Do You Need a Roof Rack for A Cargo Carrier?

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Not having enough room to transport goods successfully can be highly frustrating. Whether you're heading on a camping trip or need more storage on your vehicle, a cargo carrier could potentially help. However, most available on the market require roof racks. But do I need a roof rack for a cargo carrier? Here's what you need to know:

Whether you need a roof rack or not for a cargo carrier will depend on which model you purchase. You have two different types of cargo carriers that suit either raised or flushed roofs (naked roof or roof rails) within the industry. Therefore, you're able to invest in a cargo carrier that doesn't require a roof rack if your vehicle doesn't have one installed.

As you can see, you can acquire roof racks that don't need an installed roof rack. This saves you a ton of money and also time. But which cargo carrier should you consider investing in? To become more knowledgeable on the leading brands in the industry, I suggest you read the following:

Best cargo carriers that don't require a roof rack

Cargo carriers come in all different shapes and sizes because not all roofs are built the same. Due to this, ensure your cargo carrier is suitable for your vehicle before making the initial purchase. That being said, here are four of the best cargo carriers that don't require a roof rack:

1. Rightline Gear Range 2

The pinnacle of cargo carriers is this Gear Range 2 by Rightline on amazon. It comes equipped with everything you need from a cargo carrier, such as waterproofness, UV protection, and reinforced external materials that protect goods from extreme rain, snow, heat, heavy winds, and other extreme weather conditions.

Additionally to the above, it's effortless to install with or without a roof rack. To attach this cargo carrier without a roof rack, it uses a car clip mechanism. To visualize this better, it's a "J" style clip that hooks on the inside of your door panels arch.



Available to purchase in three different sizes (10, 15, or 18 cu ft)

The "J" style clips are made from plastic, which could easily break

Comes with a year manufacturer's warranty for customers based in the United States

Doesn't come with any lockable features, meaning you cannot leave this unattended

Can be installed in a matter of minutes

Seams have been known to rip under strong winds

2.RoofPax Cargo Carrier

Another cargo carrier we wanted to mention is one from RoofPax. It comes with all your essential requirements, such as 100% waterproof sealing, intergraded padding, lockable zippers, and other weather protection properties. Needless to say, this cargo carrier is the complete package and undoubtedly worth your attention.

Without a doubt, this cargo carrier is one of the more prestigious types currently on the market. It has premium features while having plenty of storage space (either 15 or 19 cubic feet). Although it's expensive considering the others on this list, it's more than worth considering.



Available in either 15 or 19 cubic feet of storage

Considering other cargo carriers on the market, it's expensive

It's universal and can be used with or without roof rails

The protective flap doesn't really cover the zipper

You'll receive a lifetime warranty on both the zippers and buckles

If your vehicle has a moonroof, you'll need to place another layer of protection under the cargo carrier

3.Fivklemnz Cargo Carrier

Moving further down the list, and Fivklemnz produces this next cargo carrier. The storage unit is crafted from exceptionally heavy-duty materials, heat-welded seams and is entirely waterproof. Unlike the above, this cargo carrier has a unique shape. It was designed this way to improve the overall safety of the bag. To achieve this, they added eight reinforced adjustable straps to ensure it stays in place throughout transportation.

Including the above, it also follows a simple installation process. With or without roof rails, this cargo carrier can be set up in minutes, allowing you to continue with your day.



The storage unit is simple to install

It's not subtle. It's a sizeable orange storage unit which decreases the aesthetics of most cars

Comes with a 100% refund or replacement guarantee on defective goods

Waterproofing lacks around the zipper causing it to leak in heavy rainstorms

It's supplied with an anti-slip mat to ensure maximum stability during transit

Doesn't have a long lifespan before needing to be replaced

4.Corfich Cargo Carrier

The last non-roof rack cargo carrier we wanted to mention on our list is from Corfich. The brand itself is well-known within the automotive industry for producing quality goods, and this cargo carrier follows suit. With this large 15 cubic feet rooftop cargo carrier, you'll obtain everything you look for in a good-quality storage unit. It's waterproof, dustproof, heat resistant, easy to install, and looks somewhat aesthetically pleasing.

The above reasons alone and pricing should be a good enough reason to invest in this cargo carrier. But, as a bonus for opting in for Corfich's storage unit, they'll also throw in a free 3-digit combination lock to ensure your goods are safe while traveling.



Comes with dual seam welding technology to improve waterproofness

The locations of the straps aren't the best

It's suitable for all vehicles with or without a roof rack

Lacks waterproofness in extreme downpours and wind

Corfich will provide a combi-lock with every cargo carrier order

Only available in one size (15 cubic feet)

After reading the above, you should better understand what cargo carrier you can invest in that doesn't require a roof rack. All of the above are superb. However, it depends on your personal preference and vehicle to which one you invest in.

Benefits of having a non-rail rack cargo carrier

Roof Rack for A Cargo Carrier

Now you understand the best cargo carriers in the market, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the benefits in non-rail storage units. To entice you further, see the below benefits:

  • Accessibility – Hands down, the best benefit you'll receive when using a non-rail rack cargo carrier is how easily accessible they are to install and remove from a vehicle. Simply empty the storage unit, strap it onto your vehicle, and then you can begin transit. However, because of this, they lack longevity. Check out our post about the best 5 hard shell rooftop cargo carriers for roof storage units with longer lifespans.
  • Waterproofness – Most cargo carriers are highly waterproof and will continue to be even through harsh weathering conditions. Water retardant materials, welded seams, and double zipped mechanisms make them a perfect waterproof storage system that non-rail rack vehicles can use. Including the above, there are a ton more waterproof cargo carriers you're able to invest in. For a broader outlook, check out this post.
  • Storage – Including the above, their superb storage units. They come in sizeable options, they keep your goods water-free, and most importantly, they give you that additional room you need with your vehicle. With a cargo carrier, you're guaranteed to receive at least around 15 cubic feet of extra space for your vehicle, which is a tremendous amount.

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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