Stay organized on the go with the top hitch cargo carriers

·11-min read



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Are you tired of tying down your overflowing trunk? We’ve reviewed the highest-rated hitch cargo carriers of 2022 just for you! Whether you're going on a cross-country trek or just hitting the trail, it’s important to make sure you pack the essentials. With that being said, there’s a chance that your vehicle might not be big enough for all your gear. If that’s the case, then a good solution is to install a hitch cargo carrier to your vehicle.

Hitch cargo carriers can be mounted on the back of any car and offer ample storage space for carrying extra luggage. These carriers take the hassle out of transporting your belongings by taking heavy lifting out of the equation. When shopping around it’s important to choose one that will suit your needs, so we've gone ahead and found some of the highest-rated hitch cargo carriers of 2022 that can make your next trip a breeze.

Top Hitch Cargo Carriers Worth Considering in 2022

Curt Hitch Cargo Carrier: Our Pick

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This Curt Hitch Cargo Carrier is a great choice that’s both lightweight and versatile.

It features durable built-in alloy steel that won't rust or bend under heavy loads and is polished with carbide black powder and E-coat (electro coating) to provide maximum protection against inclement weather. With a weight capacity of 500 lbs. and a platform measuring 60" x 24", this basket-style carrier offers plenty of space for hauling boxes, bags and other items with ease. 

This carrier is equipped with an angled shank that can be folded up for increased ground clearance, and its 6 inch wall keeps items more secure. It has a strong mesh floor to help small items stay in place while allowing dirt, debris and rainwater to fall through, keeping your belongings clean and dry. It also comes with reflective accents that can increase your vehicle’s visibility in dimly lit areas, making it the top hitch cargo carrier on our list.

Pros

  • 500 pound weight-bearing capacity

  • Foldable angled shank for versatility

  • 6 inch side rails for increased security

  • Rust-resistant carbide powder coating

Cons

  • Installation may require assistance

Mockin Hitch Cargo Carrier: Another Great Options

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This Mockins Hitch Cargo Carrier could be the solution to all your cargo carrying needs. This carrier boasts a weight capacity of 500 lbs., allowing you to transport heavy items with ease.

It's highly durable and waterproof to make sure your belongings stay safe and dry in transit, and its hitch stabilizer helps prevent swaying while out on the road.

You can strap the carrier to your vehicle's roof rack or attach it behind your SUV thanks to its multiple easy access tie-down points. It comes with two ratchet straps, six straps for securing items and a cargo net that keeps everything inside safe and prevents it from falling out when traveling over rough terrain. It also features a durable steel frame with an anodized aluminum finish, so no matter where you’re going it will stand the test of time.

Pros

  • Designed to withstand various weather conditions

  • Specially manufactured stabilizer to prevent swaying

  • Made from sturdy, durable steel

Cons

  • High price point

Maxxhaul Hitch Cargo Carrier: Easy-To-Use

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This chrome-polished cargo carrier is made from lightweight, durable aluminum that's designed to withstand the elements.

With a 500 pound carrying capacity, this cargo carrier is designed to keep your belongings safe and secure out on the road. It's also easy to clean, thanks to its raised-rail design that keeps everything off the ground. The carrier attaches to any standard 2 inch receiver hitch and comes with a 2 inch by 2 inch hitch pin and clip that fits Class III and IV hitches. 

For added safety, there’s also a set of reflectors at either end of the rack to help increase visibility at night. Installation is painless— all you have to do is hook the carrier up to your hitch, load and secure your stuff and then hit the road. It's perfect for hauling large items that won’t fit in your car, like tents or sleeping bags, but it’s great for smaller items, too.

Pros

  • Built from durable, rust-resistant material

  • Compatible with Class III and IV hitches

  • Reflectors for added safety

Cons

  • Tie-down anchors not included

ARKSEN Hitch Cargo Carrier: Also Try

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The ARKSEN Hitch Cargo Carrier is another great carrier that mounts directly to the hitch receiver on your vehicle.

It’s made from heavy-duty stainless steel and powder-coated with a black epoxy finish, making it corrosion- and rust-resistant. It boasts a sturdy mesh surface that allows liquid drainage and bungee cargo nets to keep all your belongings protected on bumpy roads. This cargo carrier is also weatherproof, so your stuff will stay dry no matter the weather. 

This unit comes with a U-bolt design that allows you to install and remove it with minimal hassle. Thanks to its 500 pound carrying capacity, you can haul items both large and small with ease, and its reflector strip stickers make it so that vehicles behind you can easily see your carrier at night. Whether it's suitcases, backpacks or camping gear, this cargo carrier can help you take your outdoor adventures to the next level.

Pros

  • Easy installation and removal

  • Anti-rattle hitch stabilizers

  • Foldable design for when not in use

  • Made from weatherproof and rust-resistant material

Cons

  • May not be ideal for heavy items

Reese Explore Hitch Cargo Carrier: Another Option

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The Reese Explorer ProSeries Hitch Cargo Carrier is a great way to bring everything you need with you.

With a 500 pound weight capacity, this robust hitch carrier is a solid choice for hauling all sorts of gear and equipment. It features a rise shank design that improves your vehicle's ground clearance, so you can take it just about anywhere.

The black powder coating on this carrier will keep corrosion at bay, and its 2" receiver-style hitch is compatible with cars, vans, trucks and SUVs. The carrier has rugged mesh floors that make clean-up a breeze, and even includes a ramp to make it easy to load heavy items. This ramp folds up when you aren't using it, with safety pins that keep it secure while driving. Whether you're going camping or just picking up some new furniture, this cargo carrier will help you get where you need to go with all your stuff in tow.

Pros

  • Extra ground clearance

  • Loading and unloading made easy

  • Straightforward assembly process

Cons

  • Rust-resistant finish can be unreliable

Buying guide: hitch cargo carrier

Whether you're hauling your gear to the beach for a day of fun in the sun or transporting materials for your next big home improvement project, a hitch cargo carrier can make your life a whole lot easier. It’s important to have information that can help you make an informed buying decision, so we've put together this handy guide to finding a hitch cargo carrier suited to your needs.

What should I consider when choosing a hitch cargo carrier?

Weight capacity

The first step in finding the right hitch-mounted cargo carrier is determining its weight capacity. This will be the maximum weight the carrier can hold without any added stress or damage to your car. The higher the weight capacity, the more items you can fit on it. Most car manufacturers recommend staying under 200 pounds total when carrying cargo on your hitch, so if your car can tow 200 pounds then you should get a 100 pound cargo carrier.

Hitch receivers

The hitch cargo carrier is a device of convenience. It’s highly recommended that the receiver hitch used to mount the cargo carrier is of the same class so as to facilitate easy attachment. 

Size

Because there are different carrier sizes available, it can be helpful to know which size makes sense for you and your vehicle. Each type of carrier has a set number of dimensions based on the items they can hold and carry. The dimensions usually range from small (45 inches long by 36 inches wide by 8 inches tall) to large (60 inches long by 30 inches wide by 20 inches tall).

Side rails

When you want additional protection for your items, consider purchasing an enclosed cargo carrier or one with side rails. This can make a big difference in keeping your items safe in inclement weather conditions and can also prevent minor damage from flying debris while driving.

Ground clearance

Look for a cargo carrier with high ground clearance. If you have a vehicle with low clearance, such as an SUV or a minivan, make sure that the cargo carrier doesn't scrape against the road or come in contact with curbs or other obstacles. This can damage both the cargo carrier and your vehicle.

Tie-down anchors

Tie-down anchors are important to secure the load on the cargo carrier. You need to ensure that they can withstand the weight you want to put on your carrier. The tie-down anchors should also be able to resist strong force, such as when you hit the brakes or drive through rough terrain.

Does the platform of a hitch cargo carrier matter?

Flatbed hitch cargo carrier

Flatbed hitch carriers feature a solid steel base that’s ideal for heavy loads or uneven terrain. Rugged models can handle up to 500 pounds, while lighter styles can easily accommodate up to 300 pounds. Flatbeds can also be used for hauling power equipment and construction materials like plywood or drywall, and they tend to have a small lip on the side to prevent slippage during transport.

Basket style carrier

Basket style hitch cargo carriers are almost identical to flatbeds, except that they have an open basket design instead of a solid steel bed. These carriers are great for hauling odd-shaped loads that may shift around while traveling, such as bikes or kayaks. Some baskets feature a drop-down tailgate to provide easier access to your cargo, and these often have a mesh design, allowing dirt and debris to fall through without becoming lodged in the carrier. This mesh can also help keep items protected from rain or other bad weather conditions.

What are hitch cargo carriers made of?

Your hitch cargo carrier’s material will determine its durability, ease of installation and proper usage, so it’s important to know about it. While there are numerous types of hitch cargo carriers, they are sorted into three main categories: steel, aluminum and polypropylene.

Steel

Steel is the strongest material that you can find for a carrier. These carriers are made from a sheet of steel that is folded over and then welded together. The thickness of the steel varies, but it's usually 1/8 inch or 3/16 inch thick. This style is the most popular because of its rust resistance and durability. 

Steel carriers have a significantly higher weight capacity than polypropylene or aluminum carriers, allowing you to carry more cargo on your vehicle. However, steel carriers are heavy and more difficult to install and remove, and they’re also more expensive than carriers made from other materials.

Aluminum 

Aluminum is stronger than steel but lighter in weight. This makes it easier to install, and it won't add as much weight to your vehicle when driving, but it doesn't hold up well in harsh weather conditions like steel does.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is the lightest material available for a cargo carrier. Polypropylene carriers do not have as much strength as steel or aluminum carriers, so they have lower weight capacities. That being said, if you plan on transporting lightweight items, like camping gear or beach accessories, then a polypropylene model may be the option for you.

 

Hitch Cargo Carriers FAQS

Q: Do hitch cargo carriers need lights?

No, hitch cargo carriers don't require lights to work. However, you may want to install a set of auxiliary tail lights on your carrier. This will help other drivers see your extra load clearly, allowing you to avoid any collisions that could otherwise be caused by poor visibility.

Q: Are hitch cargo carriers legal?

Yes, it is legal to install hitch cargo carriers as long as your car's license plate is visible at all times. However, it’s illegal to transport flammable and explosive items on a hitch carrier, as well as items that could fall off and pose a hazard for other drivers. Before purchasing a hitch cargo carrier, make sure to check local laws to avoid fines and other penalties.

Q: Can I attach a hitch cargo carrier to my car's roof?

No. Hitch cargo carriers are specifically designed for receivers, not roofs. Roof-mounted carriers can be dangerous because they cause your center of gravity to shift and increase air resistance while driving. If you want to increase your car’s space, consider installing a hitch cargo carrier instead.

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