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The 4 Best Cargo Carrier Bags – For Those Without a Roof Rack

Everyone can use a little extra space in their vehicle! But at the same time, everyone doesn’t need a roof rack. 

If you’re looking for extra space for your ride, without the hassle of installing additional components, a soft carrier is for you. 

We looked at car carriers by value, quality, and customer feedback to give you the best choices for your money.

Here are the 4 best cargo carrier bags:

1. Rightline Gear Sport 3 Car Top Carrier

This cargo top carrier by Rightline is 100% waterproof.

You do not need a roof rack to attach any products in our review, including this one! But, it also works with a roof rack if you have one.

They come in varying sizes, depending on your needs. They are 9 cubic feet, 12, 15, and finally 18. 

If you go for the largest size, it’s best to have a larger vehicle. Yes, this can carry your golf clubs with ease. It provides some peace of mind as it comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, you can check that out here. 

They’ll fix any defects or replace the product for you if something happens within the 1-year time span. 

It attaches with a strap and clip system easily under your car gap. Tighten it using the straps and you’re good to go after closing your car door. Some customers have complained of water seeping through over time. This can be to not pulling the flap down over the zippers or due to driving with it attached backward. 

Overall this is a highly rated product for a reason. It’s a good value that won’t break the bank.

2. Car Top Carrier Roof Bag + Protective Mat

This waterproof offering from Toolguards is an extremely well-made product. They even included a mat to protect your roof from scratches.

The durable fabric is called Tarpaulin, which has a canvas feel and the benefit of being waterproof. 

A storage capacity of 15 cubic feet is great for most everyone and you are able to attach this with or without a roof rack. In terms of overall quality, and going the extra mile, this is our top pick.

They include 8 straps to keep things extra tight if you feel four aren’t enough and one of the best warranties in the category. A 2-year 100% money-back guarantee.


3. Standard Waterproof Carrier by RoofBag

This waterproof carrier by RoofBag will hold 15 cubic feet for its standard size.

Their warranty is a little confusing, in their title it says 1-year and in the description, it says 2. So, at the bare minimum, you’ll get a one year warranty. 

A big differentiating factor for them is that it’s made in the USA. If you’re someone who wants products made here, this could be an option for you. 

It’s attached using a strap system that securely slides all the way underneath your vehicle. There is no clipping to the sides, you can be 100% sure it’s going to stay in place with how they’ve set it up. You just close your door on the straps when you’re set up!


4. RoofPax Car Roof Bag & Rooftop Cargo Carrier

RoofPax has a roof bag that will hold nearly everything you need. It uses a hooking system to stay attached under your car door’s frame.

This is the big kahuna in terms of volume, or at least the largest we’ve reviewed at 19 cubic feet.

They offer a lifetime warranty on zipper and buckle breaks, but only if you activate your warranty on their website. Something to keep in mind, a bit of a meh. 

We like the design/coloring, and the volume it can hold. But, it is at the top end of the price range. Value-wise it’s a “decent” from us. 


Do I need a roof rack?

That depends on how you plan on using your vehicle. Roof racks work best for owners who want to mount things like a bike, kayaks, or other outdoor equipment. Most cargo boxes are also going to mount onto roof racks, unless they’re specifically designed for your vehicle.

The combination of a roof rack + other storage components can be over budget for many people. A quality hard shell cargo box can easily run 500 dollars, or more in this case. You get the benefit of having a secured load that is going to be more aerodynamic, but it’s also not as easy to remove as a soft cargo carrier.

You can even mount bikes on the back of your vehicle if you want and use a soft top cargo carrier on top. There are plenty of hitch bike lock designs. In our opinion, a soft top cargo carrier is by far the most economical option for additional carrying space. 

What are the pros and cons of a soft cargo box compared to a hard shell?

The most obvious con for most is that they will, with heavy use deteriorate over time. Fabric is fabric, and we’ve all worn backpacks throughout our youth. The heavier mine was loaded with books, the more it frayed.

Fabric is also going to be a bit more susceptible to the elements than something with a hard shell seal. One thing you should always keep in mind is to not leave something like this out in the sun. “UV Proofing” with materials can only go so far. The way to extend the life of any product is to put it away when you’re not using it. 

Will a soft cargo box leave my roof susceptible to scratches?

This is definitely something to think about! Some products in this category offer protective mats. A securely tied down rack isn’t going to scratch anything, but if it has a little bit of give and say you have a pointy hard product sitting on the bottom, it could happen

So you should be very aware of how tight it is and how you pack it. No one wants scratched paint. 


We hope we’ve helped you make an informed decision about your buying journey! If you need enough storage for a cargo box, perhaps a big adventure is ahead?

If it is and you choose one of these options, make sure to let us know how it went in the comments. Our top choice is Toolguards waterproof cargo bag as we think it’s perfect in terms of value and quality. 

Cargo boxes are great, economical options for those who need extra carrying space and many of these are extremely well-made while being affordable at the same time. 

Good luck on your adventure and buying journey!