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The 12 Best Cargo Carriers in 2024 [Includes Rooftop & Hitch Baskets]

Amar Hussain's image
Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

Senior Content Contributor

771 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 63U.S. States Visited: 9

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury


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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Investing in a cargo carrier is a brilliant way to maximize the storage space available in your vehicle without hindering the number of passengers you can carry with you.

Made from super-strong materials that can handle wind, rain, and even snow, these oversized carry bags can be securely attached to the roof of your car, making it easy to haul your tent, sleeping bags, and even your suitcases while keeping your trunk space free for other essentials items.

Things To Consider With Cargo Carriers

Cargo Carrier
A cargo carrier is a brilliant way to maximize the storage space in your car. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Wherever you are headed, there will be a cargo carrier to suit your needs. Before you buy, consider the following:

Material and Durability

Cargo Carrier Material
Cargo carriers are usually made from high-quality PVC or tarpaulin materials. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

Your cargo carrier will need to be strong and durable enough to handle whatever the weather conditions can throw at it while also being flexible enough to adjust to your belongings’ size and shape.

Usually made from incredibly high-quality PVC or tarpaulin materials, most of these highly recommended cargo carriers also feature double zippers that are designed to prevent water from seeping in, Velcro flaps that fold down over the zippers for increased durability, and welded seams to keep your belongings protected against dirt and heavy rain, even on the road.

Weight and Distribution

Overstuffing your cargo bag will, of course, make it more vulnerable to tears, splits, and rips, and most will come with a predefined maximum weight capability to protect both the integrity of the design and the roof of your car.

Hot Tip: Before you buy, check the maximum weight capacity of any cargo back that catches your eye. It will need to be secure enough to hold all of your belongings without bursting at the seams, and the construction should be strong enough to ensure that the bag won’t split or slip off the roof rack while you are traveling.


Cargo Carrier Security
Some cargo carriers have universal attachments that can be used on vehicles with or without a roof rack. Image Credit: Amar Hussain

While some cargo bags have universal attachments that can be used on vehicles with or without a roof rack, some others are designed to only be used with side rails.

Nonslip mats help to ensure that the bag stays centrally located on the roof of your vehicle to prevent it from slipping or falling, and many that are suitable for use without a roof rack rely on straps that run through the doors to keep them in place in transit.

Load Height

Placing a large cargo bag on the top of your vehicle will obviously have an effect on its overall height.

Before your stow and go, be sure that you know just how many additional inches the full bag will add to the height of your vehicle, as not clearing the entrance to an indoor parking lot or your own garage can make for an awful mess and cause damage to your belongings and even your car.


Rooftop cargo bags are lightweight, easy to install, and fold up small enough to be easily stored away when not in use. Their soft-sided designs make it easier for them to accommodate bulky or odd-shaped belongings, and with waterproof coatings and heavy-duty fabric as standard, they can offer a lot of extra storage space and protection for minimal outlay.

On the other hand, Hitch baskets are an excellent alternative for vehicles that aren’t suitable for roof-mounted accessories and offer a secure and stable way to haul additional gear with you on the road. Designed for use with heavier objects, these baskets are suitable for vehicles with a 2-inch receiver, and they offer reduced wind resistance without the worry of overhead clearance.

The 8 Best Cargo Carriers

Free up space in your vehicle with an easy-to-install roof carrier. Strong, durable, and designed to keep your belongings dry in any weather, these roof cargo bags offer a simple solution on journeys where you need more storage space.

1. Aerodynamic Rooftop Carry Bag

Rooftop Cargo Carriers

Take more with you than you ever thought possible with this awesome roof carrier. Made from heavy-duty, super-tough abrasion-resistant fabric, this supercool cargo bag offers 100% waterproof protection for your belongings.

With an aerodynamic design, this highly reliable roof bag has enough space to hold up to 5 large suitcases or 15 cubic feet of your most treasured possessions. Designed to fit cars with roofs measuring 58 inches or longer, it has been built to withstand the most extreme of temperatures, from -40 degrees right up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can easily cope with strong winds, snow, and dust, as well as prolonged exposure to the sun.

Free up your back seats and enjoy more storage space than in your trunk with this brilliant carry bag that can be secured to your car using the superstrong straps. With a nonslip mat included, you can enjoy many miles of safe and reliable transport for your gear, and the additional carry bag ensures that this model is also easy to store when not in use.

What We Like

  • Very easy to install

What We Don’t Like

  • Zippers are a little fragile for excessive use

Hot Tip: From hard-shell to soft-shell, and even duffels, our guide to the best checked luggage for any traveler ensures that the bags you’re transporting on your roof are the perfect size, shape, and style for your needs.

2. One of the Most Spacious Roof Carry Bags

RoofPax Car Roof Bag & Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Providing an impressive 19 feet worth of additional storage space, this brilliant roof carry bag is made from military-grade materials and features waterproof dual-seam technology and a super-effective waterproof coating. Safe and secure, even in transit, this spacious and highly capable car roof bag offers a ton of extra storage space without filling up your car.

With a built-in protective mat and 10 elastic Velcro straps with NIFCO buckles and strap restrainers, this bag will remain solidly in place on the roof of your vehicle. With enough space to hold up to 6 suitcases, you can rest assured that your belongings will remain safe and well-protected.

Easy to install and secure in just a few minutes, the strong and durable waterproof zippers will prevent water from seeping in, even in the heaviest of downpours, and with unbreakable buckles, this carry bag can be used with or without an existing roof rack.

What We Like

  • Incredibly waterproof

What We Don’t Like

  • All straps require unbuckling to access the interior

3. Waterproof Roof Bag

ToolGuards Car Top Carrier Roof Bag

This brilliant carrier roof bag and accessory kit offer everything you need to maximize the packing power available in your vehicle. Made from super-tough, waterproof tarpaulin and featuring fully-coated zippers, this bag is designed to ensure that not a single drop of rain seeps in to damage your belongings.

Engineered to offer strong and reliable protection at all times, this rooftop carry bag offers both 15 and 20 cubic feet storage options, and the universal fittings make it easy to attach to virtually any make and model of vehicle.

With durable, machine-welded D-rings and fully adjustable straps, this bag will remain super secure, even in transit, and the nonslip mat will ensure that it always stays in place without the risk of veering off to the side or falling forward.

What We Like

  • Has strong, lockable zippers

What We Don’t Like

  • No ratchet straps for tightening

Bottom Line: With an angled design that offers incredible wind resistance, this bag will have no negative effect on your driving experience, even when full, and the incredible attention to detail will ensure that your belongings stay safe, protected, and in 1 place.

4. Best Carry Bag for up to 6 Suitcases

Fivklemnz Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier

This 100% waterproof rooftop car carry bag is made from tough and abrasion-resistant 700D oxford cloth and offers sleek good looks and incredibly practicality and durability. With the ability to offer up to 15 cubic feet of extra storage space, you will never have to leave your favorite items back at home ever again.

With heat-welded seams and a waterproof zipper, this bag will keep your belongings well-protected, even on the open road, and the double flap will stop water seeping in through the zipper opening and prevent the build-up of unwanted rust.

Large enough to hold the contents of up to 6 suitcases, this clever carry bag can be attached to all makes and models of cars using either your existing roof side rails or by using the straps and 4 door hooks included.

Easy to use and quick to attach, this spacious carry bag is large enough to house your tent, sleeping bags, extra clothing, and so much more, making it the perfect accessory for family camping vacations and serious road trips.

What We Like

  • Has a huge capacity

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be a little noisy

5. Rooftop Carry Bag for Odd-shaped Items

Asani Waterproof Car Roof Top Cargo Carrier Bag

This incredibly durable rooftop bag packs an additional 15 cubic feet of storage space, and unlike hard-top storage boxes, it has flexible sides that can accommodate odd-shaped items. Spacious and highly capable, this awesome rooftop bag has a maximum weight limit of 99 pounds, making it an excellent way to carry your additional items without taking up space in the back of your car.

Made from triple-layer waterproof tarpaulin, this bag offers excellent waterproofing for your belongings, and the heavy-duty double buckles make it easy to securely attach to your car in just minutes. Suitable for vehicles that already have a roof rack attached, this bag is designed to always remain in place no matter how fast or far you are traveling.

Perfect for use on road trips and vacations, this nifty carry bag can fold down small for super easy storage when not in use, and the high-grade and extremely durable construction ensures that it will last you for many adventures to come.

What We Like

  • Compact when not in use

What We Don’t Like

  • Loose straps can flap around

6. Carry Bag for Family Camping Trips

Sailnovo Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier

The reinforced construction of this carry bag ensures that your belongings remain safe and well-protected, even when strapped to the top of your vehicle. Quick and easy to install, this bag offers 20 cubic feet of adjustable storage space, and the soft-sided design allows it to mold to the shape of your extra gear.

Perfect for keeping your tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, and other travel essentials neatly packed away in transit, this rooftop carry bag frees up space in your car for fellow travelers and other essentials. Designed to fit any car, truck, or SUV, this model folds up nicely and is small for easy storage when not in use.

Made from super-tough PVC material, this bag is designed to be completely waterproof, and the heat-welded seams will ensure that no water will find its way into your belongings, even in the harshest of weather conditions. For additional protection in transit, it also features a double flap to keep the zipper free from rust in the rain.

What We Like

  • Made from a robust, tear-free material

What We Don’t Like

  • Instructions could be clearer

Hot Tip: Stock up for the ultimate outdoor experience before you hit the road with our list of the best camping essentials to bring on your next trip.

7. Roof Carry Bag for Vehicles of All Shapes and Sizes

Adakiit Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier

Offering up to 20 cubic feet of storage space, this soft-sided carry bag fits easily onto all vehicles with or without a roof rack, including cars, trucks, and SUV. Made from 900D military-grade materials, it is super waterproof and comes with 6 extra-wide straps and 2 long straps to ensure that your belongings stay in place, even on the bumpiest of roads.

With the ability to fold the bag up really small when not in use, this is a brilliant addition to your travel kit. Measuring 50 x 40 x 18 inches, it quickly and easily increases your vehicle’s carrying capacity without taking up much-needed passenger space.

Perfect for family vacations, camping trips, and longer journeys, it can be attached to your roof rack in no time at all, and the soft fabric designs make it suitable for carrying items of all shapes and sizes.

Designed to fit every size of roof rack, this bag comes with attachments to fit all 4 sides of your vehicle, ensuring that it will stay firmly in place on the top of your vehicle, even when you are traveling at high speed.

What We Like

  • Fits any vehicle, with or without a roof rack

What We Don’t Like

  • Not 100% waterproof in extreme weather

8. All-weather Rooftop Carry Bag

Taygeer Rooftop Cargo Carrier

With eye-catching good looks, this easy-to-install rooftop cargo carrier measures 50 x 42 x 19 inches and has the capacity to hold up to 21 cubic feet of additional storage space. Perfect for stashing your tent, sleeping bags, and up to 6 suitcases worth of belongings, this is a brilliant way of freeing up space in the trunk of your car or on your back seats.

Made from 500D tear-resistant PVC material, this model offers excellent resistance to both hot and cold weather, and the double-sided water-repellent coating will keep your gear dry. With a waterproof zipper, a widened 4-inch zipper flat, and a 4-inch Velcro closure, you can be sure that your belongings will stay well-protected, even in the most extreme weather conditions.

Designed to fit vehicles with side rails or cross bars, as well as those without roof racks, this carry bag is suitable for use on sedans, MPVs, and SUVs, and the 6 door hooks will ensure that it remains in place even at high speeds and on bumpy roads.

Perfect for use on camping trips, family vacations, and longer journeys, this is an awesome piece of gear that increases your vehicle’s storage capacity in an instant.

What We Like

  • Comes with a compact carry case

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be hard to get the zippers round the corners

The 4 Best Cargo Carrier Baskets and Bags

Haul more with a hitch basket. These clever baskets fit on the back of your vehicle and are well-suited for heavier items. Complete with waterproof carry bags, they are a practical and more affordable alternative to a full-size trailer and work well with vehicles that aren’t suitable for roof-mounted storage.

1. Cargo Carrier for Your Basket

ROLA 59119 Rainproof Cargo Carrier Bag

Built to withstand all of the elements, including wind, snow, and rain, this incredibly useful cargo bag is made from high-quality waterproof vinyl material that will keep your belongings safe and dry no matter where you are headed.

With sonic welding technology and rain flaps to protect the zippers, even driving rain will have a hard time trying to make its way in to dampen your belongings, and the super-tough tie-downs and hardware will keep it safely attached to your vehicle.

With an extra-large capacity of 20 cubic feet, this bag has been made to fit 60 x 24-inch cargo carriers, and the lightweight design makes it easy to fold up small when not in use.

The 3 straps located on the front side of the carrier rack and the further 3 located on the backside ensure that it remains firmly attached even on rough terrain, and the formless design makes it easy to adapt its shape to the dimensions of your cargo basket.

Despite its spacious size, this bag is easy to remove from your vehicle, and with the ability to keep your cargo box protected against the rain, it will help you to maximize your hauling potential in an instant.

What We Like

  • Made from heavy-duty material

What We Don’t Like

  • The velcro straps are quite fragile

2. Cargo Basket Kit for Vehicles With a 2-Inch Receiver

Mockins Steel Cargo Basket

Attach this basket to the back of your vehicle and get ready to carry your cargo in style. Measuring 60 x 20 x 6 inches in size, this car rack features multiple easy tie-down points, ensuring that you can quickly and easily haul more stuff with you on your next big adventure.

Perfect for use on camping trips, this basket has a 2-inch rise for improved ground clearance, and the basket folds up neatly when not in use. Suitable for use on any car, truck, or SUV that has a 2-inch receiver, this model also comes with a waterproof cargo bag, a cargo net, and a bonus hitch stabilizer.

While the cargo bag offers a capacity of around 15.5 cubic feet, this basket makes it easy to carry your tent, sleeping bag, and extra suitcases without taking up space in the back seat of your car, and the waterproof design will ensure that all of your belongings stay completely dry on the road.

What We Like

  • Includes a stabilizing plate

What We Don’t Like

  • No internal frame to keep the sides rigid

3. Cargo Bag for Protection Against UV Rays

MARKSIGN 100% Waterproof Hitch Carrier Cargo Bag

Offering 20 cubic feet of storage capacity, this useful cargo bag will maximize your hauling power in an instant. Measuring 59 x 24 x 24 inches, it is 100% waterproof, and the bag is electrically welded to prevent even driving rain from seeping in.

The UV-proof 500D tarpaulin material has no needle holes, and the Velcro patches and waterproof dual zippers offer incredible protection from even the harshest of weather conditions.

With 6 inch-wide nylon ratchet straps that have been built to remain tough and durable, even in hot weather, this cargo bag will remain securely attached to your basket at high speeds and on rough terrain. The soft-sided design also ensures that the bag is able to effortlessly handle suitcases, tents, sleeping bags, and even items with unusual shapes and dimensions.

What We Like

  • Ratchet straps for easy tightening

What We Don’t Like

  • Difficult to zip up in cold weather

Bottom Line: Easy to wipe clean after each use, this brilliant cargo bag also features 2 side handles that allow you to easily transport it on and off of the hitch basket, even when full.

4. Cargo Carrier Hitch Mount Basket Kit

FieryRed Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket

This cargo carrier basket comes complete with a hitch stabilizer to keep your belongings secure on the road, and the heavy-duty tubular construction makes it perfect for hauling your heavy camping gear on the go.

With the capacity to hold up to 500 pounds of cargo, and sizable 57.5 x 21 x 7.1-inch dimensions, this basket has a foldable design that allows the shank to be fully adjusted. The single welded construction ensures that it remains strong and stable, and the universal design will fit on any vehicle with a 2-inch hitch receiver.

Perfect for freeing up much-needed space in your car, this rear-ends cargo basket is a practical and highly capable alternative to a roof rack cargo bag, and the strong and square construction makes it spacious enough to maximize your packing power without hindering your driving performance.

What We Like

  • Folds up when not in use

What We Don’t Like

  • Rusts pretty easily

Final Thoughts

Enjoy life without limits with these easy-to-install and highly capable additional storage options. Whether you choose to throw your cases on the top of the car or haul your tent behind you, both cargo bags and hitch baskets will help to increase the amount of gear you can take with you on your next adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cargo carriers legal?

It is always best to check the cargo carrier laws in your own state or country. Provided they are not overloaded, and in the case of hitch carriers not blocking your license plate or taillights, cargo carriers are generally legal.

What are the different types of cargo carriers?

There are 2 types of cargo carriers. The first is a rooftop cargo carrier that comes in the form of bags, baskets, or boxes. The other type is a hitch cargo carrier that goes on the back of your vehicle.

Do I need a roof rack for a cargo carrier?

Generally, you need a roof rack for a cargo carrier, and most are designed to fit a variety of roof racks. If you don’t have a roof rack or the excess height is not desirable, you can use a hitch cargo carrier instead.

How do I choose a rooftop cargo carrier?

When choosing a rooftop carrier, the things to consider include its durability, weight capability, how secure it is, and load height.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.


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