Are you planning a road trip and need extra storage space for your luggage? Or perhaps you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a way to transport your gear safely? Whatever your needs, a roof cargo box can provide the solution.
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the largest rooftop cargo boxes available on the market.
What is a Roof Cargo Box?
A roof cargo box, also known as a rooftop box or cargo carrier, is a storage container that can be mounted on the roof of your car. They come in various sizes, with the biggest roof box for cars offering up to 22 cubic feet of additional storage space.
Many cars have limited cargo space, but these big roof cargo boxes provide enough room for all your belongings, even when traveling with children, pets, or camping gear.
Both hard-shelled cargo boxes and soft-sided rooftop sacks keep cargo secure from intrusive thieves while also protecting against the elements, but there are some important differences between the two styles of cargo carrier.
Key Differences Between Cargo Bags and Cargo Boxes
A hard rooftop cargo carrier, also known as a roof cargo box, requires crossbars and a roof rack framework. Although they are more costly and difficult to install, they provide better security for high-value things such as skis, snowboards, or other open-air gear used for camping or bicycling. Your hard shell rooftop cargo box will come with a secure locking system.
On the other hand, a cargo bag uses a simple tie-down systems with adjustable straps, robust hooks, and zippered pockets and can be loaded on top of a car roof even without the use of rack systems. Many soft cargo carriers have watertight seams that are welded or taped, and also provide secure locking systems.
Soft roof packs are lighter, less demanding to stack and store, and do not require crossbars, but they’re constrained in what they can safely carry, and indeed, even though numerous of the best-rated items are made of strong and weatherproof materials, they can still break or drop separated at the creases.
The Best Biggest Roof Cargo Boxes Compared
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When it comes to choosing the best large roof box, there are several factors to consider, including the size, design, material, and ease of installation. Here are some of our top picks:
Why Choose a Large Roof Cargo Box?
A big cargo box offers several advantages. Firstly, it provides ample storage space, allowing you to carry more luggage, gear, or equipment. Secondly, storing items on the roof can free up space inside your vehicle, making your journey more comfortable.
If you are not keen on towing a trailer for all your additional gear, then a large cargo box can be the perfect solution
10 of the Best Large Roof Cargo Boxes On The Market
The Sport Rack Vista XL Raise Opening Cargo Box is one of the largest roof cargo box on the market. It has an 18-cubic-foot capacity and fits square, circular, and most plant roof racks.
With tool-free mounting options, the sport Rack Vista XL may be reached from either side or the back of a car, making it simple to grab items from a variety of positions.
The sport Rack Vista XL is UV-resistant and long-lasting, thanks to its ABS structure. The Sport Rack Vista XL is 63 inches long, 38 inches wide, and 19 inches tall, and it can hold up to 100 pounds of baggage.
Runner Up: Carbonite Skybox by Yakima
The Carbonite Skybox by Yakima is among the biggest roof box family. The largest model has up to 21 cubic feet of volume, a load capacity of 28 kilograms, a dual-sided opening, and a super latch system.
Its most appealing characteristic is that it can be installed without the use of any equipment, making it extremely user-friendly.
It has a long, streamlined form with an aerodynamic element that reduces wind noise and drag. The box also has a locking cover to keep it safe from theft.
Runner Up: Cargo Carrier Thule Motion XT XXL
For large loads, Motion XT XXL is the best option. It has a storage capacity of 22 cubic feet and a total load capacity of 165 pounds.
It also comes with the Power Click quick-mounting mechanism, which makes installation simple and secure.
The Motion XT XXL stands out with a professional fit, finish, and two color option
Also Consider: Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box
This versatile roof-mounted cargo box is made from a durable finish and can hold up to 165 pounds. The Thule Force XT is designed to fit a wide array of vehicles. Its clever quick-mount system clicks into place when the box is secure and tightened, ensuring a proper fit.
A dual-sided lockable compartment also allows for security and easy unloading when needed. The 18-cubic-foot Thule Force XT can hold up to five to seven pairs of skis or three to four snowboards.
If the high-end Motion doesn’t pique your interest, you must choose between the Force XT and the Yakima Skybox.
Both models reflect the ideal middle ground for many users, although we give the Yakima a slight advantage for a few minor reasons.
Best Medium Cargo Box: Thule Pulse Medium Rooftop Cargo Box
The Thule Pulse Medium is a 67-inch long, 33-inch wide, and 16-inch-high rooftop freight carrier that can be opened with one hand for quick loading and unloading.
The addition of a central locking system improves security. This unit contains 14 cubic feet of storage for snow-filled activities and can fit a few sets of skis (up to 155 cm) or three to four snowboards.
Also Consider: Sport Rack Horizon Alpine Cargo Box
This rooftop cargo carrier is made of impact-resistant ABS material and fits square, round, and most factory racks. This is one of the best roof boxes for camping. You’ll love its convenience when you go camping with it.
It includes a centralized locking mechanism and a passenger-side aperture for cargo access that doesn’t obstruct traffic.
The Sport Rack Horizon Alpine Luggage Box can store five to six pairs of skis (up to 180 cm) or three to four snowboards while carrying other cargo or camping supplies.
Also Consider: Thule Force Cargo Box
Thule Force is one of the best cargo boxes currently on the market. This carrier comes in various sizes, ranging from 13 to over 21 cubic feet.
The product boasts impressive features such as a dual-sided opening, easy installation, and a built-in lock for security. It can also be put on any roof rack, regardless of manufacturer.
Best Long But Compact Cargo Box: INNO BRM660BK Wedge Cargo Box
If you park in a garage or in enclosed parking lots frequently, you should think hard about getting a rooftop box that has a large capacity but slimline design.
Many of these rooftop boxes add nearly two feet to the height of your car’s roof (including the height of the box and the rack), which is a no-no for SUVs and minivans.
The good news is that those who need to keep a low profile have a range of options. The INNO BRM660BK Wedge Cargo Box is one of the best-looking wedges in the category, with a contoured shape that provides 11 inches of depth while only rising 9.6 inches above your rack’s crossbars.
The Wedge has more to offer than just clearance: it features a high fit and finishes, with tool-free installation, a beautiful and aerodynamic form that reduces wind noise while accommodating a rear antenna and door, and a dual-sided opening that improves access and organization.
You’ll only get 11 cu ft of storage, which is well shy of the largest models we’ve discussed here, but bear in mind that it can still hold 6 snowboards, or 8 skis – which is still pretty impressive for something so slimline.
The INNO is the most low-profile rooftop box on the market, but a few versions come close behind. The Thule Pulse Alpine (also 11 cu. ft.) rises 11.3 inches off the crossbars (almost 1.5 inches higher than the Wedge 660) and only opens on the passenger side, but it costs under $500.
Largest Roof Bag: RoofPax Car Roof Bag and Rooftop Cargo Carrier
Although we are creeping into cargo bags territory here rather than boxes, we couldn’t leave this one off when discussing the largest possible cargo solutions.
The RoofPax soft rooftop cargo carrier is a bigger cargo carrier than others in its class and is amongst the best quality with a capacity of 19 cubic feet.
This cargo bag is tough and has dual-seam technology and waterproof double zippers. It also has a double water-repellent coating, making it a watertight load carrier. It also comes with a lifetime warranty on buckles and zippers and can be used with or without roof rails.
It has a protective pad built-in and ten elastic Velcro straps and grows to about 20 inches in height when filled to capacity. It has a 47.2-inch long and 35.4-inch-wide footprint.
This product also comes in a slightly smaller 15 cubic-foot bag which extends to the same height but has a smaller footprint (43.3 inches long and 33.5 inches wide)
Also Consider: Fivklemnz Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier
The Fivklemnz 15-cubic-foot roof bag has an anti-slip surface and adjustable straps to hold the carrier in place without harming the car.
The Fivklemnz soft rooftop cargo carrier is a best-seller in the marketplace, accommodating everything from multiple suitcases to a full camp setup with sleeping bags and a tent.
This device is under seven pounds in weight and expands to almost a foot in height. It measures 43 inches in length and 33 inches in width.
Largest Overall Cargo Solution: Marksign Truck Cargo Bag with Cargo Net
So, technically, this isn’t a cargo box either. However, with a capacity of 26 cubic feet, we couldn’t pass up Marksign’s colossal alternative if you really want to maximize your cargo carrying capacity.
It measures 51 x 40 x 22 inches (130 x 100 x 55cm) and has enough room to contain everything you’ll need on your trip. This fits neatly on any vehicle bed for those of you with trucks.
This product contains four heavy-duty rubber handles to make it easy to move. We looked at several designs and found this one to be a lot easier to work with. It’s waterproof, and each bag comes with a heavy-duty 4′ x 6′ bungee net to keep the bag tight on your truck.
The net measures 8 feet by 12 feet and keeps your bag from blowing up while you’re driving. To provide a solid tie-down, Marksign contains 12 robust metal carabiners.
The cargo bag is electrically welded from 500D tarpaulin without any microscopic holes to keep water out. Vinyl is used to coat the zipper.
The seals include velcro-closed flaps, so you can be sure to keep the rain out. Because the material is UV-resistant, it will last for a long period.
The cargo bag comes with extra drawstring bags for storage of the cargo bag and net as a bonus.
Best Large Cargo Carrier
We must admit that we were undecided when it came to selecting our favorite rooftop cargo box. With a high-end fit and quality, very easy-to-use mounting hardware, and a slide lock handle and lock mechanism that’s hard to better, the Motion XT is undoubtedly the “best” all-rounder.
However, not every user requires the greatest, especially when “very good” can suffice for far less. And therefore, we see the Yakima Skybox on more rooftops than any other carrier: for under $600 for the 16-cubic-foot model ($649 for the 18-cubic-foot model), you get robust storage for your goods as well as a tool-free installation that works with most factory and aftermarket racks.
There’s a Skybox for everyone, with sizes ranging from 12 to 21 cubic feet and options including a low-clearance (“Lo”) model and a compact “12” that allows enough room on your rack for a bike or boat.
Both the Motion XT and the Skybox are made to survive the rigors of the road, with tough ABS plastic and aerodynamic forms that taper at the back to fit your car’s antenna and hatch.
However, details count, and the Yakima falls short here. The turn handle requires a touch more energy than the Thule’s and isn’t as simple to operate with only one hand (it also tends to get stuck when frozen).
Biggest Roof Rack vs. Largest Capacity Roof Box
While the biggest roof rack provides a platform for carrying various items, the largest capacity roof box offers enclosed storage space, protecting your belongings from the elements. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs and preferences.
How to Choose the Biggest Roof Cargo Box
Compatibility with Roof Length
If you have a top-hinged trunk, it’s critical that the box fits smoothly with the roof and rack of your vehicle. To begin, move the front crossbar forward as far as possible (some are not adjustable). Then open the hatch and measure the back hatch to the middle of the front crossbar of the vehicle.
That distance must exceed the cargo box’s hatch clearance, as indicated on the manufacturer’s website. You’ll also want to ensure the length doesn’t obstruct visibility or interfere with any antennae in the front.
Setup of the Rack
This is rack 101 if you’ve never had a rooftop setup before. The mount is a component that mounts to the top of your vehicle and runs lengthwise (front to back). Vehicles typically have factory mounts such as raised rails, tracks, or permanent points.
If you’re working with a blank roof, you can either install a rack permanently or choose a system that works with the door jamb.
Two crossbars or load bars are attached to the mount through four appropriate towers and are perpendicular to the roof. Crossbars come in a variety of sizes and shapes.
Each cargo box requires unique crossbars, so check to see if those crossbars are suitable for your vehicle and mount or if an adapter is needed.
Carrying Capacity & Purpose
Look at your gear before you go shopping for a rooftop cargo box. What do you need and plan to bring on your trips? Camp chairs and sleeping bags, for example, are typically shorter or packable and fit nicely in rooftop cargo bins.
For example, skis, paddles, golf clubs, and strollers will require a larger box; ensure the boxes’ inside dimensions match the length of your equipment.
To help visualize the entire volume, read the width and height of each box. The cubic-foot gear capacity is also listed on the boxes (or inches or liters). The larger your group is, the more space you’ll need for everyone’s gear.
There are two weight factors to consider: the cargo box weight and the box’s weight capacity. Without any cargo, the weight of the cargo crates shown below ranges from 20 to 66 pounds. The bulk of these carriers can comfortably carry up to 165 pounds. However, some can only carry around 110 or even 50 pounds.
If you need to move bigger objects, don’t skimp on the cargo box’s structural integrity. Stowing your heaviest items inside the vehicle, such as a fully loaded cooler, is easier and safer. Weight limits for each box should be checked with the manufacturer. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the suggested maximum load as well.
Cargo boxes are made of tough plastic, and a few feature extra reinforcements, such as the steel around the bottom of the Thule Vector.
Others have an extra layer of protection to increase their durability and weather resistance. The Pelican BX140R Cargo Case, for example, has a corrosion-resistant coating.
The quality of the hardware, such as latches and lock systems, varies, which is reflected in the price. Overall, the weight of the box is influenced by its size and materials.
Resistant to Water
Due to a waterproof exterior and weather sealing, most rooftop cargo box designs are quite weather-resistant, and they’ll generally perform a good job of blocking snow and rain.
None of these cargo crates, on the other hand, claim to be entirely watertight. Any water-sensitive or valuable cargo should be stored in a dry bag or within the rig.
Extra features for comfort, practicality, and ease of use are included in a few of the top-shelf designs. For example, we like the Thule Vector’s inside LED lights and the Yakima CBX Solar’s integrated solar panel with two USB connections.
Frequently Asked Questions on Large Cargo Boxes
The size of roof cargo boxes can vary, but some of the biggest on the market can offer up to 22 cubic feet of storage space. Brands like Thule and Yakima offer some of the largest models.
The cost of roof cargo boxes can be attributed to the materials used, the design, and the brand. They are typically made from high-quality, durable materials to withstand various weather conditions and protect your belongings. The design and engineering of these boxes also contribute to their cost – we explain the cost of cargo boxes in more detail here.
Yes, roof cargo boxes are generally worth the investment, especially for those who frequently travel or need extra storage space. They provide a secure and convenient way to transport your belongings without taking up interior space in your vehicle.
The largest roof boxes can offer up to 22 cubic feet of storage space. However, checking the weight limit of your vehicle’s roof is important before purchasing a large roof box. Consider a cargo bag if you need additional storage beyond this size.
Yes, as long as they are properly installed and secured, roof cargo boxes are safe for long-distance travel. It’s important to regularly check the box and its mounts during your trip to ensure everything is still secure, we talk more about the correct way to position your roof box here.
Most roof cargo boxes are designed to fit a variety of roof racks. However, checking the specifications and compatibility before purchasing is always a good idea. We have reviewed many cargo carriers for specific vehicle makes and models – see all our detailed guides here.
You can buy roof cargo boxes from various sources, including auto parts stores, outdoor recreation stores, and online marketplaces like Amazon. Always check the dimensions to ensure you’re getting the size you need.
Yes, some outdoor recreation stores and auto equipment rental services offer roof cargo boxes for rent. This can be a cost-effective option if you only need the extra storage space occasionally.
The Thule Motion XT XXL is one of the largest Thule cargo boxes available, offering 22 cubic feet of storage space.
Most roof cargo boxes are designed to fit a variety of roof racks. However, checking the product specifications for potential limitations is important.
Roof cargo boxes are designed to be weather-resistant, protecting your belongings from rain, snow, and sun. However, in extreme weather conditions, it’s always a good idea to check your manufacturer’s guidelines.
Installation can vary by model, but generally, you’ll need to secure the box to your car’s roof rack with the provided mounts and hardware. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for specific installation steps.
Consider factors like size, shape, capacity, ease of installation, and the type of items you plan to transport. Also, consider the box’s impact on fuel efficiency and whether it will fit in your garage or parking space.
To maintain your roof cargo box, clean it regularly with mild soap and water. Check the locks and hinges for any signs of wear or damage. Store it in a cool, dry place to prevent any damage when not in use.
Yes, most roof cargo boxes are designed for easy removal and storage when not in use. Some even come with a protective cover for storage. Just be sure to clean and dry it before storing it to prevent any damage.
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