Maybe you've got an SUV with three rows of seats. They're great fun when 6 or 8 people are along for a road trip, but most such modern vehicles utilize every inch of interior space in order to fit that third row. Consequentially, there's virtually zero room for cargo when seats are in the upright position. Or maybe you have a similar problem with a compact hatchback, or even a minivan. Your vehicle may have fold-flat seats that make carrying cargo easy, but what good are they when you need to bring passengers with you? You can't ask adults to squeeze in between duffel bags or sporting gear, and you can't ask them to hang on tight and surf on the roof either.
Most modern sedans and coupes with traditional trunks have such sloping rear rooflines that designers are forced to make the opening for the trunk very short and narrow. Too small, you often realize with dismay, to insert anything bulkier than a flexible duffle bag. The problem isn't a lack of space inside the trunk, it's the fact that it's just not possible to squeeze many objects through that narrow opening your auto manufacturer was kind enough to provide. A cargo trailer would be useful, but impractical in many other ways.
To overcome these woes, we offer a variety of cargo boxes, baskets, and bags designed to use your vehicle's roof space for carrying things you either don't have room for or can't get into your trunk. In this article, we'll look at some of these products found in the Roof Racks & Cargo Carriers section of our website. To get an idea of what type of roof rack and related mounting equipment would be best for your vehicle, we also invite you to read our related article on the different types of roof rack base systems, as one of these is a necessity in order to securely mount that cargo carrier up there.
Once you've entered your vehicle's make, model, year, and roof type in the Product Options field, we encourage you to keep scrolling down through the list of items that will pop up. Depending on whether your vehicle has a "normal" roof (no attachment points at all), factory rails, or is already equipped with crossbars, you may see a variety of related mounting hardware that will be helpful. You may also see straps, clips, and cargo nets that make tying down your gear little easier. Rhino-Rack even offers a locking cable assembly that prevents cargo bags from being removed from the roof.
If you're looking at cargo baskets, most of the ones we sell offer an aerodynamic fairing piece to cut down on wind resistance and whistling noise at speed. On some baskets, the fairing piece is standard, and on others, it's an extra-cost option. Depending on the manufacturer, you'll also see optional bracket pieces that are fitted to a specific basket - allowing spare tires, jacks, gasoline cans, shovels, axes, and more items to be carried securely in place. You'll even see fold-up ladders that allow you to climb from the ground up to roof rack level safely and easily.
Cargo bags are an ideal choice for carrying lighter, softer cargo, and they represent a great value when it comes to pricing. All of the ones we sell are made from nylon, PVC mesh, or other materials that ensure what's inside remains watertight in the heaviest of downpours. If storage space in your garage or home is tight, cargo bags fold up neatly and compactly - allowing them to be tucked away easily when not in use.
If you prefer a wider, more squared-off shape, there's the SportRack Vista Roof Cargo Bag and several offerings from Rightline Gear such as the Ace Car Top Carrier Bag, Sport Car Top Carrier Bag, and Car Top Duffle Bag. For higher-speed travel on long interstate routes, we've got the aerodynamically-shaped Outbound Roof Cargo Bag (13 cubic feet) and Interstate Roof Cargo Bag (16 cubic feet), both from Thule, as well as the Yakima SoftTop Roof Cargo Bag (13 cubic feet). And for larger sizes, check out the selection from Rhino-Rack which are longer and more rectangular in shape. These are designed to complement existing luggage trays, but the bags can be also mounted directly against roof sheet metal.
If you prefer a more compact style of roof carrier that also be used like a duffle bag, take a look at the RightLine Gear Auto Duffle Bag. Start with one if that's all you need, then add a couple more as you go - their long and narrow shape allows three to fit across a typical car or truck roof.
Hard shell cargo boxes are good for heavier and more rigid items that need a sturdy casing to keep them from shifting all over the roof, and for other items that are delicate enough to benefit from the protection a hard surrounding shell provides. All of the cargo boxes we offer are equipped with built-in locks, and come with their own set of keys. So if security is important, they cannot be easily opened or removed from your vehicle.
If snow sports are your thing, we've got cargo boxes designed with the proper length and interior volume to hold up to 8 pairs of skis, or almost as many snowboards. For starters, if there may be roof clearance issues, there's the low-profile Thule Pulse Alpine Cargo Box (11 cubic feet of storage).
Moving up in height, Thule's Force Cargo Box and Hyper XL Cargo Box can accommodate skis, and can both be purchased with a ceiling-mounted lifting pulley assembly that lets you store the box up high when it's not being used. It also makes lowering the box onto your vehicle or lifting it off much easier. And for a real luxury touch, the Hyper XL Cargo Box is equipped with a standard interior light that illuminates when the box is opened.
Other cargo boxes that can accommodate skis and snowboards are the Yakima Rocketbox Pro Roof Cargo Box (choose the largest size), and the Yakima SkyBox Carbonite Roof Cargo Box. SportRack offers best value with their Horizon Cargo Box that opens on the passenger side only. We strongly recommend that you measure the length of your skis to ensure they'll fit in the cargo box you select.
If you don't ski and prefer a cargo box that's shorter and wider, we've got the SportRack Vista Cargo Box and Skyline Cargo Box which represent best values. Thule offers their SideKick Cargo Box. Yakima's RocketBox Pro Roof Cargo Box is shorter and squarer in shape, but its width is greater than most cargo boxes.
Cargo Baskets And Trays
For those looking for a good base to attach cargo bags, suitcases, or other items to, we've got a great selection of roof-mounted cargo baskets and trays. If you prefer a basic flat tray with no sides, take a look at the Warrior Platform Roof Rack and Rhino-Rack Steel Mesh Platform Rack (requires cross bars) that's available in four different sizes.
The Thule Trail Roof Cargo Basket (requires factory roof rails) features rubber-covered areas that come in contact with cargo to help keep things in place. Thule's Canyon Roof Cargo Basket features the same basic shape (requires roof rails) in a smaller standard size. Also, the Canyon Roof Basket is available with optional crossbars and a center extension piece that lengthens the basket by 20 inches.
If you venture into the woods, we've got a number of cargo baskets that offer the option of fitted brackets for carrying items that come in handy on the trails. For example, the Yakima Mega Warrior Roof Cargo Basket and LoadWarrior Roof Cargo Basket (available with center extension piece) both offer cargo nets as well as brackets for spare tires, jacks, axes, and shovels.
On our Smittybilt page, you’ll find a number of Defender Roof Basket sizes – some of which are available with a cargo net as well as optional brackets for carrying spare tires, jacks, gas cans, axes, and shovels.
If you prefer a carrying tray with more of a close-knit mesh weave, the Rhino-Rack Steel Mesh Basket is available in six sizes that range from small and square to long and narrow. ARB's Roof Basket comes in large sizes and is available with or without a mesh floor piece. For extra cost, ARB also offers an aluminum alloy version. And finally, the SportRack Roof Basket offers a wider crosshatch pattern, with optional cargo net and 22-inch center extension pieces. An aerodynamic fairing is included.
We're confident you're going to like the rooftop storage solutions we offer. They work on so many levels, from utilizing an under-used area on the vehicle, to freeing up interior space, to allowing you to carry objects which otherwise would not fit in the vehicle. We recommend you click on all the highlighted hyperlinks in this article, which will take you directly to the specific products referenced. Be sure to peruse the Product Options drop-down menus, which in many cases expand your available choices for sizes and accessories. Our website has a lot of great items, and you may find the first thing that falls to eye may not end up being your favorite. You may also find multiple products that complement each other, and be the better for it. We encourage you to call us with any questions you may have, seven days a week.