9 Best Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers

Last Updated October 29, 2023
Top 3 Best Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers
CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
  • Easy assembly with a strong bolt-together design.
  • Swing-up design for easy maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Robust tubular steel construction with built-in reflectors for safety.
Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
  • Quick assembly due to two-piece construction.
  • Raised shank design for better ground clearance.
  • Powder-coat weather-resistant finish, although the included bolts need painting over to prevent rust.
ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
  • Heavy-duty with a 600lb weight capacity.
  • Raised shank design, providing improved ground clearance for uneven terrain.
  • Durable construction with a black powder coating, mesh base, and includes reflectors for safety.
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Extend your vehicle’s capacity with the best hitch cargo carrier. Not only will you free up valuable space inside, you’ll also be able to transport larger and bulkier objects for your next camping trip with ease.

Here’s how to choose the best model for your vehicle and make packing for your next getaway a much smoother process.

Best Hitch Cargo Carrier

Find the best hitch cargo carrier for your vehicle right here with our top-rated hitch cargo carrier reviews. Wherever you’re going exploring and whatever you need to pack, you’re sure to find your ideal model right here.

Best Folding Hitch Cargo Carrier

CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier

CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
The CURT basket hitch cargo carrier product picture

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As an avid lover of the great outdoors, I’m always on the lookout for equipment that can withstand the rugged trails I so often find myself on. This led me to the CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier, a companion that has since become indispensable to my escapades.

Right off the bat, the assembly was a breeze. With a buddy and the CURT’s assembly video on my tablet, we had it set up and ready in about 30 minutes. I must say, the strong bolt-together design touted by CURT lived up to the hype. Each bolt hole aligned perfectly, making the assembly process smooth.

I was initially torn between a fixed carrier and one that swings up when not in use. I decided to go with the latter, and oh boy, did that turn out to be a wise decision. At the campsites, being able to swing the carrier up made maneuvering through tight spaces and crowded parks a breeze. The added ground clearance from the angled shank design was a godsend on uneven terrain, proving its mettle on steep, rocky inclines that are par for the course in my hiking expeditions.

Loading it up for the first time was akin to a child playing with a new toy. I loaded my camping gear, hooked my mountain bike on, and still had room to spare. The robust tubular steel construction held up impressively under the weight. The built-in reflectors on the six-inch sides added a layer of safety, especially when the sun dipped below the horizon.

Now, the journey. A 500-mile trip lay ahead, and the CURT carrier was put to the test. The ride was smooth, with no rattling or movement from the carrier. Pulling in and out of angled driveways was a careful affair, but the carrier withstood a couple of minor scrapes with no more than a scoff. I also invested in some high-quality ratchet straps which secured my gear seamlessly, providing peace of mind as I traversed through winding and bumpy trails.

Despite its sturdiness, the carrier is not without its quirks. The powder coating on the frame began to show signs of wear rather quickly, a small grievance but a grievance nonetheless. A little touch-up with some black paint, and it was as good as new. I also noticed a slight gap in the seam between the two pieces even when the bolts were all tightened – a minor design flaw perhaps, but it did not affect the functionality.

On one particular weekend, a spontaneous trip to the Rocky Mountains beckoned. The forecast promised clear skies and the trails were calling out. I hastily loaded up my CURT carrier with camping gear, a cooler, and my trusty mountain bike. The ease with which I could secure everything onto the carrier’s mesh base was commendable. As I set out, the sun began its descent, casting long shadows on the road. The drive was smooth, and the carrier held firm, even as the terrain grew wilder. Arriving at the campsite, the convenience of having the carrier swung up and out of the way while setting up camp was remarkable. The night descended, and around the crackling fire, amidst laughter and tales, I couldn’t help but appreciate how the CURT carrier contributed to the day’s success. Its ruggedness and reliability allowed for a hassle-free adventure, and as I gazed at the starlit sky, the thought of many more journeys with this stout companion by my side brought a contented smile to my face.

One more thing to note is the absence of a hitch lock. I had to get one separately to ensure the carrier stayed secure to my vehicle. Also, while the carrier fits well, the hitch was a tad long, nudging against my spare tire. A minor hiccup that a little trimming of the end of the shank resolved.

All in all, the CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier has proven to be a reliable, durable companion on my outdoor excursions. Its strong build, ease of assembly, and the practical fold-up design make it a valuable addition to my outdoor gear. Whether it’s a weekend camping trip or a long-haul journey across the state, this carrier has risen to the occasion, time and time again.

Pros – Things we liked
Folding 2” shank
500lb capacity
6” tall sides and 60” x 24” mesh base
Carbide black powder coat finish
Good ground clearance with angled shank
Cons – Things we didn’t like
May not fold with rear-mounted spare tires
Tube end plugs not included
Best Hitch Cargo Carrier for Easy Assembly

Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler

Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
The Reese hitch cargo carrier product picture

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The Explore ProSeries Rambler by expert towing manufacturer Reece is one of the easiest models to assemble thanks to its two-piece construction. The strong steel bolts together in just minutes and boasts a generous 500-pound weight capacity.

Thanks to its raised shank design, this hitch cargo carrier has fairly good ground clearance, although not quite as much as Curt’s Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier. Otherwise, a lot of its other specifications are pretty similar, including 5.5” side rails and a 60-inch by 24-inch mesh base.

While this two-inch receiver model is also treated with a powder-coat weather-resistant finish, you’ll want to paint over the included hardware as the silver-colored bolts rust pretty quickly if left untreated. Also, bear in mind that no reflectors or reflective tape are included with this hitch cargo carrier, so you’ll need to pick some up before trying it out or risk getting run into.

All in all, this is a popular, robust model with a good weight capacity and a useful raised shank design, plus plenty of space for all of your bulky camping supplies. Bike clips and compatible light systems are available separately.

Pros – Things we liked
500lb weight capacity
Rise shank design
Two-piece construction
5.5” side rails and 60” x 24” mesh base
Powder-coat weather-resistant finish
Cons – Things we didn’t like
No reflectors included
Included bolts need painting over
Best Heavy-Duty Hitch Cargo Carrier

ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier

ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
The ROLA hitch cargo carrier product picture

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If you need a heavy-duty hitch cargo carrier, the Vortex 59502 by Rola is the one to go for. Its generous 600-pound weight capacity is 100 pounds more than most other comparable models and it fits all standard square two-inch receivers.

Made from strong, durable steel construction, complete with a powder coated finish, the Vortex has a long five-year limited warranty, testament to its high-quality, robust materials and design. Its five-inch high side rails give you unlimited attachment points and extra security for larger items, such as coolers, while the mesh base can easily accommodate several bikes with the separate Bike Mount Adapter Kit 59904.

Thanks to its rise shank design, you get improved ground clearance to clear gradients and uneven terrain on your next camping trip. Its raised position also means that less drag and noise is created as this hitch cargo carrier sits right behind in your vehicle’s slipstream

Assembly is easy, thanks to its two-piece construction, however, this is one heavy piece of kit weighing 73.6 pounds, so you may want to enlist an extra pair of hands to help fit it. While a hitch pin is included, bear in mind it is threaded, so this unit is not compatible with all replacement locking versions.

Complete with license plate attachment points and two reflectors, the Vortex 59502 is a good solid buy that is certainly robust enough to transport all of your camping equipment

Pros – Things we liked
600lb weight capacity
Rise shank design
5” sides with 56” x 23” mesh base
Durable black powder coating
Includes 2 reflectors and license plate attachment point
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Threaded hitch pin
Heavy – 73.6 lbs
Best Lightweight Hitch Cargo Carrier

MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier

MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier
The MaxxHaul hitch cargo carrier product picture

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The Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier by MaxxHaul is a great purchase if you are looking for a lightweight model that is also easy on your wallet. Weighing just 25 pounds, it is less than half the weight of a lot of other hitch cargo carriers with a similar 500-pound weight capacity – ideal if you will be putting it on and taking it off alone.

Made with durable powder-coated steel, this model features five-inch side rails for extra security and unlimited attachment points to keep all your camping gear safely onboard. The base measures 53 inches by 19 inches, making it more compact than your average 23 or 24 inch models, sticking out less behind your vehicle with 6.5 inches between the pin hole and the carrier edge.

While this is a great value for money buy complete with built-in reflectors, it is less suitable for low-rise vehicles having a straight, no-rise shank. So, if your vehicle already sits low to the ground, you may struggle to get adequate clearance on steep driveways and over speed bumps. Assembly is relatively easy, although the instructions could do with some improvements.

On the whole, a good buy for the money, this lightweight hitch cargo carrier is easy to install without a second person helping and fits standard two by-two-inch hitch receivers.

Pros – Things we liked
500lb weight capacity
Black powder-coated steel construction
Lightweight – 25lbs
5” side rails with 53” x 19” base
Good value for money
Cons – Things we didn’t like
No rise
Poor instructions
Best Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier

CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier

CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier
The CURT tray hitch cargo carrier product picture

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If you are looking for a tray hitch cargo carrier, be sure to take a look at this model #18110 by Curt.

Thanks to its low sides, it’s ideal for fitting bulking camping supplies even with a slight overhang with its numerous mounting holes for your net or bungees. The strong mesh base adds extra security, preventing any slimmer items from slipping down.

Thanks to its angled shank, this tray hitch cargo carrier has good ground clearance, while the included adapter sleeve allows you to fit it on either a 1¼ inch or a two-inch receiver tube – ideal if you have two or more vehicles with different sized receivers. Its two-piece design makes it easy to assemble, while the carbide black powder coat finish ensures extra longevity.

Featuring a 300-pound weight capacity, this model is superior to most standard cars’ maximum tongue weight capacity and should provide more than enough space for all of your camping gear with its 48 by 20-inch base. While the hitch pin and clip are provided, bear in mind that the pin is threaded so it may not be compatible with any locking pins that you may already own. Also, you’ll need to pick up some reflectors or reflective tape before using.

Complete with a limited lifetime warranty, on the whole, this model is a good tray hitch cargo carrier for the money from one of the most experienced USA towing accessory brands.

Pros – Things we liked
300lb weight capacity
Fits 1¼” and 2” receivers
Ground-clearing angled shank
Low sides with 48” x 20” mesh base
Includes hitch pin and clip
Cons – Things we didn’t like
No reflectors
Threaded hitch pin
Best Hitch Cargo Carrier Set

Mockins Steel Cargo Basket

Mockins Steel Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
The Mockins hitch cargo carrier product picture

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If you don’t already own any hitch cargo carrier accessories, you could save yourself time and money by purchasing this set from Mockins.

This comprehensive kit includes a 500-pound weight capacity steel cargo basket hitch carrier, a hitch stabilizer, waterproof cargo bag, and cargo net, so you’ll have plenty of options for safely securing all of your camping gear.

Thanks to its generous 500-pound weight capacity, this hitch cargo carrier can accommodate even very heavy items. It also features six-inch-high rails that provide unlimited attachment points and extra security. The large 60 by 20-inch base has a mesh bottom for an easy cleanup.

One of the main advantages of this model is that it can be folded when not in use, meaning you won’t have to take it off and put it back on when exploring after you’ve set up camp. However, note that the weatherproof finish could do with an extra layer, so if you are planning on leaving it attached to your vehicle for any amount of time, we recommend giving it an extra spray.

Compatible with all standard two-inch receivers, the manufacturer does not recommend this hitch cargo carrier for use with vehicles that have a rear-mounted spare tire as it will block the rear door.

Pros – Things we liked
500lb weight capacity
Folding cargo basket
6” rails with 60” x 20” mesh base
2” rise for improved ground clearance
Includes hitch stabilizer, ratchet straps, waterproof cargo bag, and net
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Not suitable for vehicles with rear-mounted spare tires
Needs extra weatherproofing
Best Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier

Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides

Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides
The Erickson hitch cargo carrier product picture

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If you are looking for a hitch cargo carrier with high sides, check out this model by Erickson Manufacturing.

Featuring a 60 by 20 inch mesh base, the 18-inch high sides can be collapsed or removed, allowing you to transport a wider variety of camping equipment. Use it without the railing for large bulky items and tie them on via the attachment points or for firewood and various loose camping or fishing items, use it with the sides up.

This basket hitch cargo carrier fits standard two-inch receivers and has a generous 500-pound weight capacity. Assembly is fairly straightforward, taking around 20 minutes on average. At 55 pounds it is quite heavy, however, it is possible to install it without a second person present.

If you are thinking of purchasing this model, bear in mind that there are no reflectors included and you will also have to pick up a hitch pin before you can use it. What’s more, you may experience some corrosion problems depending on where you store it or how long it is left exposed to the elements on your vehicle. For this reason, we recommend giving it a quick spray with a corrosion-resistant, waterproof paint for metal to ensure a longer lifespan.

Pros – Things we liked
500lb weight capacity
Collapsible steel basket
Removable 18” high sides
Black powder coat finish
60” x 20” mesh base
Cons – Things we didn’t like
No reflectors or hitch pin
Poor weather resistance
Best Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp

CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp

CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier
The CURT hitch cargo carrier product picture

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The Curt Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp is an excellent choice for easily transporting heavy wheeled equipment for camping, such as your generator. Thanks to its three-position folding ramp complete with anti-slip ridges for easier loading and unloading, it’s very easy to use.

Made from lightweight yet durable aluminum, the hitch cargo carrier shank can also be folded up when not in use with the ramp folded down inside of it. This means you can leave your carrier on your vehicle once you’ve unloaded without it sticking out all vacation long.

With its large 50 by 30-inch base and generous 500-pound weight capacity, this hitch carrier is extremely useful. Easy to assemble with just eight bolts to fit, you can have it up and ready to go in less than 30 minutes. Compatible with standard two-by two-inch receivers, this model features six integrated eye-bolts for securing your load, plus built-in reflectors.

On the downside, any items with small wheels risk getting stuck in the gaps between the slats, so you may want to keep some plywood handy. Also, care is needed when loading heavy items as the aluminum ramp slats can bend if the weight is not adequately distributed.

However, for general ease of use and good value for money, this is a top-selling hitch cargo carrier with a ramp.

Pros – Things we liked
Three-position ramp
Rated for loads up to 500lbs
Folding carrier shank
Large 50” x 30” base
Fast 8 bolt assembly
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Small wheels can easily get stuck in the slats
Ramp can bend while loading heavy items
Best Budget Hitch Cargo Carrier

Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy

Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy
The Stromberg Carlson hitch cargo carrier product picture

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If you’re on a budget and looking for an inexpensive hitch cargo carrier, make sure you take a look at this model by Stomberg Carlson.

Despite its low price, this hitch cargo carrier has a high 500-pound weight capacity. Featuring short sides with numerous tie-down points, it’s easy to secure a wide variety of camping essentials, such as coolers, tents, and fuel.

If you are looking to take your bikes with you on your camping vacation, there is an additional bike rack accessory kit that can be purchased for use with this model allowing you to transport up to four bicycles. Thanks to its large 60 by 23-inch mesh base, you’ll have plenty of space, plus water and road grit will simply fall through the mesh for an easier cleanup.

Compatible with standard two-inch receivers, while this model does have a powder coated rust-resistant finish, it could do with some extra weatherproofing to ensure that it remains in good condition for longer. Assembly is not particularly difficult, however, the instructions could be clearer, for example it is not specified that the front and rear stitch plates are not symmetrical which can lead to mix ups.

While you do tend to get what you pay for, if you are looking for a cheap hitch cargo carrier, this model makes a good choice for the money.

Pros – Things we liked
500lb weight capacity
Numerous tie-down holes
Large 60” x 23” mesh base
Powder-coated rust-resistant finish
Can carry four bikes with additional bike rack accessory kit
Cons – Things we didn’t like
Needs extra weatherproofing
Assembly instructions could be clearer

Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier

There’s a lot to bear in mind when choosing the best hitch cargo carrier for your vehicle. Here are the main essential features that you’ll want to focus on when making your selection.


Hitch cargo carriers are generally priced between $100-$500 depending on numerous variables including quality of construction, features, and ease of use. While it can make sense to purchase a cheap hitch cargo carrier, as the saying goes buy cheap, buy twice. So, before you decide on your budget, it’s best to take a couple of considerations into account.

First of all, how often will you be likely to use your hitch cargo carrier? Once or twice a year on vacation? Every weekend? If it’s the former, you may as well opt for an inexpensive model and replace as needed. Alternatively, if you are going to be using your hitch cargo carrier on a highly regular basis, it makes sense to pay more for a more durable model with improved user-friendly features such as a folding shank.

Secondly, calculate your anticipated average load. If you are going to be transporting over 150 pounds on a regular basis, then you would be better off spending more money on a more robust, higher-quality model. For the occasional short trip with a light load, you can get away with spending less.


Hitch cargo carriers are made from either steel or aluminum. While steel is generally preferable given its extra strength and durability, it is a lot heavier than aluminum, which can make your hitch cargo carrier more difficult to install without assistance from another person.

Aluminum, on the other hand, is much lighter but can be prone to bending if overloaded. Aside from opting for an aluminum version with steel reinforcements, we recommend choosing a steel hitch cargo carrier if you will be regularly transporting heavy loads and have no problem attaching and detaching your carrier.

If you need a lightweight hitch cargo carrier that you can easily detach and reattach alone, then an aluminum model will be your best option provided you won’t be regularly transporting heavy loads over long distances.

Folding or Fixed Shank Carriers

Folding shank carriers are a good option for regular use. While they cost more, they make driving and parking much easier with your empty hitch cargo carrier still attached – ideal for using your vehicle once you’ve set up camp.

However, for less regular use, a fixed shank carrier can be better value for money – simply detach it when it is not in use.

Carrying Capacity

Most hitch cargo carriers have a carrying capacity of 300 pounds, with others capable of accommodating up to 600 pounds. While you may be tempted to go out and purchase a model with the highest capacity, take a few moments to first of all consider your average load as well as your vehicle’s tongue weight capacity.

If, for example, all of your camping gear weighs around 200 pounds, you probably won’t need to go for a model that can carry more than 300 pounds. Regardless of what you want to carry on your hitch cargo carrier, it is important to make sure that your vehicle can safely accommodate the weight – just because your carrier can take up to 500lbs, doesn’t necessarily mean that your vehicle’s hitch can!

Before making your purchase, check your vehicle’s tongue weight capacity. Once you have this figure, remember, you’ll need to deduct the weight of your hitch cargo carrier from this amount. The remainder is the maximum load you can safely transport on your hitch cargo carrier.

For example, if you have a Toyota RAV 4, the tongue weight capacity is 150 pounds. Minus your carrier’s weight, say you opt for a lightweight 25 pound model, and you have a 125 pound weight capacity.

Take a vehicle that is better suited to towing heavier weights and you’ll get a higher tongue weight capacity. A Ford Expedition, depending on the exact model, will have a tongue weight capacity of around 895 pounds – even when you take off 80 pounds for the carrier, you still have 815 pounds capacity, so you would purchase a carrier with a 600 pound weight capacity and load it up to the maximum limit.

Basically, it is pointless paying out more for a higher capacity carrier if your vehicle can’t take the extra weight, so always do the math before choosing your hitch cargo carrier.

Base Size

It is important to choose a model with a base size that is best suited to your gear. If you have many bulky camping items, it can be helpful to group them together and measure just how much space you are going to need. To make it easier to decide between differently sized models, mark out the internal dimensions of the base and try loading your items into the area.

If you don’t purchase a model with a large enough base, you will struggle to get all of your items securely stowed on your carrier. Given the size of your carrier when packaged and the fact that most units require assembly, it is best to double-check the dimensions are right for your needs before ordering.


Aside from the dimensions of your hitch cargo carrier base, you’ll also need to consider whether you want to opt for a base with mesh or bars.

Bars are a good choice for large items; however, if you decide to pick up something smaller while you’re away, you can risk it slipping through. Mesh is a popular choice, keeping both large and small items securely onboard while allowing grit, debris, and precipitation to fall through the openings.

Type of Carrier

There are three main types of hitch cargo carrier. Let’s take a closer look at each type to help you find the best model for your needs


Basket hitch cargo carriers have raised sides to keep your luggage securely in place.

The exact height can vary considerably from model to model. Bear in mind that while high sides allow you to stack your gear, you will have to lift it up considerably higher to load and unload. Not something you want to be doing with a camping power generator, for example.

Some basket models have removable fencing. This can be really handy, allowing you to transform your basket hitch cargo carrier to a flat bed one, or to fill it up with firewood as a basket, then to remove the sides for rapid unloading.

Flat bed

Flat bed hitch cargo carriers are a good option for extra large items that have a low center of gravity. While they are pretty much flat, this type of carrier usually features a raised lip around the edge with several attachment points so you can secure your items to your carrier.

Flat bed models are best used with one or two large cargo bags that can be strapped down, rather than trying to tie on numerous individual small items.


If you are looking to transport your generator or a mobility scooter, for example, a hitch cargo carrier with a ramp makes an excellent choice, saving you from straining your arms and back.

While models with ramps are generally a lot more expensive, not only do they make it easier to load all of your camping equipment, they can also be useful for transporting large items of furniture and lawnmowers when you’re not heading off on vacation.

Front-of-Vehicle Option

Most hitch cargo carriers can be used at the front of your vehicle, provided you have a suitable front receiver. Bear in mind that if your carrier has built-in red reflectors, you’ll want to conceal them and stick on some white ones or light-colored reflective tape.

Make sure that your license plate is visible and that your radiator and headlights are not obstructed by your carrier, or else you could risk overheating or an accident.

Locking Mechanism

While locking mechanisms do not come as standard, you can easily pick up a locking hitch pin to secure your carrier to your vehicle. If you are transporting valuable items, you can fix them securely to your hitch cargo carrier with padlocks or bicycle locks for peace of mind, especially if you’ll be stopping off en route.


Unless you get a really tight fit, chances are your hitch cargo carrier will make some noise, especially when you hit the freeway. Keep noise levels down and headaches at bay with an anti-rattle hitch tightener.

Before you embark on a long journey with a new hitch cargo carrier, make sure you test it out first. If yours starts making a really annoying noise once you hit higher speeds, you’ll want to get it sorted out before you set off.

Ease of Use

Most hitch cargo carriers, once fully assembled, are very easy to use. Simply attach yours to your receiver and load it up. That said, there are a couple of extra features that improve usability.

For easier driving, look out for folding models and park with ease once you’ve unloaded. Slanted shank models also make for easier driving, especially if your vehicle’s receiver is low. Otherwise, you’ll risk catching your carrier on steep gradients and over uneven terrain.

Multiple attachment points can also make loading up your carrier securely a lot easier. While you’ll probably want to add on extra reflective tape, a model with in-built reflectors can be installed right out of the box without you having to go searching for tape before you can use it safely.

Carrier Weight

If you will be regularly attaching and removing your hitch cargo carrier, you may want to look out for a low weight model at around 25 pounds, as opposed to a 75 pound model.

Also, if your car has a low tongue weight rating, then you’ll want a very lightweight carrier so you can still transport a reasonable weight rather than having your carrier’s weight take up half of your maximum weight capacity.

On the other hand, if you are using a large tow vehicle and have opted for a folding model or intend to leave your hitch cargo carrier attached, a heavier model will give you a higher weight capacity and will also prove more durable, especially with frequent long trips.

Hitch Class

As we mentioned earlier, your vehicle’s tongue weight rating will play an important role in helping you to decide which hitch cargo carrier to choose.

You can tell if your vehicle will be compatible with a certain carrier by checking out which hitch class it falls into and whether or not it is recommended for a specific carrier.

  • Class I – approximate tongue weight capacity = 100-150lbs. Average receiver size = 1.25”.
  • Class II – approximate tongue weight capacity = 200-350lbs. Average receiver size = 1.25”.
  • Class III – approximate tongue weight capacity = 350-500lbs. Average receiver size = 2”.
  • Class IV – approximate tongue weight capacity = 500lbs+. Average receiver size = 2”.

Classes I and II mostly include regular cars and less powerful crossovers, with classes III and IV consisting mainly of SUVs, trucks, higher performance crossovers, and vans.

Rooftop Vs Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers

Stuck deciding whether to go for a hitch mount cargo carrier or a rooftop carrier? Here are some of the main factors you need to be aware of when making up your mind.

Ease of installation

Without a doubt, it is much easier to install a hitch cargo carrier to your vehicle’s receiver, rather than trying to install a rooftop box, especially if you have to fit crossbars. If you have a heavy cargo carrier to install, you might want to ask for a hand installing it. With a large rooftop box, you’ll be much better off with two pairs of hands.

Ease of use

Loading and unloading a hitch cargo carrier is generally much easier, especially if you are loading heavy items as you won’t have to lift them so high off the ground. Most bulky items simply won’t fit inside a rooftop carrier, so if you want to transport tall or wide items, a hitch cargo carrier is your best bet.


As hitch cargo carriers stick out behind your vehicle they are at risk of blocking your lights, license plate, or exhaust. They can also increase the likelihood of you being rear-ended, unlike rooftop boxes.

However, you’ll need to pay extra attention to height restrictions when driving with a rooftop carrier.

Impact on driving performance

As hitch cargo carriers sit within the slipstream of your car they do not create a lot of drag, unlike rooftop carriers. However, you may find parking to be more difficult with a hitch cargo carrier attached, especially if you already drive a long vehicle.


If you are using a waterproof cargo bag on your hitch cargo carrier, you’ll get comparable levels of protection to using a rooftop carrier.

Hitch Cargo Carrier vs Trailer

If you’ve definitely ruled out a roof box, you may be stuck deciding whether to opt for a trailer or a hitch cargo carrier.

Cost – Trailers are much more expensive than hitch cargo carriers, if you can fit your camping gear on a hitch cargo carrier, you could save yourself hundreds of dollars.

Impact on driving – Driving with a trailer is a lot different from driving with a hitch cargo carrier. You’ll need plenty of practice before heading off with a trailer in tow, whereas provided you remember to add on a few extra feet to your vehicle’s length when making tight maneuvers, you’ll hardly notice the difference driving with a hitch cargo carrier.

Versatility – A trailer will allow you to transport a wider variety of different items, giving you greater versatility. However, for your average camping trip, you should be able to fit all of your gear on a standard cargo hitch carrier.

Capacity – When it comes down to capacity, trailers definitely have the edge, being able to accommodate much more than a hitch cargo carrier.

Maintenance – Trailers require much more maintenance than a hitch cargo carrier and when something needs fixing or replacing, it will generally cost much more. You will also need to regularly inspect your trailer and inflate and replace its tires as necessary.

Hitch Cargo Carrier Accessories

To make sure that your hitch cargo carrier is ready for use from day one, you’ll want to check out the following list of essential and not so essential hitch cargo carrier accessories.

Receiver Adapters

Vehicles with 1 ¼” receivers will need an adapter unless you are looking at purchasing a model specifically designed for use with smaller receivers.

Hitch Pins

Believe it or not, not all models come with a hitch pin. Double-check before you order, or better still, order yourself a locking hitch pin and protect your equipment and carrier from opportunist thieves.

Tag Brackets

Will your license plate be obscured by your fully-loaded hitch cargo carrier? If so, make sure that you opt for a model with space for your plate or pick up some tag brackets.

Light Kits

While slanted hitch cargo carriers are less likely to obscure your rear lights, if you are going to be driving down unlit roads, investing in a light kit for your hitch cargo carrier will help to keep you clearly visible and safer, both when driving at night and braking in traffic.

Bungee Cords, Ratchet Straps and Cargo Nets

Bungee cords are always handy to have around and an extra set can help you to secure your equipment to your hitch cargo carrier.

If you are transporting a heavy item or a large cargo bag, you may want to invest in some heavy duty ratchet straps to prevent any movement and keep your goods securely attached to your carrier.

For multiple items, use a cargo net to prevent any of your items from falling by the wayside should they work their way loose.

Hitch Tighteners

A loose-fitting hitch will disturb you with its rattling noise. Hitch tighteners are an inexpensive way to prevent these sounds and ensure a smoother drive by creating a nice tight fit between your receiver and your hitch cargo carrier.

Reflective Tape/Stickers

Essential if your hitch cargo carrier doesn’t come with any built-in reflectors and recommended even if it does, reflective tape or stickers can help to make your carrier more visible to other road users and prevent you from being rear-ended.

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Frequently Asked Questions – Best Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers

As RV enthusiasts, we understand the importance of maximizing storage space without compromising comfort during your travels. Hitch mount cargo carriers offer an excellent solution for expanding your vehicle’s capacity to carry extra gear, luggage, and supplies. However, we know you may have some questions about these versatile accessories. In this section, we address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding hitch mount cargo carriers, providing you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. From understanding the different types of carriers to ensuring compatibility with your vehicle and maintaining safety, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find answers to your burning questions and discover the best practices for selecting, using, and maintaining the ideal hitch mount cargo carrier for your RV adventures.

What is a hitch mount cargo carrier?

A hitch mount cargo carrier is an accessory that attaches to the hitch receiver of a vehicle, such as an RV or truck, to provide additional storage space for carrying luggage, camping gear, or other bulky items. It is designed to securely hold your cargo while allowing easy access and convenience during travel.

Why should I consider using a hitch mount cargo carrier?

Hitch mount cargo carriers offer several benefits for RV owners. They provide extra storage capacity, freeing up valuable interior space for passengers and more essential items. Additionally, they are relatively easy to install and remove, allowing you to quickly adapt your vehicle’s storage capacity based on your needs. They also keep your cargo outside the vehicle, preventing potential damage to the interior or creating a mess.

What types of cargo carriers are available for hitch mounts?

Hitch mount cargo carriers come in various designs and styles to suit different needs. The most common types include enclosed cargo carriers, open-platform carriers, and baskets. Enclosed carriers offer protection from the elements, while open-platform carriers provide versatility for carrying different-sized items. Baskets are ideal for hauling bulkier cargo, and some models feature added features like ramps or folding designs for convenience.

How much weight can a hitch mount cargo carrier hold?

The weight capacity of a hitch mount cargo carrier can vary depending on the specific model. Generally, they can hold anywhere from 200 to 600 pounds or more. It is crucial to check the weight capacity of the carrier before loading it to ensure you don’t exceed the recommended limit. Exceeding the weight capacity may compromise the carrier’s integrity and affect the safety of your vehicle.

Can I use a hitch mount cargo carrier with a towable RV?

Yes, you can use a hitch mount cargo carrier with a towable RV, such as a travel trailer or fifth wheel. However, it’s important to consider the overall weight of your RV and the cargo you plan to carry. You should ensure that the combined weight of your RV, cargo carrier, and loaded items does not exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle. Consult your RV manufacturer’s guidelines and refer to the hitch mount cargo carrier’s weight capacity to ensure safe usage.

Are hitch mount cargo carriers compatible with all vehicle hitches?

Hitch mount cargo carriers are designed to be compatible with standard hitch receivers, which are commonly found on most trucks, SUVs, and RVs. However, it is essential to check the hitch receiver size and class of your vehicle before purchasing a cargo carrier. Most carriers are designed for 2-inch receivers, but there are models available for 1.25-inch receivers as well. Additionally, some carriers may require an adapter for compatibility with certain hitch sizes or configurations.

How can I secure my cargo on a hitch mount cargo carrier?

Most hitch mount cargo carriers come with built-in attachment points or rails that allow you to secure your cargo using straps, bungee cords, or cargo nets. It is crucial to properly secure your cargo to prevent it from shifting or becoming dislodged during transit. Consider using additional tie-down points if necessary and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines for securing your specific carrier model.

Can I access the rear of my vehicle with a hitch mount cargo carrier attached?

The ability to access the rear of your vehicle with a hitch mount cargo carrier attached depends on the design of the carrier and the specific vehicle. Some carriers have a tilting or swinging feature that allows you to pivot the carrier away from the rear, providing access to the trunk or tailgate. However, not all carriers have this feature, so it’s important to check the product specifications to determine if rear access is possible.

How should I maintain and clean my hitch mount cargo carrier?

To maintain your hitch mount cargo carrier, regularly inspect it for any signs of wear or damage. Clean the carrier after each use, especially if it was exposed to dirt, mud, or road salt. Use mild soap and water to clean the carrier and rinse thoroughly. Pay special attention to the attachment points and hinges, and lubricate them as recommended by the manufacturer. Proper maintenance will help prolong the lifespan of your cargo carrier.

Remember to conduct thorough research and consider your specific needs before purchasing a hitch mount cargo carrier. Additionally, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for safe installation and usage of your chosen cargo carrier model.

Final Thoughts

Easy to use and a highly convenient way to free up space inside your vehicle, hitch cargo carriers are an excellent way to transport all of your camping gear.

If you are still undecided which is the best hitch cargo carrier for your needs, take a second look at the Curt Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier. This folding model has a high 500-pound capacity, complete with an angled shank for superior ground clearance. With its strong, durable construction, six-inch sides, and robust mesh base, little wonder it’s a top selling model.

Alternatively, if you are looking for an inexpensive hitch cargo carrier for infrequent use, the Cargo Caddy by Stromberg Carlson is a good budget choice thanks to its large 60 by 23-inch mesh base, complete with a 500lb weight capacity, and numerous tie-down attachment points.

2 thoughts on “9 Best Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers”

  1. I recently bought the ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier and it’s a game changer for camping trips! Love how sturdy it is.

  2. I’ve had the Erickson Cargo Carrier for a few months now and I’m quite impressed. The sides are a great feature for keeping things secure. It’s not too heavy and the assembly was easy. The only downside is it does wobble a bit when going over bumps, even with a hitch tightener. Nonetheless, it has made carrying extra gear on road trips much more manageable. Overall, a solid buy for anyone in need of additional storage space!


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