When you need a place to store all of your things on your vehicle, a hitch cargo carrier is definitely the way to go. Other options like a rooftop rack that requires you to lift everything on top of your car and then struggle to get it back down, hitch carriers simply mount to the back of your vehicle for quick and easy storage of everything from outdoor equipment to groceries and more! The next time you get in the car for a road trip you’ll have everything you need all in one place. Lucky for you we’ve put together a list of the 10 best hitch cargo carriers you can buy in 2021 as well as everything you need to know before you make that first purchase.
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As you can see, there are number of makes and models of cargo basket, bag, and other equipment available. Our #1 pick the Reese Pro Series Rambler combines the best features of a carrier into a well formed and durable piece of equipment that is sure to suit your needs any time you hit the road.
9 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers In 2021
1. Reese Pro Series Rambler – Top Pick
The Pro Series Rambler is a basket style cargo carrier that can hold up to 500lbs. The wide platform allows for carrying very large loads and the nearly 6 inch side rails help to keep everything secure. The rise shank design also improves ground clearance and makes load more accessible.
Made from heavy duty steel coated in black powder the basket is corrosion and rust resistant and the mesh bottom helps to keep cleanup a breeze. This hitch cargo carrier has a wide length base to hold cargo steady and is assembled from two pieces to make sure that installation is a snap. For all the benefits this is our pick as the best cargo carrier on the list.
Holds 500 pounds, angled shank for improved ground clearance, side rails secure cargo.
- 5oolbs weight limit carrying capacity
- fits 2″ square hitch receivers
- Mesh base for easy cleaning
- Time consuming to assemble (but it is easy to assemble so it’s not bad)
2. ROLA Wallaroo – Best Cargo Bag
This product is a cargo bag that is designed to strap to your existing cargo carrier and securely carry all of your items. Cargo bags are great easy to install option and this one offers numerous benefits. It made from reinforced canvas material which makes it completely waterproof and with the help of the stitching you’ll never have to worry about any of your gear getting wet. It features pockets on each side of the inner compartment to help with organization and zippers that makes it expandable for extra storage space. Not only that, this product includes a store flat folding feature for when not in use.
Bag carriers are a great product to use when you don’t want your cargo exposed to the elements. This bag fits any standard cargo carriers and the bag itself is very light so it won’t be a problem to move around when not in use or when loading.
Rain proof cargo bag, expandable zippers, secure locking ratchet straps
- Universally designed to fit most hitch cargo carriers
- Expandable design
- Sonically sealed seams
- Rainproof cargo bag
- Straps can be tricky to attach (but once you have them the fit is snug)
3. Mochkins Cargo Carrier – Best Bundle
For an all in one solution to carrying cargo this bundle puts together all the tools you’ll need to carry just about anything in one easy to use package. The products in the bundle include a heavy duty steel hitch cargo carrier that has 500 pounds of weight capacity and an anti rust coating . The cargo carrier measures 60″long by 20″ wide and 6″ tall with a rising shank that makes it high enough off the ground for clearance and makes it easier to load and unload. Also included is a waterproof cargo bag you may use instead of the steel mesh basket. The extra cargo net helps to make sure that cargo items don’t move during travel.
Having both a hitch mounted cargo basket and cargo bag from the same manufacturer means that everything fits together nicely. No need to purchase extra items to go with your this kit. Simply attach the carrier to your car and account for all your stuff in one place.
Heavy duty steel construction holds 500 lbs, fits most class iii 2″ hitch receivers, rust proof
- All pieces for one price
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Hitch stabilizer included
- Cargo net may be a little small (but it’s a bonus for security so it’s still great)
4. Curt Basket Style Cargo Carrier – Most Versatile Pick
This basket cargo carrier from Curt has some great features that cause it to be a good option. It features a folding shank that allows the cargo carrier to be tucked away when not in use. The carrying capacity of the basket is 500 lbs of weight and the dimensions give it plenty of space to get all your things in. The 6″ side rails are there to securely hold everything as well. It also made of heavy duty carbide steel and is easy to install to either a rear mounted hitch or a front hitch thanks to a dual sided support bar, all you need is a front hitch and the hitch pin slides in like normal. This makes it incredibly useful as a hitch carrier since you can change locations if necessary.
Fold in shank for flat storage, weight capacity is 500 lbs, heavy duty construction, front mounted or rear mounted hitch mounted cargo carrier
- Fold-in shank to save space
- 500 lbs weight capacity
- Steel construction
- Can be heavy (But the construction is quality)
This is another of ROLA’s cargo bags and this one has a ton of capacity. It has a massive 20 cubic feet of storage space and like other products in this line is completely waterproof. Not only is the bad waterproof, all of the zippers on this product are protected by waterproof flaps to prevent rust and the product is covered by a 5 year warranty. The bag fits cargo carriers that are 60″ by 24″. These bags use 6 ratchet straps to secure in place.
Like all bags of this type, they are light enough that when not in use they can be folded down so that access to the rear of the vehicle is not restricted.
cargo bag is completely waterproof, large capacity, protective flaps protect zippers from rust
- High capacity 20 cubic foot cargo bag
- Flaps protect zippers from rust
- Completely protected from most weather conditions
- Zipper can be tricky (but once you master it you’re fine)
This is a slightly smaller option from MaxxHaul. Featuring high side rails, built in reflectors, and solid steel frame, this compact model is a great room saving option that still lets you fully access the rear of your automobile. It sits very low to the ground for quick loading. The cargo carrier has a weight limit of 500 lbs even though it has a smaller size so you can still carry everything you need onto it. Unlike some other models it also fits a class iii or class iv hitch. It has a slotted base instead of the typical mesh which tends to hold heavier weight more evenly. This is also a nice bargain for those on a budget. The side bars are roughly 5 1/2″ tall to help hold cargo in place when seated.
steel frame, low clearance, fits class iii and class iv hitch
- Compact design
- Built in reflectors
- Fits class iii and iv vehicle hitch
- 500 lb capacity
- No mesh base (though the base is solid )
7. MaxxHaul Hitch Aluminum Carrier
Unlike most cargo carriers, this aluminum cargo carrier is a bit smaller. An aluminum cargo carrier is much lighter and easier to maneuver than a cargo carrier made of heavier materials and yet an aluminum cargo carrier is just as durable. Even though it is an aluminum basket, it still has a large capacity holding more than 400 lbs. Aluminum carriers are great to use when you need to carry items but don’t want to pull a lot of weight on the rear of your vehicle. The side rails are higher than average to keep your things secure and the product features aluminum that is powder coated to protect from rust and corrosion.
Because of the way this cargo carrier is designed it has an unlimited number of places to tie down cargo to the carrier for secure transport. The sides of the carrier come up about 5 1/2 inches to hold everything in place as well.
Solid aluminum construction, capacity is over 400 lbs, fits class 3 and class 4 receivers
- Includes reflectors
- limitless tie down points to make sure cargo is secure
- solid aluminum body
- rust proof coating
- 500 lb capacity
- Body may flex a bit (this doesn’t impact the sturdiness though)
This is another great option that has a folding mechanism and a higher capacity than other products on this list at 550 lbs. The increased capacity means you can haul even more stuff. The shank on this product is an angled shank so that the clearance is slightly higher. It has a durable powder coat finish to prevent rust and reflectors for night time driving. There are even tie down clips and a cargo net included to secure all of your cargo. This cargo carrier is a great value and perfect for carrying lots of thing from the hitch of your vehicle. The cargo net and hitch pin are included
Folding mechanism for storage, heavy capacity, reflectors, cargo net
- Cargo carrier has heavy capacity of 550 lbs
- includes tie downs, cargo net, and reflectors
- fits class 3 and class 4 hitch
- Hitch arm is a little long (Just be careful when backing up and you’ll be fine)
Another MaxxHaul product on the list this one is a steel folder with a rust proof powder coated finish. With better than a 400 lb capacity it has plenty of room for everything. Side rail height of 6 1/2″ holds all your cargo secure and the mesh basket can accommodate most cargo easily. For use with class ii and class iv hitch receivers. Like others on the list has the rust proof powder coat finish. Also comes with red reflectors for safety.
It is quite heavy as it is made solid but means that it won’t wear down from use. The cargo carrier is built to last and includes the weather proofing that is common on a metal cargo carrier.
- Folding mesh base on the cargo carrier
- large capacity basket
- rust proof finish
- fits class ii and iv hitch receivers
- Heavy (though this does mean that it holds up well)
A different brand from the cargo carriers you’ve seen so far, this hitch mounted cargo carrier has several of the features that you want in a product to carry your cargo. It also has the standard 500 lb capacity so that you don’t have to worry about how much you put in the basket. It fits most 2″ receivers and has a powder coat finish as well. The shank is straight but the fitting is raised to elevate the basket for ease of use. The side bars are the standard 6″ height that are common on a cargo basket carrier
Apart from the basic features of a cargo basket carrier, this one comes with a stand that makes it usable as a table when camping, tailgating or performing other activities where you need a workable area.
Solid frame, foldable shank, 500 lb capacity, includes reflectors
- Attachable stand for tailgating
- Mesh basket
- Great capacity
- Fits class iv receiver
- Folding shank design for compact storing
- stabilizer sold separately
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a Hitch Cargo Carrier Need Lights?
If the cargo carrier and the cargo that is on it do not obscure the lights on the vehicle then a light is not mandatory when operating your vehicle. It is generally advised to purchase a light kit for your carrier to prevent any possible issues. Plug and play LED light kits can be purchased separately.
Are Cargo Carriers Legal?
Cargo carriers themselves are not illegal and neither is overloading one. However, placing too much weight on a one can cause them to malfunction and cause an accident. Additionally blocking view of vehicle tail lights is illegal and a safety hazard so additional lights will be necessary for large cargo carriers or large loads. Some hitch cargo carriers also come with reflectors as an added safety feature that can allow other vehicles to see you better during inclimate weather or night time travel.
How Do You Attach a Cargo Carrier to a Hitch?
The installation process is fairly similar to most other hitch mounted equipment. The basket comes with a bar attachment with holes that are meant to line up with the holes in your hitch receiver. Simply line the holes in the attaching bar with the holes in your trailer hitch receiver and lock it in place using the provided locking pin. Then check to ensure stability. Most cargo carriers attach to a class ii or iii hitch receiver. Hitch cargo carriers use a bolt or a pin in most cases to fasten to the receiver, if one is not provided with your hitch cargo carriers you can usually buy one separate for a small fee. Also, if you’re looking for garage bike racks, you can check our recent post where we listed some options you may go for. But if you have limited garage space, you can always go for a floor bike rack. You can also check our blog about best 4 bike hitch racks and truck bed bike rack reviews for some guides on how you can carry your bikes safely and easily. Also, we know that traveling requires you to bring a lot of necessities. So having the best car roof box installed in your car might helpful for you.
There you have it. Our ultimate guide to buying a carrier. Hopefully the answers we provided give you some insight into what you’re getting when you buy a carrier. Knowing all of your options will help you pick the carrier that is right for you. You can’t go wrong with our top pick the Reese Pro Series Rambler. The next time you’re out shopping for a cargo carrier, consider one of our great picks when making your choice. We have also research about hitch mounted winches to guide you on some ways on how you can pull your vehicle out of a muddy situation.
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