Cargo carriers for SUV [THE COMPLETE GUIDE]

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

If you are trying to find the best cargo carrier for SUV, then, the CURT 18153 is most likely the one you are looking for.
The basket design of the Curt 18153 allows it to carry a cargo of multiple shapes while keeping this cargo safe and stable.
This cargo carrier is practical for many things like, transporting heavy and bulky luggage, transporting heavy camping gear, bikes, folded tents, and many other things.
A steel carbide tube with a strong and durable structure can hold the luggage with a weight of up to 500 lbs.
The internal dimensions of this carrier are 60” by 24”, you can easily put a wide variety of items on it.
You can also fold it if you like to keep your cargo carrier attached to your SUV for a long time.
This folding feature is possible because of the included folding shank, this shank plays also a role of minimizing the possibility of hitting road bumpers and increasing road clearance.
This steel is coated to prolong its life span and resistance to harsh weather elements, if you view in article where we reviewed a CURT roof basket or cargo carrier you will notice that they do the same to the majority of their products, the black powder coating is difficult to scratch and also UV resistant and waterproof.
The stability of this CURT SUV carrier is rarely matched by the other alternatives, its balanced, while its side rails have a mesh 6” high to hold the cargo in place and prevents it from falling (you still not to use a belt or a rope to secure the cargo for the road safety), you have also the option to put a cargo bag (check the list below), a cargo bag allows you to put smaller things to free up space inside your SUV.
To increase the road safety, multiple road refractors are included in this SUV cargo carrier to make it more noticeable by vehicles behind you during various weather conditions.
Before mounting this carrier you need to be sure that your SUV has a proper receiver hitch.
You can mount the CURT 18153 in the back or the front of you SUV, the right one depends on you, if you place it in the front you will have the option the add a second carrier to the back, the added benefit of installing a cargo carrier on the front of you vehicle is that you are in control of the speed of your vehicle, and you don’t need to worry about someone bumping into you carrier from behind during foggy weather for example.
Mounting a cargo carrier on the front is also useful if you are going on a safari or a long-range trip with a large family, you can combine the cargo capacity of the CURT carrier in the front, your internal SUV space, and a trailer towed on the back.
Cleaning a cargo carrier before and after using it is an essential step to do to keep your vehicle good look and the safety of your cargo, the mesh that holds the luggage is easy to clean, you can use multiple cleaning products and water to do so without worrying about water reaching the steel under the protective e-coat.
The resume all of this review, the CURT 18153 has a combination of good lightweight and strong design, ease of installation, proper road safety and clearance level, long life span and durability (especially its anti-corrosion coat), makes it the best basket cargo carrier for SUV.

Highland 1042000 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier – Black

Highland 1042000 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier for SUV- 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

Tricam ACC-1F Hitch Mounted Aluminum SUV Cargo Carrier
The Tricam ACC-1F is the best aluminum SUV cargo carrier, it is more advanced and has more features and strength than any of its competitors at that price point.
It can be extremely useful to expand your SUV cargo capacity in case you don’t have enough internal space inside or you just need to put any bulky items inside.
You can place many cargo bags or luggage inside this 50-inch by 20-inch basket.
What is special and different about this cargo carrier is that it is made of a combination of steel and aluminum, this combination results in a lightweight but strong and sturdy structure.
In can mount easily on any 2-inch receiver (hitch), this type of hitches is available on the majority of SUVs that exist today, if yours lack this receiver, you can have a roof bag, it offers the same level of protection, and you can put in on a roof rack (you can view the other articles on our website to check the best one for your particular vehicle).
The lightweight aluminum makes it easy to remove and store, and with its 25 pounds of weight, it is lighter than the Highland 1042000, while having the same carrying capacity, 500 pounds (or 276 kg if you are living outside of the US).
The installation process of this cargo carrier will take less than 20 minutes, and you do not have an engineering diploma to do it, its assembly and installation simplicity is one of the reasons to include it in this list.

Best soft-shell carriers (cargo bags) for SUV

And after finishing with the cargo carrier baskets, now is the time for roof bags, also known as soft shell cargo carriers, these bags can be fitted to the majority of roof racks and roof boxes, if you don’t have one, we did review the best some of the best roof racks for SUVs, you can check that to get the best one for your needs.

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.

Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag (15 Cubic Feet)

If the Shield jacket roof cargo bag is not available or you don’t like it, the next best thing is the Keeper 07203-1 15 cubic feet bag.
This rooftop cargo bag is very spacious and it can fit most of the roof racks that are available for SUVs, you only need to make sure that you can attach straps to four sides, these straps are used on the four sides to fix the roof bag and secure it especially when going at high speed on the road, if you can’t strap this bag on four sides, you need to limit your speed on the road and pay more attention to the wind speed.
It can fit a lot of items, like stoves, sleeping bags, and many, many more things as long as they can fit its dimensions 44” by 34” by 17”.
As we said before, being waterproof is a must for any product to get into this list, the Keeper 07203 is in fact a good one, its waterproof capacity is great for traveling in harsh weather areas, or even if you are traveling to an area that has unpredictable weather patterns.
The walls of this bag are made from a high-quality rubber with a nylon overlay, this, in combination with a special manufacturing process, makes sure that even if you put some relatively pointy items inside of the bag its walls will not rupture easily, keeping everything safe and protected.
Its soft design makes it easy to fold and also remove to store it, removing an empty roof bag can be beneficial to minimize any possible noise and fuel consumption.
Soft designs are also loved because they are very simple to use when you try to fit something bulky inside, this can be extremely handy when you try to put your luggage inside the bag when you are tired after a camping or a safari trip.
This bag does have protection against harmful sun rays and UV radiations, put anything that you like to secure while clearing more space inside the trunk of your SUV.

Rightline Gear 100D90 Top Duffle cargo SUV Bag

In the time you are reading this article, this roof cargo bag is the last choice in our list, the rightline gear 100 is different from the previously mentioned bags, and now let’s start with the review.
First, the design, this bag has a relatively minimal and clean design, we liked that a lot, mainly because it doesn’t ruin the look of your SUV, in this area, it is only matched by the top of the line roof boxes like the Thule ones.
The Rightline Gear 100D90 is completely flexible, you can either put it on the roof of your car or add a plate in its bottom side if you don’t have any flat surface in the place where you need to put it.
And as we noted before, waterproofing is a must, and the Rightline Gear 100D90 is waterproof thanks to its double seams that close the bag firmly and prevents the water from leaking inside it, and of course, the seams needs high-quality zippers with them, a durable Urethane Coated zipper with hook-&-loop-close technology-enabled cover resisted a rainstorm for hours without leaking, if the waterproof performance is the number one factor that you judge a roof cargo bag with, then congrats, you have found what you are looking for.
In comparison to the Keeper 07203-1 bag that we reviewed before in this list, this one can be attached to your SUV or car even if you don’t have a roof rack, all you need is to attach the included straps to the roof rails or any attaching points on your vehicle.
With a weight of only 4 pounds and an attaching capacity to any car in existence right now, this new entry in our list is a hard choice to ignore.
When you get this roof cargo bag from Amazon (check the button below), you will find a setup guide with everything you need to know about this bag, a number of 4 car clips and two attachment straps.
This list of the best cargo carrier for SUV was made after months of deep market research, manufacturing companies’ marketing and ads can be misleading sometimes so we had to test each contender to get the right ones, please help us by spreading the word and sharing this article to your preferable social media, and don’t forget that you can contact us if you have any questions.
We also have other articles that you can take a look at, like the best Thule roof boxes and the best safari roof racks for SUVs, and much more.
We will update this list when we find better cargo carriers to add, we will also remove anyone if we notice a drop in the quality of manufacturing.

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