Are cargo baskets worth it?

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Unlike the past, most vehicles have some type of additional storage located on them. Whether it’s a cargo box, bag, basket, or even hitch-mounted, each provides the same essential solution, more storage. One that sometimes comes preinstalled on large vehicles is a cargo basket. So, are they worth it?

Cargo baskets are excellent for anyone looking to maximize their storage capacity. In addition, it truly enhances larger cars or trucks’ aesthetics and makes the vehicle look more visually appealing. The only downside to these is the lack of security and outdoor protection.

Like all cargo carriers, baskets have their pros and cons. Depending on the application you’re using them for will determine their true worth. Therefore, I will discuss the benefits and negatives to cargo baskets below to decipher this.

Benefits and negatives to Cargo Baskets

The primary reason for such a vast amount of cargo carriers being available within the industry is because there’s not one that can benefit everybody. To obtain maximum advantages, it depends on the application. Therefore, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of cargo baskets to conclude whether these are suitable extra storage devices.

Benefits to cargo baskets

First, let’s begin with the benefits, and there’s a ton. But, without boring you too much, I’ll detail the primary three. Which are:

Immensely versatile

Considering other cargo carriers available on the market, baskets are the most versatile. Because of their large surface area, you can load various pieces of equipment. Whether these are long, high (to some degree), or wide, it’s the best option for transporting these goods.

In addition, they’re probably the most picturesque storage devices available for large vehicles. They look incredible and provide an off-roading look, sometimes installed by the manufacturer with large trucks.

With this immense versatility, it’s also a straightforward setup process. Having this is essential and helps with the overall resourcefulness of the product. You can either purchase these to be bolted onto your vehicle’s roof or attach them to a roof rack.

Cost-effective storage solution

Including the above, it’s also a cost-effective storage solution compared to others on the market. For a sizeable basket, you’ll probably purchase one for $250 or less. Although you can probably purchase a bag or box for cheaper than $250, it’s the most affordable option available if you think about the ratio between storage size and price.

To reduce costs further, getting a permanent cargo basket could be cheaper. That’s because these don’t require crossbars, roof rails, or either. These are all extra costs involved with installing a rooftop cargo carrier, which could net you a saving of around $200.

Largest additional storage systems available

Lastly, they’re the largest additional storage system that you can install onto your vehicle’s roof. For instance, this MAXXHAUL 50506 on amazon is 64" x 39" x 6" in diameter. Realistically, you’ll never find a larger rooftop cargo carrier than this, making it the largest of its kind.

Perhaps you don’t want a cargo carrier this size; that’s also okay for a basket. Various sizes are available on the market ranging in widths, heights, and diameters, so you can freely choose a cargo basket that’ll fulfill your needs.

Negatives to cargo baskets

Now I’ve discussed the benefits, let’s display the negatives. These are the key disadvantages to installing a cargo basket. But, as mentioned, these might weigh out the features and make the cargo carrier more or less desirable for the end-user.

Poor aerodynamics

The first negative is aerodynamics, and it’s a disadvantage that most cargo carriers encounter. However, it’s known that a cargo basket has the worst of them all. Although the storage unit itself is manufactured with aerodynamics in mind, how the basket is loaded showcases these negative effects.

When loading cargo onto this storage unit, you’ll need to think about the aerodynamics. Instead of pulling larger items towards the front of the rig, have them gradually go from small to big. By implementing this packing strategy, you’ll minimize the effects of poor aerodynamics.

Inadequate protection for cargo

Unlike bags and boxes, cargo baskets don’t have any protection, or at maximum, very little. That’s because the load will be exposed to the outdoor nature while traveling. However, there are ways around this; it’ll only cost more.

Instead of placing raw goods on the cargo basket, consider purchasing boxes and bags. By doing this, you’ll add layers of protection to your goods, making them less affected by the transportation method.  

Difficult loading and securing process

Lastly, loading and securing a cargo basket isn’t the most fun or accessible task globally. It will require a step ladder, ratchet straps, and maybe even additional equipment. Therefore, if you’re somebody with mobility issues, this could present some issues.

Loading the cargo basket will require the user to climb with the cargo up a ladder, twist, and place them onto the basket. In addition, once everything is comfortably ready for transportation, it must be secured down. This will require several trips around the vehicle’s basket with the ratchet strap. Because of this, you can start to visualize some problems that people can encounter, which lack mobility.  


Benefits to cargo baskets

Negatives to cargo baskets

Immensely versatile

Poor aerodynamics

Cost-effective storage solution

Inadequate protection on cargo

Largest additional storage systems available

Difficult loading and securing process

After reviewing the above, I’d personally suggest that cargo baskets are worth it. However, it depends on what you’re transporting (value, size, strength), how accessible the vehicle’s roof is, and how practical the extra storage unit is for its application.

A cargo bag or box is more than enough for those looking to transport smaller loads, and a basket might be too much. Those wanting to travel with heavier items might want to consider a hitch-mounted cargo carrier because you can purchase these with loading/off-loading ramps.


After reading the above, you should have enough information to determine whether cargo baskets are worth it. Considering each of the pros and cons, along with your application, can quickly suggest whether it’s practical for your type of usage.

About the author 

Vieira Babeker

Hi! I'm Vieira. I've always been interested in different Auto Accessories

My passion here at is to provide helpful straight forward clear advice and tips for Automotive Accessories.

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