cargo Carrier Bag
Amazon Basics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag looks reliable and is manufactured by Amazon. The cargo carrier comes with four straps which ensure high safety and better grip even on faster speeds.
The model is available in two variants, i.e. a hitch rack carrier, and a rooftop carrier.
The seams on this bag are strong enough to hold the stored cargo and luggage. Also, the zippers are very sturdy and are easy to close or open. You can store gigantic items in this cargo carrier without any problems.
Comes with a Storage Case
As aforementioned, the best part about these soft cargo carriers is that these are easy to store. And you will get a storage case with this product. Fold it as per your preference, and then put it into the storage case for fortifying it from damages during storage.
Waterproof and Sun-proof
The construction of zippers and seams is so precise that there is no space for water to seep in. Whether you are driving your vehicle in the rain or under the harsh sun your cargo carrier will remain protected.
Light in Weight
The gross weight of Amazon Basics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag is 6.2 lbs which makes it perfect for mounting on small as well as large cars. The only thing this cargo carrier requires is the availability of roof rack for fixing the straps appropriately.
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6. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box – Extremely Impressive Aerodynamics
Yakima Skybox is one of the most stylish cargo boxes in this entire fleet! It comes in black color, and the design will surely surprise you. There are multiple variants available in this product, and you can buy from 12 cubic feet to 21 cubic feet based on your requirements and the size of cargo.
Yakima offers a lifetime warranty with Yakima Skybox, and that is enough to prove the reliability and durability of this cargo carrier.
Strong Latch Mechanism
The latches mounted inside the hard shell are strong enough to sustain moderate wears and tears. Also, there are no damages to the latches even after multiple and vigorous uses. There is no need to maintain the latches with any tool or something, just lube it when required, and it will work seamlessly.
Yakima Cargo Box offers superior aerodynamics and has a quirky design that can whack the winds. You can drive your vehicle on higher speeds with Yakima Skybox. Also, the maneuverability gets more when you have this best aerodynamic cargo box fixed on your car’s roof.
Comes with SKS Locking System
A lock is a very crucial part of any cargo carrier, and you will get a reliable lock system in Yakima Skybox. The amalgamation of SKS lock and the sturdy latches up-scales the game up, and it is tough for anyone to open the cargo carrier without proper keys.
Hard-shell is Durable
The hard shell is manufactured with carbonite and can sustain any blows and dings. Yakima Skybox comes with a lamination on the outer surface which protects it from any kinds of scratches.
Being a hard-shelled carrier box Yakima Skybox weighs extremely less and the best part is that you can access the cargo from both sides as it supports dual-side opening.
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7. Thule Sidekick Cargo Box – Best Compact Hard-Shell Cargo Box
Sidekick is another cargo box from Thule that comes at a budget-friendly price and has an aerodynamic design. If you want to carry medium and small-sized cargo, then Thule Sidekick is an ideal product for you.
Takes Lesser Space on the Roof
The dimensions of this rooftop carrier are 54 x 25 x 15.5 in, so it will not consume the whole space available on your car’s roof. You are free to carry other things like your bicycles, and other essentials with this cargo box mounted on your car.
One-sided Opening with Easy Access
Thule Sidekick Cargo Box comes with partial opening, and you can access your cargo on the go without running into hassles. The opening is available at the passenger side, so anyone from the passenger side can open the box with its easy to open flaps.
Inbuilt Secure Lock
Cargo Box has an inbuilt secure lock which helps you in keeping the essentials safe. You can easily lock and unlock the box using the provided keys.
Decent Load Carrying Capacity
Cargo Box is exemplary for small vehicles and for users who want to carry small-sized and lightweight cargo. It offers 75 lbs of load capacity, which is helpful when you are out for a small camping and on a one-day tour.
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8. SportRack Vista XL – Best for More Storage Access
Many people have a misconception that hard shell cargo box comes at an exorbitant price, but this misconception will blow away once you have a look at this Cargo Box.
The cargo box offers decent storage space and will justify every single penny you have paid for it.
Manufactured with Qualitative ABS Material
The built of this Cargo Box will leave you surprised as the cargo carrier is manufactured with ABS plastic which is one of the sturdiest plastic available in the market. Another benefit ABS plastic offers is the resistance to harsh UV rays.
The surface of the cargo box reflects the UV rays making it heat-resistant in extreme weather conditions.
SportRack Cargo Box has an ergonomic design and sits perfectly on the roof of your car. It is a sleek cargo carrier, and that makes it resistant to the blows of strong winds. Plus the curves and lines present on the top of the cargo carrier distribute the force evenly making maneuvering the vehicle much easier.
Fits Almost every Roof Rack
You can install this Cargo Box on almost all kinds of roof racks. Just mount it on the rack and screw the u-bolts provided in the mounting kit and it is done!
The u-bolts are very durable and hold the cargo carrier firmly while preventing it from falling down.
Rear Opening Enhances the Storage Space
SportRack Vista has a back opening mechanism so you can easily store the cargo while standing on the rear side of your vehicle. Another benefit of the rear opening is the availability of space. The latches support the opened flap, and you can access the cargo more easily.
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9. CURT 18115 Roof Rack – Best Easy to Mount Cargo Carrier
If you don’t need a high-end gear for your car, then CURT 18115 is something that should be on your bucket list. The cargo carrier has a basket shape and is easy to use. There is nothing to assemble, and the piece comes assembled right from the factory.
Fits on all Cars
The best part about CURT 18115 is that it fits on all cars irrespective of their size. All you need is a set of some brackets and a roof rack. You can easily mount the cargo carrier, and there are no troubles of mounting the straps.
Perfect for Vigorous Use
If you want to keep bulky items in the cargo carrier, then you should go with CURT 18115. The rooftop carrier has higher side walls and can keep the cargo supported and protected.
Another impressive thing is corrosion resistance. The load carrier has a coat of black carbide powder which makes it durable and resistant to corrosion.
Supports Multiple Attachments
CURT 18115 is the first cargo carrier in this list that supports multiple attachments. You can use a rope, or some straps to tie the cargo. Also, you can buy a cargo net to keep the cargo at a place. Similarly, there is an option for using water and UV resistant sheet to keep water and heat at bay.
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Comprehensive Guide to Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers
There is a myriad of factors you should look for in a rooftop cargo carrier. And without proper inspection, you can land yourself with the wrong product which will not justify the amount you have paid.
Here are some crucial things you should consider before bringing home a rooftop cargo carrier.
Types of Rooftop Cargo Carriers
Rooftop cargo carriers have multiple types, and every type has something different to offer.
- Box cargo carriers
- Bag cargo carriers
- Basket cargo carriers
1. Box Cargo Carriers
Best car roof boxes have a hard shell structure and are perfect for keeping the cargo protected. These cargo carriers are easy to mount on all roof racks and are ultra-secure. You will get the benefit of water and UV resistance if you buy roof mounted cargo boxes.
2. Bag Cargo Carriers
Rooftop cargo carrier bags have a soft-built and are manufactured mainly with PVC and soft fabric. These carriers have zippers attached to the flaps which ensure resistance to water and heat.
3. Basket Cargo Carriers
Rooftop cargo carrier baskets have a simple design and are the basic carriers that you see on the SUVs and MUVs. Basket carriers are extremely easy to mount and are perfect for accommodating heavy loads.
Benefits of Purchasing a Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Rooftop cargo carriers can shower immense benefits if you have bought the right product.
1. They don’t Obstruct your Rearview Mirrors
The most crucial element while driving is the rear-view mirror; you need to keep an eye on the mirrors to ensure that you are driving safely.
When you are carrying a rooftop carrier, there are no chances that the rearview mirrors are obstructed. The carriers have a rooftop design and create no obstacles while driving.
2. Added Safety
Rooftop carriers have some safety features like strong latches, sturdy locks and much more that can keep the cargo protected all day long. You can even buy some accessories to enhance the security to next levels.
3. Ample Space
The only place where you can keep the cargo is the boot of the car and the trailer in case you own a truck. But rooftop carriers are something that helps you in increasing the space. These carriers help you to carry large items like kayaks, canoes and even bicycles without the worries of spaciousness.
4. Decent Weight Carrying Capacity
The roof of your car can support a decent weight if you use the right cargo carrier. Some rooftop cargo carriers distribute the weight appropriately while adding no bulk on the roof.
Things to look for before Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier
1. Kind of Cargo you want to Carry
Have a look at the kind of cargo you want to carry, as it will help you in selecting the best rooftop cargo carriers. Some carriers are narrow and long, and these are best for carrying snowboards, skiing equipment and other elements that are long enough for regular cargo carriers.
On the other hand, carrying heavy and huge boxes requires you to buy a bag cargo box like the ones made with soft-material or PVC. You can comfortably accommodate boxes while keeping the cargo under the carrier flaps and then using the straps to tighten it.
Make sure that you are purchasing an aerodynamic cargo carrier that is light in weight and is easy to mount.
2. Look for Safety Features
Safety is something you cannot compromise with, and it is indispensable for a rooftop carrier to support a secure lock. Again the availability of safety features depends on your requirements. If you want to head out for camping purposes, then a lock is a must.
Else you can buy the best rooftop cargo carriers with no lock if it is not needed or if budget is a barrier.
3. Type of Vehicle
You need to buy a rooftop cargo carrier based on the vehicle you own. Generally, it is advised to buy small carriers with lesser load capacity for sedans and hatchbacks, because the roofs of these cars are not manufactured to support the substantial weight.
In case you have a herculean SUV then you can go with heavy rooftop cargo carriers for SUV that can offer decent load carrying capacity.
4. Check the Ease of Mounting and Demounting
Some rooftop cargo carriers available in the market come with quick-release clamps, and you can easily mount them without wasting any time. These are perfect for the buyers who need a cargo carrier for occasional purposes.
If you need to mount a box permanently, then you can go with any product available in the market. We advise you to buy the rooftop cargo carriers that supports sturdy nut-bolt configuration.
5. Area of Access
Do you want to access the cargo from both sides of the carrier? If yes, then go with the options that support dual-sided opening. Else you can buy the carriers that support single-side and rear-side opening.
6. Resistance to Water and UV Rays
Water and UV resistant cargo carriers are a great choice for those who want to keep the cargo protected from rain showers and harsh heat. You can easily carry sports equipment and other essentials in these cargo carriers because they are prone to damages from water. Else, you can buy a non-waterproof carrier if the water is not an issue.
Top Safety Tips to Follow when Traveling with a Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Using a rooftop cargo carrier needs you to be attentive all the time, and also you have to focus on some safety tips for making your journey rewarding and fruitful.
1. Keep an Eye on the Tire Pressure
Checking the tire pressure is essential when you are cruising on the highways. A cargo carrier adds additional weight to the car, and your car can get unstable if the tire pressure is inaccurate. Make sure that the weight is evenly distributed on all the tires.
What you can do is buy a tire pressure monitoring system if your car lacks in one. Or you can use a pressure gauge to check the pressure.
2. Do not Overload the Cargo
Don’t overload the cargo and stay in the cargo limit provided by the carrier’s manufacturer. You can calculate the total weight supported by your car by checking the capacity of the roof and the carrier.
If you choose to overload, then there are many possibilities that the roof of your vehicle can get damaged or the vehicle can crash into something due to imbalancing.
3. Check your Cargo Multiple Times during the Travel
You cannot predict when your cargo carrier malfunctions and the only way to ensure that all the things are right is an appropriate inspection. Make sure to check the cargo carrier multiple times on your journey.
4. Check the Height
Look for the height of the cargo carrier and then measure the height of your car. If your vehicle is tall enough, then it can crash into a narrow under-bridge crossing. If you have a taller vehicle, then go for small cargo carriers for added safety.
5. Pack it Right
Packing the cargo in an exemplary way will enhance the longevity of the cargo carrier, and it will help you in maintaining the overall weight ratio. Don’t pack all the things at one place; instead, keep the weight equal along the surface of the cargo carrier.
Also Read: 31 Must Have Car Gadgets Under $100
Rooftop Cargo Carriers FAQs
Q1: How much Load Capacity a Rooftop Carrier can actually Bear?
A1: The load capacity of the cargo box depends on its size and strength. If you want to calculate the load capacity, then the easiest way is to refer to the instruction manual. You can look for the weight capacity of the box, and then match it with the supporting capability of your car’s roof.
Try to keep 10-20 pounds lesser load than the total capacity available for remaining on the safer side.
Q2: How to enhance Fuel Economy while using a Rooftop Carrier?
A2: There are many factors that will impact the fuel economy of your vehicle when you have mounted a rooftop cargo carrier. These factors include weight and aerodynamics.
If you carry hefty weight, then the fuel economy will face a downfall.
But you can enhance the fuel economy by purchasing an aerodynamic rooftop carrier that can slash through the air and there is minimal resistance. Also, pack lesser load if you need more fuel economy.
Q3: Which Size of the Cargo Carrier is Perfect for my Car?
A3: It depends on the type of vehicle you own. Generally, an 11 cubic feet cargo carrier is perfect for all small-sized SUVs and sedans. In the case of large SUVs, both 11 cubic feet and 15 cubic feet will work great. However, you can also go for higher size variants if you have a powerful vehicle.
Q4: How can I load the Cargo to make sure that there are no Damages during the Travel?
A4: There are multiple ways to load your cargo carrier, but it is necessary to distribute the weight evenly. Consider packing the bulky items first, and place them in a manner that the total weight is distributed on every tire.
Now you can pack the smaller items on the bulkiest ones for appropriate loading. Keep in mind that there should be nothing to obstruct the closing lid of the rooftop carrier.
Also, the un-tied items can create difficulties and can damage the inner area of the carrier.
Tie all the items properly, and cross-check by pulling the ropes before you head towards your destination.
Q5: What to do with the Carrier when it is not in Use?
A5: You can store the cargo carrier when not in use. For soft bags, you can fold them and can store them in the case. If you have a bucket or a hard case, then you can demount it or can keep it in a safe area where they remain protected from all the scratches and dents.
Q6: Is there any specific way to Attach the Rooftop Carrier with the Vehicle?
A6: Attaching a cargo carrier with the roof rack is an easy task if you refer to the instruction manual and perform every step with patience. Some cargo carriers have straps which are easy to mount; on the other hand, some cargo carriers support bracket and nut-bolts.
If you have a cargo carrier with brackets, then screw the brackets on the roof racks and then attach it with the cargo carrier. Else you can loop the strap from the rack and can wrap it around the cargo carrier.
Buying the best rooftop cargo carriers is indispensable to make things much more manageable. Using a cargo carrier will increase the space inside the cabin as everything is loaded in the carrier. Also, you will get some free space inside the boot.
Make sure that you have gone through the rooftop cargo carrier reviews and the buying guide before purchasing a rooftop cargo carrier.
Also, make a detailed checklist and match it with every single product you have wish-listed. It will assist you in picking the excellent product that is equipped with every feature you need and is worth the money you have paid for it.
The best rooftop cargo carrier in this fleet is Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier. The product comes with everything you need and is aerodynamic to save you from the herculean resistance offered by the winds.
- External dimensions: 91.5 x 37.5 x 18 inches | Internal dimensions: 84.5 x 33 x 16 inches
- Roof-mounted cargo box provides 22 cubic feet of additional packing space
- Fits 5-7 pairs of skis / 3-5 snowboards
- Load capacity: 165 pounds | Product Weight: 55 pounds
- Designed for optimal space efficiency, aerodynamics, and vehicle fit
However, if you are looking for something inexpensive then you should buy AmazonBasics Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag. The rooftop cargo carrier is resistant to water, sun, and dust. Also you will get decent load capacity that is more than enough to choose AmazonBasics as your rooftop carrier.
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