How To Choose the Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Boxes 

Traveling is fun. Most people love exploring the great outdoors with their family or friends. That makes excursions even more enjoyable. However, whether you’re travelling alone or with someone, you may find that you have so much to carry, and the space in your vehicle isn’t enough. 

It can be frustrating. Some travelers leave some crucial luggage behind, while others abandon the journey. However, the good thing is you don’t have to do either of the two, thanks to roof boxes and cargo carriers. These items may appear simple, but they’re more convenient than you can imagine. 

How do you pick the ideal roof rack for your car with all the choices on the market? Keep reading to find out. 

yellow suv on black asphalt road during daytime
Roof Boxes

About Cargo Carriers 

A cargo carrier is an essential item, especially if you frequently travel with a lot of gear. It’s a platform where you can store additional belongings on top of your car. 

Cargo carriers are usually designed to strap onto your vehicle’s roof rack. In other instances, they may attach to the trailer hitch. That said, there are four types of cargo carriers, which are: 

  • Hitch-mounted cargo carriers attach to the trailer hitch, which is located at the back of your vehicle. They come in different designs, such as a basket or a box. 
  • Roof bags- as the name suggests, roof bags are designed to sit on top of your car. They’re usually made of PVC or other weather-resistant materials and have a zip closure. 
  • Rooftop boxes- rooftop boxes are larger and more spacious than roof bags. They’re also more expensive. However, they offer more protection to your belongings as they’re made of hard-shell materials. 
  • Rooftop baskets- these are the most affordable type of cargo carrier. They’re also the simplest to install. Rooftop baskets attach to your car’s roof rack and are perfect for storing more oversized and odd-shaped items. 

How to Select the Best Cargo Carrier 

Here are some aspects to consider while picking a cargo carrier: 

  • Your specific needs. For example, a rooftop box would be better than a roof bag if you’re carrying large items. Likewise, a rooftop basket might be better if you have lighter items. 
  • The size of the cargo carrier- you need to make sure that the cargo carrier you choose is large enough to accommodate all your belongings. It should also fit in your car’s roof rack. 
  • Your vehicle’s weight capacity- you can get this crucial information from the label on your car’s side door or by studying its manual. 
  • The material of the cargo carrier- as mentioned earlier, cargo carriers are usually made of PVC or other weather-resistant materials. If you’re carrying fragile items, you need to make sure it’s well-padded. 
  • Its security level- go for one with an advanced locking structure. 
  • Its cost- the price will vary depending on its size, material, and features. 
  • Its hauling frequency- this should matter to you if you prefer detaching or mounting it after every excursion. The easier it is to remove and install, the better. 
  • Where you’d like to mount it- this will usually depend on the design of your vehicle. If you want a hitch-mounted cargo carrier, for instance, then ensure that your car has a trailer hitch. 
white bmw x series on brown grass field
Roof Boxes

More on Roof Boxes 

A roof box is a cargo carrier designed to attach to your car’s roof rack. It’s spacious and has a hard shell, making it ideal for storing larger items or those that need more protection. 

What’s more, roof boxes come with a lid or cover, which helps to keep your belongings dry and safe from the elements. When choosing a roof box, there are several factors you need to consider: 

  • The size of your car- in most cases, it’s best to choose a roof box that’s about two-thirds the length of your vehicle. A more straightforward way to know if a roof box matches your vehicle is to check the car’s manual. 
  • The type of lock it has- aftermarket towers and crossbars usually arrive with locks that you can open with a combination key or padlock. 

Others come with padlocks that you can combine with other locks for extra safety, while others have cables.  

  • The kind of material it’s made from- producers create roof boxes from three primary materials: Plastic, steel, and aluminum. 
  • The roof box’s size and shape- you can get them in three main kinds of sizes and shapes: Broad, low-profile roof packages, rectangular roof boxes, and narrow, tall roof boxes. 
  • Installation alternatives- roof boxes come with various installation options that determine how simple they are to mount to your car. There are two main kinds of fixtures: After-market and factory. 
  • The roof package’s size- roof boxes come in three sizes: Large, medium, and small. 
  • Essential considerations- there are some fundamental factors that you should never ignore as you pick a roof box: Compatibility, warranty, installation, budget, and size. 
  • Adaptors/ connectors- every roof box has various adaptors and connectors that make them suitable for other roof boxes, factory bars, crossbars, and aftermarket towers. Examples of connectors are clips, bolts and nuts, and u-bolts. A T-track is an example of an adaptor. 
black suv with blue and white boat on top
Roof Boxes


Picking the best cargo carrier or roof box doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember to consider all the factors we’ve discussed in this article, and you’ll be good to go. 

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