Pick The Right Cargo Carrier

Vacation time is fast approaching and you realize the mountain of gear that needs to go with you has to be packed somewhere.  Looking at your vehicle, you're probably thinking "Where is it all going to go?".  At Lakeland Gear, we've been helping travelers pack since 1997.  Let us help you by making the following suggestions.

Vehicle Gear Management Accessories

Do you have a factory luggage rack on the roof?  Racks are a big asset to help you haul cargo.  If you don't have a luggage rack, you may consider adding one by visiting your local car dealer or by adding an aftermarket version.  If you have roof rack side rails on your car, you can add Roof Rack Cross Bars from our site. Remember that all Rightline Gear Car Top Carriers can be used without a luggage rack.

Receiver hitches are another asset for cargo management.  These square "holes" under your back bumper are usually 2" or 1.25" in diameter. They accept trailer hitches, bike racks, cargo carriers and racks, and other accessory products.  We will discuss cargo boxes below.

Hauling Gear On A Roof Rack

Understand that you and your crew are going to have to lift duffel bags, tents, bicycles, or other gear up to the roof level.  Usually, this doesn't present a problem for most people, but it is still an important consideration.  You can stand on the door frame, the tailgate, the bumper or even on the spare tire and have people hand your gear up to you if necessary.  Light weight wheel steps are available to assist with roof loading as well.

Aerodynamic Roof Cargo Carriers

Roof Cargo Carriers come in all shapes and sizes.  Car top boxes and car top cargo bags will reduce your gas mileage-sometimes up to 5 mpg. Some of these bags and boxes are designed with aerodynamic shapes to slice the wind. They will not affect your mileage quite as much.  If you have gear that must go on your trip or is necessary to make your vacation fun, by all means pack it, the minor difference in fuel costs shouldn't ruin your fun. If you want a solution that won't affect your mileage, please consider the Cargo Saddlebag car back carrier or our wide selection of Hitch Mount Cargo Boxes. These cargo bags and boxes ride behind your car without reducing your gas mileage.

Roof Cargo Bags or Hard Shell Cargo Boxes?

Which way to go?  Let's match them in a head to head comparison and declare a winner in each category. 

Easiest to put on and off - Many people install a roof box and leave it on. Winner: Bag

Easiest to load - A box can be loaded easy because of its rigid shape. It is not necessary to completely load the box. Winner: Box

Aerodynamics - Although there are a few PackRight Cargo Bags that have an aerodynamic shape, the box is better. Winner: Box  

Security for roof cargo -  Boxes and bags both lock, but car top boxes can be kept locked on the roof overnight. Winner: Box

Cost - Roof top cargo bags are much less expensive. Winner: Bag

Storage space required - A cargo bag can be folded up and stored in its stuff sack. Winner: Bag

Packing odd size or large objects - Bags are flexible and made wider, so generally bigger objects can fit inside. Winner: Bag

Packing skis - Many cargo boxes are long enough to fit skis inside. Winner: Box

There you have it: bag 4 to box 4.  It is even-pick what is most important to you.

Remember to consider the height of your garage or any places that you regularly travel.  When considering the size of your bag or box, remember that car top bags should be packed full so the material doesn't flap in the wind and boxes should be packed full so that gear doesn't rattle around inside.

Hitch Cargo Carriers

Receiver Hitches - If you have a 2" (Class III) receiver you can carry heavier loads than with a 1.25" (Class II) receiver. If you don't have a receiver hitch, you can get one installed at any U-haul dealer or your local trailer or hitch shop. 

Hitch Mount Cargo Boxes -  These boxes are growing in popularity.  Lakeland Gear features fixed cargo carriers and Swing Away Cargo Carriers that allow the box away from the vehicle, providing easy access to the rear door.  Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers are easy to install and easy to load since they are closer to the ground that roof boxes.  If you decide to go this route, don't forget a locking hitch pin which will lock the cargo box to your vehicle.  All of our hitch mount cargo boxes are extra secure with a strong lock in the lid.

Hitch Mount Cargo Racks - Cargo racks can also be fixed or swing away.  Lakeland Gear offers a large selection of  Swing Away Hitch Mount Cargo Racks.  Some models fold up against the back of the vehicle when not in use.  Cargo platforms are great for items that won't fit into a box.  A locking hitch pin is also a great idea here as well as a Locking Security Cable to hold your gear.  You should also be conscious of the platforms finish.  Painted surfaces will eventually scratch and rust will start to form.  Better units are powder coated which ends up being much more durable than paint.

How about the Rightline Gear Cargo Saddlebag.  This innovative cargo device is a large bag that suspends from your luggage rack down the back of your car.  The Saddlebag provides the best of all worlds. In the competition above, this bag wins each category hands down.  The bag is extremely easy to load with no aerodynamic drag and comes at a low cost.  The bag rides under the rear window without obstructing your view.  Please read more about this unique product-our highest seller.

As you can see, you have many choices where to pack your gear, but only one right one for you.  Please contact us if you need assistance in determining which solution is right for you.

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