Reviews

LAST UPDATED: October 9, 2019

Best Hitch Cargo Carriers: Haul More without Sacrificing Roof Space

Handy cargo carriers that fit right onto the back of your vehicle

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

  • Product Network

    19 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    10 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON October 9, 2019

There are many solutions for adding extra storage to your vehicle. While rooftop carriers are popular for drivers with roof racks, a simple cargo hitch rack can be the perfect option if you won't want the loud noise or drag you get from roof options. Hitch cargo carriers come in many designs and sizes, so here's our handy guide to give you everything you need to know.

  • Best Overall
    Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
    Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
    Summary
    Summary
    A simple steel cargo basic that offers 60 x 20 inches of extra cargo space on the hitch.
    Pros
    Pros
    It comes with a number of organization and transportation accessories like loading straps and a cargo net.
    Cons
    Cons
    The packaging has been known to arrive damaged, but the cargo carrier tends to be undamaged. Some holes may require drilling for the correct sizing.
  • Best Overall
    Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
    Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
  • Best Value
    CURT 18153
    CURT 18153
    Summary
    Summary
    The best folding cargo carrier that has extra-high support walls to keep things from sliding off of the main platform.
    Pros
    Pros
    The cargo carrier is easy to secure onto a standard 2-inch hitch with the included mounting hardware. Good surface area on the platform.
    Cons
    Cons
    The surface tends to rust after a storm or two. Some additional paint coats may be required to properly weatherproof the exterior.
  • Best Value
    CURT 18153
    CURT 18153
  • Honorable Mention
    MaxxHaul 49.5 Inch x 22.5 Inch 70422 48" x 21" Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier
    MaxxHaul 49.5 Inch x 22.5 Inch 70422 48" x 21" Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier
    Summary
    Summary
    A great all-aluminum cargo carrier that has a heavy-duty steel support frame for extra strength underneath.
    Pros
    Pros
    The combination of aluminum and steel does a good job of decreasing the weight over all-steel designs without sacrificing the strength of the cargo platform.
    Cons
    Cons
    Installation may require more than one person depending on the height of the vehicle.
  • Honorable Mention
    MaxxHaul 49.5 Inch x 22.5 Inch 70422 48" x 21" Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier
    MaxxHaul 49.5 Inch x 22.5 Inch 70422 48" x 21" Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier

    There are many solutions for adding extra storage to your vehicle. While rooftop carriers are popular for drivers with roof racks, a simple cargo hitch rack can be the perfect option if you won't want the loud noise or drag you get from roof options. Hitch cargo carriers come in many designs and sizes, so here's our handy guide to give you everything you need to know.

    Best Overall

    The Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier is a perfect option to fulfill all of your cargo carrying needs. This option contains an extra-thick 6 mm heavy-duty cargo net. This net is specifically designed to support the transport of portable coolers for any camping outing or tailgating at any outdoor sporting event. Then Mockins contains two rainproof ratchet straps that secure your load while withstanding rainy conditions. It contains a cargo basket measuring 60  x 20 x 6 inches in dimensions, which can be useful for securing fully packed suitcases during extended outings. The cargo basket is foldable for convenient storage when not in use. It also has the capacity to hold up to 500 pounds, proving its worth in hauling construction supplies to your next worksite.

    Best Value

    The CURT 18153 offers consumers the adaptability and convenience they demand out of their cargo carriers at a reasonable price. This option contains six-inch-high walls around the cargo basket that serves as added security for items like coolers or plastic storage containers. These walls also can be used to fasten cargo bags and baskets for storing smaller items. CURT contains a folded, angled shank that allows for easy access to riding lawnmowers or other equipment onto the carrier. This option contains a mesh base for easy cleaning of yard debris or construction debris. CURT can transport weight up to 500 pounds because of its tubular steel construction. It is also constructed in an E-coat and carbide black powder coat finish to protect against rust. CURT contains integrated reflectors for safe operation at night. This option provides a viable solution for all your worksite endeavors.

    Honorable Mention

    No list of cargo carriers would be complete without mentioning the MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier. This option provides the carrying capacity you demand without infringing upon your vehicle’s trunk space. MaxxHaul is constructed in extruded aluminum that is durable, compact, and lightweight. This easy to install option is also rustproof and easy to clean, helping to maintain the integrity of your workload as well as your carrier. MaxxHaul offers product compatibility to support most trucks, SUVs, or other vehicles. It contains a heavy-duty steel under support frame with a 2 x 2-inch hitch shaft to fit Class III and IV hitch receivers. MaxxHaul’s raised side rails help support your load over the most treacherous of terrain. It also contains reflectors with red colored corners for easy night visibility for your 500-pound maximum load.

    Most Reliable

    The ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket provides the security you need for your items whether you’re going to your worksite or to a tailgating party. This option is constructed in a heavy-duty steel frame base and a black epoxy powder coating. These components help maintain the carrier’s integrity against rust and normal wear and tear. ARKSEN is constructed in a mesh base that prevents smaller objects from falling through the basket. It also contains six-inch raised tubular side rails to help stabilize larger items to prevent them from falling out of the basket. This option is compatible with many trucks, SUVs, cars, or other vehicles designed to haul heavy cargo. ARKSEN fits any two-inch trailer hitch opening and contains a 500 pound distributed weight capacity. ARKSEN proves that it has the capability to serve your needs over the long haul.

    Most Versatile

    The Tow Tuff Steel Cargo Carrier is a viable option for your varied cargo-carrying expeditions. This option measures in at 27 x 62 x 3 inches, providing you the space you need for carrying abundant loads. Tow Tuff’s heavy-duty steel construction provides a maximum load capacity of 500 pounds. This option also appeals to the bicycling enthusiast as well. Its unique design allows Tow Tuff to serve as a bike rack with simple pin removal. It contains an adjustable wheel holder and tie-down holes that can secure up to four bikes in place. This option contains one strap designed to hold your cargo in place, as well as a manufacturer’s warranty. Tow Tuff provides the most versatile option designed for all work and leisurely endeavors, solidifying its entry onto this list.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

    Learn more

    Best Overall
    Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier

    The Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier is a perfect option to fulfill all of your cargo carrying needs. This option contains an extra-thick 6 mm heavy-duty cargo net. This net is specifically designed to support the transport of portable coolers for any camping outing or tailgating at any outdoor sporting event. Then Mockins contains two rainproof ratchet straps that secure your load while withstanding rainy conditions. It contains a cargo basket measuring 60  x 20 x 6 inches in dimensions, which can be useful for securing fully packed suitcases during extended outings. The cargo basket is foldable for convenient storage when not in use. It also has the capacity to hold up to 500 pounds, proving its worth in hauling construction supplies to your next worksite.

    Best Value
    CURT 18153 60 x 24-Inch Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier

    The CURT 18153 offers consumers the adaptability and convenience they demand out of their cargo carriers at a reasonable price. This option contains six-inch-high walls around the cargo basket that serves as added security for items like coolers or plastic storage containers. These walls also can be used to fasten cargo bags and baskets for storing smaller items. CURT contains a folded, angled shank that allows for easy access to riding lawnmowers or other equipment onto the carrier. This option contains a mesh base for easy cleaning of yard debris or construction debris. CURT can transport weight up to 500 pounds because of its tubular steel construction. It is also constructed in an E-coat and carbide black powder coat finish to protect against rust. CURT contains integrated reflectors for safe operation at night. This option provides a viable solution for all your worksite endeavors.

    Honorable Mention
    MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier

    No list of cargo carriers would be complete without mentioning the MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Aluminum Cargo Carrier. This option provides the carrying capacity you demand without infringing upon your vehicle’s trunk space. MaxxHaul is constructed in extruded aluminum that is durable, compact, and lightweight. This easy to install option is also rustproof and easy to clean, helping to maintain the integrity of your workload as well as your carrier. MaxxHaul offers product compatibility to support most trucks, SUVs, or other vehicles. It contains a heavy-duty steel under support frame with a 2 x 2-inch hitch shaft to fit Class III and IV hitch receivers. MaxxHaul’s raised side rails help support your load over the most treacherous of terrain. It also contains reflectors with red colored corners for easy night visibility for your 500-pound maximum load.

    Most Reliable
    ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket

    The ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier Luggage Basket provides the security you need for your items whether you’re going to your worksite or to a tailgating party. This option is constructed in a heavy-duty steel frame base and a black epoxy powder coating. These components help maintain the carrier’s integrity against rust and normal wear and tear. ARKSEN is constructed in a mesh base that prevents smaller objects from falling through the basket. It also contains six-inch raised tubular side rails to help stabilize larger items to prevent them from falling out of the basket. This option is compatible with many trucks, SUVs, cars, or other vehicles designed to haul heavy cargo. ARKSEN fits any two-inch trailer hitch opening and contains a 500 pound distributed weight capacity. ARKSEN proves that it has the capability to serve your needs over the long haul.

    Most Versatile
    Tow Tuff Steel Cargo Carrier

    The Tow Tuff Steel Cargo Carrier is a viable option for your varied cargo-carrying expeditions. This option measures in at 27 x 62 x 3 inches, providing you the space you need for carrying abundant loads. Tow Tuff’s heavy-duty steel construction provides a maximum load capacity of 500 pounds. This option also appeals to the bicycling enthusiast as well. Its unique design allows Tow Tuff to serve as a bike rack with simple pin removal. It contains an adjustable wheel holder and tie-down holes that can secure up to four bikes in place. This option contains one strap designed to hold your cargo in place, as well as a manufacturer’s warranty. Tow Tuff provides the most versatile option designed for all work and leisurely endeavors, solidifying its entry onto this list.

    Tips

    • Make sure you have the right hitch size or an adapter for a particular cargo rack. The 2-inch hitch is the most common size.
    • Extra straps or cargo nets will be required to secure loose items to the cargo platform. Some cargo racks come with these accessories, but you may need to buy them separately. 
    • An enclosed cargo rack, while expensive, offers the most amount of protection from thieves and the surrounding elements. 

    FAQ

    Q. Can I add a hitch if my vehicle doesn't have one?

    A. Yes. There are many aftermarket hitch options, especially if you don't plan on pulling anything heavy.

    Q. What keeps things from falling off of the cargo rack?

    A. Straps or nets are needed to keep everything secure onto the rack. Some racks also have an enclosed shell.

    Final Thoughts

    Our top pick for the best hitch-mounted cargo carrier is the Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier.

    Save some money with the budget pick, the CURT 18153 as well.