Car Top Carrier 3

The Best Car Top Carrier

There are times when we have to pack a smaller bag in order to fit everyone and everything in the car—inevitably making your gear for hobbies the first to go. To solve this problem, you might be deciding between a trailer or a car-top carrier. 

Purchasing a trailer might be tempting. It will provide a significant amount of extra space; however, it will inhibit you from going onto narrow roadways and turning sharply. Not to mention you will firstly need a tow bar and the appropriate license. 

What are You Looking for?

Hard Shell Car Top Carrier

Soft Shell Car Top Carrier

Car Top Carrier Basket

We instead recommend the car top carrier as a more straightforward way to maximize the space in your car. It cannot carry huge items, but it is cost-effective, easier to install, and specifically designed to carry suitcases and many other types of gear. Another significant aspect of a car-top carrier is the wide selection of different designs and sizes you can choose from. For example, you might prefer the soft cargo bag, cargo basket or the more traditional hard shell box. 

Ultimately, choosing between a trailer and a cargo carriersimply depends on your needs and budget. We have compiled a list of the ten best car top carriers to help you make an informed buying decision. 

Terminology of Car Top Carriers

Cubic Feet – The standard measurement of volume meaning the space inside your cargo box. It is simply the length multiplied by the height and width of the item. 

Over Flap – If your soft cargo box has one of these, it will protect the zip from the elements; potentially preventing your belongings from getting wet.

Ratchet Strap – To tighten the strap, use a ratchet mechanism; this is easier and more likely to stay tightened. The alternative to a ratchet strap is buckles or clasps.

Dual-Side Opening – All boxes have a different way of opening; some can even have bi-sided openings. A dual-side opening is a unique mechanism used to open it from either side and access your belongings. It is designed as a safety feature to face away from the traffic, no matter what country you drive.

Aerodynamic – The smoother the air movement over your vehicle, the more aerodynamic it is; this is a good thing. It reduces wind resistance and the likelihood of the box making noise while you drive.

Crossbars – This is a set of bars that are mounted across the roof of your car to attach racks to or carry bulky items.

Side Rails – These are usually factory-installed rails that run along the side of the roof of your car. These are usually places where you can mount a crossbar or some racks. 

The Best Hard Shell Car Top Carrier

1. Yakima Skybox Cargo Box

The-best-cargo-carrier-box

Yakima designed the Skybox with aerodynamics, convenience, and security in mind. Therefore, it should be no surprise as Yakima is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of car top carriers. The Skybox has five different sizes available that would suit any need you have. However, please note that all five carriers have the same design and review, no matter if the capacity is 12 cubic feet, 15 cubic feet, 16 cubic feet, 18 cubic feet, or 21 cubic feet. 

Key Features

The Skybox is one of the most stylish cargo boxes on our list. It has a sleek black design that sits low on the roof of your car. The low profile of the carrier on the car will enable you to pull into the garage without damaging the box or needing to remove the box from the roof. The specific design and shape of the carrier are made to improve aerodynamics by minimizing drag and wind resistance. 

The mounting process of the cargo box is straightforward and requires no tools. You can simply locate and align the clamps under the carrier base and tighten them around your crossbars by twisting the dial inside the box. You can install the Skybox carrier onto any factory-fitted or after-market roof bars with a spread of 24-36 inches. 

The Skybox has a dual-sided opening feature which means the lid can open from both sides. This feature enables you to safely and easily access your gear no matter where you park. It even comes with internal lid stiffeners to provide you with hands-free access without the lid falling on you. 

This cargo carrier has a security locking system to keep all your gear safe while on the road. It makes use of built-in SKS locks in combination with an overhead locker-style handle. A pro tip is to hold the handle in a horizontal position before you lock it. Once you lock the lid into place, there should be a click sound to indicate it is closed properly. 

Yakima then took it a step further and included locks that secure your box to the crossbar, which ensures the safety of your belongings and the safety of the cargo box itself. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Skybox Car Top Carrier 

  • Easy access to the carrier as it can open on both sides.
  • A total locking system is included, such as the box locking onto the roof rails and the SKS locks paired with the handle.
  • You can fit it with most roof bars. 

Issues to be Aware of

  • To mount the carrier you will need to have crossbars. 
  • This cargo box is considerably heavy which can make it challenging to lift above your head. 

2. SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box

  • Weight:
    28 lbs
  • Capacity:
    18 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
    L 62.5 in x W 19 in x H 39 in

The SportRack is our best value for money option when it comes to hardshell cargo boxes. This carrier has received this award because it is affordable and packed with features. It provides you with an impressive 18 cubic feet of extra space and only weighs 28 pounds. 

Key Features

The SportRack is designed aerodynamically and created from ABS plastic which is extensively known for its durability. ABS plastic is incredibly resilient to the elements and the sun’s UV rays.  After all, you don’t want your clothes fading while you drive across the country. The finishing touches on the carrier are a blend between a shiny and matt texture which is an innovative design move to make the carrier still look immaculate over a more extended time. 

The box opens at the rear, eliminating the problem with dual hinges while keeping you safe from traffic on either side of your car. You can even stand on your rear bumper to facilitate access. 

Installing your Sportrack cargo box is simple enough to do frequently. It makes use of U-bolts, which simply slide around your crossbars and into the box. After that, the U-bolt is tightened into place by using the nuts provided. The box has multiple holes in the base to make it versatile enough to fit onto a range of crossbars. 

While the cargo box is indeed waterproof, it is essential to note that the holes in the base of the box might not keep all the moisture out. Therefore, it is best not to store any electronics inside the box. 

A simple lock and key system on the back of the carrier is enough to secure the box and keep your belongings safe. The locking system does not allow you to remove the key from the latch unless the lid is properly locked to the base.  This feature reduces the likelihood of driving off with the box open.

Three Reasons to Buy the SportRack Vista XT Top Carrier

  • Has a built-in locking system with two keys.
  • It fits on most crossbars.
  • Easy installation.

Issues to be Aware of

  • It will be difficult to open and access the box from the rear of a larger vehicle. It will be too high to reach and will require you to stand on a stool or climb up. 
  • The multiple mounting holes in the bottom of the carrier could possibly allow moisture to enter the box during transit. 

3. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14

Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Carrier
  • Weight:
    40 lbs
  • Capacity:
    14 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
    L 74 in x W 33 in x H 16 in

The Yakima RocketBox Pro14 is ideal for smaller cars, wagons, and SUVs that need extra space. The design is relatively aerodynamic, and the box is firm enough that wind noise does not seem to be an issue. The carrier has 14 cubic feet of space, which is enough space to haul gear of up to three campers and skis up to 70 inches long.  It is important to note that lifting the box above your head and onto the roof will prove to be difficult due to its heavier weight of 40 pounds. 

Key Features: 

The  RocketBox is quite versatile in crossbar compatibility.  It can mount onto any style crossbar such as the factory-fit, aftermarket, square, or round crossbar that has a spread of 24 – 40 inches. This cargo carrier has a dual-sided opening feature that enables you to open the lid from either side. This opening system provides you with safe access to your items in any situation. 

The carrier has front-mount hardware, which means the box is situated more to the car’s front when mounted. This feature allows for more clearance on the rear of a hatchback, enabling you to easily access your trunk or hitch. 

The process of mounting the carrier is straightforward and needs no tools. You simply clip the hooks located on the underside of the box around your roof bars. Then reach inside the box and tighten the red knobs until the box is secured. Keep in mind that the system mounts the box to the crossbars of your car, which is why it is vital to ensure your crossbars are mounted securely to your roof. 

Yakima included a security system situated on the side of the Rocketbox that makes use of SKS locks. The locking system makes it impossible for you to remove the key without locking the box first, ensuring that your belongings are safe. Turn the key and then push the button to release the lid. This locking system is a simplistic design but may prove problematic if the button should ever fail.

Three Reasons to Buy the Yakima Rocketbox Top Carrier

  • Has front-mount hardware to provide more clearance at the rear of the car.
  • It has a quick-dial mounting feature which makes the installation process convenient. 
  • Includes a built-in push-button security system that makes use of SKS locks. 

Issues to be Aware of

  • Reviews from customers have shown that sometimes there is a problem with the arm that holds the lid up. It can unclip, which makes the lid fall on top of you and requires you to clip it back in. This can make accessing your gear a chore to do. 
  • The push-button locking system can be problematic as the button might become faulty, which would make it extra challenging to open and close the lid. 

4. Thule Pulse Cargo Box

Thule Pulse Cargo Box

The second offering from Thule on our list is equally as stylish as the first. The Pulse cargo box is a rugged yet durable box that is waterproof and security conscious. It comes in three versions which are called Alpine Pulse (11 cubic feet), Medium Pulse (14 cubic feet), and Large Pulse (16 cubic feet). 

These different size options help you determine the perfect carrier to hold your skis, snowboards, or luggage. It is worth noting that the Alpine Pulse option provides the smallest amount of extra space. However, it is the option that can fit the longest skis. 

Key Features: 

The Thule Pulse is made from ABS thermoplastic, allowing for superior strength and has excellent impact, abrasion, and chemical resistance properties. The aerodynamic design of the box, coupled with the materials used, enables it to withstand the harshest weather conditions while keeping your gear dry and safe. Due to the low-profile design, you are less inclined to remove the box to fit under a low entrance or garage. 

All Pulse boxes fit close to your roof, improving airflow over your vehicle and reducing drag. This will also allow for less noise during transit and increased fuel efficiency. 

The carrier’s lid only offers a standard single access point located on the passengers’ side. It also comes with lid lifters that hold the cover in position for convenient hands-free access. 

When you have finished accessing your gear, you can simply pull the lid closed, automatically disengaging the lid lifters. The Thule SecureLock technology will then ensure that the edges of the box are entirely and correctly sealed. 

Once the box is closed, you can then use the Thule locking system, which provides security to your gear and prevents theft. The security locking system makes use of a simple lock and key. You will not be able to remove the key from the box unless it is properly locked. 

Thule also has roof bars that you can lock onto your roof, ensuring extra safety of the box itself. The cargo box can also fit factory bars, round bars, or even square bars, but these bars won’t provide the same protection. 

Last but not least, the installation of this cargo box can take less than five minutes. It requires no tools and makes use of an easy-fit system. You firstly need to position the clamps under the base of your box onto your roof bars. Then twist the knobs in your box to tighten the clamps onto your roof bars. The knobs are oversized to facilitate use, even in inclement weather.

Three Reasons to Buy the Thule Pulse Top Carrier

  • Comes with lid lifters for hands-free access. 
  • Provides security with a lock and key system.
  • Convenient installation that makes use of easy-grip knob hardware. 

Issues to be Aware of

  • One of the most expensive options on our list. 

5. Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box

Thule Force

The Thule Force XT is one of the most expensive cargo carriers on our list but for a good reason. Thule has included features in this cargo carrier that add convenience in every step of the process, from installing to storage to security. This cargo carrier even comes in four different sizes to accommodate your specific needs. The size range is as follows: 11 cubic feet, 16 cubic feet, 18 cubic feet, and 22 cubic feet. The smallest Force XT cargo box can carry snowboards and skis up to 68 inches.

Key Features

Thule designed the Force XT cargo box for everyday use and is packed full of features often overlooked by manufacturers. For instance, the cargo box can fold flat for storage and has a shoulder strap with padded grip handles for carrying. 

One of the most valuable features is the integrated power-click quick-mount system, enabling you to mount or remove the carrier within a few minutes. All you need to do is align the clamps provided on the cargo box with the crossbars of your car and twist the torque until it clicks. The click sound will indicate that the clamp is tight enough and that the carrier is secured. 

For accessibility, the cargo box has a dual side opening and external pockets for quick access to smaller items. The dual side opening is also known as a safety feature to avoid oncoming traffic. 

Thule included a security system in the carrier called a lock knob system. Although this is not one of the best features on the carrier, it still plays a role in protecting your gear from theft. Unlocking and locking the system can be complicated as you have to apply pressure but be gentle simultaneously, so the key does not snap. 

This cargo box from Thule is made of lightweight plastic, durable enough to keep your gear safe from the elements. However, the plastic materials used raise concerns in terms of longevity and sun exposure.

Three Reasons to Buy the Thule Force XT Car Top Carrier

  • When not in use, it folds flat for storage.
  • The carrier has external pockets for smaller items.
  • It has a built-in security lock knob system. 

Issues to be Aware of

  • Leaving your cargo box out in the sun for too long can compromise the integrity of the plastic. 
  • The key latch is plastic which is low quality compared to the SKS locking system. 

The Best Soft Shell Car Top Carrier

1. Fivklemnz Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier

The best soft shell cargo carrier
  • Weight:
    6.6 lbs
  • Capacity:
    15 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
     L 43 in x W 33 in x H 15 in

The Fivklemnz cargo bag is a military-grade carrier with 15 cubic feet of extra space to offer. It can hold 4-6 suitcases of luggage without compromising the comfort and safety of your passengers, which makes this an excellent option for family trips. The carrier only weighs 6.6 pounds which makes it easy to lift above your head and place onto the roof of your vehicle. 

Key Features 

The Fivklemnz cargo bag is made with heavy-duty 700D oxford fabric that makes it resistant to water, tears, abrasions, the sun’s UV rays, and extreme temperatures. The seams of this carrier are heat welded and double stitched to keep the bag sealed. Another waterproof feature is the bag’s zip, as it is covered with a double flap and held down by velcro. All of these features make this the perfect bag for lousy weather.

The installation process of this cargo carrier is straightforward and will fit on any roof type. It makes use of eight reinforced adjustable straps that go around your crossbars or roof rails to keep your cargo in place. If you do not have roof rails or a crossbar, you can simply use the provided door hook jambs to secure your cargo instead. This carrier will also fit any car, truck, or SUV. 

This cargo carrier comes with an anti-slip mat to place under your bag to ensure that the bag is stable and does not cause any scratches or damage to your car. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Fivklemnz Car Top Carrier 

  • It will fit any car, truck, SUV, and roof type. 
  • Makes use of double-reinforced adjustable straps.
  • Comes with four-door hooks and an anti-slip mat. 

Issues to be Aware of: 

  • The Fivklemnz cargo carrier is a softshell bag that can put more pressure on the car roof itself rather than the hard shell box. This is why you must be mindful of your roof weight limits. 
  • You have to ensure the hooks are adequately secured into the door’s frame otherwise, this could cause the loss of your belongings and damage to your car. 

2. RoofBag Explorer Car Top Carrier

RoofBag Cargo Carrier

The RoofBag comes in two sizes. The RoofBag 11 offers 11 cubic feet of space and will fit on any vehicle and should comfortably carry four medium suitcases. The RoofBag 15 gives you 15 cubic feet of space and works on a full-size sedan, SUV, or even your van.

Key Features

They made the RoofBag from non-toxic and non-harmful materials, and it comes with heavy-duty straps you can attach to a roof rack or roof bars to provide you with peace of mind when using it. Installing the RoofBag involves rotating the bag so that you can attach the straps at the front and back of it. You can add extra straps across the width of the bag, but they are unnecessary to hold it into place.

Like the Keeper 07203, this soft cargo box does not need a roof rack but still needs to be attached to roof bars. Depending on the roof bars you have, fitting the RoofBag could be straightforward. 

If you don’t have either, consider the no-rack option when you’re purchasing. It will come with heavy-duty straps, which you pass through your vehicle; before closing the doors. You can then adjust these straps to hold the bag securely on your roof. 

They made this bag from double-coated abrasion-resistant vinyl, which will help it last for many trips, even in seriously inclement weather. They designed it to work well in snow, sand, and even hail. The RoofBag soft cargo box is aerodynamic, although the bag should be full for this to be fully effective because this will allow it to keep its shape while you drive.

All RoofBags are waterproof and can deflect water thanks to the specially treated heavy-duty canvas. No matter how long the journey, you can confidently put your items in this car top carrier and know they will get to your destination safely and dry.

Three Reasons to Buy the RoofBag Explorer Car Top Carrier

  • Itcan accommodate loads up to 3,000 pounds.
  • You do not need roof racks with this cargo box. 
  • They made it from non-toxic and non-harmful materials. 

Issues to be Aware of:

  • Although this roof carrier comes in two sizes, neither will fit a small four-door hatchback vehicle. Because hatchback roofs are designed differently from Sudan’s, the roof carrier could interfere with the car trunk’s functionality. The vehicle’s size could also interfere with the straps, and it could prevent sufficient distance between the straps from occurring. 
  • It is essential to know that the straps inside your car will get wet when it rains, leading to water dripping inside your vehicle.

3. Keeper 07203-1 Roof Top Cargo Bag

Keeper Cargo Carrier
  • Weight:
    5.25 lbs
  • Capacity:
    15 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
     L 44 in x W 34 in x H 17 in

They designed the Keeper 07203 to fit any roof rack, whether factory-designed or a custom aftermarket version; it offers an impressive 15 cubic feet of space, and you can install it in minutes. 

Key Features

To ensure this soft cargo box is secure, it has attachments on all four sides. The cargo bag itself rests on your roof. You then use the two clasp-style straps on each of the four sides to secure the soft cargo box to your roof.

Once you fasten the clasps, you can tighten the buckles to ensure the load is in the center of your roof and will not move. It is that simple! It is worth noting that if you only fasten the load on two of the four sides or do not use all the straps, you may experience movement while driving.

The Keeper 07203 is 44” x 34” x 17”, but the shape is not rigid, making it possible to carry odd-sized loads. Of course, if you flex the sides too much, you will damage them. They made this car top carrier of rubber laminated nylon. Meaning it is exceptionally durable and waterproof to protect your cargo on those long hauls. 

Because this cargo box is not rigid, you can flatten and roll it for storage, and the size can shrink down to 8” x 5” by 2”! That means you can easily remove it when you reach your destination and store it until you need it again.

The cargo box weighs just 5.25 pounds; you’ll have no difficulty getting it onto the roof. There is a covering flap that protects the zip from the elements. Make sure you use this; it works well!

Three Reasons to Buy the Keeper 07203 Cargo Bag:

  • The shape is not rigid, and you can carry odd-sized loads. 
  • When storing the cargo box, it can be folded and rolled up to a much smaller size.
  • The cargo bag is waterproof.

Issues to be Aware of:

  • The softness and flexibility of this cargo box mean that you’ll notice increased wind resistance and possibly noise in your vehicle; this will affect how you drive your car. The material creates resistance pockets instead of a clean line for the air to flow over, causing you to use more fuel.
  •  The padlock is small, and the material is soft; someone could easily cut their way into your car top carrier and remove your belongings. Even if you’re stopping overnight, you’ll probably prefer to empty it first; this can be a little inconvenient.

4. Vetoos Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag

vetoos cargo carrier
  • Weight:
    11.79 lbs
  • Capacity:
    21 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
     L 52 in x W 39.5 in x H 17.5 in

The Vetoos car top carrier provides a massive 21 cubic feet of extra space. This space allows for 5-6 suitcases to fit into the carrier, making it ideal for bigger families. With such a massive potential for capacity, you would think the carrier would be heavy. However, it only weighs 11.79 pounds, which is lightweight enough to efficiently lift the bag onto your roof.

Key Features 

The material used in this Vetoos carrier is a highly dense 700D PVC fabric that uses triple-seal technology and is 1.5 times stronger than 500D PVC fabric. This material will protect your luggage from grit, snow, wind, sun UV rays, and getting wet in the rain. 

To ensure the bag is durable and resistant, the seams of this carrier have been welded and stitched together. The bag itself even looks like a hard shell box. The zipper comes with a widened 4.7” inch zipper flap which makes the zipper a waterproof feature. 

This carrier is suitable for any car with or without a crossbar or roof rail. The eight straps used to mount the cargo in place are double reinforced to ensure no rips or tears and use a strong buckle for accessibility. If you do not have crossbars, you can simply use the four-door hooks provided. For extra stability, you can place the provided anti-slip mat under your carrier. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Fivklemnz Car Top Carrier 

  • It can be mounted on a car with roof rails or without.
  • It uses high-density 700D PVC fabric which uses triple-seal technology.
  • Zip is waterproof and has a 2.7-inch zipper flap.

Issues to be Aware of:

  • The size of the bag can consequently make the bag too large to fit onto a smaller car comfortably. 
  • It is recommended that you also make use of extra straps to ensure your bag is tied down extra tight for the journey ahead. 

5. Rightline Gear 100S30 Sport 3

  • Weight:
    8.6 lbs
  • Capacity:
    18 cubic feet
  • Dimensions:
     L 48 in x W 40 in x H 19 in

The Rightline Gear 100S30 Sport 3 is a return to the soft cargo box option. The design is certainly not revolutionary; it is simply a square box designed to fit on your roof. Of course, this makes it easier to pack suitcases and other straight-edged objects.

They designed the bag to hold 18 cubic feet, measures 48” x 40” x 19 inches high, and weighs 8.6 pounds.

Key Features

You can fit this soft cargo box on any roof. If you have roof bars already fitted to your vehicle, then the Rightline Sport 3 will slot between the bars. You can then tie the two durable straps on each side of the cargo box securely to the cargo box around your roof bars. A top tip regarding the straps is to twist them when tying your cargo box down; this will help eliminate any wind noise; leaving them flat will create a whining noise as you drive.

You could also use the car clips provided to secure the cargo box to your vehicle’s door frame. Open the door, position the clip and adjust the strap to ensure it is tight. The door should close normally. It may be with considering adding a non-slip mat to the roof of your car, but ensure this does not compromise your vehicle’s load capacity. 

They made the Rightline cargo box from Hydrotuff, which is 600 deniers woven polyester with a PVC inner layer and a PVC coating. Hydrotuff allows the cargo box to remain lightweight while being rugged and durable enough to withstand any weather you may drive through. It uses reinforced polyester mesh to strengthen the cargo box, a corrosion-proof zip, a zipper flap, and double seams. 

These factors combined ensure rain cannot enter your bag while it is on your vehicle’s roof, making it 100% waterproof. The waterproof zipper flap protects the main zipper from weather elements, including UV rays which could get through your bag and onto your products inside. There are also pulls on the zippers, which you can use to lock the bag closed or even lock it to your roof, providing you have bars or something similar to lock it to.

The bag unzips 3/4‘s of the way around; you can then roll back the top and gain easy access to the parking space. This feature is handy for loading and unloading. You even get a handy drawstring bag to fold the cargo box into when you’re not using it. That way, you’ll always know where it is.

Three Reasons to Buy the Rightline Gear Sport 3

  • It can fit on any roof. 
  • It is 100% waterproof.
  • You do not need roof racks to use this cargo carrier.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • Ensure you put this car top carrier on your roof the right way round and use the zip cover. If you don’t, then rain could get in and damage your belongings.
  • As with most soft cargo boxes,  it is vital to make sure the front corners are full. If you don’t, the material is likely to flap in the wind as you drive.

The Best Car Top Carrier Basket

1. ROLA V-Tex Cargo Basket

Rola cargo basket
  • Weight:
    38 lbs
  • Capacity:
    130 lbs
  • Dimensions:
     L 48 in x W 37.5 in x H 5 in

The Rola Cargo Carrier boasts a sporty two-piece design that includes a deflector and a steel basket. This carrier allows various items to be secured to it, such as the cargo itself, a cargo bag, and even J-bars. Making it the perfect roof rack for everyday life. 

Due to the large size of this basket, it is only suitable for larger cars such as SUVs and vans. The cargo basket can hold a load capacity of up to 130 pounds without damaging your roof. 

Key Features:

The Rola Votex Cargo Basket has a steel construction with a rough-coat finish, making it resistant to scratches and strong enough to withstand the elements. It also comes with a custom fit air deflector which improves aerodynamics and gives a certain amount of protection to your cargo from the wind force. 

The basket has adjustable brackets that fit most round, square, and factory-installed crossbars. These brackets work in combination with a U-bolt that ensures stability as well as compatibility. Although the installation process is easy, the basket weighs 38 pounds, making it difficult to lift by yourself. The basket does require you to assemble it, but it is a short process that will only take you a few minutes. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Rola Basket Carrier

  • The basket allows various items to be secured to it for transportation. 
  • It has an air deflector that improves aerodynamics. 
  • It has adjustable brackets that fit most crossbars. 

Things to Be Aware of:

  • It is heavy and can be challenging to lift above the car roof.
  • You will need to use tools to install the basket to your crossbars. 
  • The basket can only fit on larger cars. 

2. YAKIMA – LoadWarrior

yakima cargo basket carrier
  • Weight:
    0.25 lbs
  • Capacity:
    140 lbs
  • Dimensions:
     L 44 in x W 39 in x H 6.5 in

The Yakima Load Warrior is a heavy-duty cargo basket with extensive versatility. The carrier is able to accommodate a range of different items such as bike roof racks, kayak roof racks, and cargo.  This means it is suitable for luggage tall in stature or wide in girth. 

Key Features: 

The basket is made from alloy steel and is covered with a weather proof coating for extra durability. Although the construction of this basket is heavy-duty and it can withstand a capacity of 140 pounds, it only weighs 25 pounds which is exceptionally light. 

The basket is able to mount onto any round, square, factory or aerodynamic crossbar and is small enough to fit onto any passenger vehicle. The Yakima cargo basket also comes with a range of different accessories to choose from if you would like to add it to your carrier. For example you can purchase an optional locking bracket that implements anti-theft protection for your cargo and basket. 

Once you receive the cargo basket, it will require minimal assembly. Which would include just adding the wind deflector and putting some parts together which is relatively straightforward to accomplish. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Tyger Basket Carrier

  • This cargo basket is a heavy-duty carrier.
  • It is extremely versatile in use. 
  • Comes with a variety of accessories.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • Requires tools to be installed properly.

3. Tyger Heavy-Duty Cargo Basket

Tyger Car top carrier
  • Weight:
    30 lbs
  • Capacity:
    150 lbs
  • Dimensions:
     L47.25 in x W36.6 in x H5.9 in

The Tyger cargo basket is designed with style and functionality in mind. Therefore, it looks good while on your roof, while it serves a purpose in simplifying your road trip ahead.  The carrier has a two-piece construction that consists of the wind deflector and the basket itself. 

Key Features: 

The basket is constructed out of a material called alloy steel, a durable but lighter material to use. This makes the carrier able to withstand a capacity of 150 pounds, although it only weighs 30 pounds. The carrier is coated in a matt black E-coating that helps prevent rust and adds to the product’s longevity.

The mounting process of this carrier is simple however it requires tools. The carrier is compatible with passenger vehicles, vans, and SUVs with crossbars no wider than 3.55 inches. The basket makes use of U-bolts and lots of extra straps to ensure your cargo does not go anywhere while in transit. Lastly, it is recommended that you remove the cargo basket before you wash your car. 

Three Reasons to Buy the Tyger Basket Carrier

  • It is designed with style and functionality in mind. 
  • It can hold a capacity of 150 pounds.  
  • Compatible with most crossbars.

Things to Be Aware of:

  • You need to remove the basket before you wash your car. 
  • You have to assemble the basket once it arrives. 

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Car Top Carrier

Every one of the above ten car top carriers on this list is a worthwhile option if you’re looking for extra storage on your next annual or family vacation. However, before you purchase a car-top carrier, it is a good idea to consider the following points. They will help to ensure you choose the right one according to your needs. 

Size

You need to consider what you will be carrying and how much space you will need to carry all these things. This will help you decide between an 11 cubic foot car top carrier or a 21 cubic feet car top carrier. There is as much versatility in car-top carrier shapes as there is in the size category. Therefore, it is wise to consider the actual gear you will use. For example, if you want to pack skis, you have to find a long enough carrier to fit the boards comfortably, even if it is not as wide. 

Don’t forget that it is possible to add two cargo boxes to your roof if needed, side by side. But, you can’t stack them on top of each other, and you do need to observe the weight limit for your roof when adding extra weight. 

Budget

Buying the best car top carrier should be an investment for several years. This means that you can justify spending a reasonable sum amount of money on it. However, it is still essential to consider the funds you have available and how much you can afford to spend on a car-top carrier without ruining your vacation plans. 

Knowing your budget in advance will help you narrow down your search in the market. It will help you only look at those in your price range and prompt you to compare the two to see which one is best suited for you. While it may be nice to look at the top-end ones, it will make it much harder to pick the most practical and affordable option for your needs.

Usage

It might feel great having one of the most expensive car top carriers mounted on your roof, but you have to wonder if the purchase was worth it if you only use it once. Therefore, considering how often you will use the carrier would be helpful in the decision-making process. 

If you intend to use the cargo carrier regularly and leave it on the roof of your car, you should consider a hardshell cargo box instead of a cargo bag. Due to the cargo box being more equipped to withstand the test of time and the elements. 

Ease of Installation

The ease of installing the carrier is a significant factor in the decision-making process of buying a carrier. This means you’ll have to pay extra attention to the fittings your car can take and the fitting the carrier provides.

If you have a bare roof on your vehicle, then it is best to consider a cargo bag carrier that more often provides you with door hooks to use. You can even consider a carrier that makes the straps run through your vehicle. However, you must then consider how stable it will be and then consider purchasing extra straps to ensure the bag is tightly secured. 

If you have roof bars and side rails, it is best to consider purchasing a cargo box. The cargo box has clamps on the bottom that are attached to large knobs inside the box. By turning the knobs, you simply facilitate the clamps to close and tighten into position. 

In conclusion, we recommend you consider the type of roof your vehicle has and what would best suit the situation.

 Weight

Overloading your car is a safety hazard to you and those around you. Not to mention the damage it can cause to your belongings and car. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that you do not exceed the weight limit of your car roof or car top carrier. 

If you plan on moving your car top carrier around a lot, it is worth noting how heavy the carrier is versus how much weight you can lift without hurting your back.

This is why it is crucial to consider the weight according to your frequency of use. If you decide on a cargo bag, it is worth looking at how the bag can hold odd-shaped items

Reputation and Reviews

It will help if you read reviews like this to discover the best car top carrier on the market. But, it is also important to consider the reputation of the manufacturer. Some, such as Thule, have been producing these car top carriers for years and have developed a sterling reputation.

Others are newer to the scene, and you may not have any knowledge about them. This is when social media can be handy. We recommend you look at the comments regarding the car top carrier you want to buy. There should be a whole range of honest opinions which can help you choose the correct box. You’ll even be able to ask specific questions to people who have already purchased the cargo box.

It is also important to note that it is unlikely every consumer will be happy with a specific product. There will most likely be a defect with one or two products. In these instances, you need to ensure that most of the comments are positive. You may even be able to assess the manufacturer’s response to unhappy customers.

Roof Compatibility

In today’s market, you will find a car-top carrier that will fit just about any type of roof you have. You will even find most hard-shell cargo boxes on the market fit onto square bars, circular bars, and almost any other kind of bar. However, it is in your best interest to check the specific product specifications of the cargo box you want to buy to ensure it will fit the particular type of bar. 

Many cargo carrier bags are best suited for a bare roof. They usually come with handy door hooks you can wedge into the door frame to mount the cargo bag. This carrier will also save you money when purchasing because most of them are more affordable than the hard-shell cargo boxes. 

Aerodynamics

The majority of hardshell rooftop carriers are designed to have the wind glide over it smoothly. The front of the box will be slightly curved to direct the wind backward. When viewing the box from the side, you may observe that it rises slowly in size or runs straight back and then tapers at the end. 

The more aerodynamic the box is, the less drag it will create. Less drag equates to a smaller difference in fuel consumption. The higher the drag, the more fuel you’ll lose. Therefore, if you’re doing a lot of miles, then you may prefer the economy of a hard shell car top carrier.

The soft bag options are also more likely to make noise. You can generally avoid this by making sure the front corners of the bag are fully loaded and won’t move. But, again, if you will be using it frequently, we recommend the hardshell box. 

Other Things on Your Roof

Finally, before you purchase your car-top carrier, you need to consider what else goes on your roof. For example, if you enjoy kayaking regularly but intend to keep your cargo box on, you’ll need to purchase a skinny and long car top carrier.

This will ensure you can still fit your kayak roof rack and benefit from the extra space of a car-top carrier.

Of course, if you’re unlikely to carry the two things simultaneously, you may not think it is worth considering. The issue is that you never know when it may be helpful to have both items on your roof.

Trailers v.s. Roof Cargo Carriers

The apparent difference between a trailer and the car top carrier is where they are mounted onto the car. A trailer will simply mount onto the tow bar, which will transport your luggage at the car’s rear. A car top carrier will transport your luggage on the top of the roof of your vehicle. With a carrier and a trailer being so different yet having a similar purpose, it can be challenging to choose. Therefore we have compiled a shortlist of the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Trailers

AdvantagesDisadvantages
You do not need to reach overhead to install it, load it or unload it.  Not every vehicle can tow a trailer because some cars don’t have a tow bar. 
You can carry more oversized items in the trailer. You will have to be extra mindful of the weight you will be pulling. You might not be able to pull as much weight as you can carry on the roof.
The perfect option for larger families. It makes maneuvering and parking a challenge. 
It will require the appropriate license. 
Trailers aren’t recommended for off-road driving.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Car Top Carriers

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Most cargo boxes are aerodynamic, which increases your fuel efficiency. Your car’s profile will be higher with the carrier, therefore, requiring a higher entrance clearance for your vehicle.
It is a more affordable option.It might affect wind resistance which can negatively affect your fuel economy. 
It takes very little space and does not obstruct your view. Lifting, loading, and unloading the carrier overhead can be strenuous. 
You can use these if you have crossbars, roof rails, or even a bear roof. Your cargo can be harder to access on larger cars and will require you to stand on a stool or climb up to reach. 
You have the option to fit more than just one cargo box on the roof of your car.
It comes in a variety of sizes and designs. 

Conclusion

The bottom line is that no one car top carrier is right for everyone. The 10 on this list are some of the best available at this moment in time.

But, to choose the right one for your needs and your current situation, you must consider the aid of the points above.  You’ll then be able to identify whether you need a soft cargo box or a solid car top carrier.

It is then a relatively simple step to look at this list and select the size and shape that will suit you best, along with how it fits your vehicle.

If possible, you should buy your roof box as early as possible; budget allowing. This will give you plenty of time to inspect the item, understand how it fits your roof, and even test it several times. If you’re planning a big trip, it is much better to go with something that you’ve tried and tested; it will remove some of the stress from the trip.

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