There is so much versatility with the best hitch cargo carrier that almost all car and truck owners should own one. From classic cargo around the house to unusual objects, these carriers are very useful and practical.
Safest Hitch Cargo Carrier
Drivers seeking more complex designs can find an innovative solution in the Rola 59502 Vortex Steel Hitch Cargo Carrier. Made to integrate cargo-carrying with safety measures such as included lights, the product is highly recommended.
Most Lightweight Cargo Carrier Hitch
At a weight of just 27lbs, the Best Choice Products Heavy Duty Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier is one of the lightest designs in its class. It comes with plenty of freedom of movement as a result.
Hitch cargo carriers are also easy to install, which gives them a certain appeal that may be hard to match. A hitch cargo carrier is also used to increase the load capacity of a vehicle. But as with all automotive accessories, not all-cargo carriers are the same. The following article is dedicated to the best choices, guiding those new to hitch cargo carriers around the most important characteristics to look at.
List of the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
1. Curt 18153 Basket-Style Cargo Carrier
The cargo carrier embodies the most important features in its class in one of the simplest yet most efficient designs money can buy. The basket-style construction works great when dealing with all types of cargo without sacrificing durability, as it doesn’t allow rainwater to accumulate. The installation process is also simple; a single person can have it ready for cargo placement in minutes.
One of the main strengths of the carrier comes with its tubular steel construction. This material handles weight very well, which is its main purpose. It is said that the carrier can handle up to 500 lbs, which is a considerable amount for such a minimalistic design. The carrier comes with just over 100 lbs, so it should handle weight properly during the summer and the cold winter months.
The design of the carrier is made for the ultimate efficiency. The basket-style design is made to fit all types of products and weights. The 6-inch edges are also added to keep the load in place. Of course, up to this point, nothing is truly revolutionary in the hitch cargo carrier world.
But the hitch-mounted cargo carrier also comes with a folding design. When not in use, the driver can fold it up. This can also be useful when the car needs to be parked and when there is no time to take the carrier off the car. It can be in a public parking space, or it can even be the case in the garage at home. The folding capacity of the carrier is made with a simple design, but the important aspect is that it does its job well.
A small but important design particularity also comes with the angled shank. At first glance, it may not seem like an important design element. In reality, it allows the basket of the carrier to sit higher above the ground, representing one of the important particularities on uneven terrain. From an aesthetic point of view, the cargo carrier is also higher above the ground, which will collect less dirt. This is also applicable to the actual load of the carrier.
A few recommended options exist for possible additional products to use with the carrier. First of all, a rainproof cargo carrier box is great for protecting any load. Secondly, a master lock that attaches to the receiver is also recommended. It works as a simple and efficient anti-theft solution.
The coating of the hitch cargo carrier protects it from rust. But some drivers also recommend a new layer of paint after a couple of years to balance the effects of abrasion over time and ensure the carrier remains in good condition for the long term.
2. Arksen Folding Cargo Carrier
The cargo carrier is one of the simplest solutions in its class. It is highly affordable as well. This combination recommends it for added practicality. Based on a solid steel frame, the cargo carrier is among this class’s most interesting solutions for aesthetically pleasing designs. Using the carrier with any weight, such as boxed or luggage, is also recommended.
When deciding on a cargo carrier, most drivers are curious about the weight capacity. But with a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs, it is among the most recommended products for real-life use. The cargo carrier can carry camping equipment, general luggage, and even a few everyday objects.
The surface to place the cargo is made with mesh-style steel wiring. This prevents small objects from falling through but is resistant enough to hold the weight. But the weight is also held in place by the high 6-inch tubular steel rails. This design is widely considered in this category of hitch cargo carries as proof that it works to a high standard.
As for the installation process, there is not much to say about the carrier. It can be installed in most 2” receivers on compacts, sends, SUVs, etc. Of course, the installation should be as smooth as possible. Even if the carrier comes with powder coating, this layer is thin, and the metal can be exposed to the elements when scratched.
One of the distinct advantages of the carrier is that it does not block the car’s tail lights. At the same time, it does not obstruct the view out of the rear window. It can be said that while the driver does not see the load while driving, the carrier is a safe solution, especially when the load is safely secured to the carrier’s frame. For this purpose, straps or an additional securing mat can be recommended as an after-purchase.
3. Rola 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier
Drivers seeking more complex designs can find an innovative solution in the Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier. Made to integrate cargo-carrying with safety measures such as included lights, the product is highly recommended.
Those traveling far or wanting to ensure they are evident on the road can use this carrier. At the same time, drivers who must deal with cargo that blocks their car’s tail lights can also consider the carrier. For this purpose, the manufacturer also added a special accessory that allows the rear number plate to be mounted on the car.
Made with heavy-duty steel, the carrier weighs just over 70 lbs. It is easy to install, even by a single person. The carrier can be installed on any 2” receiver. This receiver is placed at the back of the car. If your car does not have a receiver, you may not be able to use the cargo carrier unless you decide to mount a third-party receiver on the vehicle.
It is also important to note the cargo carrier comes with a powder coat finish. Its role is to protect metal materials from corrosion and the effects of time. Rain and salt can affect the powder coat finish in time, together with scratches. But most drivers should ensure the carrier is in good condition, and it is even recommended to apply a fresh layer of pain a few years later.
In terms of accessories, additional lighting is available as well. The manufacturer offers the possibility of adding extra lights to improve the carrier’s visibility. Of course, other safety measures and good practices are applied by drivers who want to stay safe. One of the measures is not to load the carrier so high up that it would obstruct the rear window view. It is why so many hitch cargo carriers instruct on these measures in the owner’s manual.
Since the purpose of the hitch cargo carrier is to free up space or to add extra carrying capacity, the hitch carrier needs to be used accordingly. While the carrier is loaded, accessing the trunk may not be easy. At the same time, there is no folding option when the carrier is not loaded. Considering these drawbacks, drivers must establish if the Vortex trailer hitch cargo carrier is right for them.
4. Highland 1042000 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier
The Highland carrier is the simplest design in its class. It is made to be affordable and very easy to use, and these characteristics make it stand out in a niche where the carrier can be overly complicated. Made with two-piece construction, the carrier comes with a 60-inch length. This is enough for most drivers and can handle various loads, such as sporting or camping equipment.
Assembling the carrier is straightforward. Made with a 2-piece design, the cargo carrier is assembled into a sturdy platform. The carrier can be used on all 2” receivers. Mounting it on the receiver and taking it off is easy.
The good news is that the steel construction of the carrier makes it very durable. Since no moving elements are usually seen in foldable designs, the carrier is much more flexible and durable. Furthermore, it represents one of the leading options for long-term use. If drivers want a carrier to be used on various cargo which will not need any upgrades in the future, the Highland design might be the way to go.
5. Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
The hitch cargo carrier is among the most recommended packs for an all-in-one approach. Drivers with no time to shop around can choose a solution with the carrier, a large cargo basket, and 4 securing straps. With everything needed to ensure the cargo is secured, the pack can be an affordable way of dealing with the extra carrying capacity of the carrier.
The cargo carrier itself is quite dependable. It comes with a weight capacity of 500 lbs, which places it among the leading options on the market. Luggage, sporting equipment, or gardening equipment can be transported with the carrier. Furthermore, the mesh design of the hitch cargo carrier also means that it can hold smaller loads.
The hitch carrier’s hitch-connecting arm is angled upwards for better ground clearance. At the same time, it works as one of the best solutions for securing points for the straps with the mesh carrier design and the high 6-inch sides.
Drivers should also use the included cargo basket for load protection during bad weather. With 60” by 20”, the cargo basket is recommended for luggage or specialized equipment. It is easy to use as it has a zipper around the basket.
Installation is easy for most vehicles. The carrier is first put together with its two sides and is then inserted in the 2” hitch receiver of the vehicle. The good news is that, unlike most other hitch cargo carriers, it also comes with a hitch stabilizer that reduces vibrations and the sounds from the carrier while driving. With a complex pack filled with many reliable accessories, it is recommended for most people looking to have all the required components delivered together for the next holiday adventure.
6. Leader Accessories Hitch Mount Cargo Basket
Made to fit 2” hitch receivers, the cargo carrier is one of the affordable solutions to deal with multiple objects. It mounts on almost all vehicles with a 2” receiver, which tends to be larger vehicles. But it can even mount on a smaller hitch receiver with a hitch adapter. If its design is simple, its capacity is at modern standards. The hitch cargo receiver’s weight capacity is at 500 lbs as a maximum point. It means it can carry plenty of everyday objects and equipment.
Since it comes shipped in a box, the carrier is split into two pieces that must be put together. The pieces include the two cargo carriers, a pivot bolt, a safety pin, the folding receiver tube in two pieces, and three reflector pieces added when the carrier is done. For safety purposes, keeping the reflector pieces on the carrier is always recommended.
Made from steel, the carrier is durable as well. It can be used in any weather condition. But when not in use, the carrier can be taken off the receiver and placed into storage. However, the biggest benefit of the design comes with the capacity to have a folding action. This diminishes the instances where the carrier must be taken off the vehicle.
At the same time, the carrier may also be used in conjunction with its roof-mounted brother, offered by Leader Accessories. Both carriers can significantly increase the load capacity of an SUV or compact car, and they can work together as well. Other accessories can be purchased as well. An anti-rattle stabilizer can go a long way. It can offer increased comfort for those traveling long distances who want to ensure the cargo is as stable as possible.
7. Curt 18145 Basket-Style Cargo Carrier
With a 500-lb carrying capacity and adjustability for both the 1.1/4” and the 2” receivers, the carrier is one of the most robust options in its class. Curt only made it with tubular steel, eliminating the need for mesh materials. This, in return, offered a carrier for larger, durable objects.
The two-piece design is easy to assemble and easy to install. However, it will need some securing straps like most other hitch cargo carriers. A securing net can be a good purchase from this perspective. Furthermore, it is also important to consider that the carrier is made for larger objects such as luggage and bikes. It is why the tubular design can even prove easier to maintain. Cleaning it is very easy. Cleaning the carrier using a garden hose for the water source and a sponge with detergent is simpler than cleaning a mesh design alternative.
However, it does have its own drawbacks as well. One of the biggest inconveniences comes with the fixed shank, which doesn’t offer any freedom of movement and fixed the carrier close to the ground. It also means that the carrier will get dirtier much faster when traveling. However, those considering this style of cargo carrier are interested in its robustness and less in its cleanliness.
8. King Bird Folding Cargo Carrier
With a 520 lbs maximum load capacity, the cargo carrier is the most powerful solution in its class. It is recommended for heavyweights and can also be a versatile solution for drivers who must deal with various cargo types. At the same time, the mesh materials are recommended for smaller objects which would otherwise slip through the steel bars.
It is also made with the standard 6” side rails, perfect for securing the load. With two added straps in the pack, drivers can secure their cargo and be ready to hit the roads in minutes. Apart from this, the carrier is finished to a high standard.
From this perspective, it is almost the best-looking solution, and it can certainly attract users who value aesthetics. But the carrier also comes with four reflectors recommended for safety during the day and night on busy roads.
9. OxGord Universal Auto Steel Rear Hitch Mount Carrier
As one of the lightest steel hitch cargo carriers, the product can be considered by those not necessarily looking for a robust alternative. With a weight of just over 58 pounds, it is easy to handle and can also be quickly installed.
It featured a steel tubular frame and added reflectors, ensuring it comes with plenty of visibility for the cars behind. Finished with powder coating, the carried lasts well in rain, sun, and snow. It can be one of the products to consider for carrying various cargo regardless of the season. As one of the solutions with a specialized shank, it also sits a bit higher above the ground, which keeps it cleaner and allows the car to go off-road without hitting the carrier.
How to Choose the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
There are a few basics characteristics to look at when choosing the best hitch cargo carrier. The good news is that these products are always evolving, offering a stronger profile and more appealing designs than ever before. Furthermore, they are now available for all types of vehicles as they are friendlier to use and install.
A hitch cargo carrier does not need to be taken into a dealership to be installed on a vehicle, making it a simple solution to the complex problem of insufficient cargo space. But even if all designs are different, it’s still worth pointing out that they can be compared simply by looking at the following characteristics at their core.
Objects It Needs to Carry
Before even considering a hitch cargo carrier, it is important to consider its purpose. Which objects will it carry the most? Are these objects tall, heavy, or large? These questions must be addressed, and their answers can steer the buyers in a certain direction.
The heavier the load, the bigger the weight capacity needs to be. The smaller the objects, the more suitable a mesh design is. A lightweight product is recommended if the driver is handling the carrier alone. These variables must be addressed, and the objects carried must correspond with the type of hitch cargo carrier preferred by the driver.
At the same time, the objects carried can also be established in the car’s trunk. Whatever does not fit in the trunk can fit on the carrier and vice versa. But many people consider hitch cargo carries for larger objects which would not fit in the car in the first place. They can be pieces of equipment such as a lawnmower. At the same time, it is also recommended to choose a carrier that facilitates the transportation and the safety of the cargo, as a lawnmower, for example, is not too cheap to replace. It must be properly secured and stable, even at higher speeds.
The objects which are carried on the carrier can also influence trunk access. Larger objects are easy to transport, but they might limit access to the trunk while on the carrier. Furthermore, it is essential to consider this if the cargo is not light and requires access to the trunk. For some designs, it means that this compromise needs to be made. It is also important to consider that access to the trunk may be made from the side while the carrier is mounted, even if there is no cargo. It means heavier objects could be harder to remove from the car’s trunk.
The actual weight of a hitch cargo carrier is more important than many people think. If the weight concerns the car’s load capacity, it must also be seen from the handling perspective. For this purpose, choose a solution that handles easily and can be mounted and taken off easily by a single person.
The average weight of a hitch cargo carrier averages between 70 and 100 lbs. The lightest option of just 58 lbs is made from aluminum and is recommended for its ease of use. However, since the hitch cargo carrier is made from steel in most cases, it might be a bit heavier, at least heavier than the 70lbs mark seen in many popular designs.
The weight of the hitch cargo carrier also has a lot of weight regarding rattle and noise. The lighter the carried, the more likely it is to produce rattle and discomfort while driving. At the same time, the extra weight of a carrier does not exclude rattle, and it may be seen in most current designs. Of course, there are a few reliable anti-rattle designs on the market, but all of them need to be chosen according to the design of the hitch carrier.
Another important instance when living with hitch cargo carries the ease with which the driver can place it into storage. Carrying a large piece of metal is not recommended for those with back pain. It is why the weight of the carrier can also come with some discomfort in this area. Store the carrier somewhere close to the car, like the garage, is highly recommended. This ensures that the distance would be manageable even if the hitch-mounted carrier needs to be carried.
The weight of the hitch cargo carrier is also important to the overall load capacity of the car. It is why drivers should read the car’s user manual and see which maximum weight is allowed on the hitch receiver. If this information is unavailable, the best bet is to contact the auto dealership directly to see the exact load capacity for a specific vehicle.
Some of the best and most popular hitch cargo receivers come with a weight capacity of up to 500 lbs. This is more than enough for the average user but can also be much less than this with a few cheap alternatives.
This weight capacity is important concerning the actual cargo. Some gardening equipment can be heavy, as with some sporting equipment. Other cargo, such as boxes of clothing or household items, might not be as heavy. However, a few instances where drivers tried to carry decorative rocks in large boxes led to the deterioration of the hitch cargo receiver.
It is why all drivers should check this maximum load capacity before planning transport. The easiest way to do so is by checking the hitch’s maximum load carried in the manufacturer’s description. This capacity is usually noted on the box.
Those shopping online can find the information in the product’s description. Consumers are advised to contact the hitch cargo carrier manufacturer if this information is unavailable. In most cases, this can be done by phone or via email. Furthermore, it is also recommended to choose a solution that allows full transparency and offers this information from the start to maintain good credit.
The weight capacity of a cargo carrier also needs to be known in relation to the tire pressure, especially on the tires in the vehicle’s back. Drivers are advised to check tire pressure before and while loading the cargo. Air can get away in small quantities, and it can influence fuel economy, top speed, and even the handling of the car. In this perspective, it is recommended to keep an eye on tire pressure from time to time.
Steel vs. Aluminum Materials
There are various materials to choose from when hitching cargo carriers. However, most options have now settled on steel and aluminum. Similar in texture and look, these two materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. The good news is that carriers are widely available with both materials.
Steel cargo carriers are recommended for their robust profile and impressive durability. It is hard to find such a durable metal at such an affordable price, so steel is widely used in the industry. Choosing products made entirely from steel is also recommended, as a few insertions might be made from other materials. Steel is also easy to maintain and to powder coat if and when needed. Most importantly, steel can offer a weight capacity of up to 500 lbs, which is impressive given the affordability of some available designs.
Aluminum is another great alternative. Its main advantage is that it is lighter than steel. For this reason, a carried can be around 20% lighter than steel alternatives. It puts less pressure on the hitch and the back while being carried. At the same time, it generally maintains the same maximum load capacity as steel. It is not unusual to see aluminum hitch cargo carries a weight capacity of 500 lbs. At the same time, aluminum is easier to work with as it can bend at a lower temperature, and its designs can be more complex.
Regarding long-term use, there is no clear winner between these two materials. A winner can only be chosen in relation to what the driver or user needs. A steel carrier is recommended if the driver needs the ultimate robust design. An aluminum alternative is recommended if the driver has a back issue or doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of heavy cargo carriers. The main difference between these two types of hitch cargo carries comes in actual practicality and functionality. It doesn’t necessarily consider the materials themselves as much as many people would think.
Tubular vs. Mesh Designs
Both steel and aluminum are used across a range of products. They are used in various designs and represent an interesting choice for those seeking to find a suitable product for their own type of cargo. Tubular designs are usually made from steel and are widely used for the frame of the hitch cargo carrier, although the same applies to aluminum alternatives. However, the bottom part of the hitch cargo carrier can come in different designs.
The bottom part of the carriers is usually made with steel mesh designs recommended for objects of different sizes. They can be further reinforced with a few metal tubes underneath. Other hitch cargo carriers come with no mesh, just a few simple metal tubes along with the carrier. It means they are not recommended for small objects unless placed in boxes before being put on the hitch cargo carried.
While these differences are small, they can certainly be important in the long term. For example, the mesh carriers need more time to clean. While the cleaning itself is not complicated, it may take longer than cleaning a tubular design. If the carriers are used often on dirt roads, this problem can shortly become important, and it can even see drivers looking for a replacement sooner than expected.
However, there is a clear winner in this small debate. The mesh design is better for the average driver as it can handle multiple types of cargo. For this purpose, it is highly recommended to use such a design if the cargo to be transported is of a different nature and changes according to the owner’s needs. It is rare to see a hitch cargo carrier with tubular bottoms be recommended over a mesh design, and this trend is not likely to change in the future, either.
The good news is that there are options to choose from that cover both designs and satisfy the needs of even the most demanding drivers. At the same time, it’s also worth noting smaller manufacturers might come up with more daring designs in the future, as the only way to stand out in such a crowded niche is by offering something completely different. Furthermore, these small manufacturers might also be able to offer more accessories, which is not generally the case with most carriers at the moment.
With powder coat finish being the most popular, hitch cargo carriers can be used for long periods of time. However, most carriers are not protected on the inside of the steel tubes, and it is clear water can also enter here. It is why, in time, the signs of corrosion become evident.
Just looking over a few specialized online forums finds plenty of complaints from users who fight rust even a few years later. Some of them who are more prepared can even go as far as to use a spray painter as soon as they get their hands on the hitch cargo carrier. This means there are reduced chances of actually getting the most out of their seemingly durable carriers for many. But most users should not use paint sprayers but choose products made with good durability from the factory.
At the same time, it is not likely that the carrier would be used on the car daily. Since it is not used, it is placed in storage. If the storage air humidity is unacceptable, it can be the biggest enemy for most hitch carriers. It is important to consider the higher humidity level’s impact on the metal.
For example, the carrier should not be stored in basements where proper air circulation can lead to rust and mold development. At the same time, leaving the carrier out in the rain isn’t an option either. It is why there should be plenty of reliable alternatives, such as the dry air from the garage.
Those who want to ensure their carriers will not be damaged by humidity in time also need to consider other dangers. Nothing can quite compare to high humidity, but salt from the winter roads can also be corrosive. It is why most drivers should try to clean their hitch cargo carriers right after a trip on winter roads. The salt may not even be visible at first glance, but basic warm water with soap can go a long way when removing the small particles that can erode the metal’s surface. This is similar to the car’s maintenance, which must be cleaned.
There are not many safety features to consider for a hitch cargo carrier. However, they are serious safety concerns, even in small numbers. Of course, the obvious safety issue comes with the blocked tail lights. In this situation, it is doubtful to escape the law, and the police can even take action if they are not visible on the road. For this purpose, including safety lights can go far for all traffic participants. These lights can also go far regarding the car’s integrity, especially when in reverse in a tight space with low lights.
Reflective strips are highly recommended, like the taillights, which can come as standard or be added by third-party merchandisers. Most designs come with no reflective strips at all. Those that offer them come with 4 to 6 reflective strips, which sometimes need to be added to the installation process. Drivers are advised to use these reflective strips, regardless of the tail lights situation. It is why they can be a major safety benefit both during the day and at night.
If the lights and reflective stripes are obvious safety features, the locking mechanism of the rack isn’t. It is now mandatory for the hitch cargo carriers to lock well, and there are a few accessories that can even eliminate rattle. But is rattle truly a safety issue? It is a safety issue regarding wobbling and the possibility of the cargo load moving around. Furthermore, it is also recommended to choose a design that works well in terms of stability; in this case, even the leading options can struggle. However, the best manufacturers advise drivers to evenly distribute the weight on the cargo carrier to eliminate some of these problems.
If most hitch cargo carriers can struggle with proper freedom and flexibility, this is not the case for all designs. Foldable designs might be more expensive, take longer to install, and even be more problematic in the long term if not taken care of. But at the same time, their practicality is impressive.
So, instead of taking the car’s carrier, drivers can fold it up and continue their journey. Those without a foldable design might need to take the carrier off the car when parking in the garage. At the same time, they can also struggle with other issues, such as carrying the cargo carrier from one place to another. In many cases, it is important to know that the designs also come with other smaller characteristics, which may impact how the carrier performs in time.
A folded shank design is highly superior for several reasons. First, it represents a solution that is easier to deal with when cleaning the carrier. Being situated higher above the ground, it doesn’t get dirty as fast.
At the same time, it is also important to know that this design is only offered on the best hitch cargo carriers, and not all users can access it. But it also impacts those who need to drive on hills, specifically off-road. Since a low carrier can hit the ground in many cases, these folded shanks can go far for that extra freedom of movement for the car. It is also important to note that the higher the carrier, the bigger the chances of the rear window being blocked.
So it might be a matter of compromise for many drivers. This is why, for safety purposes, rear visibility should not be compromised. Furthermore, rear visibility should be a priority, even above the cleanliness of the hitch cargo carrier.
Most hitch cargo carriers can be mounted on a 2” hitch receiver. It represents a universal mount solution and is standard for many cars out of the factory. However, smaller hitch receivers might need adapters in a few rare cases.
But most importantly, the hitch carrier should fit the vehicle when it comes to safety. They are recommended not to obstruct the taillights and, even worse, the visibility in the rearview mirrors. It is why the cargo carrier should not be wider than the car, which can be the case with a few hatchbacks with aftermarket hitch receivers.
Most hitch cargo carriers don’t come with any accessories at all. Usually, the driver is responsible for purchasing them separately. Mandatory accessories include a few straps or a securing cargo net. Other accessories can include extra reflective strips or locking mechanisms. However, a few hitch carriers come with all of them included in the pack. These packs might be more expensive from the start, but they are the most practical option for saving time and money.
The accessories the manufacturer offers might also not be the best in terms of quality. Adjustable straps are higher in quality when sold separately compared to what can be found when purchasing in an all-in-one solution. Furthermore, it is important to know that additional straps will be needed in time.
Other accessories can include anti-theft locks and even anti-rattle mechanisms. In the end, purchasing them separately can be better in quality, but it will take more time to research each product individually.
Compatibility With Roof Cargo Carrier
Those who want to carry extensive sporting equipment or additional cargo might not be satisfied with a simple hitch-mounted carrier. Apart from the space in the trunk, drivers could be able to mount a roof cargo carrier as well. For this reason, they need to ensure there is some level of practicality with these two types of carriers when mounted together.
One of the largest issues in this situation is accessing the trunk since both the roof carrier and the hitch-mounted carrier can obstruct access. Another issue to consider is overall car maneuverability influenced by a single carrier and even more evident with two carriers. Both the fuel economy and the car’s handling are affected in this situation. Of course, this also means the car needs to be driven at lower speeds, and it can create one of the least desired effects for those driving long distances.
There are a few problems to consider regarding a hitch cargo carrier. There are certain issues to deal with as it comes from third-party manufacturers, not the car’s manufacturer. One of them is the rattling. The second most important issue to deal with is the carrier’s safety. At the same time, the cargo’s safety and stability are also important.
All of these problems are dealt with on an individual level. Looking at what drivers need and their complaints will lead to the following list of recommended and mandatory accessories that may be included with the cargo carrier but most likely need to be purchased separately.
Anti-Rattle Hitch Stabilizer
The simplest and most efficient accessory to purchase is the anti-rattle hitch stabilizer. As its name suggests, it is made to deal with a rattle. From this perspective, it represents one of the best solutions for those who want to improve driving comfort, diminish rattle, carrier movement, and even the possibility of damaging the powder coat finish on the carrier due to the movement.
Popular Anti-Rattle Hitch Stabilizer by Towever.
The good news is that a simple anti-rattle stabilizer can be mounted quickly at home. Most designs are made to be mounted while the carrier is already on the hitch. However, other designs might require drivers to first place the rattle on the hitch before securing the cargo carrier. Regardless of the chosen design, the anti-rattle stabilizer must be tightly installed.
Cargo Carrier Bag
Popular Hitch Cargo Carrier Bag by Rola.
The cargo carrier bag is nearly as important as the cargo carrier itself. It represents the basic solution to carry different objects. The best part is that it protects these objects from the dirt on the road and the rain. Many of these carrier bags are zipped, which means accessing the cargo is easy and that it is also completely sealed against the elements. Furthermore, it is also important to ensure that the bag fits the size of the hitch cargo carrier.
The bags might not be too different, one from the other. However, they all have in common the fact that they need to be kept clean. Many bags can develop mold when exposed to high quantities of rain and when not properly dried. At the same time, they can develop mold in storage, which means that cargo carrier bags need to be maintained properly and paid attention to more than the cargo carrier itself.
Most cargo carrier bags can also be washed. But it might not be the best idea to add it to the washing machine. Instead, drivers can wash them with soap and water before letting them dry naturally completely.
Master Lock Hitch Lock
Popular Hitch Lock by Master Lock.
A master lock hitch lock can be one of the best ways to ensure the hitch carrier is locked to the car. As not all carriers have such a solution, many drivers must find their own alternative to mounting on the hitch. The good news is that a lock is inexpensive and can be one of the best ways of dealing with the extra safety measures needed while traveling.
Installing such a lock is not complicated; in most cases, it replaces the safety pin that goes through the hitch. For the best durability, purchasing a lock that can easily be cleaned is recommended. When traveling during winter, keeping water off the lock is also recommended, as it can freeze and jam.
Popular 6 Pack of Straps by Cartman.
It seems that there could never be enough straps to deal with. Some manufacturers offer 2 to 4 straps, while others sell their cargo carriers with no straps. Regardless, drivers should always have extra straps available in an emergency. The number of securing straps has less to do with the design of the hitch carrier and more to do with the size and weight of the cargo. For this reason, each type of cargo has its own needs regarding securing straps.
Many people can also find plenty of reliability in extra straps for lateral support. When taking corners, the load should be as stable as when driving in straight lines. Extra straps are cheap to buy, and plenty of great designs exist. One of the best tips is to look for straps made with vivid colors. These colors can add to the visibility of the hitch cargo carrier, which can only improve on-road safety. If a roof rack can work well with black straps, orange, red or green straps are much better at the back of the car on a hitch-mounted cargo carrier.
But most straps can also deteriorate in time. Due to the UV lights and salts on the road during winter, these securing straps can show signs of wear in time due to temperature changes. The best alternative is to consider replacing the straps when the first safety concerns arise and not wait for them to break off completely.
Adjustable Cargo Nets
Popular Adjustable Cargo Net by Tooluxe.
An alternative to straps comes with cargo nets. They can be secured in multiple points to the hitch cargo carrier, and they are also versatile, which means they can work with objects of various sizes. These nets are also available from many manufacturers and can even be purchased after the hitch cargo carrier purchase. At the same time, expensive and heavy cargo can be secured with a cargo net and extra straps.
How to Maintain a Hitch Cargo Carrier
Ensuring a hitch cargo carrier is in good condition is the best way to ensure its long life. A few tips might make this easier, and following the next steps is recommended regardless of the design of the cargo carrier.
Keep it Clean
Removing debris and dust is recommended as often as possible. It can be done with a cloth or with a water hose. However, after every long drive, owners should ensure their cargo carriers are clean and new to keep the finish in good condition and ensure that rust will appear soon on the metal surfaces.
Watch Out for Scratches
Scratches can be small or deep. Both can harm the cargo carrier in the long term. Since they can favor corrosion, scratches must be avoided at all costs. For this purpose, dropping the cargo carrier on the ground is not recommended. It is also not recommended to drop the cargo on the carrier either. Working with care can have a good return in the future, where the cargo carrier can function just as well.
Powder Coat Finish
Even the most careful drivers might get a few scratches on their cargo carriers. For this reason, it is advisable to deal with them as soon as possible when they do appear. Cleaning the area with sandpaper and applying a fresh coat of paint might be the most affordable way of dealing with the issue at home.
Keep It in a Dry Place
Another important consideration to make comes with storage. The hitch-mounted cargo carrier must be placed in a cool and dry place, away from moisture. Keeping it in the basement might directly expose it to an environment with a high degree of humidity, which is certainly damaging in the long term. Furthermore, it is also advisable to keep an eye on the cargo carrier from time to time and to ensure it does not form condensation and then freeze due to temperature changes while in storage.
Avoiding Heavy Loads
One of the most underappreciated methods of taking good care of a hitch cargo carrier comes with avoiding heavyweight. Make sure you know its maximum weight capacity. You should not force extra weight on it, even if it seems to handle it. This can create irremediable damage, and it can also break the carrier completely.
It is not too complicated to choose the best hitch cargo carrier. The good news is that many drivers can find them very practical, with a sense of added carrying capacity and car maneuverability that is not affected too much.
However, not all hitch cargo carriers are created equally. It is why drivers should choose a design that fits their cars well. Secondly, the hitch-mounted cargo carrier should also fit the type of cargo which needs to be transported. But if this variable seems obvious, drivers should also take a closer look at the safety of the cargo carrier.
For this purpose, it should come with plenty of lights and high-visibility strips. Added straps for securing the cargo can also be seen as a great addition for extra safety. At the same time. It is also recommended to choose a solution that works well in practicality.
Choosing between a fixed and a foldable design might be a matter of interpretation. Many drivers do not need a foldable design. Others might prefer its added practicality. But both these designs have their own strengths and weaknesses. The final decision considers all these aspects. The good news is that even the most basic hitch cargo carrier can be durable and reliable if taken care of properly.