A Hitch Cargo Carrier is ideal for carrying bulky items outside your car, SUV, truck or camper that would otherwise take up space in your vehicle. Hitch up your carrier and transport a variety of items outside of your car, including such things as:
- Camping gear
- Garden supplies such as compost, fertilizers, and bushes
- Sports Gear
- Tailgate Supplies
Many brands have an option of folding up the carrier when not in use. This allows for easy parking and backing up. A few cargo brands come with a built in ramp for easy loading. So store extra items outside your vehicle during travel and save the leg room inside for a comfortable ride.
What is the Best Cargo Carrier?
Now that you want a hitch cargo carrier, there is only one problem. What is the best hitch cargo carrier? Sorting through all of the product descriptions and comparing details and prices can be a challenge. That is why I have created a list of the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers for 2017.
Below there is a list of six cargo carriers that this editor recommends. After the Editor’s Picks there will be a graph with the top 10 rated brands for hitch carriers you can buy now. Links to these 10 top rated brands are included.
1. Pro Series 63153 Rambler
The Pro Series Rambler cargo carrier is great for bikes, camping gear or anything else that you need to carry outside your car. Dimensions: 60″ x 24″ Strap down your cargo to the mesh floor or 5.5” side rails and keep everything secure. The black powder coat finish resists scratches and rust. A rise shank design is great because it elevates your cargo several inches for better ground clearance. Read more about product specifications in the graph below. 4.7 out of 5 stars
2. Curt 18151 Basket Style Cargo Carrier
Curt basket style cargo carrier has a tall 6” sides for securing your cargo. It is made of a tubular steel construction and then finished with durable carbide. Dimension: 60” x 20” x 6”. This carrier has a bolt together, two piece feature with added red reflectors. Curt also offers three other sizes with folding or fixed shanks. For more information on the Curt carriers, see the graph below. 4.5 out of 5 stars
3. MaxxHaul 70422
The Maxxhaul cargo carrier has a lightweight aluminum basket with an open floor platform that provides many tie down location points. Dimensions: 48″ x 21″ The aluminum construction is rust and corrosion resistant. The hitch shaft and under support is made of a high grade steel. The Maxxhaul carrier has built in reflectors. For more on the product specifications scroll down to the graph below. 4.4 out of 5 stars
Easy to install, lightweight and Inexpensive.
4. ROLA #59502 2-piece
The ROLA #59502 cargo carrier has a rise shank (curved hitch mount) that sits above the exhaust pipe and provides better ground clearance. Dimensions – 56″ x 23″ x 5.25” The ROLA carrier is made out of steel with a black powder coating. It is very durable and is easy to install. For more product specifications on ROLA carriers, scroll down to the graph below. 4.5 out of 5 stars
Great options: Attachment points to relocate vehicle license plate, 5 year warranty and lighting systems available.
5. Rage Power Sports CCB-F6020-DLX 60″ Folding Basket
Rage Power Sports offers a great 500 lb. cargo capacity folding basket carrier. The pull pin design allows the cargo carrier to be folded up and out of the way when not in use. The carrier is made of steel and has a thick mesh bottom. There are 5.5” side rails that encase your valuables and provide tie down location points. Dimensions: 60” x 19.5” Reflective strips are included. For more product specifications on Rage Power Sports cargo carriers, scroll down to the graph below. 4.1 out of 5 stars
6. Five Star 436 ACC-TG Cargo Carriers
This Five Star cargo carrier is great for transporting lawn mowers, wheelchairs, scooters, Sport Utility Vehicles, or any other equipment under 300 lbs. Perfect for vehicles that have a class 3 or class 4 trailer hitch. The ramp is bolted on low to the ground when needed. When the ramp is not in use it lays into the cargo carrier. This carrier is made out of aluminum and will not rust or need painting. Dimensions: 48” x 36”
For more product specifications on Five Start carriers, scroll down to the graph below. 4.4 out of 5 stars
10 Top Brands of Hitch Cargo Carriers
|Editor’s Pick #63153 Rambler||2"||500 lbs.||60" x 24"||Steel||$132||Rise Shank|
|#63155 Rambler||1 1/4"||300 lbs.||48" x 20"||Steel||$120||Rise Shank|
|#6502 Strong Arm||2"||300 lbs.||48" x 20"||Steel||$140||Rise Shank and Folding|
|#1040100 Solo Black||2"||400 lbs.||48" x 32"||Steel||$160||Optional Ramp|
|Arksen Hitch Cargo Luggage Basket||2"||500 lbs.||60" x 25" x 6"||Steel||$94||Folding|
|Editor’s Pick Curt #18151||2"||500 lbs.||60" x 20" x 6"||Steel||$130||Red Reflectors|
|#18110||1 1/4"||500 lbs.||48 ×20" x 2 3/4"||Steel||$81|
|#18145||1 1/4"||500 lbs.||48" x 20" x 6"||Steel||$79|
|#70108||2"||500 lbs.||49" x 22.5" x 7.25"||Aluminum||$90||Reflectors|
|Editor’s Pick Maxxhaul # 70422||2"||500 lbs.||48" x 21"||Aluminum||$55||Reflectors|
|#70107||2"||500 lbs.||53" x 19.5"||Steel||$64|
|goplus||2"||500 lbs.||60" x 22"||Aluminum|
|Editor’s Pick ROLA #59502 2-piece||2"||23" x 56" x 5.25"||Steel||$153||Rise Shank|
|#59550 Folding||450 lbs.||23" x 56" x 5.25"||Steel||$327||Folding and Rise Shank|
|M2205||2"||450 lbs.||47" x 23" x 22"||Steel||$250||22" side walls, 4" folding and rise shank|
|CCB-F4820-DLX Folding Basket||2"||500 lbs.||48" x 19.5" x 5.5"||Steel||$118||Folding|
|Editor’s Pick CCB-F6020 DLX 60" Folding Basket||2"||500 lbs.||60" x 19.5" x 5.5"||Steel||$120||Folding Basket|
|Aluminum carrier||2"||500 lbs.||48" x 20" 3.5"||Aluminum||$115||Reflectors|
|Editor’s Pick Five Star #436 ACC-TG Cargo Carrier||2"||300 lbs.||48" x 36" x 5"||Aluminum||$407||Built In Ramp Gate|
Okay let’s figure out what the chart means.
Trailer Hitch and Receivers
Consider your vehicle’s hitch before ordering a cargo carrier. Look at your vehicle’s owner’s manual so that you do not exceed the towing and tongue weight limitations. Most SUV’s and trucks have Class III and IV hitches that can easily handle a 500 pound capacity cargo carrier. Cars have Class I and II hitches which limit the pound capacity. Also check out the hitch receiver size (1.25” – 2” receivers) with brand and style of carrier you want.
The highlighted hitch carriers have weight capacity of 300, 400 and 500 pounds. What you end up choosing in weight capacity depends upon what you want to carry. If you wish to use your carrier for gardening or camping gear, a weight capacity of 300 pounds might be all you need. If on the other had you want to transport scooters or heavy machinery, you best select the 500 pound capacity.
Carrier Dimensions, Surface and Sides
Dimensions of the carriers are usually the inside measurements of the platform. Carrier surfaces are usually either constructed with bars or mesh bottoms. Both offer openings to secure your cargo with straps, bungee cords and cargo nets. The hitch carriers offer railings to tall sides. The tall side options are described as basket-like carriers. Sides can measure from 5” to 22” high.
The above brands of hitch cargo carriers are made out of either steel or aluminum. Steel and aluminum carriers are strong and very affordable. The steel carriers are often coated with a black powder finish to protect the steel from the elements and wear and tear. The aluminum carriers are as strong as steel ones, but they are lighter in weight and rust resistant. This is why the aluminum racks are considered better than the steel ones.
Folding and Raised Shank Designs
Two other important features to consider is the folding carriers and raised shank designs. There are a number of cargo carriers that have a swing arm design that allows the carrier to be folded upright toward the back end of your vehicle. This is a great feature to have when your carrier is not transporting any cargo because it makes for easy parking and backing up. Another feature that many like is the rise shank design. This shank elevates the platform higher that most carriers for improved ground clearance and above exhaust pipe.
Finally, you may want the carriers with built in ramps if you want to transport heavy items with wheels; such as: wheel chairs, scooters, snow blowers, and lawn movers to name a few.
When shopping for a hitch cargo carrier, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options available. The truth is, the decision-making process can be quite simple if you know how you plan to use it. Once you have determined your intended use, you can begin to consider other factors.
Once you have selected your cargo carrier, you may want to order a cargo carrier bag that keeps your cargo out of the elements. These bags are inexpensive and protect your stuff from sun, rain, wind and road grit.