5 Best Roof Top Cargo Carriers

5 Best Roof Top Cargo Carriers

August 25, 2022 Off By Joe K

A rooftop cargo carrier can solve common overflow challenges that occur when packing for a camping trip, cross-country travel, or even moving for drivers who require more stowage than is provided by a vehicle’s interior. Both hard-shelled cargo and soft rooftop bags are designed to shield belongings from harsh weather and road grime while also shielding cargo from curious thieves.

When not in use, a soft rooftop cargo carrier is lighter in weight, easier to mount to a vehicle’s roof, and can be quickly stored. Most do not require rack systems and can be loaded on top of a naked roof with simple tie-down systems that include adjustable straps, sturdy hooks, and zippered compartments. Many soft cargo carriers boast welded or taped seams, so they are water tight.

A hard rooftop cargo carrier, also known as a roof cargo box, requires crossbars and is equipped with a roof rack system. Though they are more expensive and more difficult to use, they provide greater security for high-value items such as skis, snowboards, or other outdoor equipment used for activities such as camping or biking. Most have locking mechanisms, and the hard outer shells are not damaged by packing items with sharp edges, oblong or odd shapes.

Five Best Roof Top  Cargo Carriers

A rooftop cargo carrier can make packing for a road trip or excursion much easier. We’ve all seen those cars driving around with oddly shaped boxes on the roof, and if you live in the Pacific Northwest, they probably have more virtue signaling stickers on the bumper than the bumper itself. They may appear ridiculous, but they are a great way to store cargo without taking up cabin or trunk space. This makes them ideal for sedans, wagons, and small SUVs that require passenger cabin space. The last thing you want to do is cram into your Subie for two hours to go adventuring because it means cramming in on the way back, which will cause major cramping.

Not everyone requires a massive SUV capable of carrying 12 people or a truck capable of towing a mountain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pack gear. Rooftop cargo carriers are a great option. Most are waterproof and lockable, keeping your belongings safe. They can be removed when not in use, but some are also fashionable. Let’s take a closer look at how picking one of these could be game-changing.

Skybox Yakima- Best roof top  Cargo Carriers

Yakima is a well-known brand in vehicle cargo accessories. Yakima manufactures the products you need to transport gear, from hitch-mounted bike racks to rooftop cargo boxes. The Skybox 16 Carbonite cargo box is an excellent example of craftsmanship.

The aerodynamic carbonite lid, made of 80 percent recycled materials, is the most notable feature. The lid’s unseen structural reinforcements make it stronger and easier to open. This comes in handy because this box can be opened from either side.

There’s enough room for up to three campers’ belongings in the 16 cubic feet of storage space. Alpine enthusiasts will be relieved to know that skis and snowboards up to 180 centimeters will fit comfortably. The Skybox can be easily attached and detached from most crossbars for increased versatility. This gives you the option of wearing it during peak seasons or storing it when not in use.

Pros & Cons

  • Fits most bar types

  • Built-in security lock

  • Both sides of the door open

  • Lightweight and simple to remove

  • Not suitable for groups of more than three people.

  • Expensive price point

  • Not ideal for bulky equipment

Rooftop Cargo Box Thule Force XT

If you want the best of the best, Thule’s Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box offers unparalleled quality and versatility. It begins with a dual opening design that allows access to the cargo carrier from either side of the vehicle. Attachment is simplified by a torque-limiting PowerClick quick-mount system that prevents you from overtightening the box when mounting it to your crossbars.

As a premium car top carrier, the Thule provides not only locking security, but also a unique LockKnob that makes it easy to open and close while also protecting the key from damage. It has a 165-pound weight capacity and measures 90 inches long, 35.5 inches wide, and 18.5 inches tall—enough space for seven pairs of skis or five snowboards.

The Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box is available in 11-, 16-, 18-, and 22-cubic-foot sizes, with some sizes also including a fitted four-piece Thule Gopack Duffel Set.

Pros & Cons

  • Available in various sizes to fit all vehicles

  • Versatile openings are recommended for large amounts of cargo or sporting equipment.

  • Universal crossbar attachment

  • Too large for a single person to easily install

Rooftop Cargo Carrier by Jegs

Roof boxes can quickly become expensive, making it difficult to find a good box on a budget. This is where the Jegs roof box comes in, as it provides 18 cubic feet of storage for less than $300.

The unique mounting design allows it to fit most four-inch or smaller crossbars rated for 150 pounds or more. This is due to the fact that the Jegs weighs 28 pounds empty and has a total load capacity of 110 pounds. It’s light enough that a single person can easily mount and dismount it, but strong enough to carry what you need.

Installation is simple because no specialized tools are required, only U-bolts and wing nuts. While you could fit skis or snowboards in this box, its design is more suited to packs and duffles.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample storage space

  • Assembly and installation require no tools.

  • It is possible to open it from either side.

  • Can be secured

  • Locks with two distinct locking devices

  • Has to be set up for one side, then reset for the other if desired

Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag by Fivklemnz

The Fivklemnz rooftop cargo carrier has proven to be extremely popular among consumers in need of additional storage space. It provides up to 15 cubic feet of extra storage space, enough for four to six suitcases.

When not in use, the Fivklemnz can be folded up and stored in the carry bag that comes with it, unlike hard shell carriers. When folded, it’s about the size of a small backpack, making it easy to store.

The bag is made of 600D Oxford cloth and has a waterproof zipper protected by a double flap to keep the rain out. The manufacturer claims that this is 100% waterproof and rainproof, so your belongings will remain dry.

When it comes to installation, the Fivklemnz cargo carrier comes with a non-slip protective mat, so you can use it even without a roof rack system without worrying about scratching up your vehicle’s roof. It also has eight adjustable straps that keep everything safe and secure even at highway speeds.

Pros & Cons

  • 100% waterproof

  • Simple installation

  • Small size

  • The zipper does not include a lock.

  • Under stress, some users claim that the straps can rip away from the bag.

The Thule Pulse – Best roof top  Cargo Carriers

Thule has long been a household name when it comes to adventure accessories for your vehicle. The Pulse rooftop cargo carrier is ideal for those who require only a small amount of extra space. The medium size has 14 cubic feet of storage, the large has 16 cubic feet, and the alpine has 11 cubic feet of storage specifically for skis and snowboards.

Although the large and alpine models were designed with alpinists in mind, all of these boxes would be ideal for hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, or anyone looking for outdoor adventure. One of the key advantages of this box is that it only opens from the passenger side. This could be viewed as an inconvenience, or as a convenient way to remember which side opens.

It uses a unique and tool-free mounting grip to attach to almost any crossbar style. With a weight of around 35 pounds, this is easily installed by one person. After installation, the box locks with a central locking system that secures the entire lid. And who says this can’t be combined with a hitch-mounted bike rack?

Pros & Cons

  • There are three sizes available: medium, large, and alpine.

  • Fits most crossbars.

  • There is one central locking mechanism.

  • ABS plastic construction is tough.

  • Only one side of the door opens

  • Expensive price point

Top Tips for Traveling with Cargo Carriers

Using a cargo carrier necessitates a change in driving style. The top driving speed is reduced with each type of carrier, and some designs also limit car maneuverability. Here are some things to think about when traveling with a cargo carrier.

1. Weight/Mass Ratio

Overloading the cargo carrier will cause significant problems in situations where sharp turns are required. The carrier’s weight is significant from two perspectives.

First, your car’s roof rails have a weight limit that is usually listed in the owner’s manual, which is usually 100 pounds/45KG. Second, the weight of the load affects cornering maneuverability, and if the load is too heavy or unbalanced, it can cause an accident. This is why you must ensure that the weight of your load does not exceed the maximum allowable weight on your car’s roof.

If you use a hitch-mounted rack, you should be aware that the extra weight can put strain on the rear suspension, and you will need to adjust the weight so that the car’s performance is not compromised. In general, the weight limit ranges between 70 and 300 pounds, depending on the type of vehicle and cargo carrier used. There is usually a chart, either with the rack, the hitch, or in your owner’s manual, that shows how much weight you can put on the hitch (the “tongue”) based on the passenger and cargo load inside your vehicle.

2. Weight Distribution Equally

Another critical aspect of cargo carrier safety is intelligent weight distribution. Instead of putting the entire load in one corner of the rack, try to distribute it evenly so that it has less of an impact on car maneuverability. The drive will be more balanced if your load is balanced. Vehicles that are well-balanced are safer. It’s simple to fill extra space in a partially-loaded carrier with a sleeping bag, yoga mat, or other soft, firm objects to keep items from sliding around.

3. Load Security

Another thing to keep in mind when using a cargo carrier is to secure the load. There are various straps that can be used to keep the load in place regardless of the design. You want to avoid situations in which the load moves when cornering, as this can lead to accidents or items falling out and endangering other drivers.

To keep your items secure in an open cargo basket, you’ll need to buy a cargo net like the one pictured or sturdy straps.

Many drivers believe that only roof baskets need to be secured, but this is not the case. Some of the top manufacturers provide out-of-the-box straps for securing large items like sporting equipment even inside a rooftop box.

5. Tire Pressure Adjustment

When transporting heavier loads, tire pressure is even more critical than usual. Before you drive away with the cargo carrier mounted. Make sure the tire pressure is set to the manufacturer’s recommended level. At the same time, you must ensure that the load is distributed as evenly as possible, as this will reduce the pressure on specific tires.

6. Height of Load

Driving around with a rooftop cargo carrier is an entirely different experience. You must be prepared for any obstacles that may arise. When the cargo carrier is mounted, for example, you may be unable to enter a garage safely. You may also have difficulty entering the parking lots of various buildings. That is why you must be aware of the minimum height clearance required to safely park your vehicle. Many parking garages will be no taller than nine feet. A medium-size SUV with a roof rack can easily be six feet tall. So check and add your cargo box height on top of that.

7. Using Additional Straps

The straps that come with the cargo carrier are frequently insufficient to secure your load. Simply purchasing more straps will solve this problem and ensure that your cargo will not move, even on sharp corners. Cam buckle straps are inexpensive, roll up for storage, and come with flat ends or hooks for a variety of attachment options.