So, you’ve found yourself on the market for the best hitch cargo carrier. Great news! You’ve come to the right place. These popular truck accessories are popular for a reason. We can use them for everything from long-distance traveling to camping escapades.
Are you looking to haul heavy-duty motorbikes? Or mountain bikes for off-road trekking? Do you want something that saves space and folds? Or that is rigid and sturdy? Whether you need the carrier for weekend adventures or for regular use, it needs to be the right product for the job.
That is why we have sought out the best options for these handy tools and broken down their details and specifics. Together, we can find the perfect carrier for your truck and your needs so you can spend less time searching, and more time on the road.
Top 10 Best Hitch Cargo Carrier Review
01. Pro Series Black Reese Cargo Carrier – Ideal Mesh Design
This product thrives on its straightforward design that is simple to install and to use. Mesh flooring, by design, adds value through unlimited access points for ratchet straps and bungee attachments. The cargo carrier has a two-piece construction which limits wear and tear.
Generally, when a product has more joints, there is more opportunity for rust and corrosion. This is because parts that bend leave room for water to access the product. When we get a product designed for the outdoors, we want that product to last. This carrier keeps focussing on this task both by its engineering and the materials used.
Your cargo carrier will likely spend most of its time outdoors- exposed to the elements. Whether these are wind, dust, or rain, it is best to find a product that keeps damage at bay. The powder coat resists the elements and avoids rusting. As we know, when rust sets in, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to stop. High-Quality shellac prevents this from ever becoming a problem in the first place.
Overall, this item prices in the mid-range of the spectrum for cargo carriers. It boasts a 500-pound carrying capacity (fairly standard for these products). Another draw is the elevation of the cargo. Our vehicles have shocks to absorb the bumps and bruises of road travel. Why should our cargo have anything less? This carrier makes the journey smooth so that your cargo arrives safely at your destination.
Just to be certain of the safety of your valuables, this relatively lightweight (59 pounds) carrier has 5 ½ inch side rails to prevent slippage of your items. This allows for angular strapping that keeps your goods exactly where you want them (and not jostling around in the back). The smooth exterior and sleek black color lend a classy feature to this accessory, adding to its aesthetic appeal.
02. CURT 18153 Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier- Easy to Maintain Option
When you are hitting the road on a weekend, the last thing you want is stress from your cargo carrier. By design, this product makes traveling with things in tow a simple experience. The engineering boasts a focus on safety. Reflectors on the carrier add visibility to the cargo being carried.
Much traveling happens during evening hours, and it is critical for both your vehicle and that which it tows, to remain safe and sound during these ventures. This hitch cargo carrier provides peace of mind in this regard.
Of course, the safety of the cargo is another consideration. The 6-inch-high side walls protect valuables during travel and while the vehicle is still. Another benefit is that this product can join together with a cargo net or bag for added safety of that which you carry. The adaptable design features a folding angled shank.
It can be left up when not in use, reducing exposure to the elements. This also adds to ground clearance of the product itself. Roads are unpredictable, no matter how safely we behave while driving. Having sufficient clearance of your load to the ground prevents wear and tear, both on the carrier, and on the products which it holds.
For those who like to keep their vehicles (and associated accessories) sheen and shiny, this is a great option. It is easy to clean since it is highly maneuverable. Of course, you can easily remove hitched items (though this is usually a time-consuming process that requires additional storage considerations). If you like to keep things simple and are looking for an accessory that we can easily run through a car wash, this is an ideal choice.
The lightweight design makes it easy to transport. If you find yourself worrying about added weight and its impact on fuel mileage, this is a great option. It is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, without sacrificing quality for cost. The product has successfully been on the market for over five years and has remained consistently popular throughout this time.
03. ROLA 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier
This hitch mounted a cargo carrier is a great option for those of us looking for an easy assembly. Time is valuable in itself, so anywhere we can shave off a few minutes and reallocate them to fun is a clear win. Cargo carriers are typically used for recreational ventures. They are popular for everything from camping to road trips.
When we diffuse from the daily grind, the last thing we want is stress from our vehicle accessories. This option prevents those worries through its ease of installation and limited maintenance requirements.
It has a two-piece assembly that fits perfectly with any 2-inch square receiver. Another benefit is that this accessory suits most models of the vehicle (provided they have a hitch). Whether your journey is in a car, truck, or SUV, this cargo carrier can stay in tow. Because of the easy maneuvering and unimposing structure, this is as idyllic for camping as it is for long-distance travel.
The black powder coating protects the inner metal against corrosion. That said, once the protective layer mars or damages, the inside of the structure becomes vulnerable to oxidation. Provided you handle the product with reasonable care, you can expect it to last for quite some time.
It is wise to apply wax to the product when it has faced the elements. This will add shelf life to the carrier itself without requiring a significant investment of time or effort. This particular model has been on the market for eleven years- truly remaining strong against the tides of time.
A reason for this success is the ability to upgrade the carrier. You can easily add lighting systems as a safety feature (making it easy for other vehicles to gauge their distance from the load). It is simple and straightforward to affix your license plate; so, once you have a destination in mind, you can load up and get on the road in no time.
04. ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier – Great Choice for Folding Carrier
This is a great go-to model for those with SUV’s or other, similar utility vehicles. It fits onto a 2- inch receiver hitch, making it suited to most utility vehicles available on the market. Even though it is lightweight, the design is sturdy. Due to the manufacturing process, this carrier can tow up to 500 pounds of weight.
This, of course, assumes that you distribute the weight logically within the cargo carrier (very few things will hold up to a 500-pound anvil placed in the corner). That said, given the load is reasonably placed, this is a sturdy option for long-distance treks.
It features a chic black design that matches with most any vehicle available. Another key draw is that it has an appropriate height above the ground, ringing in at 9 inches. When we hit the inevitable pothole or speedbump, it is important that our cargo does not suffer those blows.
When we elevate products appropriately, we can rest easy knowing that our carriers are looking after our valuable cargo. The single piece design is the cherry on top since it provides easy installation and limits locations prone to wear and tear.
05. ROLA 59119 – Great accessory for those with a carrier & Rainproof
This product veers away from the standard cargo tow since it is a supplemental accessory. That said, it has extreme value for those who spend long hours journey on the road. The bag itself fits inside of a cargo carrier, by design. This makes it ideal for those vehicle owners who already have the product yet are looking to add value and utility.
The makers of this bag keep the focus on privacy. It has an opaque exterior with a concealed zipper. This avoids any concerns of prying eyes and also reduces the risk of theft. After all, what is out of sight is, more often than not, out of mind.
It fits in baskets as large as 60” x 24”, meaning it suits most all models of cargo carriers. Another draw is that since it is so lightweight, at only 8 ½ pounds, we can remove the product and bring it indoors. This is great for those who park outside.
Since it folds up tightly when not in use, this is a weather-based precaution. The product has stood proudly on the market for five years, showcasing its function and utility.
06. MaxxHaul 70108 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier – Ideal Basket-Style Option
Aluminum is a hardy metal. It has grown in popularity over modern years due to the sturdiness and highly malleable nature of the element itself. This means that, though it is easy to shape and mold, it is a hardy item that resists environmental damage very well. The cargo carrier seen here is made of this sturdy material, adding value off the hop.
To add to the toughness of the design, the carrier boasts high side rails that prevent falling and slipping of products. When we strap things down, no matter how tightly, there will still be loosening once the vehicle reaches freeway/highway speeds. The impact of the wind jars straps and causes them to adjust. Given this fact, the guard rails on the side of this carrier add extra protection to precious cargo.
This is a strong model that is able to carry up to 500 pounds of weight, at high speeds. Though most carriers are able to withstand this much weight in overall distribution, the design featured on this model allows many different weight dispersals. Overall, engineering makes this item very strong.
It is not a mesh design, so the bars used in construction allow for more liberal weight distribution when applying the load. It works on RV’s as well as trucks, vans, and SUV’s. In essence, this is a great, all-purpose model for every vehicle except motorcycles. The basket style product has stood on the market for over seven years, successfully (while still remaining a fan favorite).
07. GoPlus Cargo Carrier Basket Hitch – Best Beginners Model (Includes all Necessities)
When it comes to heavy-duty recreational ventures, you want a sturdy material to keep your cargo where it needs to be. This is a great option for those who know that they need a product that works, though may not have access to a garage or necessary tools to attach the hitch. It includes with it all necessary ingredients for easy installation- saving you both time and stress.
The strong design holds up to 500 pounds of distributed weight (fairly standard for these products). Actually, the key value of this piece is that thanks to its material, it naturally repels rust and corrosion. Steel is a hardy metal that holds strong against extreme heat and extreme cold. This reduces the wear and tear on the cargo carrier- down to the molecular level.
Surprisingly, since it is steel, the carrier is extremely lightweight (at less than 25 pounds). It fits onto any 2-inch hitch, which is easily the most common hitch on the market. It is low cost, making it accessible to most, and it achieves its reasonable price point without forgoing quality.
08. Tricam ACC-1F Cargo Carrier – Great Shock Absorber
Straightforwardness has a significant value of its own. When we seek out useful vehicular accessories, sometimes the best thing we can do is to stick to the tried and true. This, by design, is sleek and simple. It fits onto any 2- inch receiver hitch, making it a great go-to for most trucks with a hitch.
Since it is low cost, it is a great starter carrier for those who are beginning their outdoor adventures (or have less to haul). It boasts a carrying capacity of roughly 500 pounds. Since, when we haul cargo for recreation, we tend to travel far from our home base.
When we start to look at travel time, the question of fuel cost becomes an added factor. The more weight we tow, the more fuel costs will run us. That means that, when it comes to travel, every pound we can shave off counts. At only 28 pounds, this option is extremely lightweight, adding value to the product by making it more cost effective to tow.
Even though it is light in weight, the product is a fantastic shock absorber. This reduces any potential damage to the cargo being towed. The silver color of the carrier makes it a sleek option that reflects the sunlight. These limits wear as a result of UV radiation, adding to the shelf-life of the product.
09. Highland 1042000 – Great Multi-Load Carrier
Sometimes, when we travel and use our cargo carriers, it is for a single purpose. Other treks involve multiple tools. When this is the case, you need a carrier that can accommodate multiple loads. The mesh bottom in this option is ideal for this purpose. It allows the user to glean the most benefit from the surface area.
If you are towing, for example, a mountain and a motorbike, the needs will differ when it comes to strapping. This option accommodates those needs. A key benefit associated with hitch cargo carriers is that, while there are other vehicle attachments on the market, cargo carriers apply to any vehicle with a hitch.
For larger hitched-on accessories, smaller vehicles cannot apply the needed torque. These carriers (this model especially) suit any automobile with a matching hitch. This is a remarkably lightweight option, which has both its benefits and its drawbacks.
For those looking to haul heavier cargo, this is a dose of good news. Lightweight cargo is more subject to bouncing at higher speeds, whereas heavier cargo will see the full benefits of this weighted feature. It has proven its fortitude and resiliency after standing strong on the market for over nine years.
10. MaxxHaul 70107 – Ideal Space Saver Hitch Cargo Carrier
Some of us park our vehicles outdoors. When this is the case, less consideration needs to be taken of space. Others park indoors, where the square footage of the garage directly impacts the amount of room we get to maneuver. For those who park indoors (or in areas with restricted access), this is a great choice. The compact design lets you keep this hitched to the vehicle without compromising easy access to parking.
The product itself protects from corrosion, meaning we expose it to wind and rain while remaining uncovered. Another key benefit of engineering is the distance between the vehicle and the cargo carrier. At only 6 ½ inches distance, the layout improves shock absorption. This keeps valuables in tow safely affixed to the carrier.
Since products are strapped down in the carrier, it is helpful to have this shudder-absorbing feature. The benefits are not only seen in the cargo’s ability to stay intact, but also in noise reduction. Long trips can get noisy, especially with materials rattling in the rear of the vehicle. This cargo carrier prevents unpleasant rackets while remaining sleek and unassuming.
Having been on the market for seven years, this model has done well to prove its worth. It is lightweight, making installation a breeze. Key to its ease of use is that it fits standard Class III and Class IV hitches.
These encompass the two most common hitch setups on vehicles. Though many smaller autos don’t have hitch setups, Class III and IV hitches are found on everything ranging from recreational vehicles to cars.
Buying Considerations Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
If you need to haul anything from recreational tools to camping gear, a cargo carrier can make your life a great deal easier. It saves room inside the vehicle; and, since they require minimal effort for installation, they save time and stress when traveling.
Of course, every carrier is slightly different, as are the needs of the operator. When making the purchase decision, there are a few key factors to consider. Proper accounting of all buying considerations will lead to a more positive purchasing experience.
Before you pull the trigger on your cargo carrier purchase, make sure you know what it is that you need to tow. If possible, jot down the dimensions of the materials you will be hauling. Be liberal with your measurements (better to have more space than less). Whether you use a measuring tape or the specifications as noted on the user manuals of what you plan to haul, taking the extra time to do diligence will improve success.
Check the size of your planned load against the cargo carrier dimensions before making your final decision. Ensure that when you are vetting the dimensions, that you are looking at the interior measurements. Exterior dimensions apply to park and outside space. Internal dimensions are pertinent to load size.
The price of cargo carriers is fairly reasonable; though, if it means that you need to get a new hitch for your vehicle, the associated cost rises drastically- from parts to time in the shop. While most carriers fit a standard 2-inch hitch, there are exceptions to every rule.
Double check the size of the hitch on your vehicle against the cargo carrier which you desire. There are a plethora of hitch styles and sizes available. Be prudent when ensuring that you will fit the carrier attachment. This will save a great deal of potential trouble down the line.
There are two weights to check when buying a hitch cargo carrier. The first is the load capacity. While almost all models on the market ring in at 500 pounds of capacity, it is important to be sure. Know what it is you will be towing and check that it does not exceed this amount. Also, check the weight distribution needs. Mesh-bottomed designs require a more significant spread of weight than their pole-designed counterparts.
The other factor is the weight of the carrier itself. While it may seem negligible, this number directly applies to maneuverability and fuel mileage. Since it is likely to stay attached to the vehicle, it becomes an added weight for the car. A lighter weight option will reduce the associated fuel expenses. Models that are less weighed down by their own design tend to be easier to maneuver for smaller vehicles.
For many of us, our vehicle speaks directly to who we are; so, while it may seem like a small consideration, the style of the accessory counts for a great deal. Choose a look that you are comfortable with (and that meets your needs). If you prefer the shine of steel over matte black, it is a worthy factor to take into consideration.
The style applies to more than just looks. It speaks to the engineering type used in the product’s manufacturing- and how that will relate to your vehicle. A car will likely need a smaller sized carrier than an SUV. If the style matches the make of the vehicle, success rates certainly improve.
There are two ways to look at product durability. One is the design itself. What material is it made out of? Is it weather-proofed? This will impact shelf life. Does it fold? The bends give water an entry point that can lead to rust. Rusting occurs when the water leaves a product open to oxidation. It is this same oxidizing process that eventually corrodes the material itself.
The other factor is how long the product has been on the market. If a product is brand new; sure, it may be popular, but that could be because it hasn’t had the opportunity to disappoint. Choosing a product that has proven its worth on the market, over time, will generally lead to more successful results.
At the very least, when you check the item’s timeline, if you are taking a chance on a new lead, it is a risk taken knowingly.
Of course, the budget should always be a factor when making a spending decision. Prices for these items range from less than a hundred dollars to more than five times that amount. Value, however, is not always monetary. If a low-cost option meets your needs, it can be just as useful as a more costly alternative.
Always, when budgeting for purchase, consider both direct and associated cost. Direct cost is the price of the product and shipping. Associated cost involves things such as shop time for installation, as well as any increased fuel expenses due to added weight.
It is always better to avoid fiscal surprises; so, when making a purchase, double check the price (while still ensuring the product meets your specific needs).
Frequently Asked Questions Hitch Cargo Carrier
Why do I need a hitch cargo carrier?
Have you ever loaded up the vehicle with everything you need for a trip: food, toys, camping gear, and then realized that there was no room left for you in the car? We’ve all had experiences similar to this one, and that is one of the leading reasons that people pursue these products.
They add utility by increasing accessible space in the car. This way you can, once again, use the space for its designed purpose. They improve safety by properly storing all items in tow (no more dangerously slotted loads). These products also allow you to haul heavy weight without the strain on your vehicle due to improper weight distribution.
What is the difference between a folding and non-folding carrier?
As with all choices, there are draws and drawbacks to both features. Folding carriers tend to be more compact by design, allowing for easier access to parking both indoors and outdoors. That said, anywhere there is a joint in metal leaves room for water to sneak into the material. This leads to rusting and corrosion, eventually shortening the shelf life of the product itself.
Conversely, non-folding carriers are sturdier and tend to stand the test of time better than their bendable counterparts. Even so, the inability to fold into a more compact form has the potential to reduce access to parking. It depends on the operator’s needs since both are suitable carrier options.
Does material matter?
From the molecular level up, yes, the material makes a bit difference to quality. Technology has come a long way since all metal was made of iron. Now, we have rust-resistant metals that vary in weight and tensile strength. It, of course, depends on your individual needs.
Aluminum is a lightweight option that resists rust, though is prone to denting. Steel is sturdy against the elements, though tends to be heavier than other metals. Always check both the metal used and what material composes the protective coat. After all, if the coat scratches, rust can enter the material with ease.
Will the design make a difference?
The design makes a difference for everything from aesthetics to functionality. In terms of appearance, if you do not like how a product looks, the joy received from it will naturally reduce. Find something that suits your personal style (and the look of your vehicle). This will ensure that, from a strictly looks standpoint, you get what you want out of the product.
When it comes to utility, design means everything. Consider what you will be hauling and how you need to place the load. Is the weight properly dispersed? Can we strap it down in a sensible way? Is there easy access to ratchet strapping points?
Can you supplement with bungee cords? All of these factors are components of the design; so, finding the make that is right for you (and what you are hauling) will make all the difference in value.
Are these products easy to use?
Generally speaking, yes, these products are straightforward to install and operate. That said, with any vehicular accessory, there are certain tools needed to affix the item. Make sure that you have all of these items in advance of your purchase. This will add to ease of use. Otherwise, check to find a product that includes all the tools required for installation.
Once the product fastens to the vehicle, these items are typically easy to upkeep. As with all vehicle-related items, they require a certain amount of care, but provided you find the right carrier for your spacial parameters and exact needs, these items make life less difficult and more enjoyable.
A Final Word on Cargo Carriers
As the world shifts towards a more recreational viewpoint, the value of these products increased substantially. Now, as new tech and toys hit the market, we are looking for places to use them. Since most of the world’s population lives in urban settings, we need to find ways to transport our fun items into the open, where they can see their full potential. Cargo carriers are a popular way to facilitate this goal.
Another key value is that, once you have the carrier, there is little upkeep required. They are generally easy to store and add function to the vehicle. Especially with the road-regulations increasing, it is important to store what we tow in a safe and responsible manner.
In order to do this, it is best to use a tool that is right for the job. Hitch cargo carriers are a safe method to get things from point A to point B while keeping cargo safe and in-tact. Whether you are traveling long or short distances, these valuable tools add space to your vehicle and make weekend ventures easy and enjoyable.