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Roof Cargo Box vs. Roof Cargo Bag

You need additional storage space from your vehicle and have decided that it is now time to buy a roof storage system. There are quite a lot of products out there, but you have narrowed it down to the fact that you either need a cargo box or a cargo bag.

It can be difficult deciding whether you need a cargo bag or a cargo box. To some, the differences between the two may seem obvious, but do they really understand what features are offered by both before they make that decision?

In this article, we go through key differences between cargo bags and cargo boxes to ensure that you have a clear understanding of both before you buy. Both have many plus points, however, depending on your use, budget, and various other requirements, choosing between the two could be quite critical. 

This article looks to remove some of the confusion and point out the advantages and disadvantages of both carrier systems, making your decision easier.

A white SUV with the cargo roof box

A cargo box is secure. They usually come with locks so that when you lock away your valuables, you can walk away from your vehicle with the knowledge that they will still be there on your return.  They have strong and hard shell casing, which also adds to protect the items that are inside.

Having a cargo box is much like having an additional car trunk. A cargo box will keep your equipment protected from all adverse weather conditions, including moisture. 

Furthermore, a cargo box will protect your goods from impact during your journey. So, you can see how this pretty much works like another trunk. A key advantage is that you pick the “trunk space” you require as these boxes can offer a volume of up to 22 cubic feet.

The Cargo Roof Bag

A multiple image of cars with the cargo roof box

A roof cargo bag definitely improves your ability to haul your stuff around. Some bags can hold a volume of up to 18 cubic feet. So, these hold nearly the same amount of stuff as a cargo box.  

The key advantage of a cargo bag is storage after use. All you need to do is fold the bags into a very small block and store it away in a tiny spot. 

Especially beneficial to you is how easy these are to install and use. Even better, you don’t need a roof rack to mount it.  

Another benefit is that due to their versatile nature they can store oddly shaped items. Moreover, they suit those on a lower budget.

Of course, these bags nowadays have weather protection, and some might include security features.

Differences Between Cargo Boxes vs. Cargo Bags

Now you know what the main advantages of both the cargo box and the cargo bag are. Before you make your decision, you still need to know what the difference is between the two products. This is the essential piece of information you need to make a decision that you will not regret.

Roof Rack

Cargo boxes increase the storage capacity of your vehicle. They cannot work without a roof rack, and sometimes the roof rack you have may not be compatible with your preferred box, so please check this before you buy. With cargo bags, it makes no difference whether you have a roof rack installed or not.

Space

Space-wise the two are nearly capable of offering you the same capacity. However, if you do have a lot of gear to take with you, note that cargo bags can only provide a maximum of 18 cubic feet of space, whereas a cargo box can go up to a huge 22 cubic feet. So if you really need extra space, then a cargo box is for you.

Security

Let’s now think about security. In this field, cargo boxes are definitely one step ahead of cargo bags. As per above, cargo boxes have locking mechanisms included, and their bodies are made from durable material. 

However, a cargo bag may not afford you as much security. For example, a bag can be slit open with a knife if an undesirable element so desired. So when it comes to security, cargo boxes are the better choice.

Storage

Then we need to consider storage when not in use. Cargo bags can be folded up to fit into minimal shelf spaces. The bag is versatile so it can be folded into any shape you like. This is not an option with the cargo box. 

When you are not using the box, you need to think about where you want to keep it. If you have a garage, that’s great. But if you don’t, this could be an issue. If you’re going to keep it on your vehicle at all times, you can, but remember that the height of your vehicle is increased by doing this – important for traveling under low bridges.

Cost

Finally, cost. If you are lucky enough to have a larger budget to spend on this, the cargo box is the direction you might go in. But if you are looking to save your hard-earned dollars, then opt for cargo bags. 

There are some cheaper cargo boxes around, however, where prices are comparable to that of a cargo bag. Similarly, there are some more expensive cargo bags around where prices are comparable to cargo boxes.

Which One Is Better?

The better options will be based on your personal requirements after consideration of the following factors:-

  • Storage capacity
  • Compatibility with vehicle
  • Security
  • Storage after use 
  • Cost

For example, if you don’t have anything particularly valuable that you are planning to take, and the price is a factor, the cargo bag is probably your best bet. You will have ample space, weather protection, and save a few dollars.

But, if you need something to protect your valuables and prevent impact damage, it is weatherproof and you can spend a little more, then choose a cargo box. These offer a vast amount of space and will keep all your valuables safe and secure. 

So consider where you stand on the security, storage after use, whether you already have roof rails and cost first. Don’t forget to read reviews and consider the product compatibility with your vehicle. You may need to buy additional accessories to install it.

Now you have all this information, you will be able to decide whether a cargo box or a cargo bag would be better for you.

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