Roof Box or Roof Bag: What is the Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier?

While planning for a long travel trip, making sure that you have enough room for everything in your car is one of the most important things that are on your mind.

Nobody wants to plan a perfect trip across the country while you have only sufficient storage space to carry a portion of everything you need to take with you.

There are various kinds of methods to increase the amount of storage space that comes with your car. If your car can put down the back seat of your car, then it almost doubles the amount of storage space you have.

Nonetheless, for most trips, especially for family trips putting down the backseat isn’t an alternative because passengers are usually sitting there.

This can turn it quite a problem if you have a lot of baggage to take with you. You will be very happy to know that there are yet lots of options for your luggage. For example, you could keep your luggage on top of your car inside a rooftop cargo carrier. Now the only thing you have to do is choosing the best rooftop cargo carrier.

Finding the Perfect Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Finding the best rooftop cargo carrier can be a little bit hard, and especially if you have no plan at all about what you actually need. Generally, there are some important things that you will want to consider while choosing the right rooftop cargo carrier for you. First of all, you have to consider how much storage space you want and how much weight can the roof of your car tolerate.

As usual, smaller cars have more limited options for rooftop carriers because of the shortage of space. Usually, smaller cars come with around 11-13 cubic feet of space, which is enough to accommodate a few suitcases and carry-on bags. On the other hand, bigger cars such as vans and SUVs are able to accommodate rooftop carriers that come with around 15 to 18 cubic feet of storage space, which is a lot more space.

Roof Box or Roof Bag

You will also need to consider your budget and how often you will use the rooftop carrier if you intend to spend a good amount of your time traveling around the country in your car. In that case, you will apparently want to buy an expensive as well as durable rooftop cargo carrier so that it can pay off its investment by defending your luggage the whole trip from being damaged.

But, if you are only searching for a rooftop cargo carrier to get some extra storage space while you ride to the airport so that you can unload suitcases and carry-ons more comfortably, you obviously desire to save your money for your purpose and buy in a much less expensive rooftop cargo carrier.

This is a significant thing to consider because the price of a high-quality rooftop cargo carrier can easily reach around several thousand. In contrast, the price of something that can hold your suitcases on the way to the airport will not be high more than one hundred.

At last, you will need to consider the level of security you require for your stuff. Except you are leaving your car at the airport, there is a very good possibility that you will be visiting somewhere overnight. While not many people want to think about this, there is always somebody who is up to no good.

The rooftop cargo carriers that come with a zipper or strap opening can easily be opened by anybody who can touch the roof of your car. In contrast, there are rooftop carriers that come with a lock and key option so that your items stay as safe as they were if they were inside your home. This is a very important thing to consider because the price of a protected rooftop carrier is much higher than a zippered one.

With this being said, two different kinds of rooftop carriers will be observed, and the most high-grade of each kind will be determined. The kinds of rooftop cargo carriers vary a lot according to their advantages and purposes, so it is important to consider the best one from each when you are looking for the best rooftop cargo carrier.

Considering Hard Rooftop Cargo Carrier

The first type of rooftop cargo carrier is the hard shell ones. These carriers are known for their safer, hard outer shell that defends the items inside of the carrier. Hardshell rooftop cargo carriers are the perfect choice for you if you are looking for something that can provide you with durability and security. After all, hardshell rooftop cargo carriers come with the option to have locks installed, which means that as long as you keep the key secure to yourself, The carrier will be safe, and you can only access your stuff inside the cargo carrier.

Moreover, the durability of the hard outer shell is more than enough to last for several years of traveling before they really show any signs of wear and tear.

roof top carrier rental

Hardshell rooftop cargo carriers can come in many different sizes that range from 11 cubic feet of storage space to 22 cubic feet of storage space. But, no matter how much storage space a hard shell rooftop cargo carrier can provide you, the weight carrying capacities are almost the same, that is, around 165 pounds.

The only thing that actually changes among the sizes is typically the measurements, affecting your capacity to carry items such as skis and snowboards. This is essential to remark if you are going to use your rooftop cargo carrier to carry items that don’t comfortably fit in your car’s trunk, willingly than looking for more space in general.

The best quality hard rooftop carrier you can choose is the whole lineup of Thule Force XT cargo boxes. Not only does their size range from supporting approximately small cars to large trucks, but the carriers come with a weight carrying capacity of over 150 lbs. This model of rooftop carrier weighs less than previous versions, which is really important when you recognize how much weight the roof of your car can hold. And after all, these rooftop carriers enable you to lock the carrier itself for supreme security.

The Shortcomings of Hard Rooftop Cargo Carriers

All rooftop carriers are going to have some weaknesses, even the top-of-the-line ones. The most significant concern with these carriers is going to be the price. For the extreme durability and security that these carriers provide, you have to pay the price truly. These types of cargo carriers cost hundreds of dollars, with the largest size of carriers can even cost just over 1,000 dollars. Obviously, if you intend to devote much of your time to explore, this purchase will ultimately pay itself off, but it is not a little expense to get in the first place.

This is particularly the situation if you have to install roof racks so that you can own such a rooftop carrier in the first place. Nearly all hardshell rooftop cargo carriers require to be installed with roof racks. A few modern, large cars can come with factory roof racks installed, especially if those cars are determined to be used for cross-country travel. Nevertheless, most other cars do not come with these racks installed. This indicates that you have to spend your time to find the best quality racks to install while also regarding the full amount of money that you will have to pay for those racks in addition to the hardshell rooftop cargo carrier.

You will notice this deficiency in all hardshell rooftop cargo carriers and not just the best ones. Moreover, many people think it worth it to have such a durable and secure rooftop carrier. Many people might not like to spend much money on just a rooftop cargo carrier rather than the tour’s destination being proposed. This will be something to keep in mind if you are suspicious about how much use you will actually receive out of the rooftop cargo carrier.

Considering Soft Rooftop Cargo Carriers

Another type of rooftop cargo carrier is the soft bag type cargo carrier. These carriers do not come with an exterior shell design to protect your luggage from rocks and gravel that other cars might bring up. Still, they can provide you with great flexibility that hard rooftop carriers naturally cannot provide. Soft rooftop cargo carriers are usually made out of a unique type of weatherproof and waterproof fabric material that will keep all of your items in place while you are going on a trip.

This versatility might allow you to carry items in a more casual way than hardshell rooftop cargo carriers would allow, which is excellent for people who do not like to waste a good amount of time by rearranging their items so that everything fits correctly.

SUAOKI Roof Top Cargo Bag

Soft rooftop cargo carriers can provide you with the possibility to save a huge amount of time and money in terms of the installation process and purchasing in the carrier itself. You can easily find these carriers practically always cost less than 100 dollars. Moreover, they also do not need anything on top of your car to be installed.

Most soft rooftop cargo carriers come with a variety of options for installation, which means that they will get installed on top of your car whether or not it has roof racks installed.

With many soft rooftop cargo carriers, you just have to strap the carrier in and boom! You will be entirely ready to start your adventure. This means that you are having the opportunity of saving hundreds, or probably even a thousand dollars, on your rooftop cargo carrier, besides preserving the time and difficulty of looking for the best roof racks and install it on top of your car.

This is unusually significant to regard if you do not intend to go on a lot of trips with your rooftop carrier and only need that for a few special events because nobody wants to have the trouble of fitting items that are going only to be used once or twice.

Some people can think that soft rooftop cargo carriers might come with a smaller design to carry everything you want to take with you securely, but this is really not like that. Mostly you will be able to get one of two sizes of the carrier. Smaller cars will work great with an 11 cubic foot carrier, and it is just standard for smaller cars, but it mostly depends on the brand of the cargo carrier.

Cargo carriers with 15 cubic feet of storage space will be great for larger cars, such as vans and SUVs. This is just a little smaller than the hardshell comparables, but there is still more than enough space for many suitcases and carry-on bags. No matter what size your car is, you will still have more than enough space required to carry all of your items to your target without anyone feeling uncomfortable in the journey.

For finding the best quality rooftop cargo carrier of this category, you should check out the RoofBag Waterproof line of soft rooftop cargo carriers. These cargo carriers are available in two different sizes and in two versions. There is an 11 cubic foot and a 15 cubic foot variant, and these two sizes are available in both standard and premium form. This provides you sufficient opportunity to pick out the right rooftop cargo carrier for your car without having to emphasize it. These soft bag cargo carriers are weatherproof and amazingly easy to install. After buying one of these, you can easily install it in your car, pack it up, and you will be ready to go on the trip.

Shortcomings of Soft Rooftop Cargo Carriers

If you notice the drastic price difference between this type of carrier and the hard shell carrier variants, you will obviously understand that there is a weakness around. The weakness of the soft rooftop carriers is revealed in terms of both durability and security.

At first, the security of these carriers is really important to consider because they often come with the closing of the union of straps and zippers. If there is someone whose will is not good and your car isn’t accurately guarded, you might not have any baggage to bother about when you wake up in the morning after a stop-over. Nevertheless, this deficiency becomes more insignificant when you are just using this type of cargo carrier to enhance the volume of trunk space on the way to the airport, and you plan to leave the carrier empty to bring your bags onto a plane.

The next significant weakness is the durability of this cargo carrier. A piece of fabric will not be as tough as a strong material; no matter how much you might require that this isn’t the case. Sometimes you might notice that when you come back home, your soft rooftop cargo carrier has more than a few minor scars and tears in it. But it mostly depends on the distance of your trip.

Usually, these carriers are great for people who do not want to travel very often but want to free up storage space in the car. Regarding the value, they are more suitable for a particular trip, and people should treat them as such. After all, these soft cargo carriers are great for their work, and they will obviously convince you if you plan to use these carriers carefully.

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

Best Seller List of Rooftop Cargo Carriers:

Bestseller No. 1
JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier for Car Storage - Large Roof Rack Cargo Carrier - Heavy Duty Waterproof...
  • Secure & protect your gear in this 18 cubic ft. HDPE plastic hard shell vehicle cargo carrier; high-capacity interior dimensions 57 L x 38 1/2 W x 17 3/4 H inches; aerodynamic design for fuel efficiency
  • Waterproof storage for your luggage with a four corner locking system, front latch, and weather-tight seal for ultimate car rooftop protection and security
  • Easy & convenient loading and unloading from either side of the car make for smooth travel and hassle-free storage
  • No tools required, easy assembly and installation. All mounting hardware and simple instructions are included to get you safely on the road quickly
  • Made in USA, limited lifetime guarantee. The JEGS car top carrier’s high-quality construction and performance give you peace of mind
SaleBestseller No. 2
Asinking Car Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag, 21 Cubic Feet 100% Waterproof Heavy Duty 840D Car Roof Bag...
  • 【840D CHAMPION QUALITY MATERIAL】 Made with heavy-duty 840D abrasion-resistant PVC fabric, this ultra-durable car roof cargo carrier stands up to any rough treatment or harsh weather. Better still, the triple-reinforced welded seams make it hard to tear or rip for years to come.
  • 【MORE THAN WATERPROOF】 Featuring waterproof zipper wrapped with 6 inches widened velcro zipper flaps, our vehicle cargo carriers will exceed your expectations with the waterproof effet. The reinforced seams will make it possible "zero leakage" even in downpours.
  • 【EASY INSTALLATION】 Our roof rack cargo carrier comes with an anti-slip mat and 8 thickened adjustable straps that will keep the cargo bag in place. The smooth zipper, adjustable straps, door hooks and robust buckles allows you to effortlessly secure it to any car.
  • 【SECURE FIT & LARGE CAPACITY】 Our 21 cubic feet rooftop cargo bag is compatible with vehicles with our without roof rack, the large capacity can keep the shape nicely, even when holding many luggage cases, blanket, tents, sleeping bags and more.
  • 【RELIABLE GUARANTEE】You will receive 1x roof top carrier bag, 1x storage bag, 1x anti-slip mat, 6x door hooks, 2x extra luggage straps. Our 3-year promise guarantees make your purchase worry-free, if the car roof bag fails, we will replace or refund as you want.
SaleBestseller No. 3
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
  • 18 cubic foot (510 L) internal cargo capacity
  • Made from durable UV-resistant ABS material
  • Rear opening for easy access away from traffic
  • Tool-free mounting hardware for easy installation and removal
  • Includes key and lock to secure contents in the box, and the box to your rack
Bestseller No. 4
Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, Medium
  • Functional rooftop cargo box provides 14 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Rugged and durable design keep contents protected
  • FastGrip quick-mount system assembles in minutes
  • Passenger-side opening for easy loading and unloading
  • Central Locking system provides maximum safety
SaleBestseller No. 5
Rightline Gear Range 3 Car Top Carrier, 18 cu ft, Weatherproof +, Attaches With or Without Roof Rack
422 Reviews
Rightline Gear Range 3 Car Top Carrier, 18 cu ft, Weatherproof +, Attaches With or Without Roof Rack
  • QUALITY WEATHERPROOF + CONSTRUCTION: UV protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT material, welded seams, and urethane coated zipper with hook-&-loop-close flap provide reinforced protection against rain, snow, heat, heavy winds, and other extreme conditions.
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service team is based in the USA & skillfully trained to help you with any questions or concerns.
  • ATTACHES WITH OR WITHOUT A ROOF RACK: Attach the carrier's straps to a vehicle’s roof rack or use the Car Clips to attach the straps to a vehicle's door frame weather molding.
  • X-LARGE CAPACITY DESIGN: 18 cubic feet of storage, 48" L x 36" W x 18" H; designed for SUVs and minivans.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Your bag comes with everything you need to load it up, attach it, and hit the road in minutes! Includes carrier, (4) attachment straps, (4) Car Clips, and stuff sack with sewn-in set up guide.
Bestseller No. 6
Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier, XXL , Black
  • Oversized roof-mounted cargo box provides 22 cubic feet of additional packing space
  • Designed for optimal space efficiency, aerodynamics, and vehicle fit
  • Quick-mount system "clicks" when roof box is secure and properly mounted
  • Dual-side opening for quick access from either side of the car
  • Easy to open and close with grip-friendly handles and supporting lid-lifters
Bestseller No. 7
Heavy Duty Hard Shell Roof Top Mount Car Storage Travel Luggage Box Cargo Carrier with Security...
  • ▶️ This roof top storage box is universal fit for mounting to max 13 inches wide cross bar, please check the dimension before purchase.
  • ▶️ The package comes with [1] 53 inches length storage box, [2] security lock key, and [4] heavy duty tool free installation mounting brackets.
  • ▶️ It is constructed of rugged, impact-resistant ABS material to ensure a long lasting life in outdoor conditions. More, it can open from the side and stay open till you close it with the strong support arm.
  • ▶️ Opens on the passenger side to 14 inches wide to store bulky items from the side and stays open till you close it, and it is very easy to install without any tool required to assembly.
  • ▶️ Overall Dimensions: 53" L x 34" W x 15" H | Capacity: 11 Cubic Feet and up to 110 LBS
SaleBestseller No. 8
FIVKLEMNZ 21 Cubic Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier, Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Carrier with Anti-Slip Mat +...
  • 【Most Safe Design】: For security reasons, we use 10 reinforced adjustable straps to keep the cargo carrier in place. In addition, equipped with free anti-slip mat to keep the cargo bag stay in place even in high speed road or bump road, no slip, no scratch to your car.
  • 【Large Storage Space】: FIVKLEMNZ roof bag (52 x 40 x 17 inches) was designed to solve the problem of limited storage space in the car. 21 cubic feet rooftop cargo bag allows you to hold 6-8 suitcases, travel luggage case, tents, sleeping bags and more. Free up inside vehicle space for more comfortable on the way.
  • 【Easy to Install】:FIVKLEMNZ rooftop cargo carrier fits for any car, truck, or SUV. If there is not roof side rails on your car, it can be quickly and easily installed to roof rack in minutes with 6 door hooks.
  • 【100% Waterproof】: Made of 700D Oxford cloth, Fivklemnz roof bag adopts a genuine waterproof zipper, used in extreme weather and is protected with a double flap. All seams are heat welded and stitched to ensure they are watertight. 100% waterproof and rainproof under extreme weather.
  • 【100% Refund or Replacement】:7x24 online customer support, ask us anything at any time. Backed by 30 days money-back guarantee and 12 months limited warranty.
SaleBestseller No. 9
MeeFar Car Roof Bag XBEEK Rooftop top Cargo Carrier Bag 20 Cubic feet Waterproof for All Cars...
  • 100% WATERPROOF &TEARPROOF MATERIAL - Made of 100% waterproof material, 700D PVC tarpaulin, Grid material with High frequency voltage technology, durable and heavy duty style bag;
  • EASY TO USE - The MeeFar XBEEK roof bag come with 1x anti-slip mats, 1x luggage lock, 6x security hooks, and 1x storage box, it can be quickly and easily installed in minutes; Made of soft shell material, it can be folded into the storage bag to save space while not in use;
  • UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY - The MeeFar XBEEK roof bag can be used with any sized car or SUV, work both with car with or without roof rack;
  • MORE SECURITY - Come with BONUS combination lock, it will not only prevent the zippers from slipping, but also adds security to luggage;
  • LARGE STORAGE SPACE - 20 cubic feet 51” (L) X 40” (W) X 17” (H) rooftop cargo bag allows you to hold 4-6 suitcases, travel luggage case, tents, sleeping bags and more.
Bestseller No. 10
Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier, 21 Cubic Feet Waterproof Rooftop Luggage Bag Vehicle Softshell Carriers,...
  • 【OVERSIZED 21 CUBIC FEET】Massive 21 cubic feet (L52" x W40" x H17.5") of space can easily hold all luggage of a family of 5-6. Most other roof cargo carriers are small and there is not enough room to accommodate everything you need.
  • 【HIGH DENSITY 1000D PVC】Features triple-layer high density 1000D PVC fabric. This material is 2 times stronger than 500D PVC fabric, which most other rooftop bags adopts and can easily rip. The coated surface can effectively protect your luggage against rain, grit, snow, wind and sun on the road.
  • 【UPGRADED WATERPROOF ZIP】While other rooftop carrier bags let in water through the normal zipper, we've upgraded it to a waterproof zipper and fitted it with a widened zipper flap that helps keep your items 100% dry.
  • 【EASY TO INSTALL】:Adakiit rooftop cargo carrier fits for any car, truck, or SUV. If there is not roof side rails on your car, it can be quickly and easily installed to roof rack in minutes with 8 Reinforced Straps.
  • NOTE: All seams are heat welded and stitched to ensure they are watertight. that your luggage will stay safe and protected in all weather conditions during your travels. But please note that it's not 100% waterproof under rainstorm weather.

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Last Update : 2022-05-21

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