Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier

The 7 Best Car Roof Carriers to Use on Road Trips, Outdoor Excursions, and More

These top-rated picks will protect your belongings. 
By Rebecca Carhart
April 26, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

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If you've ever taken a road trip or driven to your vacation destination, you know the importance of cargo space. Even if you have a super spacious SUV or minivan, sometimes there's just not enough space for everything you want to pack — especially if you are traveling with others. Instead of cramming your stuff into the backseat or playing Tetris with your suitcases in the trunk, invest in a car roof carrier. These space-makers give you the storage space you need to bring more than just the essentials on your next trip.

These are the best car roof carriers to shop: 

To choose the right cargo carrier for your needs, there are a number of factors to consider. If you're transporting delicate or important items, look for a hard-shell option that will provide extra protection against the elements. Most can be locked to keep their contents safe. 

Meanwhile, soft roof bags are great if you are trying to pack as much as possible, as they can expand their shape to fit what's inside them. They are also more affordable and much easier to store when not in use since they can be folded up. Alternatively, you can opt for a cargo rack if you're looking to bring paddle boards or kayaks along for the ride.  

To help you find the best option for your needs, we scoured thousands of reviews from real customers to see which car roof carriers they loved the most. From durable hard-shell cargo carriers to waterproof roof bags and options that make transporting sporting equipment a breeze, these are the seven best car roof carriers shoppers reach for time and time again. Keep reading to learn more about them and pick up one for yourself. 

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box

Hundreds of Amazon shoppers agree that this Thule car roof carrier is one of the best options out there. Not only does it provide 11 cubic feet of extra storage space, but it also boasts a sleek aerodynamic design that is built to last. It will keep your belongings protected in all weather conditions, has a central locking system, and comes with a quick-mount system that customers say is super easy to install. “This box has served me very well on road trips/ camping trips, and soon to be snow trips,” wrote one reviewer. “Straps down to the car with ultimate ease and has immense cargo space that is super useful when going on a trip! 10/10 would recommend!”

To buy: amazon.com, $470

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Roof Bag: RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier

This roof carrier by RoofBag is made from a heavy-duty tear-proof material that features a waterproof coating and thick, durable straps that fit most standard-sized cars. In addition to a slip-resistant mat that protects your car’s roof, the lightweight bag also comes with a carrying case. Even better, it comes with a two-year warranty. “Got this bag for our 2019 Subaru Outback to fit our camping gear so our dogs could fit in the backseat,” wrote one shopper. “Very spacious and easy to use! It fit two camping cots, our Coleman pop up tent, two folding chairs, a tarp, two sleeping bags, two dog beds, and could have fit a few more small items. The zippers are very nice and heavy duty, easy to zip. We attached the straps to the roof bars of our Subaru in the side position and it didn’t budge at all!”

To buy: amazon.com, $93

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Hard-shell Option: Jegs Rooftop Cargo Carrier

This Jegs rooftop carrier is the best-selling hard-shell carrier on Amazon as of this writing thanks to its sleek and spacious design. Along with providing 18 cubic feet of extra storage space, the sturdy plastic shell is super easy to install and can hold up to 110 pounds of stuff at a time. “This worked great for a 1,400 mile road trip loaded with gear for the beach,” wrote one reviewer. “It was easy to install before heading out and simple to remove. It has three clips to keep it shut on the road (one on each side, one up front) and a lock in the back to secure it. We drove through several heavy thunderstorms on the way and there was never any water intrusion on the interior.”

To buy: amazon.com, $225

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Affordable Option: Roofmaster Rooftop Cargo Carrier

At only $60, this roof carrier from Roofmaster is definitely the most affordable option on the list, but hundreds of shoppers say it’s just as good as its more expensive counterparts. The durable soft-shell carrier is made from a military-grade Nylon Cordura fabric that “has five times the strength and wear resistance of high-grade PVC,” according to the brand. It comes with a protective mat, and it can be rolled up into a compact size, making it super easy to store when not in use. “We purchased this rooftop cargo carrier just before making a weekend trip to the hills,” wrote one customer. “Surprised at just how much it is able to hold. Our family doesn’t pack light, but we had no trouble fitting most of our luggage in this carrier, leaving more space in the minivan for our family of five to enjoy the trip. Great price for the product, and I’m also glad it's a soft bag; takes up less storage space than a hardcover carrier.”

To buy: amazon.com, $80

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Storage Rack: Arksen Universal Roof Rack

Over 1,000 Amazon shoppers love that this handy roof rack can be used in a number of ways. You can transport sporting equipment like kayaks and skis by attaching them to the rack, use it as a base to keep roof bags in place, or even load up your luggage in the rack itself and keep them secured using a net or tarp. It can hold up to 150 pounds at a time and will fit most standard car roofs. “Really happy with this purchase,” said one customer. “Attached it to my roof rack on top of my truck and it is completely solid! Love that it has four tie down cleats on the sides and lots of other places to tie down straps to secure the load. Also really like that it can be removed fairly easily and stored when not in use. Held a fairly heavy load with ease and the bolts stayed in place on a long two week road trip.”

To buy: amazon.com, $170

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Waterproof Option: Fivklemnz Waterproof Cargo Roof Bag

While most car roof carriers claim to be weatherproof, some, unfortunately, can still leak when driven through extreme weather conditions. But Amazon shoppers say this Fivklemnz option actually lives up to the hype thanks to its weatherproof zipper, watertight seams, and double-flap design that work together to prevent any kind of moisture from seeping through. What’s more, it can be used with or without a car rack, and it comes with an anti-slip mat for extra protection. “Couldn’t be happier with this bag. We drove 300 miles at highway speed in pouring rain, and there was not a bit of dampness inside the bag,” raved one reviewer.

To buy: amazon.com, $87

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Sporting Equipment: Yakima Instant Roof Rack

If you’re looking for a car roof carrier to transport paddleboards and snowboards, consider investing in this Yakima roof rack. The sleek rack can be installed in just 10 minutes, and it can hold up to 80 pounds of sporting equipment (or other gear) at a time. The rack is thickly padded to protect your car from scratches and dents, while the heavy-duty straps can be easily secured by looping them through your car doors. “With my good old Honda Accord at 250k+ miles I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a roof rack, but needed something to haul my kayak around,” said one shopper. “This worked great! Easy to strap on, didn’t damage the roof, and held it securely (make sure to tie down front and back though).”

To buy: amazon.com, $125

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