Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Box Review Guide For 2023-2024
Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Box Review Guide For 2023-2024 – If you need more cargo carrying capacity for your car, there are a lot of practical options out there for you. We’ve singled out the best ones. If you need more cargo carrying capacity for your car, there are a lot of practical options for you that can be installed right on your car’s roof. When looking for the best roof cargo carrier, you need to first figure out what kind of cargo you’re going to be carrying.
Not all cargo carriers are the same and there are different products out there for different purposes: there are travel bags, roof baskets, and cargo boxes. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are all mounted on a roof rack or roof rails. The following options are among the best cargo carriers, roof boxes, and roof baskets you can buy in our Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Box Review Guide For 2023-2024 . Make sure you pick the right one for your specific needs.
Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Box Review Guide For 2023-2024:
12 Things to Consider whether you’re going fishing or going to Vegas, anyone looking to buy a roof box will want to take the following 12 factors into consideration.
One of the first things you’re probably bound to wonder about when searching for roof boxes is the price. For as much as you want a quality roof box, you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. That said, you don’t want to go too inexpensive, either – after all, you get what you pay for, right?
So, how much should you expect to pay for a reasonably good roof box? A good estimate for an average roof box is around $300. With more bells and whistles, you can expect to pay a couple hundred dollars more. Size matters, too, and larger units will naturally be most costly.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on a roof box if it is easily snatched off your roof. It is, thus, of the utmost importance that you find roof boxes that score highly in terms of box security. You always want to look for roof boxes that feature locks for keeping your possessions safe.
Incidentally, this is one reason why you’ll want to opt for a hard roof box over a softer bag. The latter options tend to be less expensive and may be better for shorter, less elaborate trips. That said, they aren’t as durable, and don’t come with locks. By contrast, any hard roof box worth its salt should come with locks.
Their harder exterior, in addition to protecting your possessions from the elements, also protects them from potential thieves knifing your bag and stealing its contents.
How Well They Secure in Place:
Now we move from box security to the question of how well a given roof box secures into place. The last thing you want is to spend hundreds of dollars on a roof box and pack all your camping or road trip supplies inside only to have it fly off the roof mid-trip. When selecting roof boxes, therefore, you need to pay attention not just to the box itself, but how well it fits into place.
There are a few basic ways roof boxes are secured into place. Roof racks are among the most common of these roof box securing methods, as are ropes and ties.
How you secure your roof box in place will also depend on what kind of car you have. While most roof boxes are designed to fit well with the roof of most cars, you’ll still need to make sure that you have enough space to place them up there.
The smaller the roof, the smaller you’ll need your box to be for it to be properly secured. You want to avoid choosing roof boxes that extend too far off the back of your vehicle’s roof lest it fly off.
Finally, you’ll need to think about how your roof box is going to secure into place in adverse weather conditions. You don’t want a strong gust of wind to blow the roof box right off, or to see strong rain or snow cause it to slip off, or else have that same moisture seep into the box and ruin your possessions.
For this reason, many leading roof boxes today feature undersides that boast added friction to help them stay in place. In addition, if you are planning on driving in wet conditions, you’ll want to make sure to get a waterproof roof box.
Their Length and Width:
Next, you’ll want to think about how big the roof box is, beginning with its length and width. As mentioned above, you obviously need to make sure that your roof box isn’t so big that it’s slipping down the back or tumbling over the side of your vehicle.
At the same time, however, you also have to make sure it’s wide enough to accommodate whatever you wish to pack. That means that you’ll have to give some serious thought as to what you actually plan on keeping in those roof boxes.
For example, if you are using them to transport something long and thin, such as skis, fishing poles, baseball bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, or similar equipment, you’ll need to make sure you’re purchasing a roof box that is big enough and won’t inadvertently snap them.
The same goes for width. If you are planning on storing bags or similar items in your roof box, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough room to store them safely without cramming or crushing anything.
Then there’s the question of weight. Different roof boxes have different weight limits. What’s more, different vehicles are able to support different amounts of topside weight. You will, thus, need to make sure you are choosing a roof box that can carry your items without straining or breaking under the weight, and that the box’s own weight (empty and full) isn’t too much for your vehicle.
How it Impacts Your Gas Mileage:
As if that weren’t enough, your storage box’s size and weight can also have an impact on your vehicle’s gas mileage. The last thing you want is to think you have enough gas only to find out you’ve reckoned without the added weight and drag of your roof box. By some estimates, a roof box can slow your car down by 35% or 10 miles per gallon.
That said, there is a lot of variation and obviously a lot of factors that may be responsible for those numbers, so do your own research and see if the roof box you are considering is a gas mileage liability.
How Aerodynamic They Are:
Implicit in that question of gas mileage is how aerodynamic a given roof box is. The more aerodynamic a roof box is, the more it can cut down on wind resistance, which in turn can help with gas mileage.
Thankfully, there are a wide range of sleek roof boxes out there. As described below, there’s an aesthetic side to this, but there is also a performance aspect to this.
Of course, this is another area where performance rubs up against cost. As a general rule, the more aerodynamic a roof box is, the more it will cost. That said, because an aerodynamic roof box can help cut down on gas mileage, investing in a more expensive roof box may be worth it if you go on long or frequent trips.
By contrast, bigger, bulkier roof boxes may be less expensive, but they are also precisely the type most likely to cause drag and potential gas mileage issues.
With the other items on this list more concerned with function, let’s pause a moment to consider form. Maybe you don’t care if your roof box is a big bulky obtrusive item that makes your vehicle look old-fashioned or absurd.
That said, as we mentioned in discussing the issue of aerodynamics above, your roof box’s build can have an impact on how well your car is able to drive with it attached. In addition, a sleeker build with a finish that catches sunlight wonderfully just makes your vehicle look that much better while out on the open road.
That’s subjective and emotion-based, yes, but after all, why are you going on these trips if not to feel the emotions that come with awe and adventure? If an aesthetically-pleasing roof box enhances that feeling, all the better, right?
Whether for aerodynamics or sheer aesthetics, therefore, you’ll want to give some thought to how your roof box looks up there.
Long, sleek roof boxes are currently in vogue. These are often rounded at the front and taper back. These also tend to be the more aerodynamic ones. Clamshell roofs, by contrast, tend to open upward, which means they are built with more space toward the top and are, thus, larger than those longer, sleeker options.
Then there is the question of color. Obviously this is a highly subjective choice, and thankfully, you can find most of the leading roof box variants available in a rainbow of colors. In addition, you can often find them in chrome, matte, and everything in between.
This is a big one – and, indeed, you should ideally look for a roof box that offers big-time volume and storage capabilities. How well that squares with other factors such as size, weight, and aerodynamic-ness is another matter. Taken on its own, however, more volume is almost always good.
How these roof boxes are able to achieve that volume is another matter. Long slender boxes of similar sizes are likely to offer roughly the same volume and storage capabilities. It’s the “size” part that is key there. Different sizes will offer different degrees of volume, and many leading models will come in more than one size.
You will, thus, need to weigh your need for more volume against those other factors in determining which size is right for you.
As alluded to above, compatibility is also essential to the roof box equation. You need to make sure that your roof box actually fits on top of your roof. We already talked a bit about securing it into place, but there’s more to that than simply making sure it doesn’t slide down the back or fly off the car.
For one thing, certain roof boxes are designed with certain vehicles and classes in mind. You’ll, thus, want to pay attention to the vehicle classes listed for each of the roof boxes we mention below.
Whether or not your vehicle already has racks installed on top of the roof can also make a big difference in terms of which roof boxes are compatible, and how you can get them to fit. As mentioned, different roof boxes come with different roof racks. You’ll, thus, need to check if those racks can be attached to your roof’s existing racks and, if not, if the roofing box can work with the ones your vehicle already has.
Of course, all of that presumes that you have or will be able to attach roof racks to your roof in the first place. While it isn’t totally impossible to attach a high-quality roof box to a “naked” roof (this is where those ropes can come in handy) it will be significantly more difficult.
Without those racks, there will be fewer things in place to stop the roof box sliding about or even potentially sliding off the roof. You’ll, thus, need to be even more careful about the size, shape, and weight of the roof box you buy for roof rack-less setups.
If there is a silver lining to that, it’s that roof racks can be frustrating to install in some cases, so “at least” with a naked roof you don’t have to deal with that. Even so, it’s worth the potential frustration for the friction and far superior holding power that typically comes with roof racks.
If your vehicle is at all compatible with either the racks that come with a roof box or others that you can purchase for the job, it is advisable to use them.
The Way it Opens:
You might think that this would be one of the simplest factors on our list. How could the way a roof box opens possibly be something to give you pause? However, whether or not a roof box opens on one or both sides as well as how it opens at all is actually really important.
As alluded to above, roof boxes tend to open either on one or both sides. Naturally, the latter allows you to unpack things a lot easier and faster by allowing passengers on both sides of the car to pack or unpack things simultaneously.
In addition, if you are stuck parking with a support or wall on one side, you won’t have to worry about being potentially unable to unpack things because you’re blocked from accessing the one side of the roof box that can be opened.
You’ll also want to think about the direction in which things open. Clamshell roof boxes open upward, whereas other roof boxes open toward the left, right, or both.
Frequency of Use:
Last, but not least, you’ll want to think about how often you plan on using this roof box. That will have a big impact on other factors on this list. If you travel often, for example, you may be willing to pay a higher price for a larger roof box that offers more bells and whistles.
On the other hand, if you only travel occasionally, or take shorter trips, then a smaller, more affordable roof box may be better.
Arksen 250LB Universal 43″ Roof Rack Cargo Auto Top Luggage Carrier
With a universal design and a metal construction, this luggage carrier is one of the simplest and most durable designs on the market. It represents a solution that is easy to use and even looks a bit retro. Made with a metal frame with a length of 43” and a width of 39”, the carrier is easy to store when not in use due to its compact size. This roof basket is a great option for carrying cargo, but it requires additional straps and cargo nets to make sure your cargo is secure. This is a great option for drivers who don’t experience too much rain or snow.
- Great ideal: Perfect for hauling extra cargo bags, camping equipment, luggage and more
- Heavy Duty Construction: Bottom metal bars and side rails help keeping your belongings in place while providing plenty of tie down points
- Powder Coated Finish: Black powder coated finish, Steel wind fairing is included to reducing wind resistance & noise
- Perfect for Road Trip: Perfect for long road trip with a large group of people or friends
- Easy to Mount: It utilizes your vehicle’s cross bars, easily mounting with four universal U-bolts, accommodating square cross bars up to 4.65″ wide x 1.375″ thick or round bars up to 1.375″ in diameter NOTE – Cargo Net Sold Separately ASIN B07J4FSSWM
- Made with a compact design
- good aerodynamic performance
- only 43” in length
- full metal construction for added durability
- Cargo nets and straps sold separately
JEGS Performance Products 90098 Rooftop Cargo Carrier
This JEGS Performance Products cargo box is a compact and easy-to-mount solution that comes with impressive overall durability and can be a good addition for up to 110 lbs of cargo weight. Since it is small, it will not require the entire surface of the roof and you will be able to mount it yourself. With a weight of 28 lbs and a length of 39 inches, it is quick to mount and unmount and it doesn’t even require too much storage space when not in use. As for its practicality, it comes with a self-standing top lid and with a built-in lock with keys.
- 18 Cubic…
- 110 lb. Carrying…
- 28 lbs….
- 4-Corner Locking…
- Dual Side..
- Made with a compact design
- can hold weights of up to 110lbs
- designed with a self-standing lid
- doesn’t require the entire surface of the roof
- Not the best looking solution
Thule 682 Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box
If you are looking for a compact cargo carrier, the Sidekick comes as a practical solution. Made to meet the needs of travelers who want to avoid larger designs without sacrificing practicality, the cargo carrier is a top solution with its 8 cubic feet capacity. With a length of 48 inches, it will not cover the entire surface of the roof on most mid-sized cars and it also won’t create too much wind resistance.
The carrier comes with a self-standing top lid (so you can load it easily) and a simple locking mechanism to keep your belongings safe. It is also durable and it represents a solution that can be used in all seasons. With a weight of 18 lbs, you should also be able to install it yourself.
- Space-saving design carries the load with room for other items on roof rack
- Sturdy U-bolts with reinforcement plates mount cargo box securely to the rack
- Passenger-side opening for easier loading and unloading
- External dimensions 54 x 25 x 15. 5 inch
- Internal dimensions 48 x 23 x 13. 5 inch
- Load capacity 75 pounds
- This item requires significant assembly. Refer to installation manual under product details below.
- Made with a compact design
- comes with an 8-cubic feet storage capacity
- recommended for its lower weight at 19lbs
- self-standing top design
- Small for sporting equipment
Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, Medium
With a taller profile compared to the Force Cargo, the Pulse Cargo offers one of the best solutions for extra carrying space. It is available in 11, 14 and 15 cubic feet. It is made to handle weights of up to 110 lbs in all versions and can even hold ski equipment. Depending on the size of your Cargo Box, you can fit between 4 and 8 pairs of skis in the box.
With a self-standing lid design and an integrated anti-theft locking mechanism with keys, it is a practical solution for the adventurous drivers who need a safe place to store their ski equipment. Made from ABS plastic, the Pulse Cargo Box is also a durable solution to be considered during harsh weather conditions as well.
- Durable and rugged textured ABS material is long-lasting and helps protects contents during transit
- Fast and secure fitting using only one hand due to Fast Grip quick-mount system that assembles in moments
- Passenger-side opening for easier loading and unloading. Max length of skis – 155 centimetre
- Central Locking system provides maximum safety. The grip-friendly Thule Comfort key can only be removed if all locking points are securely closed
- External dimensions 67 x 35 x 16 inch
- Internal dimensions 61 x 33 x 14 inch
- Load capacity snowboards 3-5
- Great solution for skis or snowboards
- available in 11
- 14 and 15 cubic feet options
- made with an anti-theft lock
- durable ABS plastic construction
- stand-up lid
- The locking mechanism can be improved
YAKIMA, SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo Box for Cars, Wagons and SUVs
The cargo carrier is one of the most versatile solutions from Yakima. It is available in various sizes: 12, 15, 16, 18 and 21 cubic feet options. One of the best parts is that this Yakima roof box doesn’t require tools to install.
Made with a practical design, the Skybox offers a design that can open on each side. Made with the Superlatch system, the carrier also protects against theft with a lockable top.
In its longest length, the carrier is truly versatile and it represents a solution both for summertime and wintertime needs. This roof box can even fit full-size snowboards. But Yakima is always taking their products a step further and this can be seen with the environmental approach of the cargo carrier. It is made with mostly recycled materials for a lower impact on the environment.
- Perfect for hauling gear for up to 2 campers; Great for snowboards and skis up to 180 cm
- SuperLatch security ensures lid is secure to its base; Fits Yakima round, factory, aerodynamic and square bars
- 12 cubic feet; Also available in 16, 18, 21 and Lo sizes; Dual-sided opening for easy access
- No assembly required; Includes SKS Locks; Approved crossbar spread: 24-36 inches
- Available in different sizes to fit all cars
- recommended for large amount or cargo or sports gear
- comes with an included SKS lock
- opens on both sides
- made with mostly recycled materials
We hope you found our Best Cargo Carriers and Roof Box Review Guide For 2023-2024 helpful.