Do you struggle to fit all of your belongings in your car when you go camping? Do you find you have to leave some things behind due to the lack of space?
Then, here’s a solution for you… A rooftop cargo carrier.
We’ve asked some of our camper friends as well as researched and tried different cargo bags to see which one is the most versatile and overall best rooftop cargo bag.
We chose six, each presenting different attributes to accommodate different needs. Read on to find out which ones made our top list.
Make sure you scroll down to read our buying guide and frequently asked questions section to get the answers you need when looking at rooftop cargo bags.
You can use a cargo carrier to increase the cargo space of your car so you don’t have to try to squeeze all your belongings into the trunk of your car.
A rooftop bag keeps your gear safe and secure on top of the car during your trip. Frankly, it’s one of the best yet inexpensive solutions to increase cargo space. The best part is that it can be used with or without roof racks.
In this article, we’ll talk about the best type of cargo bags you can get for a road trip or for a camping trip.
We’ll cover some of the most important aspects to consider before buying a Rooftop Carrier Bag. We’ll also answer some of the most common questions you may have about cargo carriers. So let’s begin!
Our Recommendations: Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bags
- Top choice: RoofPax Cargo Carrier
- Best Value: Roofbag Cargo Carrier
- Most lightweight: Rightline Gear Rooftop Cargo Carrier
- Most durable: Sherpak Go! Cargo Carrier Bag
- Best wind resistance: ToolGuards Cargo Carrier
- Best for SUVs: Asani Rooftop Car Top Carrier
Quick Answers: Best Rooftop Cargo Bags
Dimensions: 47.2 x 35.4 x 19.8 in. | Weight: 11.2 pounds | Capacity: 15 or 19 cubic ft.
Though the RoofPax Cargo Carrier Bag will fit on most cars, it’s especially perfect for larger sized cars. If a standard 15 cubic feet size is not enough to carry all your gear, there is also a 19 cubic feet model.
The RoofPax Bag has all the security features to make it safe to carry. It comes with 6 door hooks to secure it to your vehicle’s roof and it doesn’t have any straps that go through your car.
The RoofPax is made from Military quality materials. The fabric is thick and you can tell it’s durable just by touching it. We also liked that it features Waterproof Seam Technology and Water Resistant Double coating. This stops the water or moisture to get into your stuff.
This bag includes 10 elastic Velcro strap restrainers which keep the straps well in place. They also stop the straps from flapping.
You can fit a lot of stuff in the RoofPax cargo carrier bag. It measures 47.2 x 35.4 x 19.8 inches and offers a massive 19 cubic feet of space. We managed to fit our tent, a shelter, four sleeping bags, four pillows and some blankets.
The RoofPax Cargo Carrier Bag fits on any car, whether you have roof racks or not. It can fit perfectly on top of any small sedans or large SUVs. It’s easy to install, it takes only a few minutes and we think it’s a great option when you have a lot of gear to bring with you.
Dimensions: 48 x 38 x 14.5 in. | Weight: 10 pounds | Capacity: 15 cubic ft.
We liked how sturdy the Roofbag Carrier Bag is as well as its great security features and awesome value for money. Plus, it fits most cars with or without roof racks.
The Roofbag Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag is one of the best waterproof bags because it has a triple-seal technology that’s quite good at protecting the bag and the gear you have inside.
You can install this car top carrier bag on any type of vehicle. Whether your car has crossbars, side rails, and even if it doesn’t have any type of roof rack, you can mount the Roofbag on most rooftops easily.
The Roofbag is made from heavy-duty material and it feels durable. It’s made from heavy-duty polyester with a vinyl coating that minimizes wear and tear.
The straps of the RoofBag Cargo Carrier Bag are also water-resistant so water doesn’t leak through when using it in the rain.
This roof bag has a good quality and secure system with 4 YKK buckles that keep the cargo well in place even at high speeds.
Overall, we really liked the Roofbag. It may not be the best-looking one on our list but it’s an easy-to-use and durable bag that does exactly what it’s supposed to do – carry your gear.
Dimensions: 48 x 36 x 18 in. | Weight: 7.5 pounds | Capacity: 10, 15, 18 cubic ft.
The Rightline Gear Rooftop Carrier Bag can be used on SUVs, minivans and it’s also perfect for smaller-sized cars with or without roof racks.
The Rightline rooftop bag can be attached to the roof of your car whether you have a roof rack or not. It comes with all the straps and clips you need to load it up.
We love that this roof bag is 100% waterproof. It features Dual Seam Technology which is sewn onto the bag for added protection. Compared to standard zippers that have exposed teeth that could let some water seep through, the water-tight lip and welded seams on the Rightline Roofbag make it quite efficient at keeping water out.
The Rightline car top carrier bag comes in different sizes to fit smaller sedans all the way to larger SUVs.
The bag comes with all the equipment you need to install it so that you don’t have to buy anything else to use it. We found the Rightline Carrier Bag to be a great sturdy bag with plenty of space for our bags, blankets, and camping gear.
Overall, we really liked the Rightline cargo carrier bag because of its aerodynamic shape that made the drive feel safe, and without too much noise. It also rained a bit on the way but everything in the bag remained completely dry. That’s a thumbs up from us!
Dimensions: 48 x 38 x 14.5 in. | Weight: 10 pounds | Capacity: 15 cubic ft.
The Sherpak Go! Carrier is strong, sturdy and with a huge capacity. It fits all cars and SUVs with or without roof racks.
The Sherpak Go! is made from vinyl and heavy-duty plastic hardware, which are UV protected. It also features RF-Welded Seams and quality zippers.
It has a universal attachment system making it easy to set up on any type of car or truck without the need for a roof rack.
The Sherpak comes with all the straps you need to install it on the roof of your car. It’s perfect for cars that don’t have roof racks.
It measures 15.5 x 37 x 45 inches and offers 424L/15 cubic feet of space. We think it has a good amount of storage space. We managed to fit the tent, one backpack, four sleeping bags, some blankets, and our six-year-old daughter’s bike.
Overall, we think the Sherpak Go! is very well made and is really easy to set up on the roof. We traveled on the freeway and had no problems at all even at fast speeds. The bag felt sturdy and it also did a pretty good job at keeping our gear dry in light rain.
The ToolGuards Car Top Bag is one of the easiest to install. It weighs only 7.19 pounds and fits on most cars.
The ToolGuards Rooftop Cargo Carrier is made with really thick fabric that feels very durable. It features Tarpaulin coating in addition to fabric guard and coated zippers. This bag is well-made and doesn’t let any dirt or water get inside that could potentially damage your gear.
You can use the ToolGuards Bag on all types of car roofs; whether you have a roof rack or not and is super easy to install.
Overall, we think the ToolGuards bag is very well built. The fabric is as described, heavy-duty and sturdy. We really liked the opening at the back to minimize the risk of water getting into the bag. It comes with good instructions and roof top mat, and we highly recommend it.
The Asani Rootop Carrier is one of the best value cargo bags that you can get! It has an exceptional storage capacity, durability, design, and a lifetime warranty!
The Asani Cargo Carrier Bag is large and well-designed. It can be folded down to the size of a tablet when you’re not using it. This makes it really easy to store!
The Asani Cargo Bag is 100% water-resistant. It’s coated with a triple-layer waterproof tarpaulin that keeps water out, dirt, and sand.
This bag measures 44 x 34 x 17 inches with 15 cubic feet of storage space and you can fit up to 99 lbs of cargo inside. It features 8 reinforced straps and durable buckles to keep the bag secure and sturdy on top of your vehicle’s roof.
Furthermore, the sides of this bag are soft so that they can easily fit different types of items. We were able to fit in our large tent, four sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and a backpack, and there was still room to put a bit more.
Also See: Our camping gear guides to find other equipment for outdoor activities when camping.
Rooftop Cargo Bag Buying Guide
There are a lot of questions that revolve around a person’s head before they buy a particular product. You might also have several questions about Rooftop Cargo Bags. Whether you’re wondering how to choose the ideal car top carrier bag for yourself or whether you even need one, we cover everything in this section.
Purpose of a Car Top Carrier Bag
A rooftop cargo carrier helps to increase the cargo space in your car. Whether you’re carrying personal belongings, suitcases, or any type of gear, if it doesn’t fit in your car, it can fit in a cargo carrier.
As you can judge by the above reviews, each cargo bag varies in size, quality, and features. So, each rooftop cargo bag is unique from the other and you have a good chance to find a bag that fits perfectly your car’s roof.
Another alternative to increase your car’s cargo space is a Cargo Box. Though they work just as well as Cargo Roof Bags, they cost more. Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bags are also easier to store when you’re not using them since they can fold flat.
Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need roof racks to use Cargo Carrier Bags. They are a lot of models that can be attached securely to your vehicle’s rooftop without needing a roof rack.
How to Choose the Best Cargo Carrier Bag?
There are a few things to consider to choose the best rooftop cargo bag for your car and your travel needs. This section will help you choose a cargo bag that is perfect for you!
As we mentioned before, every cargo carrier bag varies in size. Thus, it’s very important that you think about the reason you need a cargo carrier in the first place. What do you want to put in it?
Once you have decided on the type of items you want to store in your car top carrier bag, think about the sizes and shapes of each item. This is important because shapes can hinder the space of the cargo carrier just as much as the number of items can.
Thirdly, you should measure the length and width of your vehicle’s rooftop. Why? So you can buy a unit that fits perfectly on the rooftop.
So, before buying a particular Cargo Carrier, do consider all these important factors.
This is another imperative aspect to consider. The shape is important because it may affect the overall driving experience such as fuel consumption and the noise while driving at higher speeds.
Automotive Aerodynamics is the study of how air, wind, and many gases affect the motion of a vehicle. Aerodynamics can hinder your car’s speed, it can cause noise emission, affect your car’s gas consumption, and even cause instability.
Not only does it affect the functionality of the car but it can affect the security of the cargo carrier as well. If you’re driving at high speeds and for long periods, the straps on the bag might wear and tear due to the huge force exerted on them by the wind.
When you have a big cargo carrier bag on your rooftop, aerodynamics may cause problems. Thus it’s very important that you consider the size and shape of your car, as well as the cargo bag, to avoid any issues with aerodynamics.
We’ve already established the fact that aerodynamics doesn’t only hinder the motion of your car but can damage the cargo carrier bag as well.
Make sure the rooftop cargo bag you’re buying has all the compulsory safety measures to ensure that your cargo remains safe and secure.
These measures might include heavy-duty straps and buckles as well as waterproof and UV-protected material the cargo bag is made of.
Method of Installation
Different car top carrier bags have different ways of installation. Some need roof racks, while some can be installed on a bare roof. There are a few bags that need a protective mat beneath it to install it securely to your car roof rack.
The durability of a product includes everything from its material to the different features that ensure its safety. You can judge the durability of a cargo carrier by examining the material it embraces.
The first thing you can inspect is the material of the cargo bag. It needs to embrace top-quality material. Most carrier bags are resistant to many deterrents like Water, UV radiations, dirt, and adverse weather conditions.
Furthermore, you can check the quality of the straps, zippers, and buckles. Aerodynamics can tear the straps if they’re not made from a top-quality, sturdy material thus ensuring its durability as well.
Most car top carrier bags are made of polyester and vinyl which help keep the bag free from moisture, dirt, and the sun.
Safety Tips to Keep a Cargo Carrier Secured
One of the things that people worry about the most when it comes to cargo bags is if it is safe and secure enough to use. The simple answer to this question is that it is. Different cargo bags use different mounting options to keep the bag safe and sound on the rooftop.
In this section, we give you a few tips to ensure that your rooftop carrier remains safe and in place during your entire journey.
Pack your stuff smartly!
Try to categorize your luggage into two main categories; lightweight and heavyweight. You can store as many lightweight belongings in the cargo bag which will help to improve the aerodynamics of your vehicle.
Distribute The Luggage Evenly In The Cargo Bag
Whenever you’re placing any type of luggage in the cargo bag, make sure that the heavy and lightweight objects are evenly distributed inside the bag. This will ensure the bag remains firmly secured on the vehicle’s roof even if the wind is strong.
Use Cargo Anchors
Cargo anchors help to keep the cargo bag and the belongings stored inside firmly in place. It makes sure that even if there’s strong wind or you stop your vehicle suddenly, the cargo bag won’t fall off the roof.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you put suitcases in a roof bag?
Yes, you can put suitcases in the car top cargo bag. But make sure they’re not too heavy. Try to store heavier bags or suitcases in the trunk of your car since they could damage the roof of your car.
Also, consider the size of your bags and suitcases as well before loading them into the bag.
2. Can I use a cargo bag without a roof rack?
Yes, you can! As we mentioned before, there are a lot of models that don’t require a roof rack. These carriers usually have heavy-duty straps and buckles or car hooks which help to keep the cargo bag secure over the roof.
The cargo carrier bags that have straps and buckles go through the inside of the car to secure the unit from both sides. Whereas, the units that use car hooks for installation are ‘hooked’ between the door and the roof of the car.
Here’s how to attach a rooftop cargo bag without a roof rack.
3. Are rooftop cargo bags safe?
Yes, rooftop cargo bags are relatively safe if you install them correctly.
A Rooftop Cargo Bag should give you clear visibility. This means that the bag should not hinder your side or rear-view.
If you’re still reluctant, you can install Cargo Anchors. These will make sure that your belongings, as well as the bag, remain in place even if the vehicle stops abruptly.
4. Can roof racks damage my car?
Simply put, it shouldn’t. If you install the Rooftop Cargo Carrier properly and you don’t overload it, there are few chances it will damage your car.
You should always know the limitations of the weight your vehicle’s roof can bear. So always read through the vehicle’s manual or ask a professional to find out the amount of weight your car can carry on its rooftop.
You can further prevent damaging the roof of your vehicle by loading the heaviest cargo in your trunk and the lighter things in the rooftop cargo carrier.
Rooftop Cargo Bags are the top solution to increasing the carrying space of your car. They come in various shapes, sizes, and mounting techniques with an array of useful features.
Whether you are going camping, hiking, or road-tripping, cargo bags come in handy.
While all the carrier bags we’ve reviewed here all do a fine job at storing your belongings, our heart is set on the RoofPax Carrier Bag. You can store so much stuff in it. We’ve managed to fit in most of our camping gear and two kids’ bikes!
It can be overwhelming to choose the right rooftop cargo carrier and we hope that our buying guide has helped you decide which one is most suitable for your travel needs.