Top 5 Best Hitch Cargo Boxes – Reviews & Guide

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One of the challenges in planning a trip is making sure you bring everything you need with you. While you can be sure that the back of your SUV can hold your things safely, it can also stop you from loading passengers comfortably. Roof racks? Sure! But wouldn’t it be convenient to get extra storage where you won’t have to climb up your van? Extra storage at waist level sounds fitting? Then read on as we help you find the best hitch cargo box to make transporting a piece of cake.

What is a Hitch Cargo Box?

You might have seen some during one of your long drives. They are the large, sturdy-looking black boxes attached to the back-end of cars. But they’re not just sturdy–looking. They are robust and durable, and they protect your items during transport. Some hitch cargo boxes are directly connected to the receiver hitch, while others need to be latched down into a cargo carrier.

Our Top 3 Choices

StowAway Max Hitch Cargo Box
StowAway Max Hitch Cargo Box
  • Locking latch for security
  • Made from the same high-impact polymer that’s used to build white-water kayaks
  • Integrated tail lights and wrap-around reflectors for improved visibility
  • Comes with a 10-year limited warranty
Let’s Go Aero GearDeck Slide-Out Cargo Carrier
Let’s Go Aero GearDeck Slide-Out Cargo Carrier
  • Waterproof/rainproof polyethylene cargo box keeps your gear dry and unexposed to road grime
  • Frame slides out and extends to 32” for easy rear vehicle access
  • LED tail lights that signal stop and turn and reflectors that enhance visibility and safety
  • USA-made with a 1-year limited warranty
ROLA Adventure System With Swing-Away Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
ROLA Adventure System With Swing-Away Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier
  • Lower portion can be used as a tray or utility cargo carrier without the container
  • Arms swing up to 90° to the side to let unrestricted access to the back of your car
  • Includes a tail light kit and license plate-mounting points
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty

Best Hitch Cargo Boxes

1. StowAway Max Hitch Cargo Box

No. 1
1. StowAway Max Hitch Cargo Box
9.5/10 Our Score

Specifications and Features:

  • Locking latch for security
  • Made from the same high-impact polymer that’s used to build white-water kayaks
  • Integrated tail lights and wrap-around reflectors for improved visibility
  • Comes with a 10-year limited warranty

StowAway’s Max Cargo Box is a big box made from the same materials used to build white-water kayaks. That guarantees it won’t crack or rust. It’s roomy at 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 pounds of load capacity. This is perfect for vehicles with receiver hitch rated for at least 300 pounds of weight.

Easy access to the rear entry won’t be a problem with its swing-away frame. Just lift the lever and the whole part swings away to let the door open. It won’t be swinging back and forth as it has a pin you can use to hold it in an open or shut position.

Aside from the integrated locks that keep you safe from thieves, the box is wrapped around with reflectors for improved visibility. It’s built pre-wired with trailer lights and includes a license plate bracket, so you are sure to be compliant with traffic safety rules.

StowAway has been in the business over 15 years. The company has catered to countless adventurers’ road trips, camping, hunting, and tailgating needs. The remarkable StowAway Carrier concept was born when three duck hunters ran out of gear storage space but didn’t want to deal with the towing, parking, and storing issues linked to trailers nor bother with roof carriers.


2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers

  • Has integrated side support that can be folded down when not needed
  • Comes with a reflective tape and a red flag for improved visibility, day and night
  • Comes with a heavy-duty steel hitch frame that can be modified and used to mount StowAway’s snowboard and bike racks for increased versatility
  • Can carry timber, pipes, canoes, and kayaks
  • Poor painting gets chipped off easily, exposing the racks to rust and corrosion
  • Reflective tapes don’t hold strongly and can be blown off at driving speeds

2. Let’s Go Aero GearDeck Slide-Out Cargo Carrier

No. 2
2. Let’s Go Aero GearDeck Slide-Out Cargo Carrier
8.9/10 Our Score

Specifications and Features

  • Waterproof/rainproof polyethylene cargo box keeps your gear dry and unexposed to road grime
  • Frame slides out and extends to 32” for easy rear vehicle access
  • LED tail lights that signal stop and turn and reflectors that enhance visibility and safety
  • USA-made with a 1-year limited warranty

Made of rigid polyethylene construction, the Let’s Go Aero GearDeck Slide-Out Cargo Carrier protects your goods from dirt, dust, weather, road grime, and UV rays. With the lid designed to overhang around its entire edge, the elements are sure to be kept out.

It doesn’t have a swing-away frame, but it won’t hinder you from getting your rear entry access. The fixed frame slides out far enough for the door to open. Simply pull the pin and slide it away. Put the pin back to keep it in place while you do your thing. This frame is made of galvanized, cold-rolled steel, meaning it won’t bend or break even with heavy loads on a bumpy road.

Aside from the overhung lid that keeps the elements from getting in, it has ergonomic latches on the sides to keep the lid shut tight. An integrated hole on the front allows you to put your toughest padlock to prevent theft. To comply with road safety, it has built-in LED tail lights that produce the same signal as that of your car when you need to stop or turn. The reflectors at the end of the hitch tubes improve visibility. Your plate can be transferred to its fitted license plate holder to make it obvious.

Since 1998, the Colorado-based Let’s Go Aero has been dedicated to providing products that stretch out your vehicle’s capability.They’ve designed gear that works well with SUVs, trucks, and off-road cars in terms of towing and hauling large and heavy cargos.


2″ x 2″ trailer hitch receivers

  • Can hold large items like generators, camping gear, work equipment, and more
  • Rubber strip generates a firm seal around the lid that keeps water out
  • Anti-rattle hitch pins prevent wobbling
  • The slide mechanism for the frame needs to be lubricated to slide with ease; no roller bearings
  • Poor assembly instructions and drilled holes don’t line up

3. ROLA Adventure System With Swing-Away Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier

No. 3
3. ROLA Adventure System With Swing-Away Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
8.3/10 Our Score

Specifications and Features

  • Lower portion can be used as a tray or utility cargo carrier without the container
  • Arms swing up to 90° to the side to let unrestricted access to the back of your car
  • Includes a tail light kit and license plate-mounting points
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty

The ROLA Cargo Carrier provides you with a lot of storage space: 13.5 cubic feet for 250 pounds. The construction of this unit may be heavier than other cargo boxes. This is because it’s built with great strength with the base of the carrier constructed with steel with a black powder finish. The carrier and the detachable tray are made of black polypropylene. This ensures the box won’t fade and crack even when exposed to the sun or rain for long hours.

The Aussie company ROLA has been designing and building roof racks and cargo management systems for around 40 years.Outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world have heard of this fantastic brand.

This box has a swing-away feature too. With a simple pulling of a pin, it allows you to swing the arms open for up to 90° giving you enough space to do what you need to do without any obstructions. One cool feature of this ROLA carrier is that it has an upper and lower portion that can be detached from each other. The upper portion holds all the load you need inside and the lower one acts as a cargo carrier. This gives you the option to use the lower portion to carry larger stuff or things you’re not comfortable putting inside the box.

A light kit has been pre-installed on the lower portion of the box. This helps the vehicle comply with traffic safety rules. The light kit signals the same way as your tail lights and is usable no matter what configuration you use the ROLA box with. The lock latches, although not sophisticated, can help keep away thieves.


Class III and Class IV 2″ x 2″ trailer hitches

  • Weather-resistant
  • Heavy-duty steel swing arms
  • Drain hole for easy cleaning
  • Latches can be broken with pressure.
  • Locks can be popped open.

4. Thule Transporter Combination Hitch Cargo Carrier

No. 4
4. Thule Transporter Combination Hitch Cargo Carrier
7.9/10 Our Score

Specifications and Features

  • Tilt-down design for partial access to your car’s trunk or your truck’s tailgate
  • Package includes pre-wired tail lights with a four-pole flat connector ready to plug in and go
  • Key-locking system that allows the cargo to be locked inside the box
  • USA-made with a lifetime limited warranty

Get 13 cubic feet of carrying space with a weight capacity of 150 pounds with the Thule Hitch Cargo Carrier. Constructed with solid ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic, it’s sure to withstand any outdoor conditions.

Gain access to the rear of your vehicle with its tilt-down design. If you look between the box and the hitch receiver, you will see a pin that you have to pull so you can gently tilt the carrier box down. Pull it to its maximum length and you will have more access to your rear entry.

To be able to drive confidently with this carrier box, it comes with a pre-wired, four-pin tail light assembly. It acts just like your tail lights when needed or if the box gets in the way of the original lights. There’s also a setup point for a license plate holder, so if you need to replace them to the back of the cargo, it would be effortless.

Since its establishment in 1942, Thule’s mission has been to help its customers transport their precious cargo safely, easily, and in style.


Works with 2″ or 1.25″ (Class II or III) receivers

  • Vibration and noise are reduced by an integrated anti-rattle device
  • Plugs and valves allow easy clean-up
  • Weatherproof
  • Tilting the box to gain access to the rear only works if the box is empty
  • Pre-drilled holes are not in line with the correct locations

5. MaxxHaul Hitch-Mount Aluminum Cargo Carrier

No. 5
5. MaxxHaul Hitch-Mount Aluminum Cargo Carrier
6.3/10 Our Score

Specifications and Features

  • Solid aluminum construction
  • Can support up to 500 pounds
  • Features reflectors for improved road safety
  • Offers limitless tie-down points to secure the cargo
  • Ample storage space for your gear and stuff

This aluminum hitch rack features a heavy-duty steel frame with a powder coat finish. That way, the cargo carrier can resist rust and corrosion in the long run. Rest assured that this cargo rack can withstand the harsh elements even if you leave it in pouring rain.

It also features reflectors that increase road safety when driving. This cargo carrier can accommodate up to 500 pounds of loads. It has high side rails designed to secure the cargo at all times, especially when driving. Its under-support is also made of durable materials that will not rust or ruin the paint of your car. This carrier weighs approximately 30 pounds.

While it may not be the best-looking hitch cargo carrier on the market, it’s one of the most durable despite its lightweight materials. It’s great for customers who are on a tight budget, as it’s sold at an affordable price. The installation is a breeze and the product per se is durable and efficient.

Ease of installation is always a vital factor when choosing the right hitch box to buy. Hence, selecting a lightweight model is recommended. If you are in the market looking for a lightweight hitch-mounted cargo carrier, take a look at this MaxxHaul model.


2″ x 2″ hitch receivers

  • Sturdy, lightweight, and easy to install, clean, and maintain
  • Features 6” high side rails for optimum cargo security
  • 500-pound maximum distributed load capacity (make sure to check your vehicle’s tongue weight rating)
  • Can be used with cargo carrier bags
  • Poor assembly instructions
  • Can’t drive over 55 mph with this basket-style carrier attached to your vehicle
  • Doesn’t feature a folding shank

Types of Hitch Cargo Boxes

Hitch-mounted cargo carriers come in all shapes and sizes. Even though the market is filled with basket-style cargo carriers, there are other types you can choose from depending on your needs.

The most commonly used hitch-mounted carrier types are:

  • Cargo Basket – This type of hitch-mounted cargo carrier will allow you to choose different carrying options to go with your vehicle. This is why most car owners prefer basket-style cargo carriers. This model has a robust construction and can stretch from 6 to 19 inches. That means you can pack anything you want.
  • Tray – This type of hitch cargo carrier is highlighted because it’s different from other cargo carriers. The sides are not detachable, which makes it advantageous to car owners. That way, you can load your tray-style cargo carrier, even past the edges, with bigger gear items inside.
  • Box – This type of hitch-mounted cargo carrier is a bit similar to car top carriers. It’s fully enclosed, making it an ideal choice if you want to protect your gear and items inside when it’s raining or snowing. However, this model can be a bit expensive, and the cargo storage space is limited.

Do You Need a Hitch Cargo Box?

Hitch cargo boxes are useful and handy. They help clear up space in your car and transport all the things you need with ease. They made trailers a thing of the past. Okay, trailers are still in use, but the convenience of hitch-mounted carriers that don’t require additional maneuvering is the more favorable option. Hitch cargos act as part of the vehicle itself; therefore, they are a lot safer to use.

The Benefits of a Hitch Cargo Box

When a hitch-mounted cargo carrier is installed on your vehicle, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • You can free up some cargo space to accommodate another passenger in your vehicle. That way, traveling to long-distance places will be more comfortable. This is a handy feature that allows you to transport more passengers inside your car.
  • You can bring anything you want. Whether you’re going on a ski trip, a camping adventure, or just a weekend trip with your family, a hitch-mounted box will come in handy. You can bring your deep-sea poles, gear items, and extra clothes; a hitch cargo carrier can free up space inside the vehicle by adding more storage space outside of it. It can also house all the purchases you’ve made while you’re on the way to your destination.
  • You reduce the risks of hauling hazardous items inside your vehicle, such as gasoline cans, pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. With a hitch-mounted cargo box, you can place them inside and let them sit at the back of your car. That way, you won’t risk the health of anyone inside the car when driving with these dangerous items.
  • You don’t need to store things inside your vehicle anymore. If you can’t count the number of times you’ve been frustrated trying to pack your things properly inside your car, then a hitch-mounted cargo carrier will solve your problem. Now you can pack properly and keep your items secure while in transit.
  • It’s an ideal choice for a heavy contractor or a professional handyman who brings their equipment with them to work. A hitch-mounted cargo carrier will accommodate all the work items you’re going to need without taking up space inside your car.

Roof Rack Cargo vs. Hitch Cargo

Both types of cargo management systems provide the extra space we need for the things we need to haul. Using a hitch-mounted cargo carrier has more advantages than utilizing your roof space. At the same time, we understand that some may prefer the roof rack solution.

Still, rooftop cargos can’t give you the convenience of accessing your things when you need them because they’re on top of your car. Hitch cargos are convenient and versatile. This system keeps your cargo at waist level, so you can get to it anytime and with ease.

Hitch cargos only need one thing: a trailer hitch. Meanwhile, roof rack systems require bars and brackets to secure your belongings safely and securely.

Buying Guide: What to Consider When Buying a Hitch Cargo Box?

What can possibly be hard about choosing the right hitch-mounted cargo carrier? Believe it or not, it can be a challenging task, especially if you’re getting one for the first time. While it’s convenient to have a hitch cargo carrier, it’s complicated to pick one because you’re choosing an item that will become a part of your car.

Here are some key points you need to remember when looking for a hitch cargo carrier for your vehicle:

Cargo Carriers

We mentioned that a hitch cargo box could either be directly connected to the hitch receiver or placed onto a cargo carrier that’s connected to the hitch receiver. The first one can be conveniently set up and put down as is. The other type must be removed from the carrier; then, the carrier carriage must be removed from the hitch receiver. Either way, both are useful in hauling extra gear when going on road trips.

Carrying Capacity

One specification to look at when selecting your back-end hitch cargo carrier is its weight capacity. This product should be able to securely hold quite a lot of weight without bending or shaking at driving speeds. Lots of units on the market are now offering up to 500 pounds of weight capacity. That’s a huge weight margin when you’ll rarely carry anything over 300 pounds. But, it wouldn’t be bad to have that extra capacity in case you need to haul some more stuff. After all, it’s better to have it and not need it than not have it and not need it.

Please remember to check your car owner’s manual to find out its hitch weight capacity. Here’s a reference you can use.


Hitch receivers are normally at the back end of your vehicle, which means your hitch cargo carrier will be affixed to the back of your car. This could get in the way of your access to the rear entry. It would be ideal to get a flexible one, so you won’t have to remove the hitch load box when you need to open the trunk or the back door. Some are fixed on an extended arm which, of course, can be folded down when not needed. This gives you enough space to gain entry from behind. These are called swing-away frames.

Material and Fabrication

One indication of how hard-wearing a hitch cargo carrier is is the material used to fabricate it. The best units are usually made of steel since this material is tough and is known not to break or bend when exposed to too much pressure. The other materials commonly used for hitch cargo boxes are aluminum and polypropylene.

The materials should also withstand any weather conditions considering they’ll be constantly exposed to the elements. Your cargo carrier should have the weatherproof factor not just to protect itself from harsh weather conditions, but the things you carry inside it as well. If you’re planning to buy a hitch-mounted cargo carrier made of metal, make sure it can resist rust and corrosion in the long run.


Any item that’s not inside your car can instantly attract attention, especially that of a burglar. On most trips, you can’t unload your things immediately. There’s also a chance you stop by for a quick rest at a gasoline station. Knowing your cargo box has its security features leaves you confident in leaving your things behind.

Some high-end hitch load boxes come with a strong security system. It secures your belongings and ensures that even when left unattended, no one could easily pick into the cargo and open it to see what’s inside. Other cargo boxes are also designed to accommodate add-on security locks that will allow you to tighten the safety of the cargo. This feature is important, especially if you’re planning to leave your car on the road while shopping or doing some errands.

Rear Entry Access

We mentioned earlier that the hitch load box might get in the way of the back door. Hitch cargos can have swing-away or fixed frames. If your car needs the rear entry to be accessed, go for the swing-away frame. If it’s not within your means, then go for those that can be instantly removed when needed or find one without any rise built into the shank. The latter, however, will have you give up good ground clearance.

Shaft Type

The shaft type is also a key factor to consider when buying a hitch cargo box. The following shaft types suit different vehicle models:

  • Straight – This type of hitch cargo shaft will stick from the receiver straight. It won’t contribute to the height of the cargo carrier, unlike rising shaft cargo carriers. It also offers less bouncing because of its sturdy foundation compared to curved shafts.
  • Curved – This type of hitch cargo shaft is meant to be mounted on the lower part of your car. That way, when you install the cargo carrier, it will be lower than what’s normal. It’s convenient, but access is limited. Nowadays, manufacturers opt for a rising hitch carrier that can be lifted to offer easier admittance when installed.
  • Z-Style – It’s a bit similar to the curved shaft, but it gives you extra height for increased durability. It features two straight shafts with bolted ends placed above the other plate. That way, you won’t get any bounce when hauling your cargo and speed-driving. This type of hitch cargo carrier can also be folded when not used.

Mounting Hardware

To determine how easy it is to operate when attaching and detaching the hitch cargo box to and from your car, take a look at the mounting hardware. Reputable manufacturers such as Yakima are best known for using a quick-release mounting system. This means you can operate it without the use of any tools, and it can only be done by a single person.

You may find that other manufacturers make use of wingnuts and U-bolts. While you can rest assured that your unit is mounted safely, the operation can be lengthy and may even require two people to finish the installation.

If you’re planning to use your car on the road for the next few months, mounting hardware that involves U-bolts is highly recommended. These are more robust, more reliable, and make the cargo carrier a permanent attachment to your car. However, if you’re only planning to use your cargo carrier this weekend for a camping trip you’ve been looking forward to, and you don’t have any plans to use it afterward, then you should opt for a quick-release mounting system.

Hitch Cargo Box Accessories

To make the most out of your hitch-mounted cargo carrier, you may attach some accessories that can increase the convenience of the box. There are numerous accessories you can find on the market, including:

  • Cargo nets
  • Cargo bags
  • Bungee cords
  • Hitch stabilizers
  • Locking hitch pins
  • Ratchet straps

Some high-end hitch load boxes from reputable manufacturers will include accessories. It’s a nice addition to your cargo carrier that increases its convenience and usability.


Whether you are a camper who needs to bring along all of the camping stashes or a mom who has so much to buy at the grocery store, you know how much an extra storage space means for your car. Hitch cargo boxes are practical solutions to your hauling needs and are a great investment, therefore, picking one should be decided carefully.

Another thing to be reminded of is the position of the hitch cargo carrier. As with any accessory mounted to the hitch, you would want to make sure there is at least a 12-inch gap between the exhaust and the accessory. You wouldn’t want your accessory or whatever you are protecting with it to get damaged by heat. In any case that this distance can’t be achieved, one solution is to get an extender/rise adapter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to install a hitch cargo box?

Installation varies from one model to another. But, what you must make sure of is that these make use of your trailer hitch, which for the most part is already integrated into your car. Check with the hitch cargo carrier’s installation manual and your car owner’s manual to make sure what you are getting matches the size of your hitch receiver. Most hitch cargo carriers can easily slide in after the trailer hitch has been attached.

Is it legal to use hitch cargo boxes?

Yes, it is. The only way you may get in trouble is if you don’t follow traffic safety rules. Keep in mind that other motorists should always be aware of your next action. So, make sure those tail lights aren’t covered. If the box is too big and could get in the way, have those reflectors or your tail light kit attached to your cargo. License plates should also be visible. And lastly, luggage should be tightly secured to prevent it from causing accidents.

How do I measure spare tire Clearance when attaching a hitch cargo box?

Measure from the middle of the hitch pin hole back to the back edge of your spare tire. That should give you an idea of the clearance you need if you have a spare tire hanging at the back of your vehicle.

Check out our articles on truck bed extenderscar roof boxesmotorcycle and scooter hitch carriers, and roof rack lights.

1 thought on “Top 5 Best Hitch Cargo Boxes – Reviews & Guide”

  1. I liked how you clarified that cargo boxes are legal to use and as long as you don’t block your signals and obey the traffic rules everything will be fine. My brother has been planning on using a cargo box behind his RV for his next big road trip. I will have to pass along the info that he will want to make sure he doesn’t block his signals so people can see where he is going or what he is doing on the road.


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