Do Rooftop Cargo Carriers Include Mounting Hardware?

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If you’re considering joining the forever-growing list of owners for rooftop cargo carriers, then there’s probably a few questions you have that are left unanswered. Without physically visiting a cargo carrier retailer, it’s hard to determine whether they come with mounting fixtures or not. Therefore, do rooftop cargo carriers include mounting hardware?

Whether your rooftop cargo carrier has mounting hardware will depend on the type of model and manufacture. The primary cargo carriers are bags, boxes, baskets or trays, and each has a different installation method. All need to be situated on a roof rack and potentially crossbars as well. However, some bags can be strapped securely onto your roof without any of them.

Determining if your cargo carrier will come with mounting hardware is hard to establish without targeting a specific brand. The most information we can supply regarding this topic is that cargo bags can sometimes be connected without roof rails and crossbars. That being said, boxes and baskets or trays will need roof racks and potentially crossbars to be fitted. Most of the time, neither of these will be supplied with the cargo carriers.

Although that can seem problematic, it’s easily solvable. To better understand how you can attach each of these cargo carriers, I recommend you become familiar with our guide below. 

How to attach rooftop cargo carriers to a car

To visualize and understand the relationship between rooftop cargo carriers and mounting hardware, it’s best to develop knowledge about their installation processes. This way, you have a better chance of determining whether you need crossbars or roof rails already equipped for your car to fix the suggested cargo carriers.

Choose your cargo carrier

Before you attach anything to your car, you’ll want to identify the best type of cargo carrier that’ll fulfill your needs. The benefits you’ll receive will vary from each option, and it really depends on various factors. When choosing, you’ll want to discover what you’ll be transporting, its length, width, weight, and whether it needs to be waterproofed. For a better understanding of what each of these cargo carriers can offer, see the below:

  • Bags – Uniquely bags don’t require either crossbars or roof rails. Although roof rails could be beneficial, it isn’t a mandatory requirement.  With these, they usually come supplied with archway attachments, meaning they can be attached to the archways of your car doors.  
  • Baskets or trays – Moving to the more complex rooftop cargo carrier, and that’s basket or trays. Both are very similar, but people refer to them differently. However, with them, you’ll definitely need roof rails. Whether you need crossbars will highly depend on the manufacture, so you might want to find out this piece of information. Installed within baskets or trays comes attachable claws that can be tightened around the roof rails or crossbars.
  • Boxes – If you want a cargo carrier with longevity in mind and complete waterproofness, then a box is a clear option. Boxes are simple, but they’ll require both crossbars and roof rails. Inside the box will be fixtures you can tighten, and claw-like attachment mechanisms will wrap themselves around the crossbar.

Now you have a clear understanding of the cargo carrier available and what’s required, let’s showcase how you are meant to strap them down. By understanding this, you should be able to determine which cargo carrier is best suited to your requirements, depending on what you’ve already got installed onto your car.

Strap your cargo carrier down

It’s essential that you follow the below instructions along with the manufacturer’s attachment guide. We’re going to discuss how the generic cargo carriers are attached. However, brands and manufacturers differ from time to time. 


With bags, you’ll have various ways you can connect them to your vehicle. These could either be on a basket, naked roof or with roof rails. Whichever option you choose will depend on what you currently have installed on your car. Needless to say, either option is secure and will allow you to have a cargo carrier bag.

To attach the bag onto your roof in either situation is very simple. With bags, they come supplied with a set of car clips. With the clips, you can attach them to the arch on your car doors. However, to install the bag on either a basket or roof rails, you can simply tie the braces around the object.

Baskets or trays

When it comes to baskets or trays, there are various styles you can purchase. A tiny minority will require you to install the cargo carrier directly to the roof. If this occurs, you should hire a professional to undergo this job. However, most baskets or trays will come with external claws that are tightened around crossbars or roof rails (depending on the brand).


Lastly, boxes share a similar attachment process as baskets or trays. Inside the cargo box will be four claw mechanisms you can loosen or tighten around the crossbar. It’s effortless to tighten these, and sometimes you don’t even need any equipment. For most, you can tighten these up via their wing-like bolts with your hand. Other models may require a spanner or screwdriver. However, either way, it’s a straightforward process that anyone can accomplish.

Conduct a safety test

Whichever cargo carrier you’ve connected onto your roof, roof rails, or crossbars, will want to undergo a safety test. You’re responsible for your load, the safety of you, the people within your vehicle, and the surrounding motorist. Because of this, you’ll want to pull and push your cargo carrier with some force to identify if it’s secured correctly. If you notice significant movement, you’ll want to re-evaluate your installation method and adjust until secure.


After reading the above, you should now know the answer to “do rooftop cargo carriers include mounting hardware”. The true answer is maybe. Nobody really knows because it varies from brand to brand. That being said, we’ve outlined installation methods so you’re able to gain a better understanding of the fixings you might need on your vehicle to attach a cargo carrier to your rooftop successfully.

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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