Roof Cargo Box or Roof Cargo Bag – Which one is better?

Roof Cargo Box or Roof Cargo Bag – Which one is better?

If you are certain that you need extra storage space for your travels and have already made up your mind about buying a roof storage box, you are probably wondering which one of the products available on the market is the right one for you.

If you already narrowed it down to choosing between a cargo box or a cargo bag, there are still some aspects that may hinder your decision-making process.

Deciding whether you would be better off buying a cargo bag or a cargo box can be tricky, to say the least. Even if the differences between the two roof storage systems may seem clear, you should try to fully understand the features and benefits that each of them brings before making a final decision.

This guide aims to clarify the difference between cargo bags and cargo boxes, to help you choose the best option, based on your available budget and other personal requirements. What you intend to use them for is a critical factor in making a decision.

Since both carrier systems have some advantages and some disadvantages, this guide helps you see the good and the bad that comes with each of them, so you can have a clearer picture before purchasing a cargo bag or a cargo box.

The Cargo Roof Box – Overview and advantages

A cargo box is usually known best for its security features. The strong hard-shell casing, combined with sturdy locks that protect your belongings, offers the owner peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that they can leave the car and the storage box unattended, without risking losing their luggage.

Similar to a second car trunk, the cargo box protects the luggage and all the equipment that you carry from bad weather and other destructive factors.

The fact that a cargo roof box can protect your belongings from impact as well, combined with a storage capacity of up to 22 cubic feet, surely recommends this “second trunk” as the best option available on the market for storing your luggage during your journeys

The Cargo Roof Bag – Overview and advantages

A roof cargo bag offers the advantage of carrying up to 18 cubic feet of luggage, which is nearly as much as you could fit into a cargo box.

One of the main advantages of a cargo bag resides in its minimal requirements when it comes to storing the carrier system. As opposed to a cargo roof box, that might require a lot of storage space when not in use, a cargo roof bag can be folded into a small block, which means you can store it virtually anywhere you’d like.

If you want to carry unusually shaped items, the cargo bag is the right choice for you, as they are very versatile storage systems.

A roof cargo bag is the best option for those that prefer spending less money on the additional storage space.

Main Differences Between Cargo Boxes vs. Cargo Bags

Knowing the key benefits of both the cargo box and the cargo bag might seem to make your decision a bit easier, but purchasing one of them without knowing the main differences between the two storage systems may lead to an ill-advised acquisition.

There are several aspects you should consider in order to make a decision that will bring you the most satisfying experience.

Roof Rack Compatibility

Before buying a cargo box to boost the storage capacity of your car, you should first find out if the roof box model you are going to purchase is compatible with the factory-installed roof rack since you can’t carry your luggage in a roof box that is not properly attached to the roof of your vehicle.

Cargo bags, on the other hand, do not require such prior research, since it does not matter if you have a roof rack installed or not.

Storage Capacity

When it comes to storage capacity, both offer similar specifications, but depending on the type of gear and luggage you would like to load into the storage system, you might want to keep in mind that cargo bags have a limit of 18 cubic feet, while a cargo box can contain up to 22 cubic feet of baggage. Therefore, for those who want to travel with friends and family and require maximum storage space, a cargo box is the best bet.

Security Features

As you probably guessed it already, cargo boxes are noticeably superior to cargo bags in this area, since they are manufactured from durable material and they come equipped with sturdy locking systems.

If a superior security level is what you seek, cargo bags may not provide that for you, as they can be slit open with a sharp instrument. Even if you do not plan on carrying valuable gear and equipment, cargo boxes are the better choice when it comes to the protection of your belongings.


Have you considered where you will be keeping your cargo box or cargo bag when you do not use it?

If you buy a roof box, it is not advisable to keep it mounted when you do not use it to carry items, so you might need a garage or some other large storage space. If you have limited storage space, you could buy storage straps, that hold your roof box suspended so that it does not get in the way of your daily activities, or you could opt for a roof cargo bag, as they are versatile and can be folded into virtually any shape.


If your budget allows it, you could spend a little more and buy a cargo box, since it brings advantages that the cargo bag does not. If you aim at spending less on an additional storage system, cargo bags are less expensive.

Which One Is the Best Option?

To figure out which one is better, you should consider aspects such as cost, security, storage capacity, storage after use and last, but not least, compatibility with your vehicle.

Cargo bags come in first when you consider price as a decisive factor. If you are looking to make a purchase based on safety and security, a cargo box requires a larger budget but brings some features that the cargo bags do not have.

Another aspect that might tip the scales towards one option or another is the need for additional accessories, such as roof rails or storage straps.

Of course, you can not decide which one is better without checking if the product is compatible with your car first, as well as reading reviews from customers that already own the roof cargo box or roof cargo bag that you’d like to purchase.

Other Questions

Do cargo bags scratch your roof?

There is a danger of damage to your car with the roof bag on the hood of your car. There are 2 ways to overcome this, and these are:

  • When the bag is on the car roof, you must make sure all of the lines are tied down, so the bag cannot slip, thus reducing the scratching
  • You can buy a Roof Pad which goes under the bag. This is tied to the roof of the car, then the roof bag goes over the top of this. Any rubbing done by the bag, happens to the roof pad and not to your cars roof.

Can I use a cargo bag without a roof rack?

When using a cargo bag without a roof rack, I would use a roof pad. This covers the roof of your car and stops any scratching


Which is smaller? The roof box or roof bag?

The roof bag is easier to pack up and put away. However the rooftop box is far more secure than the bag, so it really depends on what you will carry


If you require more information, please check these references

Examining influence of a rooftop cargo , article, "aip.scitation.org", retrieved on, Mon 05-October-2020

AOAFUN Car Roof Box Waterproof Cargo Bag , article, "www.toolstation.com", retrieved on, Mon 05-October-2020

Vehicle Roof Cargo Bag 458L , article, "www.amazon.com", retrieved on, Mon 05-October-2020


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Nicholas le page

Detail-orientated Auto Finance Manager who is adept at meeting customer expectations and resolving issues in a timely, professional manner.

Skilled at tracking customer balances, approving loan applications and verifying customer information. Specialise in establishing productive relationships with customers seeking financing options.

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