Best Cargo Box for SUV – The Ultimate Guide (2022)

When you are packing for a long trip or just a trip to the airport, or you are willing to take your car over the country with you, at first, you will want to make sure that you have everything you need for a delightful trip.

But, sometimes you may face some problems, including a shortage of storage space in your car. For example, you might not have enough space in your SUV for all the luggage you want to take with you.

You can most probably face this problem when you are going on a trip with the members of your family or friends. Moreover, you will not be able to put the luggage in the backseat because there are people in it. Besides, most SUVs do not have enough space to accommodate some extra suitcases and travel bags.

Sometimes, you might need to carry some luggage that is an unfamiliar size, such as a pair of skis or snowboards. No matter what you are trying to take with you, and no matter where you are trying to go, not having enough space to keep all your items is the worst problem you will ever face.

After facing this kind of problem, you might start to think about increasing the amount of storage space in your car because, after all, you cannot physically increase the amount of storage space in your trunk. You will be very happy to know that there is a system in that you can increase the amount of storage space in your SUV. For instance, you can look for SUV roof cargo boxes and find out which one suits your needs best.

Installing a roof cargo box on top of your SUV can easily increase the volume of storage space that you might need to use, including keeping rigidly shaped objects, such as skis and snowboards. So by installing a roof cargo box on your SUV, no matter where you are planning to go, you will surely have enough storage space in your SUV for everyone to carry the luggage they need.

What Types of Roof Boxes Are There?

While you are looking for SUV roof cargo boxes, you should get to know about the different types of roof cargo boxes first. There are mainly two types of roof boxes available on the market that you will need to keep in mind.

One type of roof cargo box comes with a hard outer shell, and it can be referred to as a hard roof box. The other type of roof cargo box is usually made out of a flexible material, and that type of roof cargo carrier can be referred to as a soft roof box. Both of these roof boxes come with their own pros and cons over each other. So you might need to do thorough research to determine which one is the best in satisfying your needs.

With that being said, there is no definite answer of whether a soft roof box is going to be more dependable than a hard one, as it depends fully on your position and what your needs are.

What Are Hard Roof Boxes?

When you are looking for SUV roof cargo boxes, you will surely see many hard roof boxes available for SUVs. Hard roof boxes are actually characterized by their hard outer shell, which almost always provides you with external durability and security.

Hard roof boxes can be the perfect choice for you if you are looking for something to ensure basic safety and security over price. With a hard roof box installed on top of your SUV, you can drive without worrying about your belongings being damaged by the storm of rocks, pebbles, and branches that can be kicked up by passing cars. All your items will remain fully safe inside the box.

The worst thing that could happen is that your roof box might get some slight scratch, and unfortunately, nobody likes a scratched appearance. It just works to confirm how durable hard roof boxes are.

You will be able to fit cargo boxes that come with between 16 and 18 cubic feet of storage space on an SUV. But it actually depends on the amount of space the roof of your SUV has.

Cargo Boxes for SUV

Where Do Hard Roof Boxes Fall Short?

Unfortunately, there are some shortcomings of these roof cargo boxes. Firstly, they are significantly more costly than their soft shell equivalents. This is, of course, to be assumed, including the level of safety that is provided by that hard shelter, though.

Usually, a good-quality solid roof box will cost you around mid-hundreds and even in the low-thousands range of pricing, but it actually depends on the size of the roof box, and the price also varies from brand to brand.

This indicates that buying a hard roof box will be a great investment, and you should really consider it if you think that you will get your money’s value out of it. In accession to the introductory price, most maximum hard roof boxes require a roof rack to get installed on top of your SUV.

While many SUVs already come with factory roof racks, many do not. So if your SUV doesn’t have any roof racks, you will need to combine this into the expense of the roof box itself.

Furthermore, you will also need to estimate the weight of the roof box. Most hard roof boxes are moderately overweight. They usually weigh from 30 to 60 lbs. You will need to combine this to the maximum weight capacity (usually nearby 100 lbs or just a little more). Moreover, you will also have to make sure whether or not your SUV can handle that weight.

Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, XX-Large
  • An oversized, versatile roof-mounted cargo box for everyday use
  • Provides 22 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Designed to fit a wide range a vehciles with maximum space efficiency
  • Quick-mount system "clicks" when roof box is secure and properly mounted
  • Dual-side opening for easy access to all areas of the box, from either side of the vehicle

Hardshell roof cargo boxes are magnificent and can hold your belongings more protected than ever before, but the cost is something that cannot be ignored.

What Are Soft Roof Boxes?

Cargo Box for SUV

In contrast to the hard roof boxes, the soft SUV roof cargo boxes are appreciated for their comparatively flexible fabric body. These types of cargo boxes do not come with a hard, fixed shape as the other types do, though they are sometimes categorized as roof cargo carrier bags. 

There are numerous advantages of buying a soft roof cargo carrier over hardshell roof boxes. For example, soft roof cargo boxes are usually available at a fraction of the price of hardshell ones. You will be able to find one for the 50 to 60 dollar range, and very unusually, the prices cross the hundred dollar mark. 

Now some people might think that soft roof boxes do not provide enough space, but this is not really true in this case. in place of 16 to 18 cubic feet of cargo space, soft SUV roof cargo boxes will normally provide you with around 15 cubic feet of storage space, which is more than enough for many suitcases and carry-on bags.

Moreover, in terms of installing a soft roof cargo bag on top of your car will not require you to spend money on a roof rack because almost all soft roof boxes can be installed regardless of roof racks. Most soft roof boxes own methods to accommodate most SUV roofs. This means that you won’t have to spend any extra money to have the roof cargo box in place, except if you desire to increase the carrier’s security. 

These soft roof boxes are all created to be water and weatherproof. So no matter what weather condition you are driving through, you will not have to worry about your stuff getting wet or damaged.

After all, soft roof cargo boxes are very lighter than their hardshell equivalents. Most of the softer ones will weigh in under ten lbs. They are usually more like six or seven lbs. but it actually depends on the size of the roof cargo box.

However, an excellent soft roof box to consider would be this Keeper model of roof bag.

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Keeper - Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Bag, 15 Cubic Feet
  • Protect Your Cargo: Keeper Roof Top Cargo Bag features 15 cubic ft. to protect and secure cargo loads from road grit, sun, wind and rain.
  • Measurements: This cargo bag measures approximately 44 in. x 34 in. x 17 in. with rubber-laminated nylon material.
  • Features: Soft sides flex to fit odd-shaped loads and folds into a compact size for easy storage.
  • Ideal Use: Fits most roof racks on standard vehicles and smaller SUVs with attachment capabilities on all four sides.
  • Disclaimer: Please use extreme caution when not utilizing all four side attachments.

Where Do Soft Roof Boxes Fall Short?

Unfortunately, almost all SUV roof cargo boxes do have some shortcomings, and the soft roof boxes also come with some disadvantages. First of all, soft roof boxes do not provide you with an equal amount of stability as the hard ones do.

For example, if you keep items in your soft roof box and it fills completely, and you cross below a low-hanging tree with sharp-edged branches stretching out, you might have the chance of having your roof box ripped open. No one wants this to occur, but this is one of the several risks that come with using a soft roof cargo box in place of a hardshell cargo box. You will have to remain careful about the stability of these roof boxes.

Moreover, these roof boxes are also known to be less aerodynamic, which is obviously going to affect fuel economy and gas in really long car journeys. These roof cargo carriers are perfectly fine if you have a quick ride to an airport, but you naturally do not want to have the back of your car loaded to the brim with luggage.

However, on a long trip, such as cross-country, this can firmly affect how much money you are paying on fuel; whatever there are some kinds of soft roof cargo boxes that challenge to be as aerodynamic as the durable, hard shell roof boxes.

At last, the ultimate point that you will want to be cautious of with soft roof boxes on an SUV is protection. These boxes can stand up to weather and rain like it is nothing; this is less the case with the zippers. Most soft roof boxes come with zipper closing, which can become a problem when driving in a sizeable SUV.

It is very easy for someone to unzip your soft roof carrier in the middle of the night, which means that you might have to empty the softbox and bring your stuff into the room with you when you stop for the night, which can become astonishingly embarrassing for a big SUV.

After all, soft roof boxes are great for the particular long journey, or if you want something to carry your items in during a drive to an airport, but hard roof cargo boxes are better suited to repeated trips over the country, wherever the purchase pays itself off in terms of security and durability.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

Last Update : 2022-09-28

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