Hey there campers and welcome to my post where we will discuss my three best rooftop cargo carriers to take the load with this year. For many of us, one of the daunting tasks that we face whenever we are headed to our camping destination is how to get all our stuff there too.
Even if we have a spacious SUV, we tend to fill it up quite quickly so if this is one of your hassles, then rooftop cargo carriers could be the solution you need. However, as with most products of this type, there are a few different options out there so to help you out I have had a look around and come up with 3 good options below.
Let’s have a look.
My three recommended rooftop cargo carriers
I will review these in more detail below however if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience:
What are rooftop cargo carriers?
Cargo carriers are camping travel solutions that conveniently transport your luggage and sporting goods while increasing the cargo capacity of your vehicle. As they name suggests, they are mounted on roof racks or hitches and simply provide extra transport space for all your camping needs.
What should you be looking for?
The following outlines some factors to consider as you hunt for a rooftop cargo carrier for your vehicle:
- Carrying capacity
As mentioned above, there are different types of rooftop carriers available in the market. Here is a short list of them:
- Roof bags: These carriers are typically constructed of heavy-duty waterproof textiles. Because they are soft and not too heavy, they can be easily mounted by a single person and are appropriate for irregularly-shaped gear.
- Rooftop baskets: This kind of rooftop carrier can easily store items of different types, including oddly shaped ones. Because it’s essentially an open storage platform, you can stack as much or as little as you need however you do have to consider the stability of your items and ensure they are secured with bungees or a net.
- Rooftop boxes: If you require a lot of carrying capacity and security, rooftop boxes are a great option. Because they are popular, you can choose from a variety of designs from different brands that include anti-theft features as well as good aerodynamic performance for reduced drag.
If you have decided to purchase rooftop boxes, you should determine the maximum length of a carrier that suits your vehicle. Note that the box should not be much longer than the roof of your car and not extend over your windshield. Furthermore, it should also not block the rear hatch opening of your SUV either.
Oh, and don’t forget to make sure it fits inside your portable carport should you be using one as well.
For the most part, these versatile carriers are ideal for storing bulky outdoor equipment such as skis and poles, fishing rods and camping and backpacking items. As you consider your camping cargo, you should also think about whether you need a low-profile design (for low-clearance areas) or a half-width box that could cater to larger items.
Secondly, many vehicles include roof top weight limits so you will also need to ensure that the capacity of the container doesn’t exceed what the car can legally carry.
Best-selling top cargo carriers come with a handle and lock on both sides, allowing you to open the box from either the driver’s or passenger’s side of the vehicle while the other remains closed.
Under this category, you have two kinds:
- Softshell: This type is made of a fabric that does not keep its shape when empty. Manufacturers treat the material to make it weatherproof however many do not guarantee that your gear to remain dry. One advantage is that they are easier to mount than hard-shell carriers.
- Hardshell: Made of materials or fibers that have been molded or formed into a rigid container, a hardshell container offers superior weatherproof quality. Because they are molded, hardshell containers are easier to store gear in, and many have straps to secure small equipment when it is not fully loaded and are more scratch and slice-resistant, so they are more durable than their softshell counterparts.
Other potential additions include:
- Straps: These are made from flexible and durable materials which you could use to stabilize and secure the cargo carrier.
- Mounting system: Most boxes are pre-assembled and ready to mount, but some low-cost designs necessitate more extensive assembly.
- Aerodynamics: To improve aerodynamics, some modern box designs have noses that dip below the front rail to lessen drag and noise.
- Non-slip mat: This helps the carrier stay in place when your roof becomes wet or traveling on high-speed highways.
Where should a rooftop carrier be placed?
In order to provide the best wind resistance and reduced noise. A carrier should be placed at least 8 inches from the top of the windscreen. Many manufacturers also set anchor points to assist with this as well.
How fast can you travel with a rooftop carrier?
In most cases, rooftop carriers are designed to allow for travel at speeds faster than most road limits. However, be aware that moving too fast with a rooftop carrier attached can affect vehicle balance and cause potential accidents, loss of traction or even fall off the roof.
My three recommendations broken down
So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:
1. Vetoos Rooftop Cargo Carrier
My first option is a weatherproof cargo carrier bag that is oversized and can handle the luggage of a family of five to 6 members, yet it will not disrupt your visibility and rear hatch door. The waterproof sealing also keeps your items dry amid heavy downpours. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Vetoos
- Type: Cargo carrier bag
- Material used: High-density 700D PVC fabric
- Dimensions: 52 x 39.5 x 17.5 inches
- Weight: 8.63 pounds
- Waterproof zipper
- Reinforced strap seam
- Non-slip protective mat
- Strong buckle system
Why have I chosen it?
This product offers security to your baggage and is attached via 4 door hooks and 8 strong straps. The fabric used is a great option for waterproof materials and the non-slip mat, sturdy buckle system, and reinforced strap seam ensure the carrier’s protection. You can easily fold this carrier and store it inside your vehicle if not in use. This is a great options for those who have need for extra storage from time to time
2. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier
This next product is a hardshell rooftop box that completely protects your luggage from the elements. It comes with a user-friendly mounting system for easy installation and a four corner locking system for extra security. See its specifications below:
- Brand: JEGS
- Type: Cargo carrier box
- Material used: HDPE plastic hard shell
- Dimensions: 61.25 x 39 x 12 inches
- Weight: 35 pounds
- Four corner locking system
- Weather-tight seal
- Aerodynamic design for fuel efficiency
Why have I chosen it?
The sturdy plastic shell is super easy to install, holds up to 110 pounds of stuff at a time, and provides 18 cubic feet of extra storage space. The dual-side access is handy since you can open and close the carrier from both sides and it is designed with three clips (one on each side and one in the front) and a lock in the back to keep it closed.
3. Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box
This final profiled product is a high-quality and top-rated rooftop cargo carrier that can safely carry up to 165 pounds of your outdoor stuff. It is designed to fit a variety of vehicles while still providing maximum space efficiency with dual side latches for ease of access. See its specifications below:
- Brand: Thule
- Type: Cargo carrier box
- Material used: Plastic hard shell
- Dimensions: 93 x 36 x 20.5 inches
- Weight: 52 pounds
- Dual-side opening
- PowerClick quick mount system
- Lock knob system
Why have I chosen it?
If you are looking for the best of the best, this last product recommendation provides unrivaled performance. First, it has a dual opening design that allows access to the cargo carrier from either side with simplified attachment via a torque-limiting PowerClick quick-mount system that prevents you from over tightening the box as you mount it to your crossbars.
Because of its weather-resistant design and solid construction, the cargo carrier proves to be one of the most durable cargo boxes you can choose.
There you have it, my three best rooftop cargo carriers for maximum cargo space efficiency. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual, let me know of your experiences with them.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.