Best Rooftop Cargo Bag for Camping Trips and Adventures

If you need more storage space than the one your vehicle's interior is offering, then the best rooftop cargo bag will solve your challenge that may occur when you are packing for a trip. Not every vehicle will have enough space inside to store all the luggage or equipment you need to bring, and this can be a problem, especially when many people are part of the trip. Notably, no matter where you are headed, having additional space to keep your belongings is always a good idea.

What is a Rooftop Cargo Bag?

Rooftop cargo bags are a type of cargo carrier, and they offer extra space to your belongings, protect your belongings from any road grime or harsh weather and ensure your cargo is shielded from thieves. A rooftop cargo carrier bag is like a giant backpack for your car, softer and more affordable than the hard-shelled car top carrier. Hence, it is lighter in weight; it can be mounted easily to your vehicle's rooftop and easily stored when not in use.

Most rooftop cargo bags don't need rack systems and can be loaded on top of your vehicle's roof using the tie-down systems and will have adjustable straps with zippered compartments and sturdy hooks. Additionally, these rooftop cargo carriers today are sleek and aesthetic and will work with your car without sabotaging your gas mileage.

Now that we know what a rooftop cargo carrier bag is, let us look at the five best rooftop cargo bags in this category with their pros and cons. We have also included a detailed buying guide to help you know what to look for when shopping.

1. RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier

RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier, Original Roof Bag Made in USA for Any Car Size with or Without Roof...
  • FITS ALL CARS: With or without rack, sunroof, moonroof. The...
  • MOST SECURE DESIGN: Your belongings are safe at any highway speed...
  • TRULY WATERPROOF: RoofBag car topper keeps your valued contents...
  • HEAVY-DUTY: Whether you need a roof rack bag or a car top carrier...
  • QUIET, FUEL EFFICIENT, EASY TO INSTALL: RoofBag luggage carrier...

RoofBag Cargo Carrier is made with heavy-duty tear-proof polyester fabric with an impressive waterproof coating with thick and durable straps ideal for most standard-sized vehicles. With 15 cubic feet of space, the carrier works on any vehicle with crossbars, side rails, baskets, or bar roofs, making it very versatile. Also, thanks to aerodynamics, it has less drag, allowing it to give you a gas-efficient and quiet adventure.

RoofBag carrier bag features heavy-duty straps that can withstand 3000lbs of force, and it is free of chemicals and fire-resistant, ensuring you are safe while on your trips. The carrier bag also includes a slip-resistant protective mat covering your roof's car, protects it against any damage, and includes a carrying case.


  • Easy to install
  • Versatile as it can fit baskets, bar roofs, side rails, and crossbars, making it super versatile.
  • The bag is simple to secure to the roof rack
  • The material is rip-and-peel resistant
  • Uses heavy-duty straps that can handle fore up to 3000lbs


  • Not suitable for aerodynamics

2. MaxxHaul 70117 Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag

MAXXHAUL 70117 Rooftop Cargo Bag
  • Constructed from PVC material with polyester reinforcement and UV...
  • Pack and travel with light-duty cargo and soft goods up to 100...
  • Zipper is covered with hook and loop flaps for improved water...
  • (8) 1-1/2" wide polypropylene straps keep your bag secured to...
  • When in use, approximately 44" long x 34" wide x 18" high with a...

MaxxHaul 70117 is the best overall roof bag, especially if you are looking for an affordable price option, and it's been designed to be used with roof bars or roof racks as it lacks a direct way to be tied to your car. The bag is great for most weather conditions thanks to the PVC material using a polyester reinforcement and has a special UV layer that protects your gear from fading.

MaxxHaul cargo carrier is suitable for lengthy road trips with 15 cubic feet of storage and can withstand regular use, and you can use the bag for many years, and with a weatherproof zipper, it will keep water away from your load. The bag zippers also have large holes to use padlocks to boost your security and carry around soft goods that weigh up to 100lbs.


  • It is an affordable option
  • Durable construction with a special UV coating
  • Great waterproof zipper that keeps water away from your equipment or gear
  • Additional protection thanks to the hooks and flaps on the zipper and also wide polypropylene straps
  • Holds up to 100 pounds worth of soft goods
  • It is easy to install and be folded for storage purposes
  • Suitable for camping gear and sports equipment.


  • Produces noise that may be too much for some users

3. Thule Interstate Cargo Bag

Thule Interstate Cargo Bag
  • Claimed Weight: 8.5 lb
  • Locks Included: no
  • Compatibility: universal
  • Volume: 16 cu ft
  • Dimensions: 40 x 38 x 18 in

Thule Interstate is the best roof cargo bag that is a premium choice for performance-oriented campers with an aerodynamic design. The cargo bag is made using a durable and double-coated PVC and phthalate-free TPE laminate fabric that is IP-X3 certified to allow weather resistance. In addition, the Thule cargo carrier has a padded base that will protect your car from any damage like scratches.

Thule Interstate cargo carrier comes with three coated side zippers that have large storm flaps that keep water out of your bag at all costs. The car top carrier also includes a set of compression straps that minimize noise and friction as you are driving. Additionally, thanks to the aerodynamic shape and 16 cubic feet of storage, you are guaranteed improved performance on the road.


  • Features a padded base that protects your car from damage
  • Aerodynamic design
  • PVC-free construction making it eco-friendly


  • The Thule bag needs a roof rack to be secure

4. Rightline Gear Sport Jr

Rightline Gear Sport Jr Car Top Carrier, 10 cu ft Sized for Compact Cars, 100% Waterproof Zipper,...
  • 100% WATERPROOF CONSTRUCTION: Welded seams and SZIP waterproof...
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY: Shop confidently; our service...
  • ATTACHES WITH OR WITHOUT A ROOF RACK: Attach the carrier's straps...
  • SMALL CAPACITY DESIGN: 10 cubic feet of storage, 36" L x 30" W x...
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Your bag comes with everything you need to load...

Rightline Gear Sport Jr cargo carrier was designed with ease of use as its top function, and it's a simple and functional bag for camping trips. It is one of the best car cargo carriers built with a UV-protected PVC Semi-Coated Mesh XT fabric that is durable enough and will hold up for years for you and your friend's road trip. Additionally, unlike cargo boxes, the carrier bag can be attached to a car with or without a roof rack, which adds convenience.

Rightline company built this extra storage with a 100% waterproof construction, a waterproof zipper, and welded seams. The zipper opens and exposes a ten cubic foot-sized carrier bag that is enough storage to pack your weekend's camping gear, but if you want more space, there are the 18 cubic feet Rightline Gear Cargo Saddlebags. It is one of the best cargo bags because it is a complete set and includes all the hardware you may need to attach it to roof racks or directly to your car top.


  • It has a durable and UV-protected material
  • Features a waterproof construction and a zipper
  • It can be attached to your vehicle without a roof rack
  • It is a complete set, and you will not need any additional tools for installation
  • Suitable fit for compact cars
  • Packs a great warranty that gives you the confidence of durability


  • The box shape is not very aerodynamic

5. Yakima Cargopack Roof Bag

YAKIMA - CargoPack Roof Storage Bag
  • EXPANDED STORAGE: Secures to all types of vehicles with or...
  • PROTECT YOUR GEAR: Constructed with watertight, sealed seams to...
  • STURDY DESIGN: High-quality, heavy-duty ballistic nylon protects...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: Installs tool-free in just 5 minutes; Fully...
  • WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK GUARANTEE: Covered by our Limited Lifetime...

Yakima is one of the most popular cargo boxes and rood rack brands, and they also make some great roof bags, especially if you are looking for a premium option to carry your load. The Cargopack is completely waterproof with waterproof sealed seams that guarantee your gear's safety by blocking out any moisture. The bag material is also of great quality and will not scratch your car because it's made of ballistic nylon to prevent your roof from experiencing any damage.

Yakima Cargopack Bag is suitable for use with vehicles with no roof racks, and you can use the included straps to strap your bag directly to your car. The bag will give you a smooth ride down the road as it compresses the bad and stabilizes, giving you more aerodynamics. Additionally, storing the bag is simple as it's simple to remove and tuck it away, and being lightweight, weighing just 7 pounds, you can move it around easily.


  • 100 % waterproof design
  • Suitable with vehicles that don't have roof racks
  • Easy to load and offload off your car because its lightweight with a weight of 7lbs
  • The storage bag will not scratch your car
  • Gives an aerodynamic experience


  • It is not an affordable price

What are the Main Advantages of the Best Roof Top Cargo Bag?

Since a roof bag is a rooftop cargo carrier made from heavy-duty and weatherproof materials, one person can mount it easily. The main advantages include:

  • A lightweight profile which is ideal for an easy setup with securing straps
  • Waterproof capabilities
  • Extra carrying capacity of about 15 cubic feet of storage space
  • The cargo bags are suitable for oddly shaped objects like musical instruments because, thanks to their soft make
  • The cargo bag can be folded and therefore takes up minimal space when not in use
  • It is compatible with a lot of SUVs, Hatchbacks, or Sedans, among other vehicles
  • The cargo bag offers an adjustable fit on many rooftop baskets or roof racks and also is fully compatible with several lockdown systems to give a secure fit
  • Most of them have an aerodynamic construction that minimizes air friction while driving

Disadvantages of Car Roof Bags

  • Not the best for large objects like sports equipment
  • It does not offer the best protection on delicate or fragile items
  • The car roof bag may offer a reduced carrying capacity compared to a roof cargo box
  • Some designs have a long-term but limited durability

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Rooftop Cargo Bag

1. Materials

The material used in the best rooftop cargo bag is crucial because it will be exposed to the dirt, sun, bugs, snow, and rain, and your cargo carrier material should stand up to all the situations. Some materials offer protection even with heavy rain and keep your gear dry, and most feature a zipper closure with a fabric flap or a Velcro that can cover it to keep the water out. In addition, synthetic materials withstand rain and other elements better than natural ones.

2. Carrying Capacity and Size

The carrying capacity is one of the most important considerations depending on what you plan on carrying in the extra cargo space. This is especially crucial if you carry odd-shaped items because you need a carrier bag to accommodate its shape. The capacity is measured in cubic feet, and 15 cubic feet of space is a standard carrying capacity.

Additionally, the size of your cargo carrier will determine how much camping gear you can fit inside, and the size also determines if it will make a good fit for your vehicle. For example, if you have a roof rack on your car, you should ensure the dimensions of your roof rack are compatible with those of your cargo bag because otherwise, your bag won't fit on your vehicle. Some bags are designed to fit large rooftops, and they may not fasten properly when used on a small vehicle.

3. Durability/ Waterproofing

No one wants to spend money on the best rooftop cargo bag only for it to fall apart after one road trip, and also, no one wants their camping gear to be rain-soaked on the drive to your road trips. So a durable rooftop carrier will have waterproof fabric and zipper, and choose a carrier bag that features welded or taped seams for additional waterproof capabilities.

4. Shape/Aerodynamics

When you attach items pon your vehicle top, the aerodynamics of your vehicle automatically decrease, and most cargo bags are notoriously poor in aerodynamics. In addition, most cargo bags have a box shape that creates a drag on the road at high speeds, creating extra strain on the straps and decreasing your gas mileage as you drive to and from your camping trip. Consider aerodynamic bags because as much as they are tricky to pack, they are the best for your gas mileage.

5. Bag Security

Safety should be on top of the list when dealing with anything on top of our vehicle, and hence the cargo carrier should be completely waterproof and should be able to hold up to all conditions. If your vehicle lacks a roof rack, choose cargo carriers that can comfortably work without one, and if you have a roof rack, ensure your roof bag has straps that can get attached properly to it and better with a non-slip roof cover.

6. Vehicle Compatibility

When choosing the best rooftop cargo bag, the cargo carriers must be compatible with your vehicle because if not, you won't be able to use it, and your purchase will be a waste of time and money. The major thing to keep in mind is that some cargo bags need a roof rack for mounting while others don't and if your vehicle lacks a roof rack, ensure you get a model that can be directly attached to your car.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Rooftop Cargo Bags

1. Are rooftop cargo bags safe?

Yes, they are safe when not overloaded, when packed with soft-side luggage and when strapped snuggly to your vehicle because a loose carrier bag may slide or get moved by the wind.

2. How can I keep my cargo bag from making noise when driving?

You can minimize the noise of your rooftop cargo carrier by filling your bag as much as you can and leave a little to no space inside. Also, because it's not the inside that creates noise most of the time, and it's the straps, put them in a few twists before you secure them and tuck away any of your strap ends, and this will prevent them distracting when driving.

3. Can you use a car-top carrier without a roof rack?

Yes, a rooftop cargo carrier bag can be attached to your vehicle's roof without the roof racks and using a few accessories such as loops and ratchet straps. Loops are added to your car's edges using a metal hook at the end, and it attaches to your vehicle's door frame, and when all doors shut, the loops are held firmly in place.