The age-old road-tripping question of which is better; the hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier? Buying the right carrier will ensure your luggage is secure, safe, and easily accessible.
A cargo carrier is hugely beneficial for additional luggage storage when going on a road trip. The most popular choices are normally between a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier, depending on specific user needs and your vehicle type.
Hitch cargo carriers are attached to a trailer hitch, while a roof cargo carrier is attached to a roof rack. Both are great for carrying extra luggage, but some differences between them need to be considered before making a choice.
This article will discuss which one you should choose, their differences, and what factors you must consider when choosing between hitch and roof cargo carriers.
What Are the Advantages of a Hitch Cargo Carrier?
A hitch cargo carrier is usually a tray or basket-style platform attached to a vehicle’s trailer hitch. It is typically made of metal or aluminum and is designed to carry extra luggage such as camping gear, sports equipment, and other items. When getting a hitch cargo carrier, just keep in mind that your vehicle’s hitch class should be able to accommodate the specific hitch carrier. And also, make sure that you don’t overload the carrier by measuring your hitch’s tongue weight and sticking to the hitch manufacturer’s maximum weight load capacity.
The hitch cargo carrier has some advantages that make it a choice for many people.
One of the biggest advantages of a hitch cargo carrier is that installation is quite effortless and can be done within a few minutes. The carrier is secured to the trailer with a hitch pin and safety clip.
Secondly, a hitch cargo carrier is quite easily accessible. You don’t need to climb onto the vehicle’s roof to access the cargo carrier. This makes it very convenient, especially if you need to access the cargo carrier often since you don’t constantly have to reach the top of your vehicle’s roof.
The third advantage of the hitch cargo carrier is that it is very secure and offers a lot more versatility and a higher weight capacity than its roof rack competitors.
Hitch cargo carriers are also much more affordable than roof cargo carriers, making them a great option for those on a budget.
What Are the Advantages of a Roof Cargo Carrier?
A roof cargo carrier is a box or basket that is attached to a vehicle’s roof rack by clamping onto crossbars or side rails.
Roof cargo carriers offer some advantages that make them a choice for many people. Naturally, they provide additional storage solutions for vehicles that do not possess enough storage space for longer trips.
Another advantage is that roof cargo carriers, such as cargo boxes and bags, are very secure. This ensures that your items are fully protected and secure while traveling. They also offer better anti-theft protection than their hitch carrier counterparts.
Roof cargo carriers are also designed to be aerodynamic, which helps to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Their sleek designs are intended to allow air to flow over the vehicle’s roof much easier and with less resistance than that of hitch cargo carriers. is that it is very durable. The roof cargo carrier is usually made of metal and is designed to be strong and durable. This ensures that your items are safe and secure on the road.
Roof racks are designed to be sturdy and durable, made from high-quality materials such as aluminum and alloy steel. Their rugged construction is intended to carry cargo loads without damage to your vehicle’s roof. Roof cargo boxes and bags are also made from superior plastic or fiberglass materials to combat adverse weather conditions while protecting the cargo throughout the trip.
What Are the Factors to Consider When Choosing Between a Hitch Cargo Carrier and a Roof Cargo Carrier?
When choosing between a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier, there are several factors that you need to consider.
You should consider the type of vehicle you have and the available space. If you have a vehicle that doesn’t have a trailer hitch or crossbars, you won’t be able to use either of these cargo carriers.
Next, you should consider the types of items you plan to transport. If you are carrying bulky items like luggage, furniture, or large boxes, then a hitch cargo carrier can easily accommodate them. However, if you carry lightweight items like camping gear, a roof cargo carrier may be a better option since it won’t add any extra weight to your vehicle.
Another factor to consider is the weight of the items you must carry. If you need to carry heavy items, a roof cargo carrier may not be suitable as it may put too much strain on the roof rack. In this case, a hitch cargo carrier would be a better option.
Also, it would be best if you considered the accessibility and security of the cargo carrier. The hitch cargo carrier is more accessible than the roof cargo carrier, but the roof cargo carrier is usually more secure.
Think about your budget. The hitch and roof cargo carriers have different price points, so you must choose one that fits your budget. Roof racks and cargo carriers are more pricy than hitch cargo carriers.
By weighing all these factors, you can decide which cargo carrier is the best fit for your personal needs.
What Is the Cost Comparison of a Hitch Cargo Carrier and a Roof Cargo Carrier?
Regarding cost, the hitch cargo carrier is usually much more affordable than the roof cargo carrier. The hitch cargo carrier typically costs between $80 and $150, while the roof cargo carrier typically costs between $100 and $400. This makes the hitch cargo carrier more affordable for those on a budget.
However, the cost of the hitch cargo carrier may vary depending on the size and the features. For example, a hitch cargo carrier with a foldable design may cost more than a basic model. Similarly, a larger hitch cargo carrier may cost more than a smaller one.
On the other hand, the cost of the roof cargo carrier may also vary depending on the size and the features. For example, some roof racks and cargo carriers are equipped with additional safety and anti-theft locks, which will cost more. And some roof boxes are large, hardshell, and made from exceptional quality materials, while others are softshell bag designs and will cost less.
What Are the Best Use Cases for Hitch Cargo Carriers and Roof Cargo Carriers?
The best use cases for a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier depend on your vehicle type and the items you need to carry.
If you have a vehicle with a trailer hitch, then a hitch cargo carrier is a great choice for carrying large and bulky items. Hitch cargo carriers have a much higher maximum weight capacity than roof cargo carriers and are much more versatile. This is a great option for those on a tighter budget, as it is usually much cheaper than a roof cargo carrier.
Alternatively, if you have a vehicle with a roof rack, a roof cargo carrier is a great choice for carrying smaller, more lightweight items. It is also more secure than a hitch cargo carrier with better anti-theft features, but it’s important to be aware of low-hanging structures overhead constantly.
So Which One Is Better?
At the end of the day, when choosing between a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier, there are numerous factors to keep in mind, such as the type of vehicle, the weight of the items, the budget, and the accessibility and security of the cargo carrier. The best use cases for a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier depend on your vehicle type and the cargo you plan on transporting.
Ultimately, the choice between a hitch cargo carrier and a roof cargo carrier depends on your needs and your vehicle type. However, looking at practicality and functionality, versatility, pricing, and weight capacity, the hitch cargo carrier is the most popular and preferred cargo carrier.
Your choice should be based on your specific needs and traveling style.
Marzanne is an active outdoors enthusiast with a passion for kayaking, hiking and camping. During summer months she dedicates the majority of her free time to ocean kayaking trails alongside all the beautiful beaches of Cape Town, South Africa. She combines her love for the outdoors with her creative pursuits such as wildlife and landscape photography.