10 Best Cargo Boxes and Top Carriers for Cars, SUVs and Vans

Best Cargo Boxes & Car Top Carriers

Of course your car has a trunk, but at some point, that trunk will stop being enough for packing all your camping, skiing and other kinds of holiday gear. You may also not be able to stack things on the back seat of the car anymore, because the kids sit there now. If this image looks like you, more or less, then you should know that you definitely need a roof-top cargo carrier.

Your car or SUV will grow in storage space, and your family will thank you for it. A car roof box is the solution to the dilemma many families have faced, and still face today. By getting one for your car or for your camping van, you will be solving a problem that many families are sooner or later, faced with.

Following are the 10 best recommendations for you. They include cargo boxes, as well as cargo bags. You should hopefully find your dream box or bag within the list, or at least be inspired about what to buy.

10 Best Cargo Boxes & Car Top Carriers - Reviews

Image

Product Name

Storage Space

Rating

Current Price

SportRack SR7018 Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

1. SportRack SR7018 Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

18 ft3

4.4

Thule Force Black Cargo Box

2. Thule Force Black Cargo Box

13 - 21 ft3

4.5

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

3. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

14 ft3

4.5

Thule Atlantis 1600 Cargo Box

4. Thule Atlantis 1600 Cargo Box

16 ft3

4.3

Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

5. Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

12 - 21 ft3

4.0

WeatherTech RackSack 60001 Cargo Carrier

6. WeatherTech RackSack 60001 Cargo Carrier

13 ft3

4.3

RoofBag Explorer 15 Cubic ft. Soft Car Top Cargo Carrier

7. RoofBag Explorer 15 Cubic ft. Soft Car Top Cargo Carrier

15 ft3

4.6

Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. Car Top Carrier

8. Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. Car Top Carrier

9 - 18 ft3

4.1

Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag

9. Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag

15 ft3

4.3

Shield-Jacket Roof Top Waterproof Cargo Bag

10. Shield-Jacket Roof Top Waterproof Cargo Bag

15 ft3

4.4

SportRack SR7018 Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

SportRack SR7018 is a large cargo box, offering you up to 18 cubic feet of space to pack up your valuables. Whether you are headed for the countryside, the beach, or elsewhere, you can rest assured that there is enough space to safely transport your family's different items.

It opens from the rear, which might not seem optimal for some people, but this offers certain advantages, like having easier access to your items in a parking lot, or in other situations where cars block side access. SR7018's security is also enhanced with a lock from the manufacturer, and this enables you to secure your cargo, and get some peace of mind.

SportRack made the SR7018 using ABS, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is a thermoplastic polymer. It is very durable and is also UV resistant. The box itself features a quick-release on and off mounting system, which enables you to quickly and easily get it installed, as well as to get it off your vehicle.

2. Thule Force Black Cargo Box

Editor's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Thule Force Black Cargo Box

Thule is a well known and respected brand when it comes to cargo boxes. Whether you need one for your car, your SUV or van, you can always rely on Thule's wide variety of boxes to find the perfect box for your vehicle. They are believed by many to make the best roof box cargo carriers and related equipment. This one features an aerodynamic shape, which is helpful in reducing wind drag while you are on the road.

The sizes range from Alpine, Medium, and Large with 16 cubic feet, up to XX-Large with 21 cubit feet of storage space. The secure locks are over-sized, and the box features a dual-side opening, enabling you to either load or unload it from any side. This makes things more flexible, especially in situations where access from one side is impossible.

Mounting the box and removing it is fast and uncomplicated with Thule's Quick-Grip mounting system. It requires no tools at all, and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. These Thule Force boxes will of course fit perfectly on Thule rack systems, as well as most other factory racks.

3. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

Editor's Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

Yakima Rocketbox Pro-14 provides 14 cubit ft. of extra storage space, large enough for the camping gear of about three people. Rocketbox Pro-14 is 74 inches long, 33 inches wide and 16 inches high. It spots a nice and gentle aerodynamic design that helps to reduce the overall drag on your vehicle, saving you fuel costs as a result.

It's also designed to be forward mounted. This provides smaller hatch-back vehicles with better clearance for opening their trunks. It is great as well for SUVs, wagons, trucks and vans. With the dual sided opening system, you will have the best possible access to your cargo, either from the driver's or from the passenger's side.

Rocketbox Pro-14 requires no assembly, and its installation is completely tool-free using its quick-dial mounting hardware which fits all types of bars, including factory bars, aerodynamic bars, and Yakima round and square bars. There is also an included SKS lock for heightened security, and it is backed by a lifetime warranty.

4. Thule Atlantis 1600 Cargo Box

Editor's Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Thule Atlantis 1600 Cargo Box

Thule Atlantis series comprises the 1200, 1600 and 1800 models. This one is the 1600 model, which is the medium sized Atlantis model. It provides 16 cubit ft. of cargo space and is aerodynamically designed to create as little drag as possible. Its lid is reinforced and it features an ergonomic lock knob, which is quite easy to turn, even while wearing hand gloves.

Atlantis 1600 can fit up to 8 pairs of skis, or up to 4 snowboards. It will also hold skiing or camping gear for up to 3-person. Its high-gloss, pebble black finish makes it fit in seamlessly, especially with black painted vehicles. It weighs 43 lbs, 74 inches long, 36 inches wide and 16.3 inches high.

With a load bearing capacity of 110 lbs., Atlantis 1600's dual side opening provides easier loading and unloading of your cargo from any side of the vehicle that is more convenient for you. Thule's QuickGrip mounting systems enables you to quickly and easily install or remove this cargo box, all without the use of tools.

5. Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

If you are looking for the best car top carrier when it comes to aerodynamics, then look no further than Yakima's Skybox series. There are a total of five Skybox cargo boxes, including the 12 cubic ft., the 15 cubic ft., the 16 cubic ft., the 18 cubic ft., and the 21 cubic ft., which is the biggest car top carrier in the Yakima Skybox series.

With its 21 cubic ft. of storage space, every single member of the household should get enough space to stowaway camping or skiing gear. It features an integrated SKS locking system to provide a heightened level of security for your cargo. There are internal lid stiffeners, which increase the rigidity of the lid, allowing the box to pierce through the wind as silently, and with as little drag as possible.

The Skybox requires no assembly, and is installed completely without tools in under 5 minutes. It will fit Yakima square, round, factory and aerodynamic bars. It will work with a minimum crossbar spread of 24 inches, and a maximum of 42 inches, and in addition to being the best roof box in terms of aerodynamics, it also excels in user friendliness.

Using a cargo box might turn out not to be the ideal solution for you. You may not be on the road too often, and your extra cargo needs may not be that excessive. These and other factors may make you want to favor cargo bags in place of cargo boxes, because of their flexibility and lower cost. Our list continues in the next paragraph, with soft car top carriers, better known as cargo bags.

6. WeatherTech RackSack 60001 Cargo Carrier

Editor's Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

WeatherTech RackSack 60001 Cargo Carrier

RackSack will expand your car's or van's cargo carrying capacity by 13 cubic ft. Made from durable and water repellent polyester, this weather-proof rooftop carrier will offer you the safety of knowing that your belongings are properly protected, while you are on the road. Its bottom also features a soft felt to prevent damages to you automobile's paint job.

RackSack can either be mounted on the side rails or on crossbars on the roof of your vehicle. There are swivel straps with which you can mount it to either the crossbar or to the side rails. It measures 39 by 32 by 18 inches. When you are done using it, RackSack can be neatly packed into its very own storage, providing you with another benefit that cargo boxes cannot offer.

RoofBag Explorer 15 Cubic ft. Soft Car Top Cargo Carrier

RoofBag Explorer 15 cubic ft is the larger of the Explorers. There is of course an 11 cubic ft model, which fits all types of vehicles including small hatchbacks, while the 15 cubit ft model will only fit SUVs, vans, station wagons and full sized sedans. The 15 cubit ft model needs at least 48 inches of roof length for optimal performance.

RooofBag Explorer incorporates an aerodynamic shape which allows you to save fuel while on the road. In order to achieve this, it's advised that you leave a space of at least 8 inches from the beginning of the roof.

RoofBag Explorer also features strap guides on its top side. This allows it to be bound unto a car, with or without a roof rack. You simply pass a belt through the strap guides and run it through the car. The material is waterproof, extra strong and it will keep your belongings safe even at high speeds on the road.

Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. Car Top Carrier

Rightline Gear's Sport Car Top Carrier comes in 4 different sizes. There is the 9 cubic ft. model, the 12 cubic ft., the 15 cubic ft., and the 18 cubic ft. This 9 cubic ft. bag measures 36 by 30 by 13 inches in size, and it is made with waterproof PVC mesh and hydrotuff material, sewn with dual seam technology for optimum protection of your cargo.

Even the zipper features Rightline's ZipRight technology, which prevents water from entering the bag through the zipper. The bag itself is as well, aerodynamically designed to save gas and therefore money. It includes 4 nylon straps for attaching it to your vehicle, and a stuff sack for space saving storage.

Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag

The Keeper cargo bag is a simple waterproof bag that increases your available cargo space with no hassles. It provides up to 15 cubic ft. of storage space, which can comfortably hold enough camping gear for 3 people.

It is made from rubber laminated nylon and is 44 by 34 by 17 inches large. It features attachment points on all of its four sides, and is flexible enough for its sides to flex and fit in with odd-shaped objects. Keeper's cargo bag is a heavy duty cargo bag, and it will fit all roof racks, as well as protect your valuables from the sun, wind, rain and grit.

10. Shield-Jacket Roof Top Waterproof Cargo Bag

Editor's Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Shield-Jacket Roof Top Waterproof Cargo Bag

With a double walled vinyl as production material, Shield-Jacket presents a cargo bag that is as weatherproof as it is sturdy. It provides 15 cubic ft. of extra storage space, with dimensions of 43 by 34 by 17 inches. Its seams are even welded together to provide complete seals against water.

Using Shield-Jacket's cargo bag is easy. It comes with 8 built-in tie straps, with 2 straps on each side. All you have to do, is to tie each side to your side-rails and cross-bars, and your cargo bag is ready. This takes just a few minutes. You can simply fold it when not in use, and store it somewhere safe. Shield-Jacket also backs this bag with a 90-day money back guarantee.

Considerations about Using Cargo Bags

Cargo bags are a cheaper alternative to cargo boxes. They provide the same much needed extra cargo space, protect your valuables from weather elements, and offer you a safe method of transporting much needed gear from place to place. A cargo bag is in fact the best car top carrier when you consider prices. There are two possible problems that should be considered when you are planning on using cargo bags anyway. They are: stability and your car's paint job.

Stability

Cargo bags are made from soft material which provides a flexible package for your belongings. If the material should age, or be torn in any way, stability problems will arise automatically. You may have to find some extra lashing straps like the Master Lock 3060DAT , which will help you to tighten up any loose or wobbly parts of your bag.

Paint Job

A car's paint job is one of the reasons that it appears attractive. With cargo bags, you run the risk of scratching the top of your vehicle, depending on which bag you are using. Although some roof top cargo bags will offer some sort of padding effect to protect the car or van, others don't.

What you can do in this situation is to buy cargo bag mats like the Sherpak SuperMat or the Protective mat from Reliable. In addition to protecting your paint job, they will also offer grip and anti-slip features to your cargo bag.

What to Look for When Buying Car Top Carrier 

What to Look for When Buying Car Top Carrier

Many other cartop carriers reviews may leave you stranded when it comes to a truly helpful buying guide about car top carriers, but let's get down to it. There are of course, many features to watch out for when you are in the market for a car top carrier. What you end up buying, and how satisfied you actually are with your purchase, will all depend on how much you know about car top carriers.

Following are car top carrier features that you should be well acquainted with, if you want to make the right purchase decision:

#1. Brand

Some people love to shop based on brand names. Some cartop carriers reviews will also focus on one or a few brands. The good thing about brands is that you will always know what you are getting with a familiar brand. If you like buying products from only the most popular brands, then Thule will simply be your answer.

#2. Volume

Volume is one of the important metrics that is used in deciding which particular cargo box or bag to purchase. Although it is not as prevalent with cargo bags, cargo boxes on the other hand, feature a wide range of volume options. You can find cargo boxes in sizes from 11 cubic ft all the way up to 21 cubic ft. What you end up buying in the end will depend on your cargo space needs, as well as the vehicle it should go on.

#3. Weight Limit

Weigh limit is as well important for cargo boxes. Cargo bags are flexible and will not break at any particular weight, but cargo boxes are rigid and can therefore support only a limited amount. This should really concern you if you know beforehand that you will be transporting really heavy gear. If you are, then you must work out which box can fulfill your needs.

#4. Compatibility

Compatibility here refers to the roof rack on your vehicle, and the installation system on the cargo box. This is usually about the shape, size and the distance between the cross bars of your roof rack. Most cargo boxes will match a wide range of cross-bar shapes and sizes, but there are often incompatibility issues. Cargo bags are more flexible and forgiving in their installation.

#5. About Roof Racks

Roof racks come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. What you need in order to install a cargo box is basically crossbars. These are any bars that run from driver's side to passenger's side on the roof of the vehicle. The ones that run from front to back are referred to as the side rails.

#6. About Cargo Bags

Cargo bags are more flexible and are basically fastened unto the vehicle using straps. They can also be easily removed and folded into a storage bag. This makes them perfect for those who only hit the road occasionally. If you plan on being more often on the road anyway, then a cargo box might be your answer.

Conclusion

Cargo boxes and cargo bags both fulfill the function of providing extra cargo space for your travels. Whether you are using a sedan, a van, SUV or any other kind of car, there will be times that you'll hit your cargo space limits, and so you'll require an extension. We have laid down all the necessary information for you, but the next step will be solely up to you. The decision of either a cargo box or bag, or even both, is now entirely yours to reach.

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