Cargo Box

The Best Cargo Box

Everybody wishes they have unlimited boot space, but unfortunately, that is never going to be the case, especially when you go on a long-distance trip. One of the best and most cost-effective solutions is to buy a cargo box or a durable cargo bag

A cargo box is specifically designed to increase a vehicle’s carrying capacity. It’s accessible and easy to install. However, with plenty of options in the market, often in the form of car top carriers, choosing the best one that fits your needs can be a bit challenging. To make the decision-making process manageable, we’ve shortlisted the best roof cargo box in the market along with a comprehensive buying guide. 

Our Pick!

SportRack Vista Cargo Box

SportRack Vista Cargo Box

Fits any bike. Versatile with high-quality components, fully supported by a lifetime warranty. Hard to beat.

Our Winners

  • Best OverallSportRack Vista Cargo Box
  • The SportRack Vista is a rear-opening rooftop cargo box and gets the pick for the best overall cargo box due to its different crossbar compatibility, high-quality design, and generous storage space.
  • Best Budget Option – JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier
  • If you’re looking to save a few pennies, then the JEGS cargo carrier box is a safe and trustworthy bet. At $259.99, this is one of the most affordable cargo boxes, yet still offers quality design and practicality when compared to more expensive brands like Thule and Yakima. Its large storage capacity of 18 cubic feet, makes this a massive deal for bargain shoppers.
  • Best Thule Cargo BoxThule Force Rooftop Cargo Box
  • If you’re a loyal Thule fan, then you can’t go wrong with the Thule Force rooftop cargo box. Its high-quality design is obvious from the start, considering its immaculate design and manufacturing. Offering a pretty decent storage space of 16 cubic feet with additional benefits like the integrated quick mount system and its duel-opening hatch, this is one of the brand’s best cargo boxes, albeit in a much higher price range than some of its competitors.
  • Best Yakima Cargo Box – YAKIMA – SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo Box
  • Die-hard Yakima loyalists will have to fork out a pretty penny in order to take the Yakima Skybox home. At $718.95, comes in as the most expensive cargo box on this list. This aerodynamically designed cargo box is made from 80% recycled materials. Its SuperLatch and SKS security features are top-notch, which has come to be expected from Yakima.

Safety Tips When Using a Cargo Box

The primary concerns associated with a cargo box are adequate load security and visibility. These are reasonable worries because you don’t want to experience these types of inconveniences while on the road. To mitigate these issues, the following safety tips should be kept in mind.

Take Note of the Extra Height

If you’re making use of a rooftop cargo box, consider the fact that your car’s height has been increased and that you need to compensate for this when driving underneath low-hanging or overhead structures.

Your License Plate and Tail Lights Should Be Visible

A hitch cargo box that is mounted to the rear of your car may obstruct the visibility of your license plate and tail lights. If this is the case, you might encounter issues with traffic laws as it’s mandatory in most states that your license plate and tail lights should be clearly visible. 

Make Sure to Secure the Cargo Box Properly

Most cargo boxes, whether they be roof or hitch-mounted come equipped with hooks or cargo netting to help secure the load properly. Make use of high-quality ratchet straps, netting, or hooks to keep your rooftop cargo boxes in place, especially during adverse weather conditions or rough, uneven terrain.

Best Overall

The SportRack Vista is a rear-opening rooftop cargo box and gets the pick for the best overall cargo box due to its different crossbar compatibility, high-quality design, and generous storage space.

1. SportRack Vista Cargo Box

SportRack Vista Cargo Box

Material:
ABS material

Item Dimensions:
62.5 x 19 x 39 inches

Item Weight:
28 Pounds


 

The cargo roof box has a very sleek design and is made from hard and durable ABS plastic. This design is rather lightweight, around 28-pounds, and would therefore have minimum effect on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. ABS plastic also has a UV-resistant coating, adding to its overall durability and keeping it in pristine condition even during exposure to severe weather conditions. 

I really like the shape of this cartop cargo box since it takes on a form that is very aerodynamic. The front of the cargo box has a pointed shape, which cuts through oncoming wind and lessens resistance as the vehicle is driving. The narrow front end of the cargo box has been compensated for by the curved backend of the cargo box, so to allow you to store bigger and bulkier items. 

With installation, the SportRack Vista is fairly straightforward. It has a universal rack system, which makes it compatible with most cross bars on the market. Regarding security, it includes a key and lock, to prevent your cargo and valuables from being removed when you’re away from your vehicle. 

Liked

  • Spacious interior
  • Sleek design
  • Lock and key included for added security

Disliked

  • Rear opening is a bit awkward

Best Budget

If you’re looking to save a few pennies, then the JEGS cargo carrier box is a safe and trustworthy bet. At $259.99, this is one of the most affordable cargo boxes, yet still offers quality design and practicality when compared to more expensive brands like Thule and Yakima. Its large storage capacity of 18 cubic feet, makes this a massive deal for bargain shoppers.

2. JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier

JEGS Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Material:
HDPE plastic

Item Dimensions:
61.25 x 39 x 12 inches

Item Weight:
35 Pounds


Made with durable plastic material, this car top carrier is waterproof and weather-resistant. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your cargo won’t get wet no matter what the weather is while on the road. The material is also durable enough to withstand the harsh outdoor environment. It has a UV-resistant coating, allowing it to look pristine even after a long time. 

Loading and unloading your cargo is also convenient with this cargo roof box because of its dual access feature. The lid is also easy to lift so you don’t need much power and effort to get to your cargo. 

There’s no need to use special tools to install this car top box. All the mounting hardware is already included so you don’t have to go to the store and buy them separately.

Liked

  • Easy to install
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Dual access

Disliked

  • A small amount of wind noise

Best Thule

If you’re a loyal Thule fan, then you can’t go wrong with the Thule Force cargo roof box. Its high-quality design is obvious from the start, considering its immaculate design and manufacturing. Offering a pretty decent storage space of 16 cubic feet with additional benefits like the integrated quick mount system and its duel-opening hatch, this is one of the brand’s best cargo boxes, albeit in a much higher price range than some of its competitors.

3. Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box

Thule Force Rooftop Cargo Box

Material:
Plastic

Item Dimensions:
74.75 x 24.75 x 16.75 inches

Item Weight:
41 Pounds


The Thule Force roof box provides you with an additional 16 cubic feet of storage space and was designed with larger vehicles in mind, such as SUVs.

The interior capacity and strength of this cargo box are quite impressive. Similar to other Thule models, it also comes with several size varieties. Compared to the Thule Pulse model, this one is ideal for bulkier cargo as it is designed to provide more height. 

Developed with a quick-mount system, it makes a click sound when the cargo box is properly and securely mounted. Its mounting hardware is universal so it fits most crossbars, giving it fantastic universal compatibility. 

Access can be gained on either side of the vehicle which is a very convenient feature. Both sides also come equipped with a high-quality lock to prevent theft. 

Liked

  • Large capacity
  • Dual side access
  • Easy to install

Disliked

  • Expensive

Best Yakima

Die-hard Yakima loyalists will have to fork out a pretty penny in order to take the Yakima Skybox home. At $718.95, comes in as the most expensive cargo roof box on this list. This aerodynamically designed cargo box is made from 80% recycled materials. Its SuperLatch and SKS security features are top-notch, which has come to be expected from Yakima.

4. YAKIMA SkyBox Rooftop Cargo Box

YAKIMA SkyBox Rooftop Cargo Box

Material:
Carbonite

Item Dimensions:
81 x 36 x 15 inches

Item Weight:
60 Pounds


The main selling point of the Yakima SkyBox is its sleek aerodynamic design. Its sharp lines allow it to minimize wind resistance and help preserve fuel efficiency when traveling. 

The exterior of this cargo roof box features a stylish carbonite lid. This carbonite coating offers protection against adverse weather conditions, while the interior is equipped with lid stiffeners that add extra support and durability to the entire lid while providing convenient access to the cargo. 

The Yakima SkyBox features a SuperLatch security system, as well as an SKS lock, which ensures that your lid is secured up to its base, allowing you to keep your cargo safe and contained and help to deter theft. The lid can be opened on both sides for easy access, while its tapered design minimizes hatch interference. 

This cargo box does not require special tools to assemble and mount, making it very convenient. It is compatible with round, square, aerodynamic, and factory crossbars with a minimum spread of 24-inches. 

If you require a cargo box with a larger carrying capacity, this particular model can size up to fit around 21 cubic feet of cargo. However, there’s also a smaller and more affordable size at 12 cubic feet. 

Liked

  • Easy to install
  • Convenient access
  • Durable material

Disliked

  • The lid can be a bit difficult to close

Other Considerations

The following products are also extremely reliable and high-quality products, that provide exceptional protection and storage solutions.

Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

When it comes to car top cargo boxes, Thule is among the more prominent brands in the market. This particular one is an excellent option to consider.

5. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

Material:
Plastic

Item Dimensions:
67 x 35 x 16 inches

Item Weight:
34 Pounds


The Thule Pulse is made from a strong ABS plastic material that is highly resistant to adverse environmental conditions. Its lightweight construction does not add much weight to your vehicle’s roof, therefore not having a large effect on drag, aerodynamics, or fuel consumption. Thule has designed this cargo box to have a low-profile fit, therefore not adding excessive height to your vehicle. With this in mind, it is quite surprising to see how spacious its interior is.

Installation is quite easy as well. The Pulse is designed to fit any roof rack configuration and system effortlessly.

A feature of the Pulse that I do wish was a bit different is the fact that it only offers single-side access. It opens on the passenger side. It is equipped with a convenient lid lifter, which makes it easier to open.

As far as security goes, this Thule cargo box features the standard Thule SecureLock Technology; keeping the lid securely closed, and preventing theft and loss of cargo. 

Liked

  • Strong and durable quality
  • Easy installation
  • Convenient access

Disliked

  • Expensive

Sportrack Horizon

The SportRack Horizon cargo box is constructed from an impact-resistant ABS material. It is quite lightweight and easy to carry, however, the material is quite durable and should be able to handle tough conditions while traveling. Something that I value when it comes to outdoor gear is that there should be some form of UV protection, which protects the color of the gear, keeping it pristine over long periods of regular use. The SportRack Horizon box ticks that box.

6. SportRack Horizon Cargo Box

SportRack Horizon Cargo Box

Material:
Plastic

Item Dimensions:
88.4 x 20.7 x 15.9 inches

Item Weight:
33 Pounds


Installation is straightforward as the box is easy to handle and maneuver, and attachment is quite a simple process. As with many of the previously mentioned cargo boxes, the SportRack Horizon also features a quick-release attachment kit. This just makes installation more efficient and less time-consuming.

This rooftop cargo box is compatible with SportRack rack systems and the majority of factory racks, as well as square and round crossbars. Like the Thule Pulse, it also only has a one-sided opening hatch, which is located on the passenger side. This is mainly due to safety reasons, being able to open the hatch away from traffic if pulled over on the side of the road. However, personally, I like having the option to open it on both sides, just for convenience. this is a personal preference, however.

As far as security features are concerned, the centralized lock system is quite durable and effective and will definitely help to deter possible opportunities for theft.

Liked

  • Comes with a good lock system
  • Large interior capacity
  • Value for money

Disliked

  • Installation can be challenging for some

GoPlus Cargo Box

Compatible with the majority of vehicles fitted with factory crossbars, the GoPlus offers 14 cubic feet of extra cargo storage space. The interior of this cargo box is designed with 3 different compartments, which I find extremely useful as it allows you to arrange and organize your cargo. Additionally, these compartments also prevent the cargo from moving around when driving over uneven terrain. 

7. GoPlus Cargo Box

GoPlus Cargo Box

Material:
ABS and PC plastic

Item Dimensions:
63 x 31 x 15 inches

Item Weight:
25 Pounds


The GoPlus ‘s exterior is designed to be aerodynamic, which is useful in combatting wind resistance and saving on fuel.

This cargo box has quite a tight seal. This is a huge benefit as driving through heavy rain or snow conditions may cause water and moisture to leak into some cargo boxes and possibly ruin their contents. However, due to the solid seal work from the GoPlus, it is well equipped to deal with adverse weather conditions and will have no issue in protecting your cargo from any water damage. 

Liked

  • Organized interior
  • Weatherproof
  • Durable material

Disliked

  • Small carrying capacity than other models

Tips on Packing a Cargo Box

Unlike regular car storage, there are special considerations when packing your car top cargo box in order to prevent possible damage to the cargo or vehicle, as well as ensure the driving efficiency of the car.

Know the Weight Limits

Each roof rack system that your cargo box is attached to has its weight limitation, and you should make sure you are aware of what that weight is as it’s always better to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Evenly Spread the Weight

When packing a cargo box, make sure to place the heaviest item in the center of the box as that is where you will have the most support. Try and pack the sides of the box evenly in terms of weight distribution, as well as tightly. This can help to ensure that cargo items do not roll around, or become damaged during transit or rough terrain.

Make Sure the Cargo Box is Properly Secured

Before heading out on your trip, take the time to check that the cargo box is properly secured to your roof rack or your hitch cargo carrier. Should it come undone or fall off during transportation, it can lead to serious accidents or injury.

Also, make sure that you close all the lids properly and engage the locking mechanism. If you’re making use of a hitch cargo box, use hooks, cargo nets, and ratchet straps to tie down and secure your box properly. You can also do this as an extra precautionary measure when using roof-mounted cargo boxes.

Buyer’s Guide

Cargo boxes are expensive investments, and therefore it is important to consider some key factors before just buying one on a whim.

Weight

Cargo boxes have two weight considerations to keep in mind, one being the actual weight of the cargo box, and the second being the maximum loading capacity. If you’re using a roof cargo box, then considering the weight of the actual box is important, as you would need to be able to lift and load it onto your vehicle’s roof safely.

Installation

With roof-mounted cargo boxes, clamps are normally used to attach the box to the roof rack system or crossbars, alongside tightening bolts located on the cargo box itself. Most rooftop cargo boxes have universal fits, however, it is still important just to make sure that your cargo box and roof rack system are compatible to avoid disappointment. After installation, make sure that the box is securely attached and locked before setting out on the road.

Security Features

Most cargo boxes are equipped with some sort of security and anti-theft feature. Normally the locking mechanisms are quite comprehensive in terms of security but are easy to use.

Durable Material

Normally cargo boxes are made from a high-quality PVC plastic compound that offers fantastic durability and resilience. A strong cargo box is important as it should be able to take on bad weather, traveling-related debris, and the process of loading it to and unloading it from the car. Pay close attention to a cargo box, especially to possible weak points in its mechanics and design. Consider the integrity of the lid’s locking and opening mechanisms, the box’s handles, or the locking features.

Also invest in a strong and durable mounting system, whether it be a roof rack or hitch cargo carrier.

Storage Capacity

Depending on your traveling and cargo needs, finding a suitable storage capacity for your cargo box shouldn’t be a problem as there are many size options. Compact models offer around 11 cubic feet of storage space on average. However, for most people, a storage capacity of 16 cubic feet is more than adequate.

Budget

When it comes to cargo boxes, they are considerably more expensive than their cargo bag counterparts. They are also much more durable, offer better protection to your cargo, and are a great long-term investment. This all comes at a price though, so take into consideration how much you can afford to spend on a cargo box, and what level of quality you are willing to accept.

Cargo Box Access

Cargo boxes usually open one of three ways; one-sided, dual-sided, or at the rear. This is ‘n a personal preference, but an important consideration nonetheless.

Security

Anti-theft features are always a useful addition to any cargo transportation product, especially when you leave your vehicle unattended. Locks and keys not only secure the cargo box to the car but also serves as a deterrent to thieving hands. Water Resistance

When traveling through heavy weather conditions, cargo boxes serve a much better purpose than cargo bags. Make sure that the box seals properly and that the material on the exterior is water resistant. This is extremely important in order to protect your cargo from possible water damage.

Weight

A heavy cargo box will place unnecessary weight on your vehicle, which might damage the roof, or the crossbar system that it is mounted. Choose a box that is made from high-quality, but lightweight materials, in order to lessen drag and improve aerodynamics and fuel consumption.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cargo Boxes Universal?

Most rooftop cargo boxes are designed to have a universal fit to crossbars and roof rack systems. However, take the time to make sure if there are any manufacturer requirements or notices regarding roof-mounted cargo boxes.

With hitch cargo carriers, a universal fit is more dependent on the size of the cargo carrier and the whether or not it is compatible with the size of the cargo box.

Can You Drive With an Empty Rooftop Cargo Box?

Yes, you can drive with an empty cargo box without compromising your safety or causing damage to your vehicle.

Our Pick!

SportRack Vista Cargo Box

SportRack Vista Cargo Box

Fits any bike. Versatile with high-quality components, fully supported by a lifetime warranty. Hard to beat.

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