9 Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers and Boxes for 2021

Best Rooftop Cargo Carriers

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.

We have reviewed our top 9 choices below and also included a buying guide, but if you are in a rush:
Here’s our top choice: Thule Force Cargo Box (Check Price on Amazon)

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.

What We Like?

The price of this carrier box lies in an affordable range and is perfect for all individuals who have a limited budget. Due to soft-material built it has very less weight, and there are no chances of a damaged roof when you have RoofBag carrier box with you.

What We Don’t Like?

The shape of RoofBag carrier box is not aerodynamic, which means that it will attract a lot of wind resistance and driving the car on high speeds will be daunting.

2. Thule Force Cargo Box – Best Dual-Side Opening Cargo Carrier

Thule is a well-known name in the rooftop carrier industry and this product carries the legacy of Thule while delivering the true potential of a rooftop carrier. The product has a great shape and is exceptionally reliable.

It doesn’t add any bulk to the car; instead it makes your car look more appealing!

Aerodynamics at its Best

When it comes to aerodynamics Thule Force Cargo Box is a great choice. It slashes the air smoothly and glides through it without any wind resistance. Also, you will notice that there is less noise generation due to the wind striking on the cargo box.

As a result, you will get enhanced fuel efficiency and better handling over the long hauls with this rooftop cargo box.

Easy to Mount

Unlike other cargo carriers, Thule Cargo Box doesn’t require any additional tools for the mounting process. You can install it easily by placing it on the roof and locking it with the help of rack provided by the manufacturer.

It saves a lot of time and prevents the hassles of finding multiple tools for screwing the cargo carrier.

Dual-side Opening

Well, this is something extraordinary! The Thule Cargo Box has dual side opening which means that you can open the two sides at the same time while managing the load efficiently. There is a mechanism mounted in the carrier which supports the sides and it curtails the manual efforts of holding the side while putting-in or taking out the cargo.

Comes with an Ultra-secure Lock

Thule Cargo Box has every feature loaded on it which is extremely important for every buyer. It has a giant ultra-secure lock which assures that your goods and other elements are safe when you are not around. The clasp is easy to use and is robust enough to sustain a significant amount of force.

What We Like?

We liked the presence of multiple functionalities on the device which are useful and are commendable too. Another thing that amazed us was the weight. It only weighs 40 lbs and doesn’t add any bulk to the car’s roof.

What We Don’t Like?

The price of this cargo carrier is on the higher side. And you have to shell out huge bucks to make it yours.

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.

What We Like?

The price of the cargo carrier is justifiable and is affordable for all. Plus it weighs very less and is a compatible option for small cars.

What We Don’t Like?

You cannot mount Keeper 07203-1 if there are no roof-rails on your car. It has a different mechanism and needs roof rack system or side rails for mounting appropriately on the roof. Also, there are certain chances that the material can get damaged due to pointed and sharp things.

4. Rightline Gear Car Top Carrier – Sturdy and Robust Built

Rightline Gear Sport 1 is another rooftop carrier that doesn’t require additional support from roof-racks to mount correctly. It comes with four durable straps which can loop around the cargo carrier and can hold it tightly.

You can even use this cargo carrier by putting the straps under the roof and windows without any roof rails.

The carrier is manufactured with a mix of hydro-tuff and PVC which makes it resistant to normal wears and tears.

Advanced Weather Protection

Rightline Gear Sport 1 has a robust zipper system which is capable of keeping the water outside. You can use this cargo carrier in all weather conditions, and it will bestow you with nothing less than the best.

Light in Weight

The best part about PVC cargo carrier is the weight of the carrier. Rightline Gear Sport 1 only weighs 6.1 lbs, and you can use it on any type of car, either compact SUV, sedan, or a full-fledged SUV. Also the overall weight becomes less as it doesn’t add any heaviness to the vehicle, even when it is fully loaded with the cargo.

Great Aerodynamics

It offers a decent amount of aero-dynamism while keeping the wind force at bay. With this rooftop carrier, you can rest assured that your vehicle will not get imbalanced even on higher speeds and in areas with higher winds.

Aesthetic Appeal

Who said that rooftop carriers are not good-looking? Rightline Gear Sport 1 has the right mix of colors which look incredibly amazing. The black color is not prone to quick fading and will remain as-it-is even after multiple years of usage.

What We Like?

The rooftop carrier from Rightline Gear is easy to mount on all cars irrespective of the presence of roof-rails, and roof racks. Also, the straps are easy to attach, and after going through the instruction manual, you can carry out the process easily.

What We Don’t Like?

There is no secure lock in this cargo bag, and anyone can access it after removing the straps. Additionally, you have to purchase car clips because they are not included in the packaging, and it will cost you more.

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.

Robust Seam

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.

What We Like?

We liked the overall construction and the reliable 1-year warranty offered by Amazon Basics. Also, the rooftop carrier is easy to mount, and even beginners can use it without any training. The buckles make it easier to join the straps and can offer decent longevity.

What We Don’t Like?

The cargo carrier manufactured by Amazon Basics has no aerodynamics, and it will create some complexities for you while driving. Another thing is the absence of a secure lock; you cannot keep your items safe if you are not around your vehicle.

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.

Excellent Aerodynamics

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.

What We Like?

Every required feature is available with Yakima Skybox. The best-in-class lock system, sturdy and strong latches, and great aerodynamics make it value for money. You can even accommodate bigger load in the XXL variant of Yakima cargo carrier Box.

What We Don’t Like?

The price can be pinching for some users as the product is available at an initial cost of hundreds of dollars. Additionally, the mounting task can take up some time if you are a novice. Also you cannot fit Yakima Skybox on all cross-bar configurations.

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.

What We Like?

The cargo carrier has a reliable solid shell and is capable of handling normal wear and tear. You can access your cargo easily with the decent passenger-side opening. Lastly, the cargo carrier comes with a lock, and it can help you in keeping the stored load secure.

What We Don’t Like?

You need to assemble the cargo box which is a pain in the neck. Yes, the manufacturer provides an instruction manual; still, assembly can take a lot of time if you are a beginner.

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.

Ergonomic Design

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.

What We Like?

The hard shell cargo box from SportRack is quite affordable when compared to other products in the fleet. It provides safety to the cargo with a secure lock and has a classy and storage-friendly design.

What We Don’t Like?

You cannot access the cargo from the windows, and while standing in-between the doors, also you have to close the boot door as it supports rear opening.

Another thing is the noise it generates while driving. You will feel a sound coming out of the cargo carrier if you drive the vehicle on high speed.

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.

What We Like?

We liked the design and the universal fit. The cargo carrier fits on all roof racks and with the utmost ease. If needed there is a functionality to expand the carrier with some accessories. The cargo carrier comes under the affordable category and is easy on the pocket.

What We Don’t Like?

CURT 18115 is an open cargo carrier which means your cargo is prone to water and heat damages. You have to buy additional accessories to keep water at bay, and it will be a burden on the pocket.

Also Read: Tips On How To Clean Headlights with Household Items

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 a 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.

  • Comes with inbuilt lock mechanism
  • Strong latches
  • Multiple-side opening
  • Perfect to carry damage-prone cargo
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Most cargo carrier boxes are exorbitant
  • Not ideal for carrying skiing equipment and kayaks

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.

  • Easy to mount
  • Can support heavy loads
  • Easy on the pocket
  • Easily damageable
  • Less aerodynamic

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.

  • Easy to mount
  • Affordable
  • Supports multiple accessories
  • No limitation of cargo height
  • Not resistant to water and heat
  • Cargo can fall off easily

Benefits of Purchasing a Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Rooftop Cargo Carrier Reviews

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.

Also Read: Best Car Wax Reviews – 9 Best Car Waxes (Reviewed in 2019)

Things to look for before Buying the Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Roof Mounted Cargo Boxes

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

Rooftop Cargo Box Reviews

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

Final Thoughts

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 Force Cargo Box. The product comes with everything you need and is aerodynamic to save you from the herculean resistance offered by the winds.

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.

Stay tuned to know more about latest cars and automotive gears at carstechie.com. Bon Voyage!

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