It often happens that our vehicle just won’t carry as much cargo as we would like.
Whether your vehicle is large or small, life sometimes puts us in situations where we need to haul a lot of things at once. At that point, many people would think about buying or renting a trailer.
In this article, we will be focusing on a smaller, cheaper, and more convenient alternative to the traditional tow-behind cargo trailer. By looking at the title, you already know that we are talking about hitch cargo carriers.
Top 5 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carriers
1. CURT 18153
2. ROLA 59502 Vortex
3. CURT 18110
4. ARKSEN Fold-Up
5. Mockins Cargo Carrier & Bag Set
- Top 5 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carriers
- 1. CURT 18153 – Best All-Around Hitch Cargo Carrier
- 2. ROLA 59502 Vortex – Premium Pick Steel Cargo Carrier
- 3. CURT 18110 – Very Durable & Affordable Cargo Hauler
- 4. ARKSEN Fold-Up – Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket
- 5. Mockins Cargo Carrier & Bag Set – The Total Package
- Best Hitch Cargo Carrier – Buyer’s Guide
Below is a list of the best hitch cargo carriers which will add extra space for your luggage storage.
1. CURT 18153 – Best All-Around Hitch Cargo Carrier
In terms of convenience, this one definitely gets some points for the fact that it can be folded up when not in use. Of course, it will obstruct your back window somewhat when it is folded, but this can’t really be avoided. Even if you don’t use the folding feature, this thing is quite easy to attach and detach.
On the downside, the rails are not quite tall enough, and the whole thing sticks out too far from the vehicle.
Powder coatings tend to last quite a while, so the ROLA gets some points there.
This thing also has built-in lights which can function as brake lights or turn signals. Because of this, the whole thing can be wider.
There are a couple of issues here. First, this model rides too low to the ground. That could be a problem if you travel on rough or uneven roads at any time. Remember; This thing will sink a little more when it is loaded. The rails are a bigger problem, as they are just too small and should not flare outward.
3. CURT 18110 – Very Durable & Affordable Cargo Hauler
We also like the fact that this thing is full of anchor holes, giving you plenty of places to attach a rope or a strap. Another good thing is the way that it rides high from the ground, providing plenty of ground clearance.
On the downside, the rails on this thing can barely be called rails at all. They are just thin pieces of metal with anchor holes in them. Don’t expect these walls to keep anything secured. As for the steel mesh floor, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a few extra bolts for added security.
4. ARKSEN Fold-Up – Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket
We like the fact that the mesh floor has a big piece of steel in the middle of each panel, reducing its ability to flex. This increases weight capacity as well.
With how wide this thing is, and with the fact that it folds up, it really should have some signals. When folded, it obstructs the turn signals and brake lights. It’s also a little hard to attach and detach but is still a good product overall.
5. Mockins Cargo Carrier & Bag Set – The Total Package
Looking past that, we see that this product carries a 100% lifetime warranty, which is a great sign. Most companies do not provide such generous warranties, so it indicates that they trust their product.
This thing is really solid in the durability of its construction, which explains the warranty. It would be hard to break this thing if you tried. It has excellent ground clearance, riding higher than the exhaust pipe to reduce the risk of fire. We can’t find many flaws with this product other than its narrow depth and relatively weak rails.
Best Hitch Cargo Carrier – Buyer’s Guide
We have taken a good look at the five best cargo carriers that we could find on the internet. After doing this, we have become a little more familiar with this type of product. Now, we are going to talk about the criteria by which you should evaluate any cargo carrier that you are considering. Use the following as a checklist to guide your decision.
Durability is your first concern when looking at a product of this type. If this thing fails while you are driving, it could cause a serious accident. At the very least, it will damage or ruin anything that you were hauling. Thus, you need to make sure that this device will not fail.
If you see any plastic parts, then that should be a hard “pass.” Even if the majority of the construction is steel, plastic parts indicate that the manufacturer was attempting to cut corners. Alas, there is no way for them to cut costs without sacrificing quality. Another way to determine the quality of the workmanship is to examine the welds closely.
Sufficient Size, Shape, And Capacity
Although most of these carriers are rectangle-shaped, some of them have rounded corners, and some of them do not. Depending on just how far the rails curve, this can make a difference in the amount of cargo that you can haul. Think about the items that you would normally carry, and whether they tend to have smooth or rounded edges. This decision won’t make a huge difference, but should not be neglected.
Size is a little more important. These devices are nowhere near as expensive as a full-size trailer, but they aren’t cheap either. It won’t really be worth the money unless you have adequate space to haul as much cargo as you need. Always look at the weight capacity with the same critical eye.
Ability To Secure Items
Whenever you load items into your cargo carrier, you should always secure them in place. This can be done using rope, twine, ratchet straps, and several other things. In a pinch, even shoelaces can make a good lashing due to the fact that they are made of the same material as paracord.
While we’re on the subject of cordage, it is worth noting that paracord is probably the best choice for your lashings. As the name suggests, it was originally designed for parachutes, and each strand had to be able to hold the weight of a human being. They say that one strand can hold up to 500 pounds. That might be exaggerated, but it’s still a very strong lashing at a low cost and a convenient size.
Of course, you have to have somewhere to anchor that cordage. This is where the rails are important. Low rails can be a problem for taller items, as they can tumble over. For carriers with low rails, your lashings will need to be a lot tighter. Still, what’s the point of having rails if you can’t trust them at all? You can avoid any issues of this sort by making sure to choose a model with rails that are high enough.
A Good Warranty
Once again, this is an item that can cause some serious trouble if it fails. With something like this, you hope that you never need the warranty. At the same time, it is good to know that the warranty is there. Its presence indicates that the manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product.
The surface of the steel should be thickly coated. There are many methods of coating steel, and pretty much all of them are effective for keeping out the weather. Here’s the problem: That coating will eventually wear away, no matter how well you take care of your carrier. When that happens, you probably don’t have the expertise or the equipment to re-plate the metal. Still, you can buy metal enamel spray paint without spending too much money.
Re-enameling a large steel object with so many surfaces would really be a pain, so you should take care to choose a carrier with a finish that looks like it will last for a long time. You might even want to scratch the finish with your fingernail a little bit. You might also use a small twig for a scrape test. Basically, you can use anything except metal to perform a simple scrape test and verify that the steel is properly coated.
With this article in hand, you will be well-equipped to choose a cargo carrier that is right for you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that these products are alike just because they look alike. With a trained and knowledgeable eye (and a little help from us), you should now be ready to make an informed decision. We thank you for reading this article and listening to our advice, and we hope that you will join us again very soon.