Best Car Top Carrier: Don’t Overstuff Your Trunk

Best car top carrier
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

Whether you are going on a road trip or if you are just looking for something to hold the extra cargo you have, the best car top carrier is sure to change your roof into a second trunk. These carriers are great for holding any cargo, from added luggage to outdoor accessories.

Finding the best roof cargo box can be quite a daunting task and not every box will fit every need. Don’t go for the biggest or cheapest box you can find, as this may end up being more of a hassle that you’re prepared to deal with.

Car top carriers on the cars

These cargo boxes and bags have been tried and tested to be a perfect fit for every need, and this article is designed to help you find the right one.

Features to Consider

You’d think that a top carrier is just a box to put your camping gear in, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Lower prices mean cheaper material, and you can quickly make up those costs if your box breaks and your belongings get destroyed.

Car top carrier features

Estimate a budget for your top carrier and see what features and functionality you can get in that price range. You may need to go over it in order to find something that will last a long time.

With that said, here are a few features you should keep in mind when you’re shopping for a roof cargo box.

  • Size: The size of the box is probably the most important feature you should look for. Many people tend to lean towards something that is bigger because they can carry more. The advantage of having a big box is also beneficial for your car, as the weight will be more evenly distributed among the suspension and the strain will be less at the back
  • Weight: The weight is very important: a heavier cargo box will make the car heavier on fuel, forcing the road trip to become more expensive
  • Durability: The box must be able to withstand all weather conditions without damaging your cargo. Not only must it withstand the weather conditions on the drive, as well as at your camping destination
  • Security: you should invest in a box that you’re able to lock securely. Security is especially important if you plan on dining somewhere or sleeping over at a motel on your road trip, as without a great locking system, it will be easy to steal your valuable items.
  • Bag or box: boxes are much bigger, but they are also a little more expensive. Bags, on the other hand, provide quality for their cheaper prices, but they cannot necessarily keep the same amount of luggage as boxes

These five features are all extremely important and need to be taken into consideration when buying the ultimate roof box, they will not only keep your valuable items safe, but they will also keep your car safe and the weather will not be able to damage your items.

Top Prodcts for 2017

Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Cargo Box

Weight: 62lbs

Dimensions: 38 x 74 x 20 inches

Key Features: 215cm worth of space in length, extremely big, 21 cubic feet inside, integrated SKS locking system, tool-free installation, easy access from either side of your vehicle

Description: The Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite cargo box is one of the best cargo boxes available in terms of size and functionality. The Yakima Company has integrated a state of the art locking system, making sure your cargo will always be safe and secured.

This mega box features 21 feet of cubic size on the inside, perfect for folded tents and sleeping bags for about five people.

The box usually takes two people to strap on, but it can be done by one person as well. The box is easily fitted using a few clamps on each side, giving the added benefit of no cables to be in the way.

Lengthwise, the box is made for things like skis of up to 215cm, making this box not only perfect in the US, but all over the world in places like France and Switzerland as well.

The Yakima skybox has also been tested through a variety of weather conditions and this box is sure to protect all your cargo and even your roof from hailstorms.

Finally the box is made to fit perfectly on the roof of any car and SUV and will definitely be something you do not constantly need to remove. Once it is on it will stay on and can serve as a second trunk during everyday activities.

Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag

Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag (15 Cubic Feet)

Weight: 5.2lbs

Dimensions: 44 x 34 x 17 inches

Key Features: Soft side flex to fit odd-shaped loads, waterproof design to protect cargo against all types’ weather conditions, 15 cubic feet space of storage, fits any car or SUV

Description: The Keeper 07203-1 waterproof cargo bag is great for traveling long distances and not having to worry about the added fuel consumption. At just 5.2 pounds the bag can easily be strapped on by both man and woman and it can easily be loaded with cargo as well

A great benefit to using the bag is the ability to mold and shape according to the cargo inside.

The bag will shape perfectly to any odd-shaped cargo and the very high quality materials are extremely durable. Not only will this bag keep your cargo safe from all weather conditions, but sharp edged objects will not pierce the side of the bag.

The cargo bag is able to keep 15 cubic feet worth of cargo, allowing you to fit all of your family’s luggage without even using the trunk. The materials are also tested to withstand scorching heat and blistering colds without any damage coming to your cargo.

The Keeper waterproof cargo bag is made to fit any vehicle and it can easily be strapped on and removed. We do not suggest leaving the bag when no one is watching as it is possible to open and steal your cargo.

SportRack SR7018 Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

SportRack SR7018 Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box

Weight: 30lbs

Dimensions: 64 x 39 x 19 inches

Key Features: ABS construction that is durable and UV resistant, Rear opening provides easy access away from traffic, includes secure lock, quick release hardware mounting systems

Description: Comfort and style are some of the main things that come to mind when we explore the SportRack SR7018 Vista cargo box, the box is designed for easy access on the road and the rear opening feature will keep you away from the traffic.

The cargo box also offers a very easy to use quick release system, which will allow you to mount and dismount the box in a matter of minutes.

Furthermore the box is made from extremely high quality and durable materials, giving you the benefit of going on that road trip at any time of year and any time of the day.

You can also be sure that no one will try and grab something that doesn’t belong to them as the box features very a strong and secure locking system to keep criminals out and your cargo inside.

The price for this box is considered to be one of the cheapest available when looking at the size and quality.

If you have this box you will find that you now have more space for the children and the dog. Finally this box is made to perfectly fit any vehicle, from an SUV all the way down to the GTI hatchback.

Thule Force Cargo box

Thule Force Cargo box

Weight: 36lbs

Dimensions: 81.5 x 24.5 x 17 inches

Key Features: Diamond-textured skin aerodynamic lid, quick grip mounting system, oversized secure lock, dual side opening

Description: Thule is probably considered to be the best outdoor brand on the market and with the Thule Force cargo box they have once again proved it. The box is extremely lightweight for a cargo box and when you look at the box it is simply just amazing to the eye.

The cargo box features dual side opening, ensuring that you will never have to stand in the traffic to open the box and quickly get something.

One of the best features the box has to offer is the aerodynamic look. This will help your car with fuel consumption and the car will not need to exert more power to achieve a certain speed.

Thule has also added an oversized lock to keep all your items inside and not even the toughest weather conditions will rattle this lock or design.

The box further offers a quick mounting feature to save you time and effort. This will give you the benefit of packing the box outside and then mounting it.

One of the best features is the weight limit. The weight limit is set at a staggering 110lbs, giving you the opportunity to add heavier cargo.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box

Weight: 53lbs

Dimensions: 34 x 75 x 17 inches

Key Features: Aerodynamic design to reduce drag, forward mounting for improved hatch clearance on smaller vehicles, dual sided opening and push button security fitted with SKS locking system

Description: The Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box is perfect for the stylish road traveler. The box features an extremely efficient aerodynamic design to reduce all the drag from the wind and make your car more fuel efficient.

The dual sided opening will allow you to stop almost anywhere and open the hatch without being in the traffic.

An added push button security feature works great with the SKS locking system, not only giving you protection but allowing you to over stack the cargo box with luggage without the fear of the box opening by itself.

The materials used to create this box are of high quality and they are made to withstand all weather conditions. The forward mounting feature is specifically made to improve the hatch clearance on the smaller vehicles.

Finally the cargo box is big enough to fit the cargo of about three campers and the Yakima Company is so confident in the product that they will give you a lifelong limited warranty. This is great for people that love going on road trips more than once a year.

Thule Atlantis Series Cargo Box

Thule Atlantis Series Cargo Box

Weight: 42lbs

Dimensions: 74 x 36 x 16.3 inches

Key Features: Built in lock with keys, extremely aerodynamic design, easy to mount clamps, fit all vehicles and SUV’s

Description: The Thule Atlantis Series cargo box gives you a different aerodynamic look that will save you a lot of money on your travels and is easy to clamp on and off, allowing for easy mounting.

The cargo box is made for all vehicles and even though it may be a little on the heavier side, it is made from extremely durable materials to help keep your car and luggage protected for the entire road trip.

It also offers a great locking system with external keys for you to keep safe and the box is never to open on the road.

Aside from giving your car and luggage protection, the Atlantis series also offers a sense of style and the cargo box can withstand up to 110lbs of baggage and evenly distribute the strain among the box. This is a perfect buy for someone looking for a once off buy.

RoofBag Explorer Waterproof Soft Car Top Carrier

RoofBag Explorer Waterproof Soft Car Top Carrier

Weight: 10lbs

Dimensions: 40 x 36.5 x 17 inches

Key Features: Waterproof Explorer carrier, 1 year manufacturer warranty, non-slip polyvinyl protective roof mat, 3000lbs strong seatbelt-style straps

Description: The RoofBag Explorer Waterproof bag is one of the top-of-the-line rooftop bags available at the moment.

The bag will never come loose on the road and the 3000 lbs. seatbelt-style straps will certainly keep your bag perfectly in place on the roof.

The bag also comes with an added non-slip polyvinyl protective roof mat to help protect your car from any scratches if the bag moves or slips. An added 1-year warranty will give you the opportunity to test out all these features in the harshest of conditions and make sure it is worth your dollar.

The bag prides itself on durability and the added ability to keep water and sun from entering your luggage and perhaps damaging anything.

The materials are of extremely high quality, never to tear or damage if you put odd-shaped objects in the bag.

Finally this bag is extremely lightweight and should definitely be a great buy for anyone enjoying the long road with the family.

WeatherTech 60001 RackSack Cargo Carrier

WeatherTech 60001 RackSack Cargo Carrier

Weight: 5lbs

Dimensions: 39 x 32 x 18 inches

Key Features: Made of durable water repellent polyester with soft felt bottom to protect finish of vehicle, stows away neatly in own bag, roll and wrap tabs to prevent flapping straps

Description: If you are looking for something small, yet extremely useful, the WeatherTech 60001 RackSack cargo carrier will be a perfect addition to your car.

The bag provides 13 cubic feet of storage space to keep your precious luggage inside and the bag can also be neatly packed into its own bag once you are done with it.

The bag can also be easily fitted to the cross bar and side rails of your car, but without these rails it is a little bit more difficult to fit the bag. We recommend only buying this bag if you have a car with a fitted crossbar and side rails or it will cost you extra.

The bag is made from durable water repellent polyester and it has an added soft bottom to help protect your car from any damage. The bag also comes with already fitted tabs to help keep the excess strapping from swirling and flapping in the wind.

Finally this bag is great to have as an added trunk and will certainly protect all your luggage from damage that may come from different weather conditions.

Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. Car Top Carrier

Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. Car Top Carrier

Weight: 8lbs

Dimensions: 14 x 12 x 6 inches

Key Features: PVC mesh and hydrotuff materials, urethane coat zipper located on water flaps, 100% water resistant, aerodynamically designed for cars without roof racks

Description: The Rightline Gear 100S50 Sports Jr.Car Top Carrier is designed for all vehicles and especially for those without roof racks. This makes the car top carrier and extremely good buy no matter the car you are driving.

The material used to manufacture the bag is tough PVC mesh, giving you a product that is 100% water-resistant and great for use in all weather conditions and the added urethane coat zipper will make sure no leaks are ever present when the hard rain is coming down.

The bag also has 9 cubic feet of storage space and the moldable material is sure to never tear and perfectly fit almost any object you would like to put inside.

The aerodynamic design will save you some extra cash for your road trip, as it is designed to keep the fuel consumption at a minimum.

Overall this product is great for carrying small loads over long distances at a fraction of the fuel cost associated with the larger bags. This is a great economic buy.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a large cargo box to carry a lot of luggage or just a simple strap on bag that is easy to mount and dismount, you can be sure that all of these items have been carefully selected to meet your every need and they have been tried and tested to be extremely durable and to withstand any extreme weather condition.

Choose your Car top carrier

We would like to thank you for reading this article and we would also like to encourage you to comment and tell us about your experiences using these boxes and bags.

If you have any other suggestions, we would also like to know about them and perhaps even help you find the perfect product for your needs, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Kendra Larson

    15 Cubic Feet Keeper is a great bag. Very well made and provides not only zippers, but velcro to seal over the zippers, and it’s lined for even more added protection. The size is perfect, it held three suitcases and a few smaller bags. I only wanted a soft top cargo carrier for the convenience of being able to fold it up and store when not in use, and I think I’ve made a good choice 🙂

  • Mark Foster

    Hi Kendra! Choosing the right car top carrier is easy when you have the requirements that you really need. Always opt for durability – so choosing a reliable manufacturer is your best bet. Make sure to always read reviews so you can have a lot of options prior to your decision to purchase.

  • Rachel Mohan

    Always have and always will buy Thule products. The Force is another great example of why Thule is the way to go: no noticeable noise in the wind; easy to mount; and both straps inside the box and a lock on the outside to ensure that the contents are safe and secure. Doesn’t look out of place on the roof of my car neither. There are a lot uglier carriers on the market, that’s for sure!

  • Mark Foster

    For sure Rachel, the Thule is remarkably streamlined and designed to be an eye candy! Yeah, I’ve seen people staring and pointing when they see a Thule on top of any car. They are also lightweight, which is very important. I’m so pleased that utility and aesthetic worked great on this car top carrier. Users don’t mind paying a bit since the Thule is an excellent gear.

  • Kim Bromley

    Bought the Rightline Sport Jr a few years ago to help me move out of college. Only had a small car at the time – and couldn’t afford a roof rack – so the Sport Jr seemed like the best option. Lasted me all this time and I still use it to this day! Super easy to attach to any car – just feed the straps through one door and out the other. Managed to fit all my clothes and pointless possessions in from college so if it can withstand all of that – and a downpour too – then I’d recommend it for anyone!

  • Mark Foster

    Wow, that’s one for the books Kim and glad you still got that top carrier. It’s very durable and affordable. The manufacturer did a great job in making a sturdy product. I also recommend it to anyone!