Planning for a long trip can be hectic. You’ll have plenty of luggage and gear to take with you. And if you run short of space to accommodate all this stuff in your car, you can end up feeling frustrated.
Luckily, they designed a cartop carrier to let you instantly convert your car rooftop into additional storage space—ensuring you carry all your gear, equipment for the trip.
We researched the best rooftop cargo carrier on the market today. We analyzed various models and read thousands of previous user reviews. Our choice fell on the following 10 top cargo carriers for your car.
10 Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier Reviews:
1. ToolGuards Car Top Carrier Roof Bag
This is one of the best car top carriers that made it to our list. This is the perfect option for you if you want a 100% waterproof carrier. It’s constructed from waterproof material plus fabric-guarded, coated zippers for 100% waterproof protection. You can ride with your cargo at the top of your car in a heavy downpour without worry.
Not just waterproofing, this bag is also made to last, trip after trip. This is evident from the extra heavy-duty materials used to design it. These enable it to withstand daily use and the various road elements and will outlast most models out there.
Because the manufacturer designed this roof bag with attention to detail, you won’t have to deal with broken zippers and lose straps after using it for a few trips. It’s easy to carry. Installing it on your car rooftop is also easy and straightforward.
Don’t forget that the manufacturer ships this bag to you with a BONUS protection mat to save your expensive vehicle’s paintwork. This roof bag is even angled for wind resistance to ensure you ride without fearing the heavy wind might tear it off.
2. Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box
This is an incredibly versatile cargo box that mounts to your vehicle for everyday use. It comes in an extra-large size and offers you up to 18 cu. ft. of storage space, ensuring you can conveniently carry all your family belongings, dog stuff, etc., for your next trip.
Mounting this cargo box to your vehicle is the easiest part! It features a PowerClick quick-mount system, where an integrated torque indicator clicks into position when properly installed to ensure a fast and secure mounting process. No tools needed to mount it to your vehicle.
The cargo box provides you with dual side opening design for easy access to all the areas of your box, from either side of your vehicle. Thanks to its forward position on your car roof, this box has minimal contact with the cargo box, which translates to easy access to your vehicle’s rear/trunk.
With the integrated LockKnob system, opening and closing this cargo box not only feels comfortable but is also smooth, easy, and fast. As one of the most versatile rooftop carriers, this cargo box will fit a wide variety of vehicles. It’s also extremely sturdy and will serve you for many, many trips.
3. MAXXHAUL 70115 Steel Roof Rack
If looking for the best roof top carrier at a great price, consider this one as one of your top options. Unlike the previous carriers, this one comes in the shape of a roof rack and will offer you instant cargo space on your vehicle’s rooftop.
The affordably priced roof rack provides you with up to 150lbs storage space for all your cargo. It’s easy to install and comes with a universal U bolt for easy mounting in your car’s crossbars. It will work nearly all factory and aftermarket crossbars. To be precise, it works with crossbars from .60" thin all the way up to 1.50" thick.
For the construction part, this roof rack is made using a durable, rugged steel rack to enable it to hold up to daily use and last longer than most models in its price range. It also comes with a powder-coated finish for protection against rust and corrosion.
You’ll notice the included rubber gaskets to help prevent internal rusting. The included U-bolts come with rubber caps to help protect your cargo during transportation.
With a 150lbs., this roof rack is, honestly, hard to beat for the price. The rack itself weighs 30lbs, so it’s not going to weigh down your car.
4. RoofPax Car Roof Bag & Rooftop Cargo Carrier
What’s your definition for the best roof cargo box? The largest and safest carrier you can get your hands on? If yes, this cargo carrier from RoofPax is sure to meet your needs. This is a unique, elegant, and quality carrier for all your luggage transportation needs.
Probably the number #1 factor that keeps this carrier ahead of the pack is its huuge storage space. It comes with a massive 19 cubic feet of space. Unlike other carriers offering you 11-15 cubic feet of storage space, this model will provide you with even larger space. It will easily accommodate 4-6—making it the perfect cargo carrier for your future family road trips.
Another feature that makes this carrier popular is military-grade heavy-duty design. It boasts of the highest quality 1680-D coated PVC material that lasts for years and years. What’s more, this material combines with an added dual water repellent coating and dual seam technology to shield your cargo from rain, sun, wind, and snow.
Installing this carrier on your car rooftop is easy, whether it features a rack/crossbars or not. Instead of straps, it comes with 6 door hooks to secure it to your car for maximum security and safety. The included protective mat keeps your cargo from sliding during transit while preventing scratching of paintwork.
5. ROLA 59504 V-Tex Rooftop Cargo Basket
The ROLA 59504 is one of the best car top carrier models designed to work with a wide variety of vehicles. It comes with universal mounting hardware that enables you to easily mount it on square, round, and most factory OEM racks—so you can easily move it from one vehicle to another.
The basket comes in rack design and will hold your extra luggage, such as camping gear, sporting equipment, and more. You can also use it to carry your items as you do errands, pick up weekend projects supplies, or orchestrate simple move across the town.
Because this cargo basket is made using heavy-duty steel, it will withstand regular use for an extended period of time. You also don’t have to worry about this cargo basket getting exposed to harsh elements, thanks to the rough coat finish that protects against elements and resist scratches.
Unlike most of the baskets out there, this model features an aerodynamic design to ensure it doesn’t affect your vehicle’s performance. With the included assembly instruction and universal mounting hardware, putting together this cargo basket and installing it on your vehicle is easy as pie.
6. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box
If you’re looking for additional storage space for your camping or road trip essentials at an affordable value, this cargo box will meet your needs. Proudly designed by Thule, one of the most popular brands in the industry, this large box will carry everything you need for your next adventure.
It offers you a total of cubic feet storage space where you can easily put bikes, snowboards, beddings, camping gear, luggage, and other essentials.
The cargo box’s construction involves rugged ABS material throughout. This helps protect it from elements during transit and ensure increased longevity. It has a low profile design to ensure hassle-free fitting in a parking or garage structure without necessarily removing it from your vehicle.
Thanks to its aerodynamic shape, this cargo will not affect your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency. Moreover, this shape will ensure you ride in total quietness.
Keep in mind that this box comes with an easy-grip, tool-free mounting hardware for easy and fast installation. You’ll literally install it 5-10 minutes. This box is designed to work with various rack configurations, making the installation even easier.
7. Asani Waterproof Car Roof Top Cargo Carrier Bag
Also making an appearance on our top cartop carriers reviews list is this waterproof and durable carrier bag from Asani.
Unlike other carriers that allow water in through zippers and other areas, this bag is designed using triple-layer waterproof tarpaulin that can withstand rain, wind, grit, heat, and more. It even features a zipper flap that keeps your belongings completely dry.
Whether you’re planning for an extended camping trip or road trip, this carrier bag will help you carry all your necessities. It offers you up to 15 cubic feet worth of storage space and has a maximum weight capacity of 99lbs. And its interior has softened sides that enable you to accommodate odd-shape items.
Another fantastic thing about this bag is that it easily folds into a compact design, the size of a tablet, to allow you to easily store it in your car’s trunk when not using it.
To install this carrier bag, you don’t need any special skills. It comes equipped with 8 reinforced straps with heavy-duty buckles to let you easily and securely attach it to your car. As long as your vehicle has a roof rack, this carrier bag will fit.
8. Thule Canyon XT Cargo Basket
The Thule cargo basket comes designed to transform your car rooftop into additional space while looking incredibly stylish on your vehicle.
The basket comes with a quite stylish wedge-shaped, low profile design that looks really good on your car’s rooftop. Looking closely, you’ll also discover it features tapered sides that allow for easy loading and unloading of your cargo.
When it comes to cargo-hauling capabilities, this basket never disappoints. It offers you a whopping 12 square feet of extra cargo space. It will comfortably hold any arrangement of gear you prefer. You can use to carry just anything—from bags, bikes, beddings, sporting equipment, dog, snacks, and more! If you secure it properly, it will haul cargo weighing up to 150lbs.
Construction-wise, this cargo carrier features solid steel construction. It will repeatedly haul your cargo without any signs of tear or wear for trips to come.
Thule was wise to add a wind fairing to the front part of this basket to help achieve smooth airflow over your cargo. Plus, it helps limit noise when riding on the highway. Installing this Thule Canyon on your vehicle is super easy, and it easily mounts on nearly any rack system.
9. RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag
Our second last spot for the car top carrier reviews goes to this rooftop cargo carrying solution from RoofBag. The bag is 100% manufactured in the USA. It features a 100% weatherproof design (with Triple-Seal technology) to allow you to haul your cargo in just any weather.
The carrier bag will offer you 15 cubic feet of additional storage space. This is a pretty big bag and will let you carry all the essentials you need when you go out for an adventure.
When purchasing this bag, you’re assured you’re getting a storage solution that lasts a lifetime. It comes designed using heavy-duty polyester fabric liquid-coated with vinyl on both sides. This translates to maximum resistance to tears and abrasion. The material also offers excellent resistance to extreme heat, cold, and sun’s UV rays.
Like the other carrier bags we have featured on this list, this bag is simple and straightforward to install. You can mount it on vehicles with or without a rack. It comes packed with 2 heavy-duty straps with genuine YKK buckles to enable you to secure it in your car. These straps are so sturdy that they will secure the bag for highway speed and keep it from possibly flying off.
Don’t forget that the complete package comes with a non-slip roof mat for protecting your paintwork and storage bag for easy storage of the roof bag when not in use.
10. CargoLoc 32420 Deluxe Roof Top Cargo Bag
Signing off our list of top rooftop cargo carrier reviews is the CargoLoc’s deluxe rooftop cargo bag. Whether you need extra storage for camping equipment, road trip essentials, sporting equipment, etc., this cargo bag will meet your needs.
The affordably priced roof bag has a storage space of 10 cubic feet. This can accommodate different sized items, including those with odd shapes.
It features a durable, weather-resistant constriction, so it will serve you for longer than most of the models in its price range. Its interior is PVC lined to ensure your cargo is well protected from elements such as rain, snow, wind, etc.
The heavy-duty zipper (with protective flap) further protects your cargo against elements.
The installation part is easy and straightforward for you. It works with 52-inch crossbars, and you can easily mount on an extended verify of racks in about 10-15 minutes. The four adjustable straps with side release buckles enable you to mount this bag tightly and securely on your car’s rooftop.
What Are The Different Types of Car Top Carriers Available?
Having gone through our list of top cartop carriers reviews above, you might have noticed that these cargo carriers come in THREE main types—the cargo bag, cargo box, and cargo basket.
Knowing more details about each of these carriers will help you make a more informed decision on the right one to pick for your needs.
Let’s briefly describe each of these carriers:
1. Rooftop cargo bag
Carriers that fall under this category are simply large bags that you fit on your car rooftop. Most manufacturers usually add a thin plastic on the exterior or interior lining (or both sides) of the bag to offer your items protection against elements. They typically close with just a zip.
The reason why rooftop bags are popular is that they’re the cheapest option, are easy to install (even on cars without crossbars), and can easily fold into a compact size when not in use. Because they weigh less, they make the best option for cheaper cars.
However, these bags aren’t as durable. They offer less security to your items. And might not provide much protection to your belongings against elements.
2. Rooftop cargo box
Unlike the soft bag carriers above, a rooftop cargo box is made of hard plastic, and this enables it to offer maximum weather protection to your items. Another advantage of using a rooftop box is that it comes with a pre-defined shape, whether loaded or unloaded, to help ensure it doesn’t affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Cargo boxes are generally more durable and longer-lasting than bags.
But keep in mind that a cargo box tends to cost more than a bag. You’ll also need to have crossbars on your vehicle to successfully install a cargo box. Not to forget that installing them will take longer. In some cases, you might need to use specialist racks from the box manufacturer for proper installation.
3. Rooftop cargo basket
As you can easily tell from its name, this type of carrier comes in the shape of a regular basket. It’s essentially a flat piece of metal designed with points where you can tie straps or even anchor open items in your rack.
This is your go-to option if you plan to carry large or odd-shaped items. This is because it has an open design and will easily fit all shapes and sizes of cargo as long as you secure them correctly.
Some models even come with a somewhat aerodynamic shape when not loaded with your cargo.
Unfortunately, these carriers come with an open design. They will not offer your luggage and gear protection against various weather elements.
Things To Check Before Getting One
As you can tell from our list of top carriers above, car rooftop carriers come in varying designs, qualities, prices, and more. This can make it quite tough for you to choose the perfect model for your needs.
Below, we’ll outline the KEY features to help you pick the best car top carrier for your unique cargo storage needs:
The material used to design your car top carrier is essential when making a selection.
Mostly, you want to look for a carrier made using durable and weatherproof material. This will translate to years of safely transporting your cargo in all weather conditions.
A bag or box made using abrasion-resistant material is also worth considering to prevent it from getting damaged in case you accidentally drag it on the ground or get rubbed against surfaces.
If you’re environment-conscious, you might even want to look for a carrier made using recyclable material.
You’re looking to add extra storage space in your car with a cartop carrier. So, have you already figured out how much additional space you need?
The rooftop carriers for cars come in different sizes, with most offering around 16 cubic feet. If you need plenty of room for your stuff, you should probably consider anything around this size.
Smaller sizes are also available for car owners with less cargo.
The size and shape of your items will also dictate the size of the carrier to carry. For instance, if you want to ferry bikes, then a cargo basket will be more convenient for you.
Most people don’t care about the shape of a cargo box they buy. With the knowledge that everything you add to your vehicle’s exterior will affect its aerodynamics and hence its performance and fuel economy in mind, it gets clear why the shape is an essential aspect.
Look for a cargo box that comes with an aerodynamic design to ensure a smooth flow of air and minimize the effect on your fuel economy. Look out for boxes that feature pointed noses and sleek curves to effortlessly slice through the air.
In case you opt for a cargo basket, make sure it features a low profile design and bevel edges for aerodynamics reasons. A basket with a wind fairing is an added plus.
While these are not deal-breakers, they are pretty helpful features to have in the best cargo carrier you plan to install on your vehicle’s rooftop…
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I install more than one cargo carrier on my car rooftop?
It’s possible to install up to two cargo carriers on your car’s rooftop. In this case, you should look for models that are narrow enough to fit side by side. You should also make sure the lids of these carriers open from either side to ensure easy access to your belongings in each box from right or left.
Q: Are rooftop cargo bags safe?
A rooftop cargo bag is a safe way of hauling your belongings if you mount and strap it properly on your vehicle. Additional safety measures you should take to ensure you safely use your rooftop carrier include:
Q: Can you drive with an empty cargo box?
Experienced drivers recommend that you remove your cargo box when not using it. This is because having a carrier on your car’s rooftop, whether loaded or empty, can affect your fuel usage. Given that you want to save on your fuel bills, removing that cargo box is a wise idea.
As you have seen from our car top carrier reviews above, most cargo boxes are incredibly easy to install or remove from your car-top, so it shouldn’t be a lot of work to take it off when not in use.
Q: Are cargo boxes waterproof?
Most boxes are made from sturdy materials and are generally weatherproof. However, you might still want to carefully examine the specific model you buy to ensure it will keep your cargo safe from elements.
You might find out that some boxes leave space between the lid and lower half of the box, which can lead to water leaking and finding its way to your stuff if there’s any weather stripping or foam along the edge.
Q: Can I use a car top carrier on a truck?
Yes! In addition to the built-in space that comes with a typical truck, you can easily mount a carrier on the roof of your vehicle to create additional space for hauling your stuff.
When choosing the best rooftop cargo carrier for your vehicle, you want to ensure it’s something durable, weather-protected, easy to mount, and big enough to accommodate all your stuff. Order your car top roof carrier today from the top models we have recommended in this guide for stress-free future trips.