9 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers: Compare & Save

best hitch mount cargo carrier

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Even larger SUVs and trucks can feel cramped when you’re hauling people, luggage sets and gear. A hitch cargo carrier is a relatively simple and inexpensive investment to instantly give you more space. All you need is a vehicle with a 2-inch hitch receiver.

Need more room for luggage and extra gear? Browse our best roof cargo baskets.

rola vortex cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Holds up to 600 pounds
  • Multiple tie-down points
  • Comes with an anti-wobble hitch
Price: $380.85 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
king bird cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Supports up to 500 pounds
  • Five reflectors for increased safety
  • Angled shank provides better ground clearance
Price: $309.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
arksen cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rated for 500 pounds
  • Folds for storage
  • Heavy-duty frame
Price: $199.96 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
maxxhaul cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Ideal size for road trips
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Rear reflectors for increased safety
Price: $69.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
heavy duty hitch cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High side rails keep contents secure
  • Mesh surface contains smaller objects
  • Fits most 2-inch trailer hitch openings
Price: $329.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
hitch cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rails stand six inches high
  • Doubles as a table with folding legs
  • Thick steel coat resists scratches
Price: $199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
folding cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fits most Class III or IV 2-inch hitch receivers
  • Supports up to 500 pounds
  • Ideal for home and work equipment
Price: $159.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
curt cargo carrier Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fixed shank for better clearance
  • Sturdy enough for cargo nets
  • Multiple reflectors
Price: $166.87 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
cargo carrier with bike rack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Carries up to four bikes
  • Adjustable wheel holders
  • Fits most 2-inch receivers
Price: $359.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. ROLA Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Can be upgraded with an LED light kit
    • Features license plate attachments
    • Easy to install on most 2-inch receivers
    Cons:
    • Doesn't fold
    • Carrier doesn't come with reflectors
    • Bolt holes are too big

    The ROLA Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier fits 2-inch receivers on most vehicles, including trucks, SUVs and cars. It arrives in two pieces for easy assembly and offers attachments for a license plate. This luggage basket can even be upgraded with an LED light kit, which makes it our top choice for safely transporting your belongings.

    Built with heavy-duty steel, this ROLA carrier supports up to 600 pounds. Although it doesn’t fold, a 2-inch shank rise elevates this platform for stress-free transport. It fits most Class III and IV receivers. An anti-wobble pin is included. 

    The side rails stand around five inches high and have convenient tie-down points. Once your bags are in place, secure them with your choice of tie-downs. There’s plenty of room on the 55-inch-long platform for luggage, camping gear and even food delivery boxes.

    Mesh material keeps smaller items safe and allows dirt and debris to drain through. It’s not entirely waterproof, but the steel has a powder coat for longevity.

  2. 2. KING BIRD Hitch Mount Folding Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Includes a waterproof bag and packing straps
    • Durable carbide black powder coat
    • Covered by a lifetime warranty
    Cons:
    • Bag can't be purchased separately
    • May block the rearview camera on some vehicles
    • Prone to rust in salty environments

    An upgraded shank keeps the KING BIRD cargo carrier higher off the ground and allows it to easily fold when not in use. Once folded, a 19-inch clearance enables you to open and close your vehicle’s rear door. There’s also a 9.5-inch clearance to accommodate spare tires. This rack fits 2-inch receivers.

    Load up to 500 pounds of gear and cargo, such as a car fridge freezer, and secure it using the included rainproof ratchet straps. You can even load up to two bikes, including e-beach cruisers. An included waterproof cargo rack keeps your belongings safe and dry when it’s raining. It offers around 18 cubic feet of storage space. Constructed with heavy-duty tubular steel and a carbide black powder coat, this cargo rack is weather-resistant. 

    Two large rear reflectors make the carrier more visible to others at night. You’ll also find three reflectors on the bottom of the frame once it’s folded up for storage. The sides stand six inches tall and are complemented by a sturdy mesh base to keep your gear safe. 

    As with any cargo carrier, it’s a good idea to make sure this product fits your vehicle before purchasing. Some reviewers mention that it blocks their rearview camera.

  3. 3. ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Available with or without a carrier bag
    • Tall sides prevent cargo from falling out
    • Mesh lining keeps small items secure
    Cons:
    • Sits low
    • Bag isn't waterproof
    • May require a hitch tightener to reduce rattling

    If you’re looking for a sturdy rack that assembles quickly, consider the ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier. It’s rated for 500 pounds of evenly distributed weight. Satisfied customers have successfully transported generators, coolers and cases on long trips using this hitch carrier.

    This luggage basket fits 2-inch receivers for better stability. A hitch tightener makes it even sturdier and reduces rattling. It has a mesh base to prevent smaller items from slipping out. The sides stand six inches high.

    You can purchase this carrier on its own or with a carrier bag. Although it’s water-resistant, this carrier isn’t waterproof. The bag expands up to 27 inches to haul firewood, tools and other supplies. 

    A powder-coated finish resists chips, scratches and abrasions. It is prone to rust, though, especially in coastal areas. When you arrive, a convenient pull-pin design lets you easily fold the rack for storage. 

  4. 4. MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Transports up to 500 pounds
    • Heavy-duty construction for hauling luggage and gear
    • Fits most Class III and IV 2-inch receivers
    Cons:
    • May sit too close to some vehicle exhaust pipes
    • Doesn't fold for storage
    • Lacks tie-down brackets

    MaxxHaul manufactures several cargo carriers, but this compact rack carries up to 500 pounds of evenly distributed gear. It measures over 53 inches long, giving you plenty of space for road trip essentials.

    You can use this carrier with standard Class III and IV hitch receivers. It may sit too close to the exhaust path on certain vehicles, which is where a hitch riser will be useful.

    Built with heavy-duty steel and finished with a black powder coat, it’s ideal for camping, carrying luggage and moving firewood. It doesn’t have the same mesh floor as other racks, though, which makes it best suited for medium to large items.

    This rack doesn’t fold. Weighing just over 22 pounds, it’s easy to transport and store when the job is done.

  5. 5. OKLEAD Heavy Duty Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Large capacity is ideal for camping equipment and luggage
    • Folds when not in use
    • Designed for cars, SUVs and pickups
    Cons:
    • 400-pound capacity is slightly lower than average
    • Doesn't come with a cargo bag
    • Only covered by a one-year warranty

    The sides on the OKLEAD Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier stand quite a bit higher than most other baskets on our list. These high 14.4-inch side rails prevent your cargo from falling out as you drive.

    You can mount this carrier onto any 2-inch trailer hitch opening. It supports up to 400 pounds, which is slightly below the standard 500-pound limit on most racks. There’s plenty of room for camping gear, luggage, coolers and more.

    Built with heavy-duty steel, this carrier is finished with the same black powder coating found on many similar products. It’s designed to protect against scratches and rust, although a few users report seeing rust spots.

    Safety reflectors make this product more visible to others at night. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can fold it up for storage.

  6. 6. Leader Accessories Hitch Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Fits most 2-inch hitch receivers
    • Tilts for easy storage
    • Supports up to 500 pounds of gear and supplies
    Cons:
    • Quite heavy
    • Doesn't come with a cargo bag
    • Not fully rust-proof

    Unfold the legs of the Leader Accessories Hitch Cargo Carrier and use it as a small outdoor table for camping and other activities. Built with thick steel, this two-piece basket is ideal for road trips. It supports up to 500 pounds.

    Six-inch-high sides prevent luggage, coolers and other gear from sliding around. Although it doesn’t come with a waterproof cargo bag, you can use your own to protect against the rain.

    Safely haul luggage, coolers, camping gear and other supplies on this 60″ L x 24″ W platform. Its powder coat finish resists chips and scratches, although it doesn’t appear to fully protect against rust.

    The shank folds when it’s not being used, so you can easily tilt the rack for storage. This product works with standard 2-inch hitch receivers. 

  7. 7. Rage Powersports Folding Hitch Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Folds up for safe storage
    • Rear reflectors for increased safety
    • Tall sides keep belongings secure
    Cons:
    • Doesn't have a rise shank design
    • Reflectors aren't very big
    • Doesn't come with a cargo bag

    Easily move heavy loads on this sturdy Rage Powersports steel basket, which holds up to 500 pounds. This carrier measures 60 inches long and safely transports equipment, work gear and more. It’s designed for vehicles with a Class III or IV 2-inch hitch receiver.

    An expanded metal design holds your precious cargo farther away from exhaust pipes for safer transport. A mesh bottom contains smaller items. The sides stand 6.5 inches high to prevent your road trip gear from sliding around.

    Powder-coated steel reduces the risk of scratches and scuffs as you’re loading, unloading and driving. This carrier conveniently folds up for safer storage.

  8. 8. CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier

    Pros:
    • Steel tubes are strong yet light
    • Finished with a sleek powder coat
    • Easy to clean with its mesh base
    Cons:
    • Rack doesn't fold
    • Not entirely rust-resistant
    • Tie-down straps aren't included

    An angled shank holds the CURT Hitch Cargo Carrier high enough off the ground to avoid scraping. It’s designed especially for low-riding cars and SUVs. Plus, that extra clearance puts more distance between your belongings and your vehicle’s exhaust pipe.

    This CURT carrier features standard dimensions, including 6-inch walls to keep your cargo secure. It doesn’t come with a storage bag, but you can purchase one separately. From coolers to cases to equipment, you can secure items with a cargo net.

    You can transport up to 500 pounds of evenly distributed weight. Heavy-duty tubular steel safely holds heavier objects. The dual-purpose mesh base is easy to clean and works well for hauling muddy gear.

    Although it doesn’t appear to fully protect against rust, the carbide black powder coat is built to last without scratching or chipping. Integrated reflectors on the rear and sides make loads more visible to others.

     

  9. 9. Tow Tuff Aluminum Cargo Carrier with Bike Rack

    Pros:
    • Durable aluminum resists corrosion
    • Wheel cradles fit most bikes
    • Multiple reflectors for safety
    Cons:
    • Not compatible with fat bikes
    • Doesn't fold
    • Sides aren't very tall

    You no longer have to wonder how you’re going to fit your bike and cargo with the dual-purpose Tow Tuff Carrier. The included wheel cradles are compatible with most bikes, except fat bikes. Larger 29-inch mountain bikes should fit.

    Don’t worry if your plans don’t include cycling, as you can remove the extra slots to use it exclusively as a carrier. Simply install and secure them with the removable pins to use this feature. Tie-down holds prevent bikes from moving around as you travel.

    Unlike most steel carriers, this aluminum basket resists rust. It doesn’t need an additional coating to make it weather-resistant, either. If you tend to travel rain or shine, this dual-purpose bike rack and carrier complements your active lifestyle.

    This product supports up to 500 pounds, which is pretty standard. Keep in mind that it weighs 48 pounds, which is on the heavier side compared to some of the lighter steel baskets on our list.

    Reflectors on the sides and rear add an element of safety at night. 

Are Hitch Cargo Carriers Safe?

  • Hitch cargo carriers are quite safe. Although many are made with heavy-duty steel or aluminum to support several hundred pounds, you need to make sure each load is properly balanced for safety. 
  • Most luggage baskets fit Class III or IV hitches and can carry around 500 pounds. If you're not sure how much weight your vehicle can support, WeighSafe suggests checking the door panel for specific details.
  • Most racks don't come with an anti-wobble tightener to minimize rattles. You can enhance even the best hitch mount cargo carrier by investing in one for peace of mind.

What Are the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers?

We highly recommend the ROLA Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier, which comes with an optional LED lighting system and has multiple tie-down points to secure each load.

The MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier is our top pick if you're on a tight budget. It also doesn't stick out as much as the other luggage baskets. Despite its smaller size, the rack holds up to 500 pounds.

  • Millions of Americans hit the road each year, with many trips occurring during the warmer spring and summer months. Not surprisingly, space can be tight. Whether you're heading to a local campsite or venturing to another state, we suggest these best trailer hitch cargo carriers for your journey. 

Do You Need a Hitch for a Cargo Carrier?

Yes, you need a hitch for a cargo carrier. Most racks require a 2-inch receiver, which can withstand heavier loads. 

Many cargo racks, and even some bike racks for electric bikes, fit 2-inch receivers. These Class III or IV hitches are typically found on SUVs, trucks and full-size sedans.

If you don't have a hitch, a roof cargo carrier can be a practical alternative. Most roof boxes require crossbars for installation.

How Fast Can You Drive with a Hitch Carrier?

We suggest checking your local or state laws to determine whether there are specific speed limits in place. Otherwise, take precautions such as avoiding going over a comfortable speed and slowing down if it feels unsafe.

Cargo trays don't impact fuel efficiency nearly as much as a roof cargo box, according to Energy.gov. Studies have shown that a cargo box can reduce fuel efficiency by nearly 25 percent, compared to just 1 percent with a hitch tray. As with any accessory that's attached to your car, fuel economy often takes a hit at faster speeds.

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