If you are here to find the answer to find the right cargo carrier for you SUV, then you are in the right place, in this article, we have two sections, the first of is about cargo carriers that can be either in the front or in the back of your vehicle, while we have a list of the best roof cargo boxes in the second section for more options to increase you freedom of choice.
What is the best cargo carrier for SUV?
After going through a lot of options available right now, we believe that the CURT 18153 with a carrying capacity of 500 lbs is the best cargo carrier for SUV available on the market right now, a combination of good durability and price that is rare to find.
Best cargo baskets for SUV
CURT 18153 500 lbs. Capacity Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier, Fits 2-Inch Receiver
Highland 1042000 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier - Black
The second hitch-mounted cargo carrier in this list is the Highland 1042000, we chose this one due to its high compatibility with a huge number of SUVs out there, including but not limited to, Tacoma, 4runner, Jeep wrangler, jeep Cherokee, jeep grand Cherokee, and many more.
This flatbed cargo carrier is very suitable for carrying large and bulky items, you don’t need to worry about bending the side rails (this can happen in many carriers with weak structures).
The negative thing about this cargo carrier is its low side rails, they are strong sure, but short, depending on your needs, you have the choice between the highland 1042000 and the CURT 18153, the last one have longer side rails.
You can place multiple items inside this highland cargo carrier as long as they don’t surpass 60” by 20”, these dimensions are enough for the majority of camping gear and cargo bags.
You can use the side rails or the metal deck you attack the cargo using straps.
The weight of this carrier is 35 pounds, yes it is not the heaviest on the market but we should note that in our review.
This weight will not be an issue for most SUV owners during the installation process, all they have to do is to attach the bolts to the received and you are good to go.
There is a manual included when you buy this cargo carrier. This carrier has all the steps needed to install it in the shortest time while keeping a high safety level.
On a side note, if you worry about fuel consumption, you should install all the cargo carrier of this list on the back of your vehicle, especially if you strap large items on it, putting a carrier on the front might be safer but it will worsen the aerodynamics of you vehicle during high speed, this will result in a stronger airflow on you SUV, and the engine will need to put more power and effort to counter that, more power means more fuel consumption.
The maximum capacity of this carrier is similar to the previous one, 500 pounds, and it can fit any two-inch hitch, it is also easier to work with, easier to clean (it has nearly the same protective mesh on the sides).
The mesh that holds the cargo in place (in combination with the side rails) is reinforced using a strong metal bar along with it.
During a test trip (we do test for every item we review), we noticed that sometimes the stability of the carrier can suffer if we put some very heavy cargo on one side, especially during tight turns and when hitting a road bumper, you need to make sure to install it properly or buy an additional hitch tightener for extra safety, but to be honest in 99% of the use cases, you don’t have to do that, just put your luggage properly in the middle of the cargo carrier.
You have the option to place your plate on this carrier if needed, SUVs are perfect for going anywhere, but laws are not the same, and you should always make sure to know them to get the best traveling or camping experience for you and your family.
Multiple reflectors are included in this carrier, they can reflect light from a long distance, even in fog or at night.
The Highland 1042000 offers a great cost to value ratio, the main reason for this is the usage of steel during the manufacturing process and the internal structure, and yes, steel is prone to corrosion and it is heavier and less durable in comparison to aluminum, but it is more resistant to shocks and its structure can be easily modified by little shocks.
This is a protective coat to keep water from reaching the steel inside, you need to make sure not to remove or scratch this coat.
We used Highland 1042000 to transport bikes, skis, snowboards, and many home and garden supplies.
Tricam ACC-1F Hitch Mounted Aluminum Cargo Carrier, 500-Pound Capacity, 50-Inch by 20-Inch Platform
Best soft-shell carriers (cargo bags) for SUV
SHIELD JACKET Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Luggage Travel Bag (15 Cubic Feet) - Roof Top Cargo Carrier for Cars, Vans and SUVs - Great for Travel or Off-Roading - Double Vinyl Construction, Easy to Use
The first cargo bag in this list is the Shield Jacket, this bag contains many features that are needed for any SUV, we put it on a Toyota Tacoma to review it, and here is what we find.
Its walls made by a vinyl dual layer offers a great level of durability and protection to anything inside the bag, this bag manufacturing quality is similar to other bags that can easily last for many years even with the harshest weather conditions.
We believe that SHIELD JACKET is the best rooftop bag for SUV.
It has 15 cubic feet carrying capacity, but what you can hold inside of it depends on many factors, like the shape and the size of the item carried.
Completely waterproof, you can put anything inside this bag to and keep it protected from rain or even snow, this is done using the welded seams that seal out the water out of it.
Water might not be the only problem to care about when traveling while a cargo bag is on the roof of your SUV, sometimes, the sun can be the problem, to solve that you need to have a bag with UV protection.
If that is your case, you can use the Shield Jacket bag. Its vinyl walls are also optimized to block most of the sun UV radiation from getting inside of it.
To install it, you need to use the 8 built-in straps and attach them to your SUVs roof rack, it can also be installed on a roof basket or any combination of roof rails and crossbars that exist in most SUV’s rooftops.
The dimensions of the Shield Jacket roof cargo bag are 43” by 34” by 17”, these dimensions are similar to a many bags in the same class, but we chose to include this one because of its durability and high waterproof capacity (sadly, a lot of roof cargo bags that claims to be waterproof can’t even prevent water droplets from getting inside even in the lightest rain conditions).
The negative thing about this roof bag is the excessive noise generated at high speed when it is empty, we don’t know if that problem only occurs when you put it on a Tacoma like we did (every car has different aerodynamic performance due to the different structures and shapes), but anyway, you can solve this problem by folding and removing the bag when you don’t need it.