It happened to you too, admit it! And it happened more than once, for sure! Right after creating a list of things you would like to take with you on your next family trip, annual holiday or sporting venture, you look at all the stuff you wrote down and wonder where in the world will all that fit in your automobile’s trunk.
Truth be told, if you really want to carry all the things you need and also fit all the members of your family or crew in your car, you should probably consider a large cargo box, that will provide that much needed extra storage space.
With a cargo box, you can free up space in your car, while your sporting equipment, outdoor gear and other luggage sit nicely on the roof. Travelling with a cargo box is also safer since the passengers do not need to carry items on their lap while on the road.
Of course, not any roof box will do, so we have compiled for you a buying guide with reviews for the biggest cargo boxes available on the market at the moment. As you probably guessed already, it is not enough to know how much luggage you can fit in a roof cargo box to decide if it is right for you or your vehicle. There are a couple of features that you should look out for and you may discover them by going through these comprehensive roof cargo box reviews.
It is not enough to know the dimensions, volume, and load capacity of a roof box to figure out if it is the best product for your situation. Try not to concentrate only on the cubic feet or how wide or tall it is since you might end up buying the wrong size and shape for your vehicle.
Generally, an extra inch in length or width does not make a large difference when it comes to the amount of luggage you will be able to carry using the roof cargo box, but if it takes up too much room on your roof rack, it might cause difficulties when trying to access the hatch or block your view through the front windshield.
First of all, you need to decide what you will use it for and imagine the type of items you will be carrying so that you can choose a roof box with an appropriate design.
Do not be afraid to choose a generous size if that is what you need, because your gas mileage probably won’t be negatively affected, due to the aerodynamic design that most manufacturers choose for their roof box models.
You might not want to concentrate all your attention on the style and appearance of the roof box since the size is the one that really counts. A good cargo box should provide you with enough storage space and it should certainly not be too large for your vehicle, so make sure to consult with the car manufacturer before making a purchase.
Another aspect that you should keep in mind revolves around the mounting and removal process.
Since you are considering buying an extra-large cargo box, you might want to consider if you want to mount it by yourself or if you have someone that can help you with the installation of the roof box.
Also, do not forget to check the limit of your roof rack and your car roof as well.
The lower of these two is the one you should consider before mounting an extra-large cargo box on your vehicle and then stuffing it with luggage to its maximum load capacity. This way, you do not end up damaging your car.
If you want to make sure you buy the safest option available, look for a rugged roof cargo box. These cargo boxes, secured with the sturdiest bolts on the market, will ensure a safe trip even when you drive on bumpy roads.
Last, but not least, you should aim to buy a roof box that is as silent as possible so that you do not get distracted while driving. Indeed, most aerodynamic boxes are usually quiet, but some are better than others, as is the case of the Yakima SkyBox. This one is recommended by most vehicle owners as the most silent roof box model currently available on the market.
If you need a large and polished cargo box that is easy to use and looks great, the optimised design of the Thule Motion XT XXL Cargo Carrier is the best you can get, quality and aesthetics wise, for your money.
It has a 22-cu ft. capacity, a dual-side opening, a load capacity of roughly 165 lbs and generous dimensions: L:91.5" x W:37.5" x H:18”, which can easily accommodate any winter sports gear or equipment that you could think of, as well as bulky luggage or other types of outdoor equipment.
The enhanced design of this box, one of the biggest from Thule, provides exceptional space effectiveness, aerodynamics, and automobile compatibility. Its design also ensures that you can get to the luggage you stored in your trunk without the cargo box getting in the way. The risk of contact is minimal. There are vehicle owners that have mentioned one important aspect regarding the position of this box on the roof. Even if you mount it in a forward position to ensure there is easy access to the trunk, people who have installed this roof box on their vehicle noticed that it does not pose any threat, since it does not hang out too much in front of the car.
Mounting this cargo box could not be easier, since it comes with an extra-wide, pre-installed power click quick-mount system. The beauty of it consists of an incorporated torque indicator that makes a click sound when you have successfully installed the roof box. Also, you need not worry about leaving your roof box unlocked, since the slide lock system has separate functions for fastening and opening, and an automatic lock element, that blocks the lid and lets you know when the roof box is shut securely through a specific signal.
Besides the fact that it is easy to access regardless of weather conditions, due to the grip-friendly outer handles and supporting lid-lifters, that keep the lid from falling while you are trying to access the storage space, and make the loading and unloading processes as simple and safe as they can get, the Thule Motion XT XXL Cargo Carrier is also easy to mount.
If you are looking for stunning looks and stellar performance, look no further! This is another model from Thule that comes with practical features that enhance your road experience and provide you with the much-needed storage space to carry skis, snowboards, or other types of winter sports gear.
As far as the load capacity goes, you can carry up to 110 lbs of luggage in this roof cargo box.
With a 21-cu ft. volume and dimensions of L:92.5" x W:36" x H:18”, this roof box also features an exclusive diamond-textured AeroSkin lid surface, that boosts its durability and aerodynamics. This diamond texture finish also acts as a barrier in humid weather, keeping moisture away from your belongings, while the shape of the roof box ensures that you have a quiet journey, without any unpleasant rattling distracting your attention from the road.
It does have one small downside, related to the mounting process. It is a tool-free process, similar to other Thule roof box models, as it comes with a pre-installed quick-grip mounting system, but prior to fixing it to the roof of your vehicle, you need to open the mounting hardware and then place the box centrally on the roof bars.
However, it does have a dual-side opening feature, which makes mounting even simpler, since the mounting bolts can be accessed from either side. The process does not take long, you can mount it in less than 5 minutes, but it is a bit tricky and requires a bit more precision.
Due to the SecureLock system, you can rest assured that the box is properly locked prior to driving. The roof box is equipped with two one-key locks included, that secure the box contents and lock the box to the carrier.
We must lead with one of the best features of this roof cargo box, which is the tapered aerodynamic design, that reduces hatch interference, drag and noise. Since it has a sturdy, yet light, build, this model only weighs 75 pounds, at a 21-cu ft. volume.
This feature is excellent since it allows the mounting and removal process to be executed by only one person, while other roof boxes require extra help with the installation process. The mounting process is tool-free, and it requires a few easy steps. First, you open the lid, release the clamps, and loosen the thumbwheels.
After that, you need to position the cargo on the roof rack, then slide it back so that the clamps engage the load bars and tighten the thumbwheels. Last, engage your lever clamps and you are ready to go. Just make sure that the cargo box does not slide about on the roof rack crossbars. If it does, you should open the lid again and tighten the levers even more.
Most vehicle owners that use the Yakima Carbonite Skybox as a storage unit are impressed with the ingenious design of this cargo box, due to the fact that it minimizes the noise you might expect to hear when driving with a roof box attached to your vehicle.
While it is true that it has a smaller load capacity, of only 28 kg, it does come with dual side opening for easy access and a great latch for effortless opening and closing.
As for security, this model comes equipped with a fully integrated same key lock system (SKS). This means you can access all the Yakima products that you own with a single key. Safety is also guaranteed during loading and unloading the box, due to the internal lid stiffeners, that keep the lid in place, preventing it from collapsing while you are trying to get something from the storage space.
With a 23-cu ft. volume and a load capacity of 650 litres, plus a 5-year warranty, this roof box will certainly justify the price tag, which is a little more on the expensive side, compared to other models reviewed in this guide.
However, the dimensions of L: 92.5" W: 35.4" H: 18.5", the dual side opening and the 3-point central locking system are just some of the features that will convince you it is worth every penny.
Besides the fact that the dual-opening lid allows you to lock and load the cargo box from either side of your car, this Modula Rack roof box features their patented quick-release legs, which simplifies the mounting and removal processes. Also, it is equipped with premium hinge hardware that opens and closes smoothly every time.
The manufacturer states that the upgraded acrylic lid is strong and that you can treat it with standard car products, so the maintenance process is hassle-free.
And if you are worried about compatibility, the Modula Racks Travel Twin 650 Litre Roof Top Cargo Box Silver fits most factory and aftermarket roof-rack cross-bars, including those made by Modula, Rhino-Rack, Yakima, Thule or Sport-Rack.
You might wonder why this cargo bag is included in a buying guide for large roof cargo boxes, and the answer lies in the huge capacity of the Marksign Truck Cargo Bag.
As far as massive options go, this 26-cu ft. giant from Marksign is a dream come true for those who want to take long trips or need lots of gear and equipment on their adventures, with dimensions of 51 X 40 X 22 inches, that fit nicely especially on a truck bed.
Given the impressive proportions of this cargo bag, it is only natural that it comes equipped with four heavy-duty rubber handles so that it can be easily transported and managed. Also, each product comes with a heavy-duty bungee net that secures the bag on to the vehicle. The 4 feet X 6 feet bungee net stretches out to an impressive 8 feet X 12 feet so that your cargo bag does not blow up while on the road. For added safety, the manufacturer also includes 12 sturdy metal carabiners to provide secure and reliable tie-down. If you are wondering about storage options, Marksign provides extra drawstring bags that you can use when you want to store the cargo bag and net away.
To keep moisture out, the bag is electrically welded from 500 denier tarpaulin material without any holes, which technically makes it waterproof, along with the vinyl-coated zipper and the seals that have flaps closed with Velcro, that also contribute to keeping your belongings dry and safe in the face of humid weather conditions. Also, the material used to manufacture the Marksign Truck Cargo Bag is UV resistant, so it provides extra durability.
The only drawback you should bear in mind if you consider buying the Marksign Truck Cargo Bag with Cargo Net, even if the price is well within your budget and the specifications fit your needs, is that the product is still patent pending.
If you appreciate Thule Motion roof cargo boxes, but your automobile does not support extra-large models, you can always opt for the 18-cu ft. volume version, with external dimensions of 84.5 x 36 x 17 inches and internal dimensions of 79 x 31.5 x 15 inches.
At a weight of 46 pounds, this model features a load capacity of 165 pounds, which is the same as other larger roof box options available on the market.
To get an idea of what you can fit in a Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier XL, it can accommodate 5-7 pairs of skis and 3-5 snowboards, since it is designed for optimal space efficiency, as well as vehicle fit and aerodynamics.
It features the Thule quick-mount system that clicks when you mount and secure it properly to the roof of your vehicle, as well as the dual-side opening, that allows quick access from both sides of the car.
Just like other Thule roof box models, it comes with grip-friendly handles and supporting lid-lifters that ensure effortless access. The box is easy to open and close regardless of environmental circumstances, while the lid automatically locks in place and indicates a secure closure. This model also provides full trunk access with no roof box contact, due to its forward position on the roof of your car and is compatible with the same key lock system.
The XL version of Thule Motion XT also comes equipped with an extra-wide PowerClick quick-mount system, so the installation process is quick and hassle-free, just as it is with any other Thule roof box.
This is an excellent choice for those who are not particularly keen on dual-side or passenger side opening systems since it is a roof cargo box that opens from the rear.
The SportRack Vista XL Cargo Box has an aerodynamic design and features angled lines, which support gas efficiency. With dimensions of 63" x 38" x 19", the roof box provides 18-cu ft. of waterproof storage space, compatible with virtually any roof rack, so you probably will not need to update the factory or aftermarket roof-rack crossbars that you already have installed.
As for the load capacity, it can accommodate up to 100 pounds of gear, equipment, or baggage.
The mounting and removing processes are remarkably simple, as the cargo box comes equipped with quick-release hardware. The SportRack Vista Cargo Box was designed for tool-free installation that lasts no more than a few minutes. It attaches to rack system crossbars with U-bolts, so once you have positioned it correctly, U-bolts can be inserted from below and around the bars, and into the interior of the storage space.
As for security aspects, this model comes with an integrated lock cylinder into the rear opening, that ensures your gear and baggage are always securely stored.
The ABS construction that is durable and UV-resistant, as well as the fact that it fits SportRack roof rack systems, square, round and most factory racks, recommends this rear opening cargo box as a great choice for those who need some extra-large rooftop storage room, that is adaptable and reliable. Not to mention that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty! SportRack warrants all products during the time that you, the original retail purchaser, own the product for the life of that product. Of course, the warranty terminates if you transfer the purchased product to someone else. Also, it does not apply for defects that resulted from normal wear and tear, cosmetic rust, scratches, accidents, unlawful vehicle operation, or modification of, or any types of repair of a load carrier system other than those authorized by SportRack.
Another great model from SportRack, Horizon – XL has a rugged construction, made from impact-resistant ABS material, and offers a 17-cu ft. volume of storage that fits SportRack Proof Rack Systems, square, round, and most factory racks.
With dimensions of L 91.0" x W 30.7" x H 16.5", it can accommodate up to 4-6 pairs of skis (maximum length - 216 cm) or 3-4 snowboards.
Safety and security features for this model include the passenger side opening, which allows safe access, away from traffic, and a secure centralized lock for easy opening and closing.
The mounting and removal processes are similar to other roof boxes from SportRack, as the product comes with a quick-release attachment kit included.
For those looking for a high-profile rooftop storage capacity that is versatile and safe, with added stability, and durable design, Skyline XL from SportRack is the ideal cargo box.
With a capacity of 18-cu ft., this model can accommodate up to 100 pounds of gear, equipment, and baggage, which makes it perfect for longer trips and vacations.
Manufactured using a high-density plastic, resilient to high-impact strikes, humidity, and UV rays, this roof box guarantees that your belongings are always properly shielded, due to its high strength and safety levels.
Among other key features of this roof box, we should also mention the U-bar mounting system for quick installation and removal, the two side oriented locks that secure contents in the box and the latches at the front and rear that provide extra security on the road and ensure that the box lid stays closed in high wind weather conditions.
Along the box’s edge, the user can easily notice the locking cylinders that ensure its firm attachment to the roof rack of the vehicle, even in extreme weather conditions. Also designed for extra stability are the ridges situated along the bottom of the cargo box. They were added to make sure the box fits perfectly against the vehicle’s load bars. This way, you can rest assured that the SportRack Skyline XL Cargo Box will not rock or shift when you are driving at a higher speed.
For safety reasons, this model has a passenger-side opening, and it comes equipped with a U-bolt mounting hardware kit that allows you to mount it properly, avoiding the risk of shifting positions while you are driving the vehicle. You may notice some ridges along the bottom of the cargo box, which are destined to ensure a perfect fit against your vehicle’s load bars. This means you do not have to worry about rocking or shifting when the car is in motion.
Similar to other roof box models from this manufacturer, the SportRack Skyline XL Cargo Box fits SportRack roof rack systems, square, round and most factory racks.
This product also benefits from the limited lifetime warranty, just like other roof box models from Sport Rack. The manufacturer warrants all products during the time that you, the original retail purchaser, own the product for the life of that product. Of course, the warranty expires if you transfer the acquired product to someone else. You might also want to bear in mind that the warranty does not apply for faults that resulted from routine wear and tear, cosmetic rust, scratches, accidents, improper vehicle operation, or modification of, or any types of repair of a load carrier system other than those approved by SportRack.
With dimensions of L: 78.75" W: 32.3" H: 15.75" and a capacity of 18-cu ft., the Malone Profile 18S Rooftop Carrier is a less expensive option for those looking for a roof box that can compete with Thule or Yakima, but does not involve a hefty budget.
It has a sleek design, in neutral tones of silver and black, that is compatible with a lot of vehicles. Even if it might seem long and heavy at first, its lightweight design makes the mounting and removal process feel like child’s play.
The load capacity is the same as for any other extra-large rooftop cargo box, so you benefit from up to 165 lbs worth of luggage on your trips. It can accommodate anything you can think of, from fishing rods to skis, snowboards or sleeping bags and other types of outdoor gear and equipment. You can even use it to carry heavy items, such as musical instruments or evacuation supplies.
Besides its dimensions, this roof box also features an eye-catching UV and scratch-resistant design, that can withstand even the harshest weather conditions.
If you are concerned with the safety features, you will be pleased to find that it is equipped with a centralized locking system.
As for compatibility, the Malone Profile 18S Rooftop Carrier can fit any type of crossbars, from 25 to 40 inches in size.
Given its credentials and extraordinary features, you would expect nothing less than a lifetime warranty for this product, and the manufacturer provides just that. Thus, you should expect to get the best bang for your buck with this purchase.
If you require more information, please check these references
Car Top Carrier , article, "www.thule.com", retrieved on, Sat 03-October-2020
Auto Rooftop Cargo Carriers , article, "www.walmart.com", retrieved on, Sat 03-October-2020
Roof Boxes , article, "www.halfords.com", retrieved on, Sat 03-October-2020