6 Ways to Add More Cargo Space to a Car? A Helpful Guide

6 Ways to Add More Cargo Space to A Car? A Helpful Guide

Perhaps your family is becoming larger, maybe you need more room for the camping equipment, or fancy some extra storage space. Whatever your reason might be, a cargo carrier is an excellent option. However, the only problem is the number of designs and styles you can choose between. So, how do I add more cargo space to my car?

When wanting to add more cargo space, there are multiple options you’re presented with. The primary is rooftop boxes, bags, baskets, hitch-mounted, or sport-specific cargo carriers. Whichever you choose will provide the same benefit, the ability to transport more goods. 

Undoubtedly, not all cargo carriers are suitable for everyone, and some people might obtain more advantages from the different types. Therefore, we decided to develop this comprehensive guide. Below, we detail the available cargo carriers for cars, so you can determine which option is most valuable for your application.

What cargo carriers are available for cars?

As mentioned, there are five primary categories for cargo carriers: boxes, bags, baskets, hitch-mounted, and sport-specific. To decipher which option is suitable for your situation, we recommend becoming knowledgeable on the following:

Rooftop cargo boxes

Let’s start with the most popular and well-known, which is a rooftop cargo box. These have been on the market for decades and are still considered the most favorable within the market.

It consists of a hard-shelled box secured to the car’s roof via mostly universal attachments. A car will need roof rails and crossbars to attach to this storage device. These are the foundations of cargo boxes, as their arm-like connections wrap around the crossbar and tighten.

The benefits of these range widely, depending on your application. However, many like this cargo carrier option because it’s durable, waterproof, and lockable. Combining all these essential transportation features allows users to travel with goods safely.

Within this category alone, there are many different options you can choose from. Again, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all box. Because of the various application from car owners, people are looking for specific weight capacities, volumes, and sizes.

Best Rooftop cargo boxes  

As mentioned, there are a ton of unique cargo boxes within the markets. However, there are still leading brands. See the below recommendations to better visualize the type of models/companies you should consider.

Product NameWeightVolumeSizeWeight capacity
Thule Vector on amazon59.3 lbs / 23.4 kg16 cu ft / 453 L83.5 x 34.5 x 14 inches165 lbs / 74.8 kg
Yakima Skybox on amazon54 lbs / 24.5 kg16 cu ft / 453 L94 x 29 x 18 inches165.3 lbs / 75 kg
Thule Motion XT XL on amazon55 lbs / 24.94 kg22 cu ft / 623 L91.5 x 37.5 x 18 inches165 lbs / 74.8 kg

Rooftop cargo bags

The next honorable mention is cargo bags. Again, these are attached to a roof. But it’s ideal for those that aren’t looking for permanent or long-term storage. Unlike the cargo box, which must be installed on crossbars, the cargo bag doesn’t require these. Instead, it can be installed onto the vehicle by using specialized straps that fix onto arches of the car doors.

People adore these because they’re a cost-effective cargo-carrying solution. Although various brands sell their bags at different prices, you’ll rarely spend over $100 or $150. Considering the benefits obtainable from these, it’s an excellent price for additional cargo storage.

However, it shouldn’t be considered a long-term option with a cargo bags material. Instead, it should be considered as a once-a-year storage or something similar. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for anyone wanting to increase their storage capacity for a camping trip, etc.

Best rooftop cargo bags  

Like cargo boxes, there are a ton of brands to choose from. For those not knowledgeable in the industry, it can undoubtedly be overwhelming. To see an overview of the primary leaders, we recommend you visit the below table. Here we’ve detailed the main options currently available on the market.

Product NameVolumeSizeWeightMaterial
AsinKing Waterproof Cargo Bag on amazon21 cu ft / 594.65 L52 x 40 x 18 inches10.12 lbs / 4.6 kgHeavy-duty waterproof 840D PVC tear-resistant fabric
Rightline Waterproof Gear Bag on amazon10 cu ft / 283.16 L14 x 12 x 6 inches6.25 lbs / 2.83 kgPVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT material
Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Cargo Bag on amazon15 cu ft / 424.75 L44 x 34 x 17 inches5.25 lbs / 2.38 kgRubber laminated nylon
6 Ways to Add More Cargo Space to A Car? A Helpful Guide

Cargo baskets

Including the above, cargo baskets are available to those wanting to increase their cars storage capacity. If you want a large storage unit, a cargo basket is probably the biggest available (or a hitch-mounted device, more about this below).

Although that’s great for many, it does have some downsides. When transporting goods with a cargo basket, they’re exposed to the outdoors and have minimal protection. Admittedly, you could add a waterproof sheeting or tarp, but it still doesn’t adequately safeguard the goods. Therefore, although you can get enormous extra space, you need to consider this negative.

However, it’s an excellent option if you can sacrifice protection for a large amount of storage capacity. In addition, it’s a  cost-effective solution that’s recognized as a permanent option. Therefore, although it has one major flaw, it can still benefit many.  

Best cargo baskets

After reading the above, you should understand the primary features of a cargo basket. Yes, they’re excellent storage solutions. But they do fail in the protection departments. If you’re interested in applying this to your car, you’ll want to consider the below recommendations:

Product NameSizeMax CapacityWeightMaterial
Tyger Heavy Duty Cargo Basket on amazon47.25 x 36.6 x 5.9 inches150 lbs / 68 kg30 lbs / 13.6 kgAlloy Steel
CURT 18115 Cargo Basket on amazon41.5 x 37 x 4 inchesLimited to vehicle29.11 lbs / 13.2 kgAlloy Steel
MaxxHaul Steel Cargo Basket on amazon46 x 35.87 x 4 ½ inches150 lbs / 68 kg25 lbs / 11.33 kgAlloy Steel

Hitch-mounted cargo carriers

Moving away from the rooftop carrier, we’re now onto hitch-mounted. Although these aren’t as common as the above, it’s a remarkable storage device from which we believe many can benefit.

Instead of being located on the roof, it’s attached to the car’s hitch (the rear). It isn’t classified as a trailer, so it doesn’t need additional licenses. Instead, it’s a small extension on the back of your car that’ll provide you with that extra storage room.

Many like these because their load capacity is high, and it’s normally determined by the tongue limit of the hitch itself. By knowing this, you’ll be able to determine how much cargo weight that’s loadable.

The implementations of this cargo carrier vary from people taking additional camping equipment, heavy machineries like air compressors, or fishing goods. Whatever it might be, if they’re somewhat water-resistant, a hitch-mounted cargo carrier could be a valuable option.

Best hitch-mounted cargo carriers

Undoubtedly, hitch-mounted cargo carriers are excellent choices for transporting heavy goods. If you fit in this category, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the below. These recommendations are well-known within the industry and come from premium brands.

Product NameSizeMax CapacityWeightMaterial
ROLA 59502 Hitch-mounted Cargo Carrier on amazon56 x 23 x 5 InchesDepends on tongue weight limit73.25 lbs / 33 kgAlloy Steel
Pro Series 6502 Hitch-mounted Cargo Carrier on amazon48 x 21 x 6 inchesDepends on tongue weight limit46.66 lbs / 21 kgAlloy Steel
CURT 18153 Hitch-mounted Cargo Carrier on amazon60 x 24 x 6 inchesDepends on tongue weight limit70 lbs / 31.75 kg60 x 24 x 6 inches

Sports cargo carriers

The above are excellent options for many, but some applications require specially built cargo carriers to offer an effective transporting solution. Because of this, that’s where this next section comes into play.

Sports or specific cargo carriers are designed to suit a particular purpose. For example, skis, snowboards, and bikes are remarkably difficult to transport with other cargo carriers. Therefore, brands have developed solutions that solve those issues. To gain a better insight into this, see the below:

6 Ways to Add More Cargo Space to A Car? A Helpful Guide

Rooftop Ski rack

Many use rooftop ski racks within the winters sports community to transport these goods. It doesn’t only transport skis, though; it also can store snowboards. If you’re familiar with this activity, then you’d know how long these can become. Sometimes, large snowboards or skis span upwards of 2 meters, far beyond the length of any car storage.

Therefore, a ski rack is always recommended if you’re transporting this type of equipment. However, it’s not the only cargo carrier that can aid with this. Many rooftop boxes can also transport skis and snowboards, but usually only for smaller loads.

Best rooftop ski racks

Like all-cargo carriers, you can select various brands and models. To gain a rough idea of what’s available and the recommended brands, see the below table:

Product NameSki CapacitySnowboard CapacityWeightLocking System
Thule Snowpack 6 on amazon629.2 lbs / 4.17 kgone key for gear and rack
Yakima FatCat EVO Premium on amazon6412.75 lbs / 5.78 kgone key for gear and rack
Rhino-Rack 579 on amazon648.8 lbs / 4 kgone key for gear and rack

Hitch-mounted cargo bike rack

Let me ask you a question, where can you store bikes in a car? Maybe you can take off the front wheel, collapse the rear seats, and slide it in from the boot. However, it requires a lot of effort and doesn’t allow you to transport more than one or two bikes. If you want to load 2,3,4,5 bikes effortlessly, a hitch-mount bike rack will be your favorite additional storage unit.

These devices are attached to the vehicle’s hitch, located on the car’s rear. Located on them are attachments that you can load and secure bikes onto them. The total amount of time to load and unload these is a matter of minutes. Because of this, it’s more than worth the consideration for those that transport a large capacity of bikes continuously.

Best hitch-mounted bike rack

Bike racks are excellent for anyone looking to travel with bikes attached to their cars. Because of the specialist item, there aren’t many available. However, we recommend you check out the below options if you’re considering this.

Product NameBike CapacityWeightMaterial
MaxxHaul 50027 on amazon233.1 lbs / 15 kgAlloy Steel
Allen Sports Deluxe on amazon412.5 lbs / 5.7 kgAlloy Steel
Yakima RidgeBack on amazon539.7 lbs / 18 kgAlloy Steel

After reading the above, you should have a more comprehensive understanding of the available cargo carriers for a car. Undoubtedly, there are many to select from. But not all are advantageous to everyone, as it highly depends on their application.

Hopefully, now you’ve gained this knowledge; you can determine which options are more suitable for you. However, if you need extra guidance, we recommend you see our suggestions below of the “best” options based on various situations.

Which cargo carrier is best for you?

If a cargo carrier could do everything, that’d be excellent. But because of the different requirements from car owners, it’s challenging. Therefore, here’s a brief overview of our recommendations based on various implementations:

  • Camping – Cargo boxes, bags, baskets, and hitch-mounted storage units
  • Sports enthusiast – Boxes, bags, and sports-specific cargo carriers
  • Common traveler – Boxes, bags, baskets, hitch-mount cargo carriers
  • Everyday purposes – Box cargo carrier

The above is our recommended options, based on various situations. However, these aren’t limited to them. If you believe your application can better suit a particular cargo carrier, it’s more than worth purchasing that option.  


Now you’ve become knowledgeable on the above; you should have a broader understanding of the available cargo carriers. As you can see, there are many. However, not all are ideal for everybody. Therefore, we detailed their main purposes and explained who can benefit the most from them. So, now you know this, will you be making the initial purchase of a cargo carrier?