The 10 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers

The 10 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers

Hitch Cargo Carriers

Like most families, you’ve probably gone on a road trip once or twice in your lifetime. One of the most difficult parts of planning a road trip is playing packing tetris. You’ve got to find a way to fit your entire family in the car along with suitcases and other supplies.

If you’ve got a big trunk, then this may not be an issue. But if you’re traveling with a sedan or a moderately sized SUV, then you could be running out of room quite quickly.

Or you could be transporting materials you don’t to leave in your car, like pesticides or paint for a garage makeover project. You could always hold them out the window while driving, but that’s incredibly dangerous and not very intelligent.

Maybe you’ve thought about putting them on top of your car, but you always run the risk of things blowing off or falling off if they’re not properly secured. Plus, it may lower your overall fuel efficiency, similiar to a dirty catalytic converter.

Thankfully, there are better options that holding your items out the window or putting them on the roof: purchasing a hitch cargo carrier. A hitch cargo carrier is going to give you plenty of additional space for all your items while being easy to install and secure.

This list is going to run through ten options for a hitch carrier, so you can help find the best one for you and your situation. The ones you’ll see on this list are some of the best on the market, meaning you’ve come to the right place.

 

How We Decided on the List

We wanted to give you the most comprehensive look at all the different hitch cargo carriers, so we took a lot of people’s opinions into account. We wanted to find the ideal options for those who need to use the carrier on a regular basis and those who break it out once or twice a year for the family trip or other occasion.

We took into account our own opinions, those of mechanics, and user reviews. We wanted to judge durability, materials, installation difficulty, price, and weigh all the pros and cons out there for you nicely.

Without further ado, let’s go ahead and get started.

Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier With Accessories

We’re starting off this list with a Mockins, a brand who has been in the game for quite some time. With this, you’ll be buying more than just the cargo carrier as this kit will come with everything you need.

The platform is ideally sized, 60”X20”, to place any cargo you may have. But as Billy Mays said, “That’s not all!”

As mentioned above, this is a kit so you’ll be getting plenty of other items, including: ratchet straps, a cargo bag, a cargo net, and a hitch stabilizing device.

Another reason we like this cargo carrier is its materials. Made with heavy duty steel that is lightly powder coated, it has a curved shaft design which makes loading and unloading a breeze.

This carrier is ideal for medium to large-size vehicles and can handle just about whatever you throw at it.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 60X20X6
  • Weight: 52 pounds
  • Design: Rising shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 6”
  • Receiver Size: 2”

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • 6-inch high walls
  • Rising shank design
  • Comes loaded with accessories
  • Durable materials
  • Great for professionals or occasional users

Cons:

  • Installation can be tricky, instructions often unclear
  • Assembly required

 

Pro Series 63155 Rambler Hitch Cargo Carrier

An excellently designed basket style hitch cargo carrier, the Pro Series 63155 is ideal for small vehicles that aren’t going to be hauling a ton of weight around. Because of this, it’s only rated for a 300 pound capacity and uses a smaller receiver.

Just because it isn’t meant to carry tons of weight around, doesn’t mean it can’t stand up to sturdy loads or a rough ride. The side rails are plenty strong, meaning you can tie and secure everything that you’re carrying behind you.

The carrier has a rising shank design, meaning that loading and unloading is easy. You’ll be wanting easy after you’ve driven all day and need to unload your items.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 48X20X5 ½
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Design: Rising shank design
  • Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Walls: 5.5″
  • Receiver Size: 1 ¼”

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great basket style cargo with built-in handles
  • Rising shank design for easy loading and unloading
  • 2-piece construction with powder coat finish
  • 300 pound rating, ideal for small cars

Cons:

  • Does not fold up
  • Difficult assembly and installation

 

Leader Accessories Hitch Mount Cargo Basket

If you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades type of carrier, this is it. The leader accessories carrier is incredibly functional and extremely durable. With 6” high walls and a large 60X24 size so you can carry just about anything you want. Even your kids if they’re acting crazy. Just kidding! But seriously…

This carrier can easily handle up to 500 pounds. We already mentioned the durability, but it’s worth repeating because of the tubular steel that makes up the frame. The steel is also powder coated, meaning it will be able to resist corrosion.

One of our favorite things about this carrier is the sleek and sturdy Z-style shank. This means you can fold it up when the carrier is not in use and easily fold it down when you want to use it again.

This carrier is one that’s ideal for medium to large size vehicles as well.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 60X24X6
  • Weight: 54 pounds
  • Design: Z-style folding shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 6-inch high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great Z-style folding shank design
  • Powder coated frame to resist corrosion
  • 500 pound capacity
  • Very easy to load and unload items

Cons:

  • Assembly required
  • The clamp hardware protrudes slightly into the basket

CURT 18153 Cargo Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier

If you’ve browsed through an online store or just happened to walk through and take a look at carriers in your local brick and mortar, there’s a solid chance you’ve seen the Curt brand along the shelves.

They have tons of models around, but we decided to go with one of their bigger models for this list. The 18153 is a super durable and quite versatile cargo carrier with high sides, allowing you to carry plenty of items in it.

Plus, the 18153 has plenty of features on it. With a curved rising shank, you can raise and lower it for easy loading and unloading. It can fold up so you don’t have to remove it completely when not in use.

With its tubular steel construction and corrosion resistant powder coating, you’re going to be getting a durable carrier that will last you through all of your ups and downs.

This is another good option if you have a medium to large sized vehicle.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 60X24X6
  • Weight: 70 pounds
  • Design: Angled/folding shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 6-inch high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Basket style cargo carrier
  • High walls
  • Easy to use folding shank design
  • 500 pound capacity

Cons:

  • Assembly required
  • Ends of the tubular frame are not capped

 

CargoLoc 32500 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier

Taking a look at this carrier, you’ll instantly notice that it offers a different design than what you might be used to. It is a hybrid basket and tray style with 4-inch high walls that only go halfway around it.

While it may seem dangerous at first, this is to allow you to overhang some items towards the vehicle side, giving you a bit more leeway on what you can and cannot bring. Of course you’re going to have to make sure to secure them properly ahead of time, but you get the idea.

WIth a straight shank, this carrier is not going to fold up when you’re not using it. It is quite durable and sturdy though, made with tubular steel and can hold up to 500 pounds. This is something you don’t usually see in a carrier designed for smaller vehicles.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 48X19X4
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Design: Straight shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 4-inch high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Unique basket/tray combination is ideal for overhanging loads
  • Straight shank design
  • Ideal for smaller, less wide vehicles
  • 500 pound capacity

Cons:

  • Does not fold when not in use

 

Goplus 500LBS Hitch Basket Cargo Carrier

A basket style carrier, this one is built for heavy duty moving. With only 4-inch high walls and top of the line materials, this carrier is meant to haul around anything you don’t want to bring in your trunk.

Measuring 53 inches, you have tons of room for just about anything you want to store. There’s nothing too flashy about this carrier as it has a straight shank design that is more than securely fastened to your hitch.

As a nice added bonus, it comes with an extra spare hitch pin for those just in case moments.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 53X19X4
  • Weight: 22 pounds
  • Design: Straight shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 4-inch high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Basket style cargo carrier
  • Easy to use straight shank design
  • Incredibly durable
  • Extra hitch pin

Cons:

  • No folding option when not in use
  • Initial assembly instructions confusing

 

Pro Series Reese Cargo Carrier

Pro series is back with another item on the list,  and for good reason. While the previous hitch cargo carrier was ideal for smaller cars looking to haul lighter loads, the Reese Cargo Carrier is here to haul the bigger items.

This two-piece design is quite sturdy, ready to haul anything with its 500 pound capacity and spacious 60-inch platform. It’s made from steel and has a super durable powder coat finish, meaning you’ll be protected against the elements no matter where life ends up taking you.

Built for those who are looking to haul heavy-duty items, the rugged mesh floor will make sure there is no water build-up, protecting all items with ease. Plus, it’s incredibly simple to clean up as well.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 60X24X5½
  • Weight: 63 pounds
  • Design: Rise shank design
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 5 ½ inches
  • Receiver Size: 2 inches

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Perhaps the most durable carrier on the list
  • Very easy to clean
  • Mesh flooring protects your luggage and items
  • Simple installation and assembly

Cons:

  • Better for short distance trips
  • Quite heavy

Rola Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier

We get that cargo carriers may not always look super cool, but the Rola Vortex is here to offer us some proof that cargo carriers can have a bit of flash and pizazz to them. Not only does this carrier look cool, but it is also incredibly durable and sturdy.

You name it and this carrier can easily handle it. Luggage for a family trip? Done. Fishing or hunting gear? Don’t even worry about it. A small baby elephant? Probably not.

Made with heavy duty steel and a durable black powder finish, you’ll be getting great quality and plenty of resistance against corrosion or whatever else the world has to throw at you.

It’s best for medium to large size vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 56X23X5¼
  • Weight: 73 pounds
  • Design: Rising shank
  • Capacity: 600 pounds
  • Walls: 5 ¼ inch
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Looks cool
  • Incredibly durable and solid materials
  • Comes with optional lights
  • Very easy installation
  • No water buildup

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fold up when not in use
  • Pretty pricey

 

MaxxHaul Cargo Carrier With Folding Ramp

While some of the carriers have been lacking in distinct features, the MaxxHaul more than makes up for it with a folding ramp.

If you’re someone that has to transport bulky materials, such as lawn equipment, wheelchairs, or other big tools then this is the one for you. WIth a 500 pound capacity and a small folding ramp, you can easily load up even the heaviest of items.

Unlike the other carriers, the Maxxhaul is built from quality aluminum meaning the carrier is going to be corrosion-resistant as well as rust-resistant. It’s not as big as other carriers, with the platform coming in at just over 50 inches.

The ramp, however, is a full 60 inches, giving you plenty of space to push whatever you need to onto the carrier.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$$$
  • Dimensions: 53X30X7
  • Weight: 79 pounds
  • Design: Straight shank
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 7-inch high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A quality folding ramp
  • Easy assembly
  • High walls for storing many items
  • Corrosion proof materials

Cons:

  • Numerous questions about durability
  • Very pricey

 

Tow Tuff Cargo Carrier With Bike Rack

When it comes to unique carriers, this is by far the most unique rack out there. The bike rack here is optional, meaning that you can change it from a carrier to a bike rack in a matter of minutes.

It’s the ideal 2-for-1 option if you’re someone who’s a biker and also needing to move some cargo.

The rack fits up to four regular sized bikes and has a large enough platform to be able to move just about anything. With a carrying capacity of 500 pounds, there isn’t much you won’t be able to carry around.

The carrier is made of heavy-duty steel meaning it’s plenty durable. The downside is the carrier is quite heavy and you might need to buy some extra accessories in order to keep your bikes fitted to the rack.

 

The Quick Details

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 27X62X3
  • Weight: 62 pounds
  • Design: Straight shank
  • Capacity: 500 pounds
  • Walls: 3-inches high
  • Receiver Size: 2-inch

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Durable materials
  • Easily adjustable, you won’t have to worry about figuring out lots of steps
  • Great bed size
  • Bike rack is a huge plus

Cons:

  • It’s pretty heavy
  • Difficult installation and assembly

 

Things to Consider Before Buying

Even though you’ve looked through this list, you might still be confused on what the characteristics and features that should be important to you. Below, we’ll go over some of the most important things to consider before committing to a carrier.

Size

Yes, yes we hear you saying “of course”, but hear us out. Size is the very first thing you want to consider when picking out a carrier. Not only do you want to make sure it fits to the dimensions of your car, but you also want to make sure that it can carry all your stuff.

Before you go look at carriers, think about what you might be transporting in them. Measure your suitcases, check the weight on your bikes, and take a look at whatever else you might be moving. You want to make sure everything can fit before you make a purchase.

Generally, the length of these carriers is about 24 inches or less. Widths range from anywhere between 48 inches and 60 inches.

If you have a small car, do not buy a carrier that sticks out past the width of the car. When you’re moving around and changing directions, you may not compensate for that extra space, causing damage to your carrier, your vehicle, or your surroundings.

 

Capacity

After size, one of the most important factors to check out is the carrier’s capacity. As seen above, they generally range in between 300-600 pounds. It’s important that you never exceed this weight, even for short distances.

If you exceed the weight, you’ll start to see bending or cracking along the exterior. Once again, it’s a good idea to weigh the items you plan on moving around before committing to a carrier.

 

Types of Hitch Cargo Carriers

There are multiple types of carriers on the market, but by far and away the most popular one is the basket-style carrier. The majority of carries on this list were basket-style.

 

Basket

Hitch cargo carrier baskets tend to offer the most options for carrying items with your vehicle. They’re the tried and true versions and service the most basic needs. Walls can range anywhere from 6 to 19 inches, meaning you can carry a ton of cargo in them.

Tray

The second most common type of carrier type, trays have one big advantage over the other types of cargo carriers. They have no sides or removable sides, meaning you can have cargo that goes slightly over the edge. Just make sure they are strapped down very well and don’t extend overly far.

Box

Similar to car top carriers, these types are fully enclosed and they make sure the cargo stays dry and safe from the elements. These types aren’t super common, as they tend to be a bit more expensive and you’re very limited to what kind and size of cargo you can put in them.

Hybrid

Perhaps the rarest of the four, some carriers offer a hybrid option between basket and tray. With these, the basket part is usually on the front part of the carrier while the walls-free section is towards the back. With the walls, you’ll be able to tie your things down easily.

The type ultimately depends on what you plan on carrying and where you intend to go.

 

Receiver Hitch Size

The standard amongst almost all carriers is a 2-inch receiver. If you can’t immediately find the hitch size on the product description, chances are it’s going to be 2-inch.

There are smaller hitch sizes, 1 ¼ inch, but these are rare. That being said, make sure you do a quick check before just in case.

 

What Are the Hitch Carrier Shaft Types?

There are a few different shafts and the kind of shaft you choose is important before making a decision.

Straight

The most basic shafts, these stick straight out the back of the receiver and the carrier goes on top. They do not increase the height of your cargo like a rising shaft would. Out of all the types, they are the most sturdy as they can handle all the bumps and jumps you may experience on your journey.

Rising/Curved

You might see these types of shafts on various carriers, but they are in fact the same. These shaft types are going to help raise the carrier. With your hitch being low on your car, these shafts are going to make it easy for loading and unloading. It’s easier access for all parties involved. That being said, they are not as sturdy as straight shafts.

Z-Style

Z-style will give you increased height with your hitch cargo carrier. Similar to a rising shaft, they are more sturdy and tend to last longer. How do they manage this? Instead of curving to rise up, they use two straight shafts with the ends bolted one on top of each other to a plate.

You’re not going to get the bounce and sway as you would driving with a rising shaft. The only drawback is that it increases the overall weight of the cargo carrier. However, you do get to fold it up when not in use.

 

Folding Cargo Carrier

It’s much easier to just put something out of the way when you’re not using it, right? If your carrier does not have a folding option, then you’re either going to have to leave it on your car when not in use or remove it completely.

That’s why having a folding carrier is such a big benefit. You can easily fold it up and back when you’re not using it. Many newer models have this option, but it is far from a guarantee so make sure you double check if that’s important to you.

Warranty

What doesn’t have a warranty these days? Even though these carriers likely aren’t going to empty out your wallet, you want to make sure your dollar goes plenty far.

The majority of carriers come with a one year warranty, but you want to make sure it’s covering everything from workmanship to corrosion. It pays to be thorough.

Necessary Accessories

Even though carriers have been around forever, that doesn’t mean you can’t trick them out with a few more accessories. They may not give your carrier that flash and incredible style, but it does make them much more useful.

Here are a list of things you might run into and possibly need when you’re looking for a carrier:

  • Bungee cords
  • Cargo bag
  • Cargo net
  • Hitch stabilizers
  • Locking hitch pen
  • Ratchet straps

 

What Are Some of the Advantages?

Even after looking through this list, why should you consider buying one? Check out this quick list of reasons for purchasing one.

  • They free up tons of space. You won’t have to haul stuff on the roof or pack your trunk with items. It is going to make long trips or hauling items much more comfortable.
  • With all that space, that means you can bring more stuff with you. You won’t have to worry about what goes on the cutting block when packing up.
  • It’s much simpler to pack and remove items from a carrier than the back of your tiny car. Avoid the frustration!
  • If you’re hauling around items like pesticide, gasoline, fertilizer, paint, etc., you can stick it to the outside of your car. No longer do you have to take unnecessary health risks.
  • Ideal for a contractor, great for storing all those extra items.

 

Hitch Cargo Carrier vs Roof Cargo Carrier

By now, you probably are thinking about the difference between hitch and roof carriers. Even though roof storage is fine, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to both. Let’s run through them quickly.

 

Rooftop Cargo Carriers


Here are the reasons you might want to checkout a rooftop carrier:

  • No hitch required, no need to look at different receiver sizes.
  • They are generally lighter.
  • They protect your items from the elements well, keeping out rain and snow.
  • Tend to be cheaper.

 

Hitch Cargo Carriers

What advantages do hitch cargo carriers have over rooftop cargo carriers?

  • Significantly less air drag as compared to rooftop cargo carriers. You’ll save lots of money on long road trips.
  • They can hold a lot more weight. While rooftop carriers max out at around 200 pounds, hitch carriers usually hold around 500 pounds.
  • Hitch carriers are much easier to install. Even though you might have to deal with something heavier, you won’t be climbing on your roof or standing on car seats to get everything attached.
  • They are much more versatile, allowing you to attach ramps, bike racks, foldable options, and much more.
  • If you have a pickup truck, you’re going to have a hard time finding a rooftop carrier.
  • Much, much easier to pack up items. Especially if you have to delicate items on top of each other. You also won’t have to lift items over your head.
  • Hitch carriers can carry dangerous materials much more safely and easier. You won’t have to worry about spillage or damages.

 

The Final Word

Space is an issue everyone runs into once and awhile. Even though you may think you have significant trunk space, there’s nothing like a family road trip or contractor job to show you that you need to have more of it. Now if you happen to be a bass-head, your trunk may be full of class D amps and a pair of subs, so this could come in handy for you as well.

Be sure to check out each hitch carrier closely and find what’s important to you. Make sure you find one that fits your car and can handle any future projects or trips you may have. If you follow all of these instructions and do plenty of research, you won’t have any issue finding the ideal hitch carrier for you and your vehicle.

Bryce

Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

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