Car Top Cargo Review

When camping with a family of six, one needs all of the extra cargo room that one can acquire to haul all of the equipment and gear needed to have an enjoyable camping trip. One of the easiest ways to get the extra cargo room is with a roof top cargo carrier. From $40 canvas bags on up to $800 hard toppers, they all hold the gear, but some are designed better than others.

Over the past couple of years I have been using a canvas bag topper to store sleeping bags, air mattresses and some camping equipment. And while this was a quick, cheap and easy solution, it was far from ideal. The canvas bag always needed to be strapped down beyond the provided straps and even though it was marketed as waterproof, if it rained while driving, almost everything inside was guaranteed to be wet. It was time for an upgraded, enter the Car Top Cargo 18 cu. ft. carrier.

Fast and Easy Installation

The Car Top Cargo carrier includes all you need for a tool-free assembly in minutes. Contained in the box is the upper and lower shell to the carrier, mounting hardware (brackets, plates and threaded knobs), two keys and four clips. The entire process is able to be done in no time at all. Starting with putting the upper and lower pieces together with the four clips.

Then set the cross rails on the vehicle to 22″ apart, place the assembled cargo carrier on the top of roof rack cross rails and center on the vehicle. Then use the included mounting hardware and attach it to the cross rails.

Zero tools, simple assembly and easy installation. Out of the Box and on the vehicle in under 10 minutes, it truly could not be simpler.

Extra Storage on the Go

Your vehicle is meant for transporting people and things and the trip is always better when you can make more space for both at once. And the Car Top Cargo carrier delivers so much storage space that’s like having an extra trunk. I was easily able to fit six sleeping bags, six pillows, three air mattresses and a couple bags full of clothes into the carrier. The Car Top Cargo carrier frees extra room in the vehicle while storing what you need to bring along. And it is not only for camping equipment it also suits a range of other applications – use it as a luggage box, a hunting and fishing storage box or added roof storage for equipment for other outdoor activities.

The Car Top Cargo carrier deliveries easy access to your gear too. The carrier’s rear-opening lid lets you load and unload gear from the back of your vehicle. The lid also opens wide enough to let you reach items from either side of the box. Because I installed it on an SUV, I was easily able to step on top of the rear tires on either side and load and unload gear directly into the back seat.

The Car Top Cargo carrier is ideal for most small-to-mid-size cars and SUVs with factory and aftermarket cross-rail systems. I installed the carrier on a Chevy Trailblazer EXT with factory cross rails, and while it looked a bit small on the extended (EXT) version, it still covered the storage spectrum that I needed. The carrier is manufactured from durable 4 season HDPE construction that resists cracking and fading, combined with an aerodynamic design that helps to reduce wind resistance and aids in fuel economy.

To my surprise the design did not have a noticeable effect on wind drag and there was no discernible wind noises. The high quality bale latches on the front and sides delivered a weather tight seal even in a continuous four hour down pour. In addition to the rear key lock, the latches can also be locked for extra security from theft.

Flooded Campsite – But Car Top Cargo carrier stayed dry inside (Pictured behind the Coleman tent)


  • 18 cu ft of cargo storage space, rated at 110 lbs. load capacity: It’s like having and extra trunk!
  • EASY, no tool assembly: Out of the box to on top of the vehicle in minutes (all mounting hardware included).
  • Durable, 4-season HDPE material & aerodynamic design: Resists cracking and fading in all seasons and provides reduced wind noise and drag.
  • Convenient, 3-side access: Load and unload from both sides and back.
  • Weather resistant & secure seal:Integrated keyed lock on back and 3 latches (front and two sides) ensure a weather-tight seal and secure your gear. Two keys included.
  • Fits most factory and aftermarket cross rails: Fits on square, circle and aero design rails up to 3-3/4″ wide.
  • Lifetime Warranty: Free from material and manufacturing defects

NOT TO BE ROOF MOUNTED: For use with factory or aftermarket roof rack and cross rail systems rated at 110 lbs. or greater (sold separately).


  • Weather Resistant – Protects all of the gear even in a down pour
  • Plenty of Room and Capacity – 18 cu ft and up to 110 lbs.
  • 3-Side access – Easy loading and unloading from back and sides
  • All four sides lock down securely and can be padlocked


  • Mounting bracket bolts will stick up above the mounting knobs on some vehicles, possibly causing damage to gear. The solution is to pick up eight soft rubber screw thread protector covers for about $0.25 each and install them.

Final Thoughts

The Car Top Cargo carrier quickly and easily attaches to most vehicle’s existing cross rail systems and offers one of the most convenient ways to transport up to 110 pounds of equipment and camping gear. The roof top box features a convenient three access point design that offers easy loading and unloading of cargo, and the integrated keyed lock on back and 3 latches (front and two sides) ensures that gear is confidently stowed once you hit the highway. The Car Top Cargo carrier is designed for the budget-minded driver with a weighty gear obsession or a big family. Available in two sizes, the durable Car Top Cargo carrier adds much needed space to any vehicle and leaves the interior feeling roomy and spacious.

For more information visit     MSRP: $279.99

Mark Ranum: Mark is an outdoor adventure seeker, living in the beautiful state of Michigan. He loves trekking hundreds of miles through the wilderness, whether on two feet or two wheels, always looking for the next new trail or road to see where it will take him.
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