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Roadtrips are a great way to enjoy vacation with everything you need along for the ride. But if you don’t have a car big enough for passengers and all the cargo you want to have with you, you’ll need to find some alternate storage options.
Rooftop cargo carriers are a great option for that. Both hard-sided containers and soft-side bag-style storage options can be found on Amazon.
We rounded up five top-rated rooftop cargo carriers that had numerous 4-plus star ratings and can ship to you before you head out on the highway.
The Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box in medium sells for $549.95 on Amazon and carries up to 14 cubic feet. This hard-sided rooftop carrier also has a large (16 cubic feet) size and a small (11 cubic feet) size.
It opens on the passenger side and locks shut when all locking points are closed so you know your items are secure. Thule says this medium-sized carrier can hold three to five snowboards and up to 110 pounds. It attaches with a clamp system to the cargo bars on top of your vehicle.
The Thule Pulse has 4.6 out of 5 stars from 998 reviewers.
Amazon reviewer Kevin L. said the Thule brand is worth its cost.
“The clamps go on and it’s done,” he wrote. “It holds a ton of stuff, and it’s waterproof, with a very nice lock and key. And it looks sharp. We bought it for a beach vacation, as our Acadia is running out of room on the inside with 3 kids. We drove it 2 hours to the beach, in the rain. I was nervous. But you would have never known it was on top of the car, and all of our stuff was 100% dry. This thing met all my expectations.”
Another reviewer used the carrier on a road trip from Rhode Island to Texas.
“During our trip we had some rain and average top speed was 75mph to 80mph,” Doug D. wrote. “We had about a 90lb all total in the carrier. We had NO problems, everything was dry and held tight.”
The Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier sells for $799.95 on Amazon and carries up to 16 cubic feet of items. There are also extra-large (18 cubic feet) and extra-extra-large (22 cubic feet) size options. You can purchase the Motion XT in Titan gray or in black. (At publication time, this carrier was listed as temporarily out of stock.)
A unique feature of this carrier is that it opens from the top and folds down on each side for easier access to items in side. It comes with a “quick-mount system” that attaches to your vehicle and to which the carrier clicks into.
Thule says this carrier can handle five to seven pairs of skis or three to five snowboards (if you’re traveling for winter sports) with a 165-pound maximum load capacity. The carrier system itself weighs 42 pounds.
The Thule Motion XT has 4.6 out of 5 stars from 925 reviews. One Amazon reviewer said they fit a baby stroller in the XL version of the carrier with no trouble.
Amazon reviewer Carlos Flores wrote that he took the carrier on a road trip where he was traveling at 75-80 mph on the highway and the carrier worked well.
“Honestly, it was a great buy and a must with kids when traveling. I was able to put a double stroller, 3 Thule duffel bags a paddle board, and a bag with towels along with diapers,” he said. “I did have doubts about this box having too many plastic parts but now I feel very confident that it is well built.”
While it has a large capacity, Thule says you’ll still be able to open your trunk with no trouble.
The SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box sells for $399.95 on Amazon and has the unique feature of opening from the back for access to items inside. Step up on your bumper or open trunk to easily get inside the carrier while it’s still on your roof.
It works with car roof racks and carries up to 18 cubic feet of storage. The plastic material is UV-resistant and made to keep water out.
Amazon reviewer Liz said she got the SportRack Vista because it was lower in price compared to other carriers. She wrote that it “held all 5 of our suitcases and it never moved a millimeter on a 10 hr trip through a freak snowstorm in the middle of April” and that she was “was really happy with its performance and price point.”
She wasn’t the only fan, as the SportRack Vista has 4.5 out of 5 stars and about 1,600 reviews.
The FIVKLEMNZ 15 Cubic Feet Waterproof Car Roof Bag comes with an anti-slip mat, eight reinforced straps and six door hooks to secure to the soft-sided carrier to your car. It works whether you have a roof rack or not. The carrier sells on Amazon for $57.75 and is made from a durable polyester that expand to hold up four to six suitcases.
The roof bag has 4.4 out of 5 stars in its almost 4,500 reviews. Amazon reviewer Jennfier Shaul used it on her Chevy Trax and was happy with the results.
“It held up to 7 hours of straight rain going 70 mph (about 450 miles),” she wrote. “Then, it held up well to my 13 hr drive (over 600 miles) through the Appalachian mountains. I was nervous about my car feeling unstable and top heavy, but the turns were very smooth. Also, it only slid back about 2 inches from where I had originally placed it, and didn’t move from that spot the rest of the trip. As this was my first time putting anything on the roof of my car, I was so nervous but it couldn’t have been an easier trip!”
The RoofPax Rooftop Cargo Carrier holds up to 19 cubic feet and is made to work in most vehicles whether they have a roof rack or not. The polyester zippered bag comes with six door hooks to help secure it in place and at publication time was on sale for $149 on Amazon (regularly $196.30).
RoofPax touts its safety with extra door hooks that will make sure you’ve attached your bag properly and a buckle strap system to tie down the entire bag with no chance of straps flapping.
Amazon reviewer B. Mitchell took the RoofPax carrier on a multi-day trip in the rain.
“I closed it up on day one and opened it up on day three not knowing what to expect,” Mitchell wrote. “There was a little leakage where the zippers come together but I had anticipated that and put some towels there. Also, I bagged most electronic equipment just in case but really didn’t need to.”
This carrier has 4.6 out of 5 stars and over 3,000 reviews on Amazon.