Rooftop vs. Rear Cargo Racks

July 15th, 2011 | Posted by Pacrec in Hitch Racks - (Comments Off on Rooftop vs. Rear Cargo Racks)

This week at the blog, we want to compare the differences between a rooftop rack and a rear cargo rack.  So as we all know the main advantage of rooftop racks and rear cargo racks is the added carrying capacity to your vehicle.  We have all been on road trips where the luggage is crammed at the passenger’s feet or it’s stacked so high you can’t see out the windows.  Both styles can accommodate bikes, skis/snowboards, and cargo boxes.  Any kind of cargo rack makes bringing additional item for a long road trip easier.roof rack, rooftop rack, cargo carrier

So how do the different rack styles differ?  First, hitch mounted rear cargo racks attach to the rear receiver hitch, whereas the rooftop version is on the top of a car or SUV.  Let’s break it down, what are the advantages and drawbacks of the two cargo carrier styles?



rear cargo rack, stowaway

Rear cargo racks are easier to mount due to their location.  Rooftop racks are above ground level and make access to the carrier contents more difficult than their hitch mounted counterpart.






Both types of cargo racks increase the profile of the vehicle.  Rooftop racks make the vehicle taller and can reduce handling with its higher center of gravity.  Roof carriers can also cause clearance issues in parking garages too.  Rear cargo racks increase the length and can possible make city driving more difficult.


Rooftop carriers are inherently more secure due to their location above the vehicle.  Both styles are equipped with locking mechanisms on the boxes, and either the roof rack or hitch.