Outdoor camping is a good way to relax and relieve stress, BUT getting all the needed camping gears to the destination can be daunting. What other options does one have if all the equipment will not fit inside the car or SUV? This buying guide for the best hitch cargo carrier will dive into why it is a suitable alternative to moving large-sized cargo from one area to another.
A cargo carrier is normally attached to the hitch usually found below the back bumper. Cargo carriers can hold as much luggage or camping gear like the interior trunk space. It is an ideal way to move barbecue grills, propane gas cans, camping tent, and light, etc.
Having one makes it easier to move around daily supplies. An avid gardener will be happy to put all the dirt and growing pots and pans on the carrier rather than soiling up the interior of the vehicle.
When you look at the marketplace on Amazon, there are many different types of cargo carriers, but we found the ones that can be hitched-mounted to be the most convenient at expanding cargo capacity without much fuss.
Some of the products listed here in this best hitch cargo carrier reviews are made to be foldable, which in turn allows for easy storage when not in use. What you need to carry should be kept in mind, because some have found great benefit from using fixed shank carriers.
Mounting a cargo carrier should not pose any problem because most modern-day SUV and Crossover automobiles come with a factory attached hitch. If your vehicle does not have a hitch, there are worthy aftermarket offerings that can put one on, at a very reasonable price.
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
CURT 18153 Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier
BUSINESS - $ 49
Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
ROLA 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
Pro Series Black Reese 63153 Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
MaxxHaul 70107 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
Buyers Guide to the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
One thing common among outdoor enthusiasts is what to do when there is not enough space in the vehicle, for both people and equipment. A cargo carrier hitch can also be utilized for moving supplies or business-related stuff. Small-sized coolers, portable home use generators, mowers, are perfect examples of things one can haul using a well-designed unit.
In this detailed buying guide, we list things you must take into consideration before choosing the best hitch cargo carrier for jeep wrangler or other types of vehicles. Let’s examine the types of cargo hauling carriers found in the marketplace.
Hitch Cargo Carrier Materials And Platforms
The best hitch mounted carriers can be assigned different classifications, but the materials used determines how it can be used. The most common material used to make cargo carriers is steel, but those made out of aluminum and polypropylene are just as popular. Weight limitations of cargo carriers are not determined by materials used, but structural integrity.
A dominant portion of the best selling hitch carriers for cargo are made out of steel. Steel is not only durable but also long-lasting. On the other hand, they come at a higher cost and are not the easiest things to move around. Hitch carriers made out of steel can hold more weight. While it might rust unless coated with an anti-corrosion substance, most will not buckle or break.
Cargo hitch carriers made out of aluminum are gaining traction due to their lightweight nature and ability to hold heavy payloads. A common manufacturing technique is the fusion of steel and aluminum to create a stronger and more durable hitch carrier.
What is more common are hitch carriers made out of hybrid materials like steel, polypropylene, and aluminum. Steel will provide strength, while the other materials will give it flexibility and anti-rust capabilities.
The selection of the best-enclosed hitch cargo carrier should not be based on materials it is made out of, but its structural design and how many pounds it can hold.
Common Cargo Hitch Carrier Platforms
The basket style set up is one of the most common platforms used in most designs. The basket-style design prioritizes keeping cargo firmly in place and secure. The rails make it easier to use cords or straps to secure luggage or packages.
Basket style hitch mounted carriers will either have a bottom design of mesh or rails. A common occurrence is a unique combination of both. Preference should be given to hitch carriers with this style since they’re capable of supporting both small and large items.
The name says it all since flatbed style hitch cargo carriers are made without high rails. The raised edges they come with provide the necessary anchor points for cargo holding cords, nets, or straps. This design style is good at accommodating larger items or those having odd shapes and sizes. The bottom is similar to the basket style design.
Ramp Hitch Cargo Carriers
Those considering transporting anything with wheels should invest in a ramp style cargo hitch carrier. This is the style commonly used to carry around lawnmowers, motorized scooters, and wheelchairs.
It’s not uncommon to find durable hitch cargo carriers with a mixture of all design style weaved into one. This versatility will increase the cost of this type of best cargo carrier hitch.
Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Enclosed Hitch Cargo Carrier
Before you pick what you consider to be the ultimate best hitch cargo carrier, keep the following things in mind. What are your needs and the type of car you own are just some of the pertinent questions?
How Will it Serve Your Needs
Pay close attention to the type of cargo you intend to haul. One that can handle camping gears might not be suitable for carrying luggage for a cross-country trip. Study your needs and let that be your ultimate guide to the right hitch cargo carrier.
Ample consideration should be given to load capacity of both the attached hitch and the carrier. It is wise to stay under the recommended maximum load weight of the cargo hitch carrier. Also, keep in mind that the cost of any good cargo carrier hitch is influenced by the load capacity. Units that can handle more pounds will be higher priced.
Vehicle Trailer Hitch Compatibility
Consider the size of the hitch receiver on your car, because you want the carrier to seamlessly match. There are numerous adapters to use if the hitch and cargo carrier don’t match, which increase the cost of setting up a complete functional unit. The additional expense can be avoided by getting the best hitch cargo carrier that matches the hitch receiver on your automobile.
Ease of Installation
Even the best-enclosed hitch cargo carrier needs to be properly installed before use. It’s better to splurge on a unit with the most detailed installation instructions. Unless you’re handy, it might be wise to invest in professional installation of your cargo carrier for peace of mind.
Security of the Hitch Carrier
The last thing you want is for someone to easily unhook the cargo hitch and be gone with it. A good product must have a locking mechanism to make it hard for thieves to remove. Even with the best of security features, a cargo hitch carrier is only suitable for taking stuff from one location to another. It is not the right place to leave stuff unwatched.
The Best 10 Hitch Cargo Carriers Sold on Amazon
There are many hitch cargo carrier brands, but some have better metrics than others. In this best hitch cargo carrier reviews, some of the highly-rated units are listed below:
1 – CURT 18153 Basket Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier Review
It will be hard to come across any best hitch cargo carrier reviews online without this product been mentioned. The CURT 18153 basket-style hitch cargo carrier is built to carry up to 500-pounds. The foldable design means it can be rested up close to the back of the vehicle when not in use.
Another great aspect of CURT 18153 is the enhanced security configuration. It features a 6-inch high wall steel to keep your cargo in place. Not only can the walls be used to secure cargo using straps, and any hitch carrier cover bag will seamlessly fit.
Unlike other high-end cargo hitch carriers, this product comes with embedded reflectors on the frame. The integrated reflectors make it legal to use, plus drivers behind will be able to make out the hitch carrier attached to the back of the vehicle.
The tubular steel that this hitch carrier CURT 18153 is made out of is doubly reinforced with carbide black powder and E-coat, thus making it resistant to corrosive properties.
The manufacturer makes a protective cover that can protect cargo from rain or snow. The exact and best cargo carrier cover to get for this unit is the CURT 18211 Cargo Bag. While it is covered by a lifetime limited warranty, it is reduced to only one-year for parts and coat finish.
CURT 18153 Basket-Style Cargo Carrier Assembly Video
Watch the above video to see how easy it is to get this hitch cargo carrier affixed to any vehicle with the right receiver. The owner’s manual also includes detailed step by step guide on what tools to use to get it affixed properly.
It has tall wire mesh sides to keep cargo securely in place during travel
Made out of doubly reinforced tubular steel, which makes it highly resistant to outdoor elements
When not in use, the folding shank design means it can be tilted up
The angled shank ensures better ground clearance
It comes with built-in reflectors, thus making it legal and increases visibility
Unfortunately, the tools needed for proper installation is not provided (But you do get a list of what’s needed)
The locking pin is not included
2 – Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier Review
For those looking for the most complete cargo hitch carrier setup, the product from Mockins will an exciting purchase. The Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier comes with the needed safety net and bag, including the strapping tools to keep belongings securely in place.
The included hitch carrier bag is made from waterproof materials. Dirt will also find it difficult to penetrate any cargo covered by this bag. The inclusion of a lifetime warranty makes purchasing the Mockins Cargo Carrier a worthwhile investment.
It is designed for use in transporting heavier loads since it is capable of holding up to five hundred pounds. The most important design characteristic includes a raised platform to increase ground clearance, and foldable shank design, which allows it to be folded up when not in use.
It is one of the most complete budget-friendly cargo hitch carriers
500-pounds maximum limitation makes it suitable for moving bigger payloads
The angled shank set up means it can be folded up during an idle time
Comes with an impressive lifetime warranty, which leads to worry-free use of the carrier
The paint coating is not the best we’ve seen
3 – ROLA 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier Review – (It is the Best Hitch Hauler in the Market)
This is a competitive niche market, and another product worthy to be in the top ten is the ROLA 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier. While the design has some similarities to other top hitch carriers there are unique features one cannot ignore.
It comes with wider dimensions of 56″ x 23″ x 5.25″ and able to support more loads, up to 600-lbs. Among the top 10 best hitch cargo carriers, this unit offers the simplest installation steps. It is made out of heavy-duty steel that is encased with black powder coating, which increases resistance to rust and corrosion elements.
Whether you’re driving a truck, SUV, or regular automobile, the Rola hitch carrier is designed to seamlessly fit 2″ square receivers. It is the ultimate camper’s dream hitch carrier because there is a fully functional lighting system built for this unit. (Unfortunately, it requires an additional purchase. You can check out the Rola 59531 Reflector Lighting Kit).
Rola itself is an Australian company and made great inroads into the North American market for hitch carriers, roof-mounted cargo holders, and many other vehicle accessory products. The hitch carrier from ROLA is covered by a limited five-year warranty.
It is built to carry more loads, up to 600-pounds
The powder-coated steel will keep corrosion at bay for many years
Rola hitch carrier two-piece assembly means it is easy to put together
Comes with a shank design that rises to provide better ground clearance
The needed light kit is not included and costs extra
Shipping packaging could be improved
4 – Pro Series Black Reese 63153 Cargo Carrier Review
Even for a motorist with a vehicle equipped with a factory roof rack their comes a time when the load to be carried is just too heavy. The only viable option is to use a hitch carrier, and one of the best products is the Pro Series Black Reese 63153 Cargo Carrier due to its higher weight limitations.
It has a 500 pounds max handling weight, and the 60″ x 24″ platform ensures bigger objects can be placed on it. The side rails measure 5.5″ which provides ample ways to secure cargo without fear of it tipping over.
The mesh floor design of the Pro Series cargo carrier provides additional points to secure heavier loads. To ensure strength and durability this product is made using powder-coated steel. A hitch carrier made out of this type of material can maintain its factory finish for up to twenty years with the right care.
Pro Series Black Reese 63153 Cargo Carrier rugged construction gives it the ability to fight-off elements like corrosion and weather. This cargo carrier from Pro Series is made to fit 2″ automobile receivers. The rise shank design provides for better ground clearance since the cargo will be elevated.
Installing the Pro Series hitch carrier will not take forever, as it can be done in less than an hour based on skillset. Those familiar with using a torque wrench can probably get the installation done in less than thirty minutes. The owner’s manual includes detailed installation guides to help anyone through the process.
It needs to be mentioned that this carrier does not have any type of light reflection, especially at night. Apart from being illegal in some states not to have lighted reflectors on your trailer hitch carrier, it is the safest and right thing to do. The best lighting kit to use is the – ROLA 59516, since it is made to fit the carrier seamlessly.
This the ultimate hitch cargo carrier for road trips, camping, and other outdoor adventures one can think about. It is definitely among the top 10 best hitch cargo carriers of all time, which is why it is included in this buying guide.
The powder-coated steel construction makes this a durable carrier and can withstand rust and corrosion for many years
Floor mesh design makes it easier to clean up
Included side railings come in handy when securing all types of cargo
The Pro Series elevated rise shank design gives it the right ground clearance balance
Not a foldable design
5 – MaxxHaul 70107 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier Review – (Most Affordable & Heavy-Duty)
The next item in this best hitch cargo carrier reviews is from an outfit called MaxxHaul. For clarity sake, the MaxxHaul 70107 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier is the same product sold under the name MaxxTow Hitch Cargo Carrier. It is a budget-friendly hitch carrier design for use on 2″ hitch receivers. Despite the low pricing, MaxxHaul 70107 carrier is capable of holding up to 500-lbs of cargo.
It is an ideal method to transport soiled, wet, or dry camping gear in the rear of your vehicle, thus creating the space for more passengers or furrier friends. Unlike other carriers with mesh floor design, this one has an open rail floor design.
This biggest advantage of this type of floor design is less accumulation of dirt and grime. On the downside, it is not the best at holding real small items. Since it only weighs around 32-lbs one person install will not be a problem. The MaxxHaul hitch cargo carrier is made out of powder-coated steel, which preserves the pristine look for many years to come
There are two reflectors in the rear, which helps increase visibility, especially at night. It has an overall round shape design with generous interior space for different types of cargo. Once properly installed, it should sit close to your vehicle.
Since it has fewer moving parts, the rattling noise that plague other hitch carriers should not arise when using it. You do not get the folding up option with this hitch carrier, but since it is lightweight, quickly removing it from the vehicle hitch should not be a problem.
Priced considerably less than 80 bucks, which makes it one of the cheapest and durable hitch carriers sold online
It is lightweight and yet able to hold cargo weighing up to 500-pounds
Excellent floor design that creates less space for dirt and grime to stick to, which means less clean up time
Comes with built-in reflectors, which makes it easier for other motorists to see both vehicle and hitch trailer at night
It lacks a foldable design option to let it rest up close to the vehicle when not in use
Only comes with a ninety-day limited replacement warranty, which is not the most generous within the industry
MaxxHaul 70107 Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier Review Video
As you watch the video before making your purchase keep in mind the presenter is talking about the same product despite the different names. Using different names is a common tactic used by manufacturers to create uniqueness on different online selling platforms.
We could not ascertain if this was a permanent name change, but the website of the maker is called MaxxHaul. There are great reviews for this product on Amazon and you can check out today’s pricing by clicking the link below.
6 – Leader Accessories Hitch Mount Folding Cargo Carrier Review
If nothing else does, the name for this next hitch carrier is our reviews is quite appropriate, and catchy. The hitch carrier basket from Leader Accessories is moderately priced, and yet able to support cargo weighing 500 pounds or less. Further research indicates the manufacturer for this product has a well-established reputation in the automotive, home, and outdoors products industry.
We like the fact that it comes with a close-knit rail bottom, which means smaller cargo can be hauled with ease. Leader Accessories best cargo carrier hitch mount is designed to fit standard 2″ receivers and comes with enough platform space to accommodate a variety of moveable cargo.
It is made out of thick steel that’s also powder-coated, which makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. The overall configuration of the hitch carrier from Leader Accessories makes it ideal for use on the rear of RVs, SUVs, Jeeps, pickup trucks, or any vehicle with the right hitch receiver.
Made using durable steel that’s powder-coated to resist corrosive and rust elements
Has a foldable design to ensure you can leave it resting up close to the vehicle when not in use
Comes with smart pricing to make it affordable for most households
The only downside is the location of the two small reflectors. Rather than to the rear of the carrier, they’re placed on the side, which does not make any sense. (If you do decide to purchase this unit there are reasonably priced reflector lighting kits sold online – like this one
7 – Goplus Aluminum Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier Review
Next on our top 10 best hitch cargo carriers is the product from a company called Goplus. While the product has all the right dimensions and setup, finding the manufacturer’s website proved to be difficult. The Goplus Aluminum Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier is well-liked on Amazon, and any defect claims will be best handled on that platform.
The use of premium aluminum to make this cargo carrier makes it sturdy, and ready to take abuse from constant use. Will it outlast a powder-coated steel hitch carrier? Probably not, because steel can easily be refinished to look like new again. The crossbar trailer hitch for this carrier is made out of steel, which adds another good element to its durability.
The pricing for this aluminum trailer hitch cargo carrier is on par with other units reviewed and can handle cargo weighing five-hundred pounds or less. Truth be told, aluminum has an allure to it that even the best-coated steel cannot match. Just the visibility advantage is enough reason to consider purchasing this unit.
Comes with the right type of reflectors and red-painted corners to make the hitch carrier visible to other motorists
The allure of premium Aluminum cannot be denied and should last many years with the right care
Needed hitch pin and mounting hardware are included
Floor design of the 500 lb. capacity aluminum cargo carrier will not accumulate grime or dirt, which means it’s easier to keep clean
Hard to find the manufacturer’s website with this product listed
Aluminum will fade over time and it’s much harder to renew as compared to steel
8 – MaxxHaul 70108 Hitch Mount Aluminum Cargo Carrier Review
This is another excellent hitch carrier from MaxxHaul, While it has the same carrying capacity of 500 pounds like model number 70107, this one is made entirely out of aluminum except for the connecting shank to the hitch receiver that is made out of steel.
We love the height of the side rails as it can help hold different types of cargo in place. The lightweight nature of the trailer hitch cargo carrier aluminum means installation can be accomplished by one person with the right tools and know-how. Aluminum is quite resistant to rust. It has the right type of floor design thus making it easier to keep clean.
MaxxHaul 70108 is more like a fixed hitch carrier since it does not have a foldable option, which means, use it and take it off or drive around town with it empty. You get the best out of this carrier when any payload is evenly distributed on the platform.
The height of the side rails helps keep any type of cargo securely in place
Aluminum is beautiful and will resist rust quite well over time
Lightweight design ensures one person can install it completely
Comes with the right type of reflectors to increase the visibility of the hitch carrier to other motorists
Not the best for hauling smaller items
Only ninety-days warranty, which is short by industry standards
9 – AmazonBasics Hitch Cargo Carrier Review
AmazonBasics is the manufacturing arm of that retail juggernaut other retailers love to hate and complain about. Products bearing this name is fully supported by Amazon, and this hitch cargo carrier is no exception. We love the height of the side railings due to its ability to keep cargo securely in place during transport.
The simple and functional design of the AmazonBasics Hitch Cargo Carrier does not take away from its ability to haul goods weighing 500-pounds or less. Hauling smaller items will not be a problem due to the enclosed mesh rail design of its floor bed.
Unlike other cargo hitch carriers weighing more than seventy pounds, the weight for this unit is slightly less than fifty pounds. While it comes with no built-in reflectors, there are cutouts for installing them. It is suitable for use with 2-inch receivers.
With fewer moving parts, the right installation will not produce any noise during use
The basket itself has a good height for the side railings, which helps to keep cargo in place during travel
Comes with a mesh floor to ensure smaller packages will stay in place
Your purchase is protected by Amazon standard one-year limited warranty
The cutouts for the reflectors are there, but a reliable lighting kit will cost you extra
10 – ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier Review
The last item in this best hitch cargo carrier reviews is from a company called Arksen. If you want a hitch carrier that’s easy to install and provide the right amount of ground clearance elevation this unit is a worthy choice to consider buying today.
The biggest advantage offered by the ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier is that it comes almost fully assembled, thus resulting in fewer steps to get it attached to your auto 2-inch receiver. It is made from heavy-duty steel that is also coated with black epoxy powder.
It has the right floor space dimensions and can be used to transport smaller packages due to the mesh floor rails. When properly installed in the rear hitch of any vehicle it can safely hold up to 500 pounds of different types of cargo.
No need to spend any money on reflectors because they’re factory pre-installed into the unit. This is probably the cheapest folding trailer hitch cargo carrier basket with good design metrics you’ll find online. The list of items one can transport in the ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier is limitless provided it can fit and within the weight limitations.
In some jurisdictions, hitch trailers are required to have reflectors, and it is factory-installed in this unit
Nice foldable design with the right amount of ground clearance
It is made out of black epoxy powder-coated steel, which increases durability and usage years
Highly affordable even for people that don’t like to spend money
No identifiable manufacturer website
Steel coating might not last as long against the elements
Hitch Cargo Carrier Versus Rooftop Carrier
The obvious benefits to using a rooftop and hitch carrier might be apparent to some, but there are also disadvantages to using either one. While not focusing on the likes and dislikes, let’s concentrate on the main differences between both cargo carriers.
A cargo hitch carrier offers better versatility and convenience features than even the best rooftop cargo carrier. Not only is the hitch carrier easier to get to, but it can also hold more stuff in most cases.
If you plan to move a piece of bulky luggage or box, the hitch carrier will be the most sensible option. More load can be put on a hitch carrier than any rooftop carrier can hold comfortably.
When going on a cross-country trip, powerful winds can knock off the cargo placed on the rooftop, while the ones placed on the hitch carrier will not be impacted negatively. As long as the hitch is properly installed, the cargo will remain in place until the final destination is reached.
Sizes for Hitch Receivers
Sizes for vehicle hitch receivers vary based on the type of vehicle and how much pounds it can safely carry. The most common size for hitch receivers is 2′ inches. A good guide for those looking to get a reliable hitch receiver installed can be found – here.
Reasons to Get a Mounted Hitch Cargo Carrier
Once your vehicle is equipped with a hitch receiver, the size determines the best hitch cargo carrier you can choose from the products listed in this review. A good and well-made unit will not be difficult to install, but some might require two people to get it right, due to weight.
It is still one of the most convenient ways to transport cargo from one destination to another while using the interior space for just passengers.
If you run a small business, a cargo carrier might just be what’s needed to move supplies around rather than investing in a cargo van. The cost of a van requires you explore the viability of using a good hitch cargo carrier to move things around for your business or household.
PLAN - PRICE
START UP - $ 29
Leader Accessories Hitch Mount Folding Cargo
BUSINESS - $ 49
Goplus Aluminum Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
MaxxHaul 70108 Hitch Mount Aluminum Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
AmazonBasics Hitch Cargo Carrier
ADVANCED - $ 99
ARKSEN Folding Cargo Carrier
Legal Requirements for Cargo Hitch Carriers
The most common requirement is that the carrier must have reflectors or lights, and cannot cover the license plates. The way your cargo is placed and secured might also invite the curious eyes of a highway patrol officer.
You do not want to endanger the lives of other motorists by carrying cargo that can fall off, which means its better to securely tie down whatever you’re transporting. A better way is to use one of the best hitch cargo carrier bags sold on Amazon to protect your goods from prying eyes and the nasty weather elements. Please consult your state law for hitch carrier compliance requirements.
The items listed in this best hitch cargo carrier reviews are just a sample of some of the top-selling units one can buy online. Before even investing in a cargo hitch carrier you need to have a reliable hitch receiver put on your car.
Make a note of the receiver size (the most common being 2′ inches), before choosing a unit that would work for your needs. A good cargo carrier attached to the rear of the hitch on your vehicle is still the easiest way to move supplies, camping gear, and other goods from point A to B.