Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier Boxes in 2023

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Updated June 1, 2023

Along with the best headlight restoration kit, it’s important to be able to carry your cargo.

For our list of the best rooftop cargo carriers for your next ski trip or road trip adventure, we’ve looked at the specs and reviews as well as evaluations of the top-performing choices. After looking at dozens of products, we’ve narrowed it down to these seven based on rated capacity, waterproofing level, and versatility. Lastly, we also considered value for the money. Our choice for the best rooftop cargo carrier bag is the ToolGuard Roof Cargo Bag. At 15 cubic feet, it packs more stuff than most others in its price range and it’s also fully lined for durability. The best car accessories are pretty good at delivering more value than their competitors. Read on to learn more about the best rooftop cargo carrier boxes.

Top 7 Best Rooftop Cargo Carrier Boxes Compared

 #1  ToolGuard Roof Cargo Bag

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Generous space plus ease of carrying and storage, plus 100% waterproofing and double flapped zippers. It’s great for those going on road trips who need reliable, sturdy all weather car top storage.

  • 100% Waterproof lined tarpaulin construction
  • 2-year guarantee or money back
  • Easy to install and pack up–no extra hardware required
  • Roof rack needed
  • At 51”, it may be too long for the roof area of some smaller cars
  • Not as tall as some competitors
  • Excellent storage capacity

Ideal for local or even long distance road trips when you need to pack significantly more than your car will hold, this rooftop cargo back from ToolGuard is spacious at 15 cubic feet, yet weighs less than 9 lbs.
Easy to install, it also rolls up easily and folds into a roughly backpack-sized package for storage.
The ToolGuard Roof Cargo Bag attaches in minutes to any standard car or SUV roof rack. Fully expanded, it’s about 51 inches long by 31 inches wide and 15 inches tall. Speaking of storage, check out our review of the best trunk organizer if you want to keep your trunk clean and tidy.

Unlike many cargo bags, it includes a protective rubber mat and all necessary straps and hardware. It’s also angled to offset the aerodynamic penalty a little, meaning it will be quieter on the road and save you some gas versus more boxy rooftop cargo carriers. Another must-have accessory is the best jump starter so you can get where you are going.

 #2  RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: This roofbag is is not only 100% waterproof, but it can withstand 3000lb of force thanks to special straps and a durable vinyl-coated canvas. It also works with cars that don’t have a roof rack & includes a 2-year money back guarantee.

  • Works on cars with or without a roof rack
  • Formulated to withstand UV and extreme temperatures
  • Can withstand up to 3000-lb of force
  • Doesn’t include protective roof mat like the ToolGuard bag
  • 15-cubic foot version to big for smaller cars
  • Larger cars require additional straps without a roofrack

This RoofBag waterproof rooftop cargo carrier is a good all-weather choice for trips where you might see rain or snow, since it features tight-knit canvas with liquid vinyl coating for temperature and moisture resistance. The included straps are rated for up to 3000 lbs so it won’t tear off in heavy wind. In addition, the material is rated to withstand freezing, direct sunlight, heavy rain and snow. The material makes this carrier very durable like some of the best wheel locks we reviewed.

This car top carrier comes in multiple sizes ranging from 11 to 15 cubic feet, so check to make sure you’re ordering the appropriate size for your car or SUV. The 15 cubic foot version is designed for minivans, SUVs, and larger wagons/crossovers. They are good on any car with side rails, cross bars, or without a roof rack (bare roof). Installation is easy thanks to the included straps, which require no roof rack. And it includes step-by-step instructions, so no special mechanical know-how is required. You should be able to easily install your top carrier. You should also read best headlight restoration kit so that you get to your destination safely.

 #3  RoofPax Car Roof Bag

Award: Best for Large Families (and Safest)

WHY WE LIKE IT: An enormous 19-cubic foot capacity, a lifetime warranty on its buckles and zippers, and included special door hooks that remove the need for a roof rack make this rooftop carrier stand out. It’s great for those with larger families and those that have safety worries about straps running through the interior of their car.

  • Extra large 19 cubic foot capacity
  • Door hooks let you install it safely on cars without a roof rack
  • Lifetime warranty offered on buckles and zippers
  • 20” height, may compromise gas mileage bc of wind shear
  • Too wide to use on some compact cars
  • A little more expensive than most flexible rooftop cargo bags

One of the largest versatile waterproof rooftop bags on the market, this 19-cubic foot rooftop cargo carrier is distinguished by its lifetime warranty on zippers and buckles. The storage space of this roof top cargo bag makes it a perfect choice for large families. It’s great for those who emphatically do not pack light, since it holds the equivalent of 4-6 full size suitcases. You will want to brag about it on the best CB radio.

The RoofPax waterproof cargo carrier is easier to install than the RoofBag (our #2 pick), if you don’t have a roof rack, thanks to specially included hardware. This car top carrier essentially any truck, car, or SUV, with or without side rails or cross bars. To accomplish this, the brand includes a system of eight door hooks for securing it to the roof of your car without having to pass a strap all the way under the roof through the windows. This method is claimed to be more convenient, safer, and more secure. Without the need for a car top carrier to make it work, it can be a money saver.

 #4  Keeper Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Bag

Award: Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Keeper Waterproof Rooftop bag is the lightest rooftop cargo bag on our list,yet is still heavy duty enough to offer a 100% waterproof seal and withstand all of the elements, including sun and snow. When not in use this bag folds up into a compact size, making it great for campers and backpackers.

  • Folds up to nearly pocket-size, making it easy to store
  • Waterproof nylon keeps out the elements
  • Lightweight and very affordable
  • Included hardware requires a roof rack
  • Doesn’t include a protective mat or multiple mounting options
  • Less aerodynamic than our top pick, the ToolGuard rooftop carrier

This flexible 100% waterproof rooftop carrier bag from Keeper comes in 11-cubic foot and 15-cubic foot sizes. It’s made of waterproof nylon and fits roof racks with or without cross bars. The whole bag weighs only about one pound, not including the straps. Which makes it the lightest on our list and great for those that want to take the bag with them on the go. Once folded up, the Keeper rooftop cargo carrier can fit easily in most backpacks or duffel bags.

This car top carrier installs easily in minutes and includes all the necessary straps, though we should note it does require that your car or SUV have a roof rack. That said, the Keeper Waterproof Rooftop Cargo Bag is something of a bargain (it’s the lowest priced on our list) considering its lightweight, yet waterproof nylon construction. Now you can cruise down the highway carefree, listening to your satellite radio for car.

 #5  AdaKiit Rooftop Cargo Bag

Award: Biggest Capacity

WHY WE LIKE IT: The AdaKiit offers 20 cubic feet of extra storage in a water resistant, flexible, lightweight nylon form. Plus it includes its own storage duffle bag. The Adakiit bag is the largest on our list, making it great for those with a large family or a lot of gear to haul.

  • Extra large capacity, fits the equivalent of about 6 suitcases
  • Includes a storage duffel bag
  • Provides 6 straps to ensure secure tie-down to your roof rack
  • Requires roof rack like most roof bags
  • Not as heavy duty with waterproofing as some others, so not recommended for heavy weather
  • Soft material makes it less ideal for items like golf clubs or other sports equipment

Worth checking out for beach trips and road trips with friends or family, this flexible soft rooftop cargo carrier fits 20 cubic feet, making it the largest capacity rooftop cargo carrier on our list. This means the cargo top carrier can hold about six suitcases worth of stuff, or about twice as much as you can fit in the trunk of an average compact car. Don’t forget about the best radar gun so you can travel without getting a ticket.

This car top carrier is water resistant but it does lack the full weather-sealing of some competitors like the top-rated ToolGuard rooftop cargo bag or the 19-cubic foot RoofPax model (Our #3 pick).
With the AdaKiit rooftop cargo carrier, versatility and size are the major plusses. On the minus side, while it is water resistant enough that your stuff won’t get soaked on a quick outing in the rain, the AdaKiit bag isn’t as heavily weather sealed as some of the others, such as the ToolGuard (our top pick) or the San Hima (our # 6 pick)

 #6  San Hima Rooftop Cargo Bag

Award: Easiest Install with Roofracks

WHY WE LIKE IT: Strong PVC mesh construction, flapped zippers for waterproofing and an included non-slip mat. The heavy duty weather proofing makes it good for road trips in the mountains and ski trips on a budget.

  • Includes heavy duty waterproofing features like covered zippers
  • Comes with 8 straps, offering a more secure tie-down than some others
  • Non-slip mat helps keep it from shifting around on turns
  • The straps may make it noisy at higher speeds despite the front flap
  • Requires a roof rack for installation
  • May be too bulky for smaller cars

This 15-cubic foot rooftop cargo bag is made of durable PVC mesh and features fully lined and flap-covered zippers for waterproofing. Like some higher priced waterproof rooftop bags, it is designed with an angled front panel to deflect wind and rain on the highway.

The San Hima Rooftop Cargo Bag comes with 8 straps, supporting three different installation modes depending on how your car’s roof rack is configured. That means it can be installed in minutes and secured safely whether or not your car’s roof rack includes cross-bars. You do need to have a roof rack, though. To help keep your gear from sliding around in turns, this rooftop cargo carrier includes a non-slip rubber mat, a nice extra at this price point.

 #7  Amazon Basics Rooftop Carrier Bag

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Amazon Basics Rooftop bag is the least expensive bag on our list (tied with Keeper), offering 15-cu ft of storage in a waterproof and fade resistant package at a bargain price point. This bag is great for those looking for an affordable way to easily move extra stuff on top of your car, as long as your car has a roof rack, that is.

  • Features durable seams and flapped zippers for weather resistance.
  • UV resistant coating so it won’t fade easily in the sun
  • Folds up into a compact form
  • Doesn’t come with a lot of extras like a non-slip mat or extra hooks
  • No aerodynamic front flap so it may get noisy
  • As with most, can’t use on cars without roof racks

Good for all weather road trips, this affordable, relatively simple waterproof rooftop cargo carrier from Amazon Basics might even come in handy when moving. The seams are waterproofed fully and it even includes flapped zippers for extra weather resistance. It fits 15- cubic feet of stuff, equivalent to the trunk of a large sedan. It also comes with all necessary cinching straps included and provides clear instructions. Although it is the cheapest cargo box from all presented cargo boxes, it will not disappoint.

Setting this one up on top of your car is even simpler than with some competitors, requiring basically only three steps. Once in place, this bag is easy to adjust by cinching down the cross straps, ensuring a tight fit even if not completely full. UV-resistant outer vinyl coating is another plus, adding to its durability. If you appreciate rooftop storage, take a look at the best rooftop tents too.

Note: Other rooftop cargo boxes not on our list that are worth mentioning include the Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, available in 11, 14, and 16 cubic feet, and the Yakima SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo Box, in a variety of 12, 16, 18, and 21 cubic feet of storage.

The Thule cargo box is made of durable plastic with a rugged textured ABS material that is long-lasting. One of the Thule cargo box’s best feature is its Fast Grip quick-mount system that ensures fast and secure fitting, and it assembles in moments, fitting on almost any type of racks and roof top rails. The Thule roof box also features the Thule comfort key for the central locking system that gives it maximum safety.

The Yakima SkyBox cargo box is ideal for cars, wagons, and SUVs, and is perfect for carrying gear for up to 3 campers. This cargo box is also ideal for skis and snowboards of up to 215 cm. The Yakima features SuperLatch security that secures its lid to its base, and does not it does not require assembly, and attaches to roof racks easily. Further, the Yakima cargo box, like the Thule roof box, is sleek with an aerodynamic design to reduce drag and wind noise.

How We Decided

In choosing our list of the best waterproof rooftop cargo carrying bags, we looked at a range of options and went for those that offered at least 11 cubic feet of space– since this is about equivalent to what you can fit in the trunk of a mid-sized sedan today. We also narrowed it down to bags that could fold up for storage and preferably weighed 9 lbs or less, since the less weight on the roof of your car, the better for handling and safety. We awarded bonus points for ease of installation, extra heavy duty waterproofing and an aerodynamic angled front panel. Aerodynamics are important for a rooftop bag not just because a well-designed cargo carrier can make less noise that way, but also because it adds less drag to your car and so you save gas on the highway. The best waterproof rooftop cargo bags attach securely to a car’s roof in just minutes and shouldn’t slip or move around even on the highway or over mountain passes. The choice for the right roof box is never easy and many things should be considered. be sure to take the height of your garage into account, especially if you use overhead garage storage racks to ensure you have enough room.

Rooftop Cargo Carrier Boxes FAQs

Do I need a roof rack to use these?

Yes, and no. But mostly yes. We’ve highlighted a few waterproof rooftop cargo bags you can use without having a roof rack. They include specially designed hooks to go inside the door frames or, alternatively, long tie-down straps that go through the windows and inside the car.

Are they one-size fits all?

The best rooftop cargo bags manage to pack between 10 and 20 cubic feet of extra space while fitting snugly on the roof of a mid-sized car or SUV. A few of these waterproof rooftop carriers come in multiple size options, such as with the Keeper rooftop cargo bag, and they do specify that the larger size is for use with vans and SUVs where there should be enough roof real estate available.
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