We are all aware that the role of rooftop cargo carriers is to utilize the bare space that the vehicle’s roof has. Companies started to enhance these carriers to be more durable and heavily constructed, thus, giving birth of hard shell rooftop cargo carriers.
This type of carrier is functions just the same as the normal ones; the only addition to this is its hard shell cover. This property boosts the security and durability that predecessor models have, making this more popular among people who love traveling.
||SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box||8.9|
||Thule 682 Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box||8.8|
||Thule Force Cargo Box||9.1|
||SportRack Horizon Cargo Box (Alpine)||8.9|
||Yakima SkyBox Carbonite Cargo Box||9.5|
||Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box||9.1|
||Thule Atlantis Rooftop Cargo Carrier||9.4|
||Thule Pulse Cargo Box||9.3|
- Buying Guide
- 8 Best Hard Shell Rooftop Cargo Carriers
- SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box (Black, 18 Cubic Feet) (Sports)
- Thule Sidekick Cargo Box (Misc.)
- Thule Force Cargo Box, Black (Sports)
- SportRack Horizon Cargo Box (Alpine, 11 Cubic Feet) (Sports)
- Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box (Sports)
- Yakima – RocketBox Pro 14, Multi-sport Rooftop Cargo Box for Cars, Wagons and SUVs (adds 14 cubic ft. of storage) (Sports)
- Thule Atlantis Rooftop Cargo Box (Black, 16 Cubic Feet) (Sports)
- Thule Pulse Cargo Box, Black (Sports)
When buying a hard shell rooftop cargo carrier, it’s very important that you pick the best one (for you) right away as this equipment is pretty expensive. To guide you more, here are some things you’d want to consider before placing any purchase.
Determine the things that you want to carry in the cargo box. What types of gear are you bringing along? Match the box size on the required space for your belongings. It’s always a good thing that you list the things down so you stay on track.
Your cargo box should fit on your vehicle roof. Additionally, learn the weight capacity of your roof rack to avoid any trouble.
8 Best Hard Shell Rooftop Cargo Carriers
Here are the top 8 options for the best hard shell rooftop cargo carriers:
1. SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box
This extra large cargo box provides 18 cubic feet of waterproof rooftop storage, which is perfect for oversized and bulky items. It’s specifically designed to be aerodynamic while being spacious at the same time. The box features compatible rack configurations including SportRack roof rack systems, square, round, and other factory racks. It’s constructed from ABS plastic, providing resistance against sun, rain, and impact strikes.
The box assures easy attachment to and removal from the car’s roof with the use of U-bolts. Vinyl hole covers are also included to protect the box and its contents from unpredictable weather. Security is provided as the box has a side opening lid that automatically stays open for easier usage. In addition, it has a lock cylinder integrated on the opening, securing the contents and locking the box on the car roof.
- The box can hold a weight capacity of up to 100 pounds
- It provides 18 cubic feet of storage
- Waterproof design and ABS construction for added protection
- Is widely compatible with most factory rooftop racks
- The roof cargo box features easy attachment and removal with the use of U-bolts
- The box seems flimsy when opened
- The lid twists, making it hard to open and close.
- The hinges were not that great.
- The box might need some modifications to fit some cars.
2. Thule 682 Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box
Thule’s hard shell rooftop cargo carrier provides 8 cubic feet of storage. It’s really convenient to use at it can handle up to 110 pounds of cargo, ideally camping gear or sports equipment. This roof cargo box is made of ABS plastic, providing a high level of durability as it is UV and impact resistant. It has wide rack compatibility as it can be attached to Thule base racks and most factory racks. The box uses U-bolts or knobs to make it easier to install. Security is assured as the product comes with 2 locks to secure the contents and to lock the cargo box to the carrier.
- The roof rack cargo box allows up to 8 cubic feet of storage
- The lid has a side opening design to provide ease when loading and unloading the box
- It can be attached to most rooftop racks
- Thule provides a limited lifetime warranty for this unit, including the straps and needed mounting hardware.
- The bag is hard to lock
- The side supports are wobbly
- The clamps for the roof racks may not be long or large enough
- The placement of hinges makes the box assembly hard
3. Thule Force Cargo Box
Thule’s cargo box ensures that it provides a spacious interior and convenient usage. Durability is guaranteed as it’s constructed of 5-layer ABS plastic. This hard shell rooftop cargo carrier comes with a quick-grip mounting hardware that makes it easier to attach it on and remove it from the car’s roof. The box’s lid features a dual-side access, making it convenient and easy to get your belongings from either side of the vehicle. This product measures 64”x 34”x 16”, making it the largest roof cargo box on this list.
- The box can handle a weight capacity of up to 100 pounds
- This product is also available in different sizes with 21-22 cubic feet as the largest cargo box in the line
- The box is designed to fit multiple racks, including the Thule rack systems and most factory racks
- The lid has a dual-side opening that makes it more convenient to access the bag from either side of the vehicle
- Easier and faster installation with its tool-free mounting capability.
- The lid is hard to close when it’s opened both sides.
- It’s a bit flimsy when opened.
- The lock mechanism is not that smooth.
4. SportRack Horizon Cargo Box – Alpine
This SportRack box provides 11 cubic feet of rooftop storage with an aerodynamic design for more convenient traveling. It’s specifically designed to be widely compatible with different rooftop racks. This roof mounted cargo box is made of ABS plastic, providing a high level of durability and long-lasting usage. The SportRack cargo box uses a patented Easy-Snap mounting hardware, enabling easy installation on the car’s roof. Additionally, U-bolts are also used. The box comes with a lid that’s placed on the passenger side. The lid automatically keeps opened for easier loading and unloading. When not closed, a waterproof seal is created.
- This roof mounted cargo box can handle a weight capacity of up to 100 pounds
- Its lid is passenger oriented
- The Easy-Snap mounting hardware provides ease of installation
- The box is constructed with ABS plastic for added durability
- The company provides a limited lifetime warranty for this product.
- To mount the box properly, you might need some help from another person
- The box is kind of flimsy
- The locking system only locks the side and there’s no latching in the front box
5. Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box
The Yakima box provides spacious storage of 21 cubic feet. The box’s Carbonite textured lid ensures content protection against sun, rain, and impact strikes. Its sleek and aerodynamic design guarantees added convenience and a classy look. The box is easy to attach to and remove from the car with its tool-free installation system. Rack compatibility is not a problem as the Yakima cargo box fits on most factory racks.
- The unit comes with SKS Locks
- The lid has a dual-sided opening that allows ease of access. The presence of the internal lid stiffeners provides additional durability
- The box is designed to fit most rooftop rack system
- The locking mechanism might have problems
- The box is not that ridged
- Vibrations may be felt while traveling
- The product is a bit on the pricey side
6. Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Cargo Box
This model is aerodynamically designed to make the cargo bag perfect for SUV, trucks, and other small vehicles. The dual-sided opening of the lid enables access from either side of the vehicle. Additionally, the push button security makes sure that the lid is secured, together with the contents. The box is designed to have a wide range of rooftop compatibility, fitting most rack systems.
- This is the cargo box for SUV and other small vehicles
- The push button security ensures lid and content security
- The company offers a limited lifetime warranty for this unit
- The box can produce noise or vibration when driving at 70MPH
- Certain ski equipment can’t be put in the box.
7. Thule Atlantis Rooftop Cargo Carrier
This box provides 16 cubic feet of cargo storage. Ideally, this can fit 6-8 pairs of skis (max. length of 178 cm), or 3-4 snowboards. The lid has a dual-side opening that allows easier access from either side of the vehicle.
- The cargo box provides storage space of up to 16 cubic feet
- The Quick-Grip mounting system provides fast and easy installation
- The box can fit most rooftop rack systems
- It flops a bit when empty.
8. Thule Pulse Cargo Box
The box provides storage space of up to 14 cubic feet and a weight capacity of up to 110 pounds. It’s constructed with ABS plastic material for high durability, added content protection, and longer usage. its SecureLock System ensures that the lid is securely closed and the contents are safe. The Easy-Grip mounting makes it easy to attach the bag on the rack.
- The box provides 14 cubic feet of storage space
- It has a durable ABS construction
- The box is designed to fit most rack systems
- Water may leak in during heavy rains
- The unit seems to be flimsy
As you can see, the choice is vast. You can, of course, find more options by simply searching the web or going to Amazon. However, this article is meant to be as a shortcut for you simply because we have included the best-selling hard shell cargo carriers with the highest feedback rates.
Some people use cargo carriers literary every day while others use them occasionally. In any case, if you decided to invest money into this purchase, you want to be sure it will last for years. Therefore, the best way to go is to choose a product which is already tested by other people and given a great feedback.
All the best in your journeys!