Hard shell roof top cargo carrier – Top 10 best hard shell car top carrier reviews, Buying Guide & FAQ

Are you looking for a more secure rooftop cargo carrier?

If yes, it is a good idea to go with a hard shell rooftop cargo carrier. The advantage is that not only can it last for a long time but it can better protect the luggage or the contents which you are putting in it. Due to this reason, it is one of the best choices available when looking for rooftop carriers.

Even when you search for hard shell car top carriers, you will realize that the number of options available are quite a few. Also, if you compare all of them, it will take you hours or perhaps days to just shortlist a handful of options. I have an easier solution. I have assembled a comprehensive list of the top 10 Best hard shell car top carriers for you. Once you go through this list and the buying guide below, choosing the right one will be easier than ever.

1. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Hardshell Cargo Carrier


The capacity of this hardshell rooftop cargo carrier is 16 ft³. There are two other bigger sizes available as well. You can choose it in 2 different color choices as well.

The design is aerodynamic. It ensures that it will not increase the vehicle drag. Therefore, the fuel consumption will remain normal. Also, efficient space utilization ensures that you can store a significant amount of luggage in it.

Are you wondering about its mounting mechanism?

It has a quick-mounting mechanism, which means that you need to follow the instructions. The dual side opening ensures that you can access it from either side. It consists of grip-friendly handles as well as lid lifters. The opening and closing are going to be pretty easy.

Did you know that it does not make any roof contact?

Yes, you read it right! It is a no roof box contact carrier. You need not worry about scratches or any other problem.

The lid will lock in place automatically, which ensures that security is enhanced.

The external dimensions are 77” x 36” x 17”. The loading capacity is 165 lbs. Just to give you an idea, it can accommodate seven pairs of skis or up to 5 snowboards. Thus, when you’re looking for a heavy-duty hardshell rooftop cargo carrier, this one fits all the requirements.


  • Capacity is 16 ft³
  • Available in 2 different color options
  • Secure locking mechanism
  • No roof contact
  • High weight carrying capacity
  • Aerodynamic and efficient design
  • Dual opening


  • Instructions are limited

2. INNO BRA240BK Ridge Cargo Box

Do you prefer a small hardshell rooftop cargo carrier?

If yes, this one with a capacity of 8 ft³ is a good choice. Also, the safety lock key mechanism means that it can secure the contents inside.

The aerodynamic design make installation easy on the roof of your car. It has a right side opening. The weight of the cargo carrier in itself is 20 lbs, which is a definite advantage. The dimensions are 55.1” x 27.6” x 13.4”. The aerodynamic design also ensures that there is significant noise reduction.

A unique feature of this cargo carrier is that it consists of open edge design. The open-edge design certainly maximizes the storage space on the inner side. Moreover, it is elegant in design as well and therefore would look pretty good on your car.

The small but efficient design certainly makes this rooftop carrier an option worth buying.


  • Capacity is 8 ft³
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Lightweight
  • Open edge design
  • Secure locking mechanism
  • Does not produce a lot of noise


  • Packaging could be better.

3. SportRack Vista Rear Opening Rooftop Cargo Carrier Box XL


Do you prefer a highly durable rooftop cargo carrier?

If yes, this one with ABS construction consists of not only a hard shell but also a durable one. Due to this reason, it is UV resistant as well. The rear opening design makes it easily accessible. The capacity of 18 ft³ does not disappoint either.

Are you wondering about its hardware?

It consists of a U-bolt hardware assembling and mounting kit. You will not have to buy the accessories separately due to the same. It consists of a lock as well, which can help you in securing the contents inside.

Moreover, it is installable on any roof rack system, which is another advantage. To clean it, it has a wide opening. It is easy to maintain due to the same reason.

The dimensions are 17.25” x 63” x 38”. The weight carrying capacity of 100 lbs ensures that it can carry a significant amount of load. The universal black color means that it is suitable for any car. It consists of a waterproof seal as well, which ensures that the contents inside are well-protected.

The large capacity and all these features on offer certainly make it one of the best hardshell rooftop cargo carriers which you can go with.


  • ABS construction
  • Comes along with hardware Kit
  • High weight carrying capacity
  • Includes a lock
  • Water-resistant
  • Large capacity


  • Installation is time-consuming.

4. Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box


The advantage of this hard shell rooftop cargo carrier is that it is available in 3 different size options. The one which I’m going to highlight today has a capacity of 14 ft³. The two other variants have a capacity of 11 ft.³ in 16 ft.³.

The heavy-duty ABS material means that it is long-lasting in design. Also, it comes along with the fast grip quick mounting mechanism, which ensures that you can install it on the roof within minutes. It is compatible with most racks that you can find.

It can accommodate skis of 155 cm. Also, the passenger side opening ensures that it is easy to load and unload.

The Central locking mechanism provides you a security for the contents. The dimensions of the exterior are 67” x 35” x 16”. It can accommodate up to 5 snowboards.

It consists of an internal lid lifters, which ensure that hands-free use is certainly possible. The low-profile design allows you to drive your vehicle normally. It also ensures that you can park it in a garage or a parking structure more easily.

The ease of use is the reason why you should go for it.


  • The capacity of 14 ft³
  • Durable ABS construction
  • Quick mounting design
  • Central locking mechanism
  • Hands-free use
  • Low-profile design


  • Packaging could be better.

5. Goplus Cargo Box


The capacity of this carrier is of 14 ft³. It is available in 3 different color choices.

Also, it is compatible with not just cars but SUVs and vans as well. The aerodynamic design and does not create any obstacle when you’re installing it. It reduces the drag. The aerodynamic design also means that you will not have to worry about the noise. Also, it can handle any weather conditions and still protect the contents inside.

The ABS and PVC material means that it can handle wear and tear as well. Due to the sturdy material, it can withstand a load of 165 lbs, which is another reason to go for it. Also, the stable design due to the metal lid stiffeners ensures that it is one of the sturdiest cargo carriers which you can opt for.

It comes along with four quick connect anchors as well. These make the installation easy.

The dual-sided opening ensures that anyone can access the contents inside. The large weight carrying capacity and the durable construction certainly helps it stand out.


  • The capacity of 14 ft³
  • Available in 3 color options
  • Compatible with a wide variety of vehicles
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Sturdy construction
  • Comes with installation anchors


  • The lid could be thicker.

6. Yakima – SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo Carrier Box


The best thing about this cargo carrier is that it is available in 4 size options. You can choose from 12 ft³ up to 21 ft³. Also, it can accommodate 180 cm of skis and snowboards as well. The dimensions are such that they are suitable for carrying gear for up to 2 campers.

With the help of superlight security, you can be sure that locking it is not a problem. The aerodynamic design makes it easy to mount it on your vehicle.

It comes with SKS locks as well, which ensures that you can secure it easily. The dual-sided opening makes it simple for you to access the contents inside. With all the conveniences on offer along with the aerodynamic design, this one fits your requirements perfectly.


  • Available in numerous size options
  • Can fit skis up to 180 cm
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Comes along with SKS locks
  • Dual-sided opening


  • A bit difficult to close

7. JEGS 90098 Rooftop Cargo Carrier



The capacity of this hardshell rooftop cargo carrier is 18 ft³. The dimensions are 57” x 39” x 19”.

The waterproof construction means that the contents inside are secure. The overall weight carrying capacity is 110 lbs. Also, the weight in itself is 28 lbs. You do not require any extra tools to assemble, which is another reason to go for it.

It can fit across any square, round, and aero-bar design. Also, it includes all the mounting hardware, which means that you need not buy anything separately. If you’re looking for a sturdy but sleek car top cargo carrier, it cannot get any better than this.


  • Capacity of feet
  • Lightweight design
  • The weight carrying capacity is 110 LPS
  • Can fit any kind of rack
  • Comes with mounting hardware
  • Sleek design


  • Packaging needs

8. Menabo Mania 320 Liter Roof Box


The design of this rooftop cargo carrier is such that it has a capacity of 11 ft³ or 320L. The lockable design helps you in securing the contents inside. The double snap closure mechanism means that closing and opening the lid is not going to be a problem.

The quick fix system makes it easy to install. It is compatible with all roof carriers, which is another reason to go for it.

It can carry weight up to 110 lbs. The glossy black finish helps it stand out. Also, the aerodynamic design does not hamper you in driving. With all the essential features on offer, this one is sure to grab your attention.


  • The capacity of 11 ft³
  • Lockable design
  • Double snap closure
  • Glossy black finish


  • Installation is cumbersome.

9. JEGS 90097 Rooftop Cargo Carrier


Do you prefer a small hardshell rooftop cargo carrier?

If yes, this one with 9 ft³ will meet all your requirements. It can carry up to 100 lbs. The dimensions are 46.6” x 27.4” x 70.3”.

The weight of the cargo carrier in itself is just 21 lbs. It does not require any additional tools or hardware for installation. That is why; it is easy to use as well.

With the help of 2 keys and mounting hardware that comes along with it, installation is a breeze. The aerodynamic design does not disappoint either. It consists of side, front and back latches. It is suitable for storing things like bikes, skis, snowboards and so on.

The water-resistant design means that the cargo inside will remain completely dry. The efficient space utilization ensures that you can store quite a few things in it. The sleek and efficient design makes it probably the perfect choice for you.


  • The capacity of 9 cubic feet
  • Can carry 100 lbs
  • Lightweight design
  • Comes with hardware for installation
  • Water-resistant


  • Limited instructions

10. Thule 682 Sidekick Rooftop Cargo Box


The dimensions of this hardshell rooftop cargo carrier are 54” x 25” x 15.5”. The load-carrying capacity is 75 lbs.

The space-saving design means that it will not occupy a lot of space on your roof. At the same time, it is efficiently designed, which ensures that you can store quite a bit of stuff. The U bolts reinforcement plates mean that you can mount it pretty securely.

The passenger side opening ensures easy loading and unloading.

It can handle elements of weather, which is another reason to go for it. Moreover, the lightweight design of 16 lbs makes installation easy. It also reduces the pressure on your roof.

With all the hardware coming along with it and detailed instruction manual, there is no reason to miss this one


  • Eight cubic feet capacity
  • Can carry up to 110 lbs
  • Includes hardware
  • Efficient design
  • Can handle elements of weather


  • A bit complicated to install

Now that you are aware of the best hard shell car top carriers, I will share with you a buying guide to help you between these ten options.

Hardshell rooftop cargo carrier buying guide

The buying guide aims will help you learn what you should compare while considering these car top carriers.

Things to consider before buying hard shell rooftop cargo carrier:

The parameters which you should keep in mind include:

• Capacity:

Without looking at the capacity, you cannot decide on the carrier. The capacity will determine the type of contents that you can store inside the carrier. At the same time, the capacity has an impact on the size of the carrier as well. So, it is important to look at the capacity before making the buying decision.

• Installation:

You have to check the installation procedure as well. It should be easy to install and remove. If it comes along with the necessary hardware for installation, that is a definite positive. It should come with detailed instructions as well. When that is the case, installing the car top carrier becomes easy for you.

• Opening:

You have to find out from which side the carrier opens. It can open from either side or one side or the rear as well. If it opens from both sides, it is easy to access. If it opens from only one side, you have to find out which side it is. Once you do so, you can decide whether it is convenient for you or not. Only after making sure of this, you can go ahead and think of buying that carrier.

• Weight carrying capacity:

Another critical parameter to keep in mind is the weight carrying capacity. The weight-bearing capacity will determine what you can store inside. It is essential to look at the amount of stuff that you usually carry. The approximation of the weight of that stuff will help you decide whether this rooftop cargo carrier is a good option for you or not.

Thus, when comparing the top 10 Best hardshell car top carriers, it is essential to consider these four parameters. Doing so will help you pick the right carrier easily.


Can you use a cargo carrier without a roof rack?

Most of the cargo carriers require a roof rack for easy installation. To install it without a roof rack, you will have to buy additional accessories to do so.

Are cargo carriers universal?

Yes, the cargo carrier is universal. You can install them on sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, vans, and so on.

Are hardshell rooftop cargo carriers safe?

Yes, hardshell rooftop cargo carriers are entirely safe because of the sturdy frame. Whether you experience rain, UV rays, or uneven road, the rooftop cargo carrier will protect the contents inside against everything.

While searching for the top 10 Best hardshell rooftop cargo carriers, these are the ten options that you should consider. Once you choose from these ten options, you are choosing a reliable option that can certainly stand the test of time. Due to this very reason, it is advisable to choose from my list above rather than going with any substandard rooftop cargo carrier.

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