Buying The Perfect Cargo Box

Buying The Perfect Cargo Box

Purchasing the right cargo box for both you and your car is important. Cargo boxes are an investment. They tend to run into a higher price range, so you want your purchase to be perfect.

Although they can look a little expensive, paying a one time cost for a good cargo box will be cost effective in the long run. It will save you money on repairs, replacements, and other storage accessories you wouldn't need otherwise.

Not to mention that most cargo boxes can be alternated between cars so that even if you happen to switch your car, you will most likely still be able to use your old cargo box with your new vehicle.

Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag


Cargo boxes are long lasting and therefore should be considered a long-term purchase. You want to buy something that you will be comfortable using for years. What you choose should maximize your storage and suit your needs.

Before purchasing a cargo box, ask yourself why you need one so that you can have a better understanding of which kind to purchase.

  • Do you need one for your skis?
  • Are you looking for one to hold your sporting equipment?
  • Do you need one that’s super large or do you just want a little bit of extra storage for daily commutes?
  • Do you need a cargo box that is suitable for adventures?
  • Do you need one that can hold furniture?

Developing answers to these questions will help you narrow down your cargo box options.

After asking yourself these questions and finding some answers, there are some things you qualities you should pay attention to when choosing your product. They are as follows:


Cargo boxes come in a variety of sizes. Some are more lightweight, and some are heavier. Some are longer, and some are short. Some are wide, and others are narrow. Besides viewing the picture, looking at the dimensions of the cargo box online will give you a good idea of their size in real life and how much they can hold.

The size of your cargo box should perfectly align with your needs. If you need a cargo box just for skis or a snowboard, you’ll find the best ski cargo box by looking for a cargo box that is long. Long cargo boxes are designed to accommodate long objects like skis.

Thule Pulse Cargo Box, Black


This may also be a good size option for other sporting goods. A longer cargo box would probably be good for transporting furniture or furniture parts as well.

If you only want a cargo box to hold some extra luggage during your travels, you may prefer a wide cargo box to a long one. This style could potentially help you pack more clothes and toiletries more efficiently.

The size of the cargo box you choose should also be relative to the size of your vehicle. If you have a very large vehicle, you won’t want to purchase a short and stubby cargo box.

A very short cargo box can be hard to install, reach, and unload since the edges of the box will be far from the edges of your vehicle's roof. Similarly, you wouldn't want to purchase a cargo box whose size overbears the roof of your small vehicle. The size you choose should be dependent on your packing needs but also on your car's roof.


The material is also a big factor when it comes to choosing your cargo box. If you need to carry objects that are oddly shaped or bumpy, you may want to buy a storage box made of soft material, otherwise known as a storage bag.

A storage bag is made of thick and protected cloth that is wrapped around a flexible skeleton. This structure allows items of all shapes and sizes to fit inside the storage bag because the storage bag moves and molds according to the items that are put into it. It gives you a wide range of flexibility that a hard storage box cannot offer.

Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag


If you don't have storage space in or around your home but don't want to keep your storage box in your car at all times, a storage bag may also be good for you. Storage bags can be flattened and folded for storage in small spaces.

Storage boxes are typically made of hard materials like plastic. A popular material amongst storage boxes is ABD material. ABD material is a sturdy and durable plastic that is weatherproof.

When picking a storage box based on material, you also want to be aware of weather or not the material of choice is waterproof or water resistant. Waterproof means that the storage box is completely unaffected by water, whereas water resistant means that the material can tolerate a small amount of water, but upon larger volumes of water, the liquid can penetrate through.

Think about the climate you live in and which seasons you plan to use your storage box in. If you have any inkling that you may pass through a severe storm, think about opting for waterproof.

Gas Mileage

One of the main concerns of any car owner is their gas mileage. Many people fear that adding weight on to their car will impact their gas mileage. However, tests and studies show this to be untrue. Adding a storage box on your car will not affect your gas mileage.

Frequency Of Use

How frequently you plan on using your cargo box may affect your purchase. If you plan on keeping your cargo box in your car for long periods of time, you may want to choose a cargo box shape that is aerodynamic. An aerodynamic cargo box will prevent drag and decrease the chance of noise production.

Using a cargo box.


The frequency of your cargo box’s use will also affect how convenient the one you purchase is. If you plan on taking your cargo box down frequently, you’re going to need a cargo box that is very easy to handle.

You will need a cargo box that is lightweight so that you can lift it on and off your car's roof by yourself. You'll also need a cargo box with an easy and quick installation process so that you can attach and remove the cargo box when needed.

Some cargo boxes have more difficult installation processes, but these can be sturdier. If you plan on leaving a cargo box in your car for months at a time, you may opt for one with a more tedious installation process, just because you won't have to do it so often.

However, if convenience is still a priority for you, or if you want to make sure you can install it yourself, opt for a quick and easy install when it comes to cargo boxes.

Vehicle Compatibility

One of the most important things to pay attention to when purchasing a cargo box is its compatibility with your vehicle. Even if you like the specs of a cargo box, if it does not fit your vehicle there is absolutely no point to the purchase.

Every manufacturer gives a compatibility report with their product. The information or list of specs should tell you which cars the cargo box is compatible with. In addition to that, every cargo box lists its dimensions. Measuring your roof or roof rack can give you a good idea on how your cargo box will look and fit before purchasing.

Roof cargo box on Mini Cooper.


Manufacturers also list what type of crossbars or roof bar systems are compatible with the installation of a cargo box.

It is best to go with a cargo box design that parallels one of your vehicles. If your vehicle is super long, you don't want to get a very short cargo box, because it will be hard to access.

Most cargo boxes and bags are compatible with a variety of vehicles and will work with almost any roof rack system. However, to ensure that your purchase is perfect, you should still make sure the sizes and measurements align before hitting the button for payment.

Best Roof Cargo Box

Although there are a plethora of options to choose from when purchasing a storage box or bag, we have a few top picks based on roof box reviews, specs, quality, and price. Here are the items competing for the spot of best roof box:

Winner: Thule Pulse Cargo Box

The Thule Pulse Cargo Box is our winner for the cargo box section. Based on a variety of cargo box reviews, this one comes out on top!

Key Features

  • The Thule Pulse Cargo Box is made of rugged ABS material that is thermodynamic.
  • This means that it will keep the interior and your items safe from all kinds of weather, including rain and storms.
  • The material is durable and will also keep the actual device from wearing out too fast.
Thule Pulse Cargo Box



One great part about the Thule Pulse Cargo Box is that it comes in a variety of sizes. This means that it can be compatible with different vehicle types and it can also fit different sized objects inside of it. Its three sizes are Medium (14 cubic feet), Large (16 cubic feet), and Alpine (11 cubic feet).

This cargo box is also considered the best roof box for skis. It can fit a variety of ski sizes and styles depending on the manufacturer. The cargo box's information even comes with a diagram of ski sizes to see which potential size is best for your skis or snowboard.

Another great spec about the Thule Pulse Cargo Box is its convenience. Its easy grip technology allows it to be assembled with ease. This makes it a perfect candidate for customers who would like to keep this cargo box on their vehicle for extended amounts of time and customers who’d only like to use it briefly.

That’s because it can be installed quickly with minimal effort, allowing someone to place it on or remove it as they’d like, but also because this cargo box has an aerodynamic structure. This structure reduces noise and dragging, making it perfect for someone who wants to use it consistently. That way, its presence won’t infringe on a regular car ride.

Thule Pulse Cargo Box, Black


The Thule Pulse Cargo Box is also a winner because it is compatible with different systems. It is compatible with Thule rack systems, round bars, and most factory bars.

Adding on to the list of great specs, this cargo box is known for its high, yet convenient, security. It utilizes Secure Lock technology, which maintains all of your possessions in a safe and automatically locked environment until you decide to open the device up.

Once you open the cargo box, the lid lifter inside holds the lid open for you, for a hands-free experience. Then, all you have to do to activate the locking system is push the lid closed. The system then detects that all four sides are in place and locks.

Runner Up: Yakima RocketBox Cargo Box

The Thule vs. Yakima cargo box duel was tight, which makes Yakima RocketBox Cargo Box come in at a close second. Based on roof cargo box reviews, this cargo box performs highly at maximized convenience for the user. To start off, this cargo box gives dual sided access.

This means that the user gets maximized access to their luggage. You can open this cargo box from any ground position around the car, as opposed to some cargo boxes that require you to open the box from a certain position.

Key Features

  • The Yakima RocketBox Cargo Box is also very lightweight, allowing it to be lifted and installed easily.
  • It combines easy user assembly with easy installation.
  • When it comes to size, its dimensions are 59 x 37 x 18 inches.
  • This type of cargo box works well with shorter roofs, sedans, and large vehicles.
Yakima RocketBox Pro 12 Cargo Box



It is also compatible with round bars, square bars, and factory bars. This means that the Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Box can be used with a variety of different vehicles and roof racks, making it an easy and stress-free pick for someone who is unsure about what their right fit is.

Besides being super convenient, this cargo box is also great for transporting sporting goods. The Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Box is well-known for carrying skis and can hold skis that are up to 135cm in size. The fit of the skis in the box also depends on the style and manufacturer of the skis.

The Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Box offers ultimate protection too. It utilizes an SKS (same key system) locking system. This locking system ensures that your possessions are safe and that the cargo box remains closed and sturdy unless you choose to open it manually.

When you want to access your items, there is a special button that needs to be pressed. Once you press it, the cargo box automatically opens for you and closes via the same mechanism.

Yakima RocketBox Pro12


The Yakima Rocketbox Cargo Box is also waterproof, meaning that your items won’t get wet or damaged during a drizzle or a storm. This is ideal for people who want to use the box all year long in all sorts of weather.

This cargo box is also an ideal box for trips. You can take it to a mountain trail or hike, a snowboarding session, or an adventure trip with your family. It is great for additional storage and packing on sporting goods.

Alternative: SportRack Rear Opening Cargo Box

Third place doesn't always mean the last place! This cargo box is still a great alternative with a variety of valuable specs.

Key Features

  • The SportRack Rear Opening Cargo Box is constructed of ABS plastic that is also UV resistant.
  • That means that it is weather proof.
  • Not only will it protect itself and your items from the rain, but it will also keep everything shielded from the shine.
SportRack SR7018 Vista XL



This cargo box is great because it is extremely convenient. It comes already assembled, right out of the box! All that needs to be done upon receiving the product is the installation of the cargo box on to your vehicle. However, this is easy too!

The SportRack Rear Opening Cargo Box requires no tools for installation. The U-bolts on the cargo box click into the roof rack. The installation is seamless and quick, no effort involved.

Another really important spec of this cargo box is that it is extra large. This cargo box can double the storage capacity of your entire vehicle. This makes it perfect for someone who needs to store a lot of items in a compact space.

The rear-opening feature of the SportRack Rear Opening Cargo Box is its most central component. This feature is included for some great reasons. One of the reasons is safety. A rear-end opening is an opening that moves away from traffic, making it safer to reach.

SportRack SR7018 Vista XL


Another reason is convenience. A rear-end opening means that you can stand on your car's bumper to install or access your cargo box. This is important because many people can't reach that high up, and if they can, it's still quite difficult and annoying to do with no leverage!

The SportRack Rear Opening Cargo Box is also versatile. It can fit with SportRack roof rack systems, square racks, round racks, and most factory racks, making it a safe choice for most vehicles and roof rack systems.

Because this cargo box is extra large, this also makes it ideal for sporting goods like skis and snowboards. If you're an adventure fanatic, this is a good buy regarding storage.

Best Cargo Bags

Because cargo bags are slightly different from cargo boxes, we’ve ranked them in a different list. Here are our top picks:

Winner: Keeper Waterproof Cargo Bag

Key Features

  • Highly Protective Materials
  • Perfect For Packing Diverse Shapes
  • Completely Water Vacuum Sealed
Keeper 07203-1 Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag



The Keeper Waterproof Cargo Bag is made of rubberized nylon, so even though the casing isn’t hard like that of a cargo box’s, it is still very protective. This fabric is also completely waterproof, so even if you take this cargo bag for a ride in the rain, your possessions will stay dry and untouched.

This cargo bag is made with a flexible skeleton, making it ideal for packing large items with strange or bulky shapes. These items may not fit into cargo boxes otherwise.

The Keeper Waterproof Cargo Bag is also a best seller with outstanding reviews. Many people have used this bag on trips that have gone well over thousands of miles, and the bag has stayed in tact! It is a durable and long lasting bag meant for the road.

Below is a review of the Keeper Waterproof Cargo Bag.


This bag is compatible will all roof racks as long as they have attachment capabilities on all four sides. If they don’t, the bag can still fit, but the fit may not be as sturdy.

Because of its flexibility, this bag can be easily installed and easily removed, making it perfect for people who seek convenience. Because it is a bag and not a box, it is also relatively cheaper.

Runner Up: Shield Jacket Waterproof Cargo

This cargo bag is completely weatherproof. It can withstand rain, grit, snow, and sun while protecting your belongings and keeping them safe from any weather-related damage.

Key Features

  • Resistant To Adverse Conditions
  • Lightweight & Easy Implementation
  • Durable Materials
  • Uses A Security Zipper Instead Of A Lock
Roof Top Cargo Luggage Travel Bag



This cargo has a double wall vinyl construction, making it sturdy and durable. This also adds an extra layer of protection. Due to its built-in eight straps, it is also very convenient and easy to use, as setting it up only requires the straps that come with it, and it is already very lightweight.

This cargo bag uses a zipper mechanism instead of a lock system. However, the zipper is doubled and water proof, so it still provides security.

Final Thoughts

With all of this great information and these trusted products, buying the perfect cargo box should be an absolute breeze! Make sure to consider all of the factors and look at your options before making a final decision. Good luck on your purchase!

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