Families or groups who love to go on road trips will find a rooftop cargo box to be a practical investment. It can provide additional storage to a vehicle to secure all sorts of gear, such as a tent, boots, helmets, cameras and bags without having to buy or rent a larger vehicle.
Are you interested in getting one for your car or SUV? Check out this list of the top 11 best rooftop cargo boxes. If this is your first time buying a rooftop cargo box, you might also want to read through our quick buying guide at the bottom.
The Yakima Rocketbox Pro 14 is a relatively affordable, easy-to-install, and decently sized cargo carrier. It is a good choice if you are looking for a budget-friendly rooftop cargo box.
Let us be straightforward about the capacity of this cargo carrier. About 58 inches long, it won’t be able to take in a snowboard. Don’t worry, though, as you can still store a significant number of items within it. With a capacity of up to 14 cubic feet, it can accommodate 3 carry-on bags, several beach toys, and baby bags.
You can open the box from either side of your vehicle with the simple push of a button. Once you have opened the box, there is lighting inside, which comes in very handy at night. As you look for the items stored inside the cargo box, the inside top lifters keep it open without you having to hold the lid.
Installation should be a breeze as putting it on and taking it off a crossbar requires no tools. There is also no need to assemble the box.
This cargo carrier weighs around 30 pounds. Its wide design makes it aerodynamic, and it comes with SKS locks, while its matte-black finish gives it a luxurious look. It is compact enough to fit most sedans and compact SUVs.
This cargo box from Thule Force is perhaps the best rooftop carrier today. With a terrific combination of value, space, and outstanding features, the Thule Force Roof Box is something you should check out before buying any other rooftop cargo box.
Available in five sizes—alpine, medium, large, extra-large, and extra-extra-large—the Thule Force Cargo Box has storage capacities ranging from a low of 12 cubic feet to a high of 21 cubic feet. All variations have a max load capacity of 110 pounds.
One of the key features of the Thule Force Cargo Box is its Aeroskin shell made from five-layer ABS plastic. The shell is diamond-textured with its lid being capable of withstanding any weather condition. The aerodynamic shape minimizes drag and prevents a sudden increase in gas consumption.
Designed to fit most round bars and factory racks, the Thule Force cargo boxes can attach easily to the rooftop with the proprietary knob hardware located along the raised grooves of the bottom. The hardware also offers tool-free mounting. In short, you can install the box in less than five minutes.
This top-rated cargo box also offers dual-side access, allowing you to get to your stuff from either side of the vehicle. There are also lifter elements located at the front and rear of the cargo box allowing you to keep the lid open without you holding it.
This rooftop cargo box offers 18 cubic feet of storage with a single opening lid that lets you access your stored items from the passenger side.
Two locks are provided with this cargo carrier. Inside the cargo box is a textured surface designed to prevent your things from moving while in transit. A weather-strip material is included in the package, which you need to install to prevent water from leaking into the cargo carrier to keep your gear dry even during stormy weather.
The box is easy to open and close thanks to its spring-loaded hinge found at the rear and front. There is also a snap lock lever that snaps in place nicely to secure the lid of the carrier.
Made from durable polyethylene material, the box is UV-resistant. The load capacity of this carrier is quite impressive at 110 pounds, though you might want to double check the weight capacity of your vehicle’s roof prior to buying this carrier.
Weighing around 30 pounds and measuring 54 inches long, 39 inches wide, and 19.5 inches tall, this should fit most SUVs and sedans. It is compatible with most square, round, and factory racks. SportRack backs it with a limited lifetime warranty.
The Yakima Skybox 21 is a larger cousin of the Yakima Rocketbox 14. It offers up to 21 cubic feet of extra space, meaning it is a great choice if you plan to carry gear or luggage for up to five people. It fits most bar types while requiring no assembly. Installation is a breeze, too, while the dual-sided opening allows access from either side.
Made from a carbonite material that is partly recycled, the Yakima Skybox measures 90 x 36 x 20 inches with a max load capacity of 75 pounds. It’s larger compared to other cargo boxes and so may not be suitable for use on sedans. It fits crossbar spreads from 24 to 42 inches with a tapered design in the rear resulting in easy hatch clearance.
With a dual-sided opening, you can access your items stored in this cargo box from either of the vehicle. You also won’t need tools during installation and removal of the box from your vehicle. The lid is textured to eliminate drag, reduce noise, and enhance stability.
Speaking of the lid, opening and closing it should be easy and secure with the metal Superlatch secure system. Meanwhile, the key won’t release until the lid has been properly closed, meaning there is no chance of the lid opening and your items spilling out.
This is a waterproof rooftop cargo box that offers 15 cubic feet of storage. It fits all roof racks with soft side flex designed to fit even odd-shaped loads. It folds compact for convenient storage, which is quite impressive given its overall size of 44 x 34 x 17 inches. Made of rubber laminated nylon, it should last for a long time.
Since it is waterproof, this rooftop cargo box can protect your gear from the elements, including the rain, wind, and the harsh rays of the sun. The 15 cubic feet of extra space that this carrier offers is enough to accommodate the gear of up to three people. It is also easy to put on and take off, which means you’ll likely find it the most convenient part of preparing for your journey.
Easy to install and even easier to store, this waterproof rooftop cargo box from Roofbag is well-made. It features straps that can secure it to any vehicle. Offering 11 cubic feet of extra space, it fits all cars, vans, and SUVs.
It may not win any awards for design, but this Roofbag waterproof cargo carrier is heavy-duty. Made in the US, it can be installed on any vehicle even without a rack. The carrier is free from toxic chemicals and BPA. It is fire-resistant, too.
The seatbelt-style straps are strong enough to withstand up to 3,000 pounds of load. There are two choices for the straps. You should opt for Rack if your vehicle has side rails, basket, or crossbars. No Rack is best if your vehicle has no rack or you’re installing it on a bare roof.
Installation should not be difficult at all. Simply attach the straps to the side rails left-to-right. If your vehicle has crossbars, the straps should attach to the bars front-to-back. If there is no rack, the straps are to pass through the inside of the vehicle through the door frame.
The carrier has an aerodynamic design to minimize fuel consumption. It is peel-resistant, too, with a double-coated and abrasion-resistant vinyl material. It is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, long exposure to the sun, and other elements, such as wind and snow.
This mid-sized rooftop cargo carrier from BoogeRV is compatible with most cars, jeeps, and SUVs. Offering up to 15 cubic feet of extra storage, this rooftop cargo carrier is easy to install and store. It is also waterproof and durable enough to withstand the harshest weather conditions.
Attaching this car top carrier will take only a few minutes. It has eight built-in tie straps that ensure a secure fit. The straps are long enough to accommodate loads of different shapes and sizes.
The 15 cubic feet of storage should be enough for the gear of 2-3 individuals. Expect to have enough room for two medium-sized suitcases, a couple of camping tents, and a camping cooler with this rooftop cargo box. The zippers are heavy-duty and waterproof as well.
It is made of rainproof polyester. Measuring 38 inches long, 38 inches wide, and 18 inches high, it can be folded easily when not in use.
Here’s a relatively affordable cargo carrier that is also noted for its sturdy construction and versatile design.
Offering 16 cubic feet of extra space, the YOULERBU cargo carrier has an aerodynamic design to reduce drag. The unit also has specially designed buckles for safety with wide and long straps to secure your gear. Moreover, there is a reflective string around the cargo carrier for nighttime visibility.
Measuring 45 x 35 x 13.5 inches and weighing less than 8 pounds, this cargo box also comes with a rain cover and a floor mat. The latter is intended to prevent damage to your vehicle’s paint job. There’s even a carrying bag where you can store the cargo carrier when it is not being used.
This rooftop cargo carrier is not only noted for its capacity but also for its durability. It is waterproof and heavy-duty. It’s one of the best rooftop carriers in terms of value for money.
Offering up to 19 cubic feet of extra storage, this cargo bag is made of 1218d PVC fabric, which can withstand the most difficult weather conditions. It is double-coated and includes a high-quality zipper. Safety door hooks are available for securing the top carrier, and there is a protective mat that is included in the package that you can use to protect your car’s paint.
With a TSA-approved combination lock, this cargo carrier can protect your items from thieves. Securing the bag is easy with the Velcro-strap retainers, plus the six car door hooks included.
Here is another reasonably priced cargo carrier that is also durable and reliable. It is a waterproof rooftop cargo carrier perfect for sedans, minivans, and SUVs with a universal roof rack system. It is easy to install and takes up minimal storage space. Securing your luggage is a breeze with the six included straps, while the protective mat maintains the stability of your load.
You’ll love that this carrier is easy to install and store. It has handles for convenient installation on top of the car. To install, simply attach the carrier to the six compression straps. Four of the straps are for fastening the carrier with racks, while the other two are for fastening without racks. There are no tools required. And it folds nicely for storage.
The carrier itself is made of 600-denier fabric, which is 100% waterproof and heavy-duty. It has double seams and a sturdy zipper. A protective mat is included to keep the carrier stable and to protect your paint job.
With this rooftop cargo bag, you can add up to 19 cubic feet of storage to your car, SUV, or minivan.
It is constructed from heavy-duty PVC, which is waterproof. Ten straps are integrated into the design, all of which are adjustable and reinforced for more secure handling of your cargo. There is also a built-in mat in the carrier to prevent it from slipping and potentially damaging the car’s paint job.
The carrier itself has an oversized zipper closure. so opening and closing it won’t be a hassle, especially when retrieving odd shaped items.
Measuring 48 x 36 x 20 inches, this cargo bag is lightweight at 8 pounds. It has a nice black finish that will look fitting on any vehicle.
Buying a Rooftop Cargo Box
Before you buy a cargo box, you might also need to invest in a roof rack system, which usually consists of a couple of crossbars bridging the width of the vehicle’s roof. A roof rack system not only holds a rooftop cargo box but other outdoor gear, such as bikes, canoes, kayaks, and skis. However, there are also rooftop cargo boxes that can be installed on a rooftop sans a rack system.
The moment you’ve got a roof rack system in place, you can start shopping for a rooftop cargo box. This type of vehicle accessory comes in various sizes and shapes. Most are lockable, which gives you the peace of mind knowing that your items are stored securely. Others have a protective mat designed to prevent the carrier from sliding and damaging the paint of the vehicle.
Obviously, you have to check if the rooftop cargo box you are considering buying will fit with the roof rack system of your vehicle. But aside from that, there are other things that need to be looked into and considered prior to purchasing a rooftop cargo box such as:
Perhaps the most important of all, the capacity will tell you how much gear you can carry on top of your vehicle. Normally, the capacity of rooftop cargo boxes ranges from 10 to 25 cubic feet. For a family or group of three, 10 to 15 cubic feet of storage should be enough. For larger groups, a carrier with at least 20 cubic feet of capacity may be more suitable.
Of course, these are just estimates. There are other factors that may affect the capacity of the recommended rooftop cargo box such as the size of the vehicle and the sort of items you want to bring on your road trip.
Don’t think of the design as the look of the cargo box. While it’s not bad to consider the aesthetics, you should put more premium on the aerodynamic qualities of the model. A cargo carrier with an aerodynamic design is your best option. Avoid a box that’s too square because it normally creates drag on a car and can subsequently hike your gas consumption. The length and height of the cargo box will also depend on the items you want to store.
Expect to spend at least $50 for a good-quality cargo carrier. So, it’s only reasonable to consider the durability of the rooftop cargo box. Find one that can withstand adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and extremely high temperatures.
Ease of Use
An easy-to-use cargo carrier is an enticing option as you will have an easier time putting it on and taking it off the vehicle’s roof. Moreover, you will want a rooftop cargo box that can be assembled without tools.
The accessibility of the cargo carrier may also affect your buying decision. Look for one that can be opened from different angles so that you will have an easier time getting to the items stored in the carrier.
It is a must to buy a cargo box with a security lock. It can give you peace of mind knowing that your items are safe even if you are not around. Additionally, your rooftop cargo carrier should be made of material strong enough to withstand pry attacks.