Cargo Box vs. Bag: Which Is Best?

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Need an additional cargo for your adventure? Then you’ve primary come across various cargo carrier options, the primary being a box or bag. Both of these are excellent and provide the same outcome – more storage. However, which should you choose?

To determine this, check out the cargo box vs. bag guide below:

Cargo bags and boxes are brilliant, providing additional storage to a vehicle rooftop. However, they’re not the same. A bag is a less permanent yet affordable option. Whereas a box is more durable, lasts longer, and can be used year-round, but at a more expensive price tag.

As you can see, both cargo carriers can benefit an end-consumer, and it truly depends on what you want. The above briefly explains why you should choose one or the other. I recommend becoming familiar with the following for a more comprehensive and in-depth guide.

Cargo box vs. bag: The Face-off

Undoubtedly, the best rooftop cargo carriers are boxes and bags. They can provide immense benefits while offering that much-needed additional storage space. To compare these equally, I’ve focused on five key areas that’ll help you decide which is better.  


The first and the most essential factor for many is protection. Protection is mandatory if you’re storing valuable or non-waterproof goods on a vehicle’s rooftop. However, the protection capabilities are much different between a bag and a box.

Cargo Box

Cargo Bag

A cargo box typically comes with hard-shelled, waterproof locks and outer plastic. Combining both is excellent and offers optimal protection. With most cargo boxes, you can transport high-value goods without worrying about them becoming damaged. However, like everything, the more expensive options offer better protection. 

Like in any situation, a bag will never offer the same level of protection as a box. That’s the same when it comes to rooftop cargo carriers also. Ideally, you’ll want to transport light, inexpensive luggage when using a bag. Although many bags claim they’re waterproof, many become deteriorated over time and lose their waterproof seal.


Another feature we must compare is affordability. Because of the additional manufacturing processes, material costs, and many other features, they don’t share the same price tag. In most instances, you’ll find cargo boxes are more expensive.  

Cargo Box

Cargo Bag

When purchasing a cargo box, you could purchase one anywhere between $300 to $1,500, depending on the brand, additional features, material, etc. However, you receive a much more durable and sturdy storage solution that’ll last a substantial amount of time.

Cargo bags are very different from boxes. Because of their affordability, many think they’re the best rooftop cargo carrier. Typically, you’ll spend around $60 to $200 for a cargo bag. However, it’s not a permanent solution, so they’ll need replacing over time.


Additionally, security plays a massive role when comparing these storage solutions. Of course, when left unattended, you want the goods to be safe. Because of the nature of these, the box wins in the battle between a cargo box and a bag.

Cargo Box

Cargo Bag

Cargo boxes typically come with security latches that can only be opened with keys. Although this secureness will highly depend on the brand, some of the more “premium” ones have remarkable anti-theft locks.

Unlike boxes, bags don’t have a high level of security. Although some brands offer padlocks with their rooftop cargo bags, it isn’t sufficient enough as their rarely hidden, can easily rust, or be removed with bolt croppers.


When considering investing in a cargo box or bag, you likely require more storage and capacity. Luckily, it’s achievable from both options. However, when compared, the box wins again. That’s because they’re normally manufactured much larger. In addition, they’re attached using special equipment (more about this below) to transport more goods.

Cargo Box

Cargo Bag

Cargo boxes can range massively from 200L to 600+ liters of storage, far beyond anything a bag can offer.

When it comes to cargo bags, they’re much smaller. The primary reason for this is that they have smaller max-load capacities.

Required equipment

The last honorable mention for this cargo box vs. bag guide is the required equipment. Of course, depending on how much you travel, you may or may not want to purchase additional equipment. In that case, a cargo bag might be the more desired option.

Cargo Box

Cargo Bag

Installing a cargo box onto your vehicle will require roof rails and crossbars (or only crossbars). Without these, you won’t be able to attach a rooftop cargo box to a vehicle.

Most come with door hinge clips if you want to attach a cargo bag onto a vehicle. These are connected to your vehicle’s door hinges and don’t require other equipment.

Pros and Cons of cargo boxes and bags

I thought a pros and cons section would be the most ideal to conclude this post. Here, you’ll be able to finalize whether a cargo box or bag is better than one another. 

Cargo box



Out of all the cargo carrier options, boxes offer the most protection

They’re usually the most expensive storage solutions on the market

Boxes have extreme durability enabling them to last a long time

Require additional equipment like crossbars and roof rails

The largest concealed cargo carrier option, offering not only protection but enormous space

Cargo bag



Cargo bags are an affordable solution when it comes to cargo carriers

Normally crafted from water-resistant (not proof) materials, meaning your cargo isn’t safe

It can be installed without any additional equipment

Don’t come with sufficient-theft protection


Above, I discovered the best rooftop cargo carrier from the top two options: bags and boxes. Undoubtedly, both play an essential role in providing additional storage to a vehicle’s rooftop. 

One that might be considered the best could be better or worse for somebody else. Because of this, both bags and boxes win.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive temporary solution that you might use a couple of times a year, a bag is ideal. Whereas if you want a more permanent cargo area, boxes are unbeatable.

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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