If you’re going on a road trip of any kind and you’d like to have more room inside your vehicle, a cargo box for your roof is perfect. You’ll literally transform your entire roof into a second trunk that in most cases tends to have space than the trunk itself. These things are called by many names, some call them cargo boxes, car top carriers, roof boxes, or cargo carriers. The one thing they are designed to do is carry any of your belongings, by taking advantage of the space you have on your roof.
You may argue that with this contraption on the roof you’ll loose fuel economy, but in this day and age the designs have that in mind. Although there may be a slight loss of aerodynamics, weight more than anything will play the biggest roll. Overall, these products are designed to last you a long time and provide you a safe way to store your things for short and long distance drives.
This whole page is created specifically for you to find the best cargo box and top carriers for your vehicle. You won’t be able to use this product if you don’t have a roof rack, so it’s important to look into that aspect before you get what we’re going to talk about on this page. If you already have roof racks, continue reading below.
*Car top carriers in some cases won’t require you to have a roof rack due to their “cloth” nature.
10. Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr Car Top Carrier
Our #10 contestant for being able to easily pack things on top of your roof, is the Rightline Gear 100S50 Sport Jr. car top carrier. Right off the bat, this product has one of the easiest setup procedures you can possibly have. Since there’s no roof rack required, you’ll simply be able to use the straps provided to you to tighten it down once all packed up. In total, the 36″ inch long, 30″ inch wide and 13-16″ inch high carrier has the capacity of approximately 9 cubic feet.
To ensure this unit goes anywhere with absolutely no problem, it’s 100% waterproof with dual seems and sewn with a high-quality fabric for overall strength. Empty, the cargo sack weighs only about 6.2 lbs. Overall when comparing this to the cargo boxes, there’s massive cost savings due to the cost itself and not needing to have a roof rack. Check this unit out below on Amazon.
9. RoofBag Explorer Waterproof Soft Car Top Carrier
For just a little more, you can get the RoofBag Explorer Car Top Carrier (works great for ANY car, van, or SUV). This unit in particular is again, designed to be used if you don’t have a roof rack or side rails installed on your vehicle. What you get inside is the BIG carrier stretching out to fit the entire roof of a regular sized vehicle. Total capacity for storage is rated at around 11 to 15 cubic feet, entire space is 100% waterproof from the elements (even when you’re driving).
An addition to the actually product itself, this product is made in the United States of America. You get a full 2-year warranty against any kind of defects in material and workmanship. Dry weight when you take this product straight from the box, comes in at around 8.8 lbs. You can choose which type you’d like to have, one with side rail straps or one without roof rail strap (the later option is strapped using special clips which attach to your vehicle). For more space and not requiring a roof rack, the RoofBag is a an excellent option!
Now we’re getting to our first cargo box, and it’s a nice one. Thule is known for making exceptional equipment when it comes to traveling and camping. The Thule 682 Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box is designed specifically for small to medium amounts of space. In total, this box measures out 54″ inches long, 25″ inches wide and 15.5″ inches long. The 682 Sidekick is tailored towards small vehicles that need additional space, totaling out around 8 cubic feet of room and 110 lbs max weight capacity.
You can mount the entire unit to most factory installed roof rack systems, and if not all aftermarket roof rack systems. Getting this unit open is very simple, using the provided key to lock and unlock it, you can open it up from the right side. Overall, what this unit is perfect for small vehicles and not too much equipment to be hauled around. A great unit for starters, no doubt!
If you have any kind of vehicle that ranges from mini-van, medium to large sedan, or even an SUV for that matter.. the 1800 Atlantis by Thule may be the right choice. This is a rather large roof cargo carrier in the sense that it carries up to 18 cubic feet of space, or approximately 110 lbs of weight. Place up to 6 snowboards, 6-8 pairs of skis, or a few full sized luggage carriers. If you want space, the Atlantis series (1800 in particular) is the something worth looking into.
Overall dimensions for this cargo box is 85″ inches long, 36″ inches wide, and 17″ inches high. Overall weight comes in at 56 lbs, which combined at a maximum capacity of 110 lbs would make your roof approximately 166 lbs (give or take a few lbs). The way you attach this unit to your roof is by the use of side rails or roof rack. You’ll receive the necessary straps and tools to properly attach this entire box to the roof properly. Lastly, the entire shape is designed to cut through the wind in a similar way your vehicle does. Not boxy, but actually shaped to not reduce drag on your vehicle. Check it out.
Yakima is one of the leading brands when it comes to camping, traveling, and any exterior accessories used for those purposes. When we think of Yakima, the first thing that comes to mind are their roof racks, you’ll see Yakima’s in every other vehicle. In addition the their excellent roof rack systems, they also make roof cargo boxes. Yes, this box in particular called the RockerBox Pro 14 and it’s made to fit SUV’s, trucks and wagons perfectly.
It’s aerodynamically designed to reduce drag using the forward mounting hardware to drastically improve hatch clearance (making it ideal for smaller vehicles also). Unlike with some other units where you can access the hatch from one side, here you can access the hatch from either left or right side. Some specs in terms of dimensions: 74″ inches long, 33″ inches wide, and 16″ inches high. Total weight comes in at around 38 lbs, and total capacity inside is approximately 14 cubic feet.
WeatherTech is known for the precisely cut floor mats, but did you know they make roof cargo carriers. This one in particular is WeatherTech’s RackSack Cargo Carrier which is totally different than the Yakima and Thule roof boxes we previously mentioned. This giant cargo carrier has the ability to store up to 13 cubic feet of material, and due to the nature of this product you can store various sizes inside.
The entire carrier is made of 100% water repellent polyester material, with the soft felt bottom you won’t ruin your vehicles finish. To completely strap this unit down, you will have to have side rails on your vehicles roof and or, a roof rack system installed. Overall dimensions when fully loaded are 39″ inches long, 32″ inches wide, and 18″ inches high. Great for small to medium sized vehicles and for anyone who’s on a budget.
With Thule’s Force series, there’s a few sizes you can choose from. You can choose from Medium, Large, Extra Large, Extra Extra Large, and Alpine as the size options. Thule has really done a great job at shaping this carbo box series to be as aerodynamic as possible. To properly install this unit takes not many tools, just a complete roof rack system and the included accessories that come with the Thule Force.
To give you a better understanding of which roof cargo box to get, the biggest XXL size is ideal for LARGE sedans, and LARGE SUV’s. As you go down to XL and L, you re going to be near perfect for medium sizes sedans, SUV’s and mini-vans. Overall, sleek design, cargo space ranging from 13 cubic feet to 21 cubic feet will prove to be more than enough to carry all of your equipment.
Check this roof rack out on Amazon, pick your size, and enjoy driving!
When we first saw this cargo box, we knew it had to be on our list. Upon digging deep into the SportRack SR7018 Vista XL cargo bog, we realized that there’s a pretty significant cost savings when switching from a Thule or Yakima. You get an enormous amount of space for the price, 18-cubic feet to be exact. Though it isn’t as aerodynamic as the other cargo boxes, it does provide more room in terms of height so you’ll be able to store BIGGER items/.
Unlike with cargo boxes being accessible from the right or left side, the SportRack box is accessible from the rear only. Being built form an ABS plastic, it’s pretty durable and will resist ultra violet rays from the sun for quite some time. There’s a lock which allows you to complete seal this unit off from being opened up. A roof rack is required to make this cargo box stick to your vehicle, we recommend looking into the SportRack SR1002 roof rack system to make this a complete package.
All in all, you’ll end up spending less than 500 dollars for the entire setup which will include the roof rack system (assuming you don’t have a roof rack). To see the current best, take a look at Amazon below.
As we get closer to the #1 in our list, our #2 has to go to the hassle free Keeper Roof Top Cargo Bag. This one has the most space from all the bags we’ve reviewed. The single best thing about this whole cargo bag is the cost, at under 60 dollars you’re getting excellent value for the money. Stretching to 44″ inches long, 34″ inches wide and 17″ inches high, this waterproof cargo bag is able to hold up to 15 cubic feet of storage with no problem whatsoever.
To properly attach this cargo bag, your vehicle needs to have either side rails and or, a roof rack system. Using the straps, you can mount it in place from all corners of the bag. Store it away when not in use, it’s extremely compact when folded up. Check this unit out on Amazon for the latest killer deal!
After narrowing it down to the best cargo box, we decided to go with Yakima Skybox 21 Carbonite Carbo Box. This has the most room of all the cargo bags and boxes we’ve reviewed so far, approximately 21 cubic feet of space is available. What we like about all of Yakima’s products, is the aerodynamic shape that helps your vehicle break through the wind and reduce drag (regardless of the obvious box on the roof). There’s a key to lock the box on both side, open this box up on either the right or left side. To prevent your keys from ever getting locked inside the box, as soon as you unlock it, the key is forced to stay inside until you completely close and re-lock the box.
There’s quite a lot that you can fit inside the car roof storage carrier, the only thing your vehicle will need to have are a set up cross bars. Mounting this box is as simple as sliding the box into the cross bars and locking them into place. From start to finish, you’ll be ready to roll in less than 10 minutes. Check this unit out on Amazon to get more details and see the best price.
You may also like to see our full and in-depth guide on trunk bike racks or on the best RC cars to buy. If you want additional room with a cargo box AND room for a few bicycles, se our guide on the trunk racks.