You have plenty of options when it comes to hitch cargo carriers. However, with new products regularly added to the market, choosing the most suitable one for your vehicle can be overwhelming.
But knowing exactly what to consider can lessen the complication of your choice.
So, when it comes to hitch cargo carriers, look for the option with a durable build, foldable design, complete kit for security, and can be installed easily. These attributes allow you to use your hitch cargo with ease for a long time.
Stick around to find out how to gauge the hitch cargo carrier for your vehicle and what factors to consider before you close a purchase.
What Should I Look for in a Hitch Cargo Carrier?
Hitch cargo carriers are pretty much straightforward when it comes to functionality. You’re most likely looking for one because you’re planning to load large items that won’t fit inside your car.
But compared to other external cargo accessories like roof baskets or roof racks, it requires extra precaution to use a hitch cargo carrier because of its position on your car or truck.
Hitch cargo carriers are tucked behind the vehicle. Therefore, it needs the following features to ensure usability and safety.
Since the hitch cargo carrier will be exposed to heat, cold, dirt, and all sorts of potential damage sources, it only makes sense to go for one constructed with durable materials.
Look for hitch cargo carriers made of powder-coated steel like the Reese Explore ProSeries 63153 Rambler (on amazon). The powder coat prevents corrosion keeping the mesh and shank safe from rusting. In the same way, it reinforces its weatherproof feature making it ideal for changing road conditions.
Likewise, consider hitch cargo carriers that are weather-resistant, especially if you travel all year round.
A hitch cargo carrier that can be installed without too much complication is always worth it. Luckily, most carriers share this feature, so you’ll have plenty of options.
The process is a no-brainer considering it only requires you to tighten the nuts and bolts. Simply follow the instruction, and within minutes, you’re done.
However, the simplicity of the installation process may also depend on the type of vehicle you have. For example, trucks and some SUVs may come with pre-installed hitch receivers to easily attach the hitch cargo carrier. Otherwise, you will have to put one yourself first.
If you have a car, you may want to consider other options, such as a rooftop cargo basket like the MaxxHaul Cargo Roof Rack Steel (on amazon). This way, the additional accessory won’t affect your car’s aerodynamics.
Security and Safety
With an appendage behind your vehicle, it can be nerve-wracking thinking about how it could suddenly detach in the middle of the road.
The safety and security of your equipment should be non-negotiable when it comes to choosing a suitable hitch cargo carrier.
With that, you have to consider contributing factors such as size, materials, compatibility, and more. Plus, your choice should have walls high enough for tall, bulky loads. Likewise, reflectors on the frame making your cargo carrier more visible are also good features to look into.
Wondering which hitch cargo carrier has these attributes? Check out the CURT basket hitch cargo carrier (on amazon).
Organizing your hitch cargo carrier can be tricky if it doesn’t come with a fold-and-lock design.
For instance, after you unload your items, the cargo appendage will take extra parking space, which may cause unnecessary inconvenience for other drivers. But if you’re able to fold the cargo carrier, this won’t be an issue anymore.
That being said, it’s best to choose a hitch cargo carrier with a foldable design than those who don’t have one.
Other Things To Consider When Choosing a Hitch Cargo Carrier
Even the most exemplary hitch cargo carrier won’t do good if it is not compatible with your vehicle.
So first, you have to make sure that your vehicle has a hitch receiver where the trailer-towing hitch cargo carrier can be attached. If it’s non-existent, there’s a chance your vehicle may not be suited for the said device. Still, you can have it customized if necessary.
Vehicle Hitch Class
Trucks and SUVs with hitch receivers may still need additional trailer hitches to attach the hitch cargo carrier. In these cases, you will have to check on the hitch class first before deciding which cargo carrier to buy.
In general, class 1, which has a narrower receiver, fits cars and crossovers. Class 2 adds minivans on the list on top of the class 1 inclusions.
On the other hand, Class 3, 4, and 5 adds SUVs and trucks, with the last two classes covering the said vehicles exclusive. Finally, Class 5 is for commercial-duty vehicles.
Simply put, the larger the vehicle, the higher the hitch class. Likewise, it determines the overall strength compatibility between your vehicle and the hitch cargo carrier.
Cargo Weight and Type
What you intend to load in the cargo carrier will pretty much determine the type you need. So, naturally, before buying the accessory, you will already have an idea of what items you’ll have to transport.
If your items must be protected from water or dust, go for a hitch cargo carrier that supports a waterproof hitch bag and reinforced straps.
Likewise, you also need to consider the tongue weight capacity of your vehicle. This is the maximum vertical weight your vehicle’s hitch can accommodate.
Also, it’s the primary factor you have to consider in gauging what type of hitch cargo carrier your vehicle can support under usual driving conditions.
Match the cargo weight and type to the capacity of your vehicle’s hitch, and you won’t have a problem in the long run.
Frequency of Use
How frequently you use a hitch cargo carrier can also affect your buying decision.
For example, if you need it regularly for transporting different items, you may want to consider a cargo carrier with a foldable design.
That way, it takes less effort to store the cargo carrier. You don’t also have to uninstall and then reinstall it anymore for storage. Simply fold the cargo carrier and get on with your day.
How much you’re willing to spend for a hitch cargo carrier is always a critical factor for your choice. Fortunately, you can buy affordable hitch cargo carriers equipped with the required features and quality expected from the product.
For example, if your budget is less than $100, consider going for the MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier, (on amazon). But if you’re willing to splurge, you can look into OKLEAD Heavy Duty Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier (on amazon), especially if you need a more extensive and sturdier capacity.
It’s always a wise decision to understand what to consider when buying car accessories like a hitch cargo carrier. After all, it’s an investment that you can use many times and in many ways.
So, make sure you’re getting the hitch with a durable frame designed with safety and security in mind. Also, go for the one you can install easily. You’ll get the most value with the hitch cargo carrier you purchase by sticking to these considerations.