If you’re planning on traveling with a lot of gear or want to haul things you would prefer to keep outside your vehicle, a hitch-mounted cargo carrier is a perfect solution. These cargo carriers free up needed vehicle space and making for a more comfortable ride and, in turn, happier occupants. In a vehicle like a small SUV or Jeep, it could double your hauling capacity.
They are great for hauling things you may have never thought of until you have one.
- Generators, Lawn Mowers, Snow Blowers
- Gas Cans
- Electric Medical Scooters, Wheel Chairs
- Folding Chairs
- Boat Motors
- Garden Mulch
- Yard Debris
- BBQ Grills
- Camping Gear
- Hunting Kills
- Tailgating Supplies
- Sandy Beach Gear
- Other messy, dirty, stinky, or bulky things.
Once you get a hitch cargo carrier and realize how often you use it along with how convenient they are, you will wonder how you ever lived without one.
Some of the best cargo carrier brands include CURT, MaxxHaul, Nevlers, Pro Series, Mockins, ECOTRIC, ARKSEN, KING BIRD, Goplus, and AA Products Inc.
Here are my top picks.
- 1 Top 6 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers Reviewed
- 1.1 1. MaxxHaul 70275 Aluminum Cargo Carrier | With 60″ Folding Ramp | 53.5″ x 29″
- 1.2 2. CURT 18153 60 x 24-Inch Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier 500 lbs Capacity Black Steel 2-In Folding Shank
- 1.3 3. Nevlers Folding Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier with Net Cargo Storage Bag 2 Blue Ratchet Straps and Bonus Hitch stabilizer – Waterproof – 500 lb Weight Limit
- 1.4 4. Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier | The 60” X 20″ X 6” Steel Cargo Basket Has A Hauling Weight Capacity of 500 Lbs and A Folding Shank to Preserve Space When Not in Use …
- 1.5 5. KING BIRD Upgraded 550LBS Capacity 60″ x 24″ x 6″ Hitch Mount Folding Cargo Carrier Fits 2” ReceiverHeavy Duty Cargo Basket with Trailer Hitch LockHitch StabilizerNet and Straps
- 1.6 6. Goplus Aluminum Cargo Carrier 50″x29.5″ Hitch Mounted Wheelchair Scooter Mobility Carrier Medical Lift Rack Ramp 500 lbs Weight Capacity
- 2 Hitch-Mounted Carriers Vs. Roof Mounted Carriers.
- 3 Rooftop vs. Rear Mount Conclusion
- 4 Picking the Best Hitch Mounted Carrier.
- 5 Hitch-Mounted Carrier Platform Styles:
- 6 Don’t Forget the Accessories.
Top 6 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers Reviewed
1. MaxxHaul 70275 Aluminum Cargo Carrier | With 60″ Folding Ramp | 53.5″ x 29″…click image to see more on Amazon
- The MaxxHaul 70275 Aluminum Cargo Carrier is our preferred model.
- This is a hitch cargo carrier built with solid craftsmanship.
- Extra-wide 49 x 29 carrier bed accommodates most mobility devices.
- Anchor points for securing loads Reflectors for increased road safety. Lightweight extruded aluminum construction. Aluminum basket for corrosion resistance.
The 70275 Cargo Carrier by MaxxHaul is made of an aluminum basket with steel under support. Beyond the supplied anchor points, the high sides aid in retaining cargo in place and allow endless tie-down placement options. While transporting a cargo carrier, Maxxtow has never had a mishap or suffered an injury. This carrier is built to last and provide worry-free service. The 70275 Cargo Carrier bed from MaxxHaul is the world’s widest and most adaptable cargo bed.
To accommodate small-wheeled equipment, the Folding Ramp has rungs that are closely spaced. Using straps or tie-downs, the 8-inch side rails give maximum stability.See more on Amazon…
2. CURT 18153 60 x 24-Inch Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier 500 lbs Capacity Black Steel 2-In Folding Shank…click image to see more on Amazon
- CURT is recognized worldwide as a true icon among hitch cargo carriers.
- Features 6-inch high walls around the cargo basket.
- Features integrated reflectors on the frame.
- This hitch cargo rack promotes a safe ride.
- Made from tubular steel to promote high strength and a lightweight design.
- It is rated for 500 lbs and comes finished with an E-coat and carbide black powder coat. T
CURT basket-style cargo carriers attach to your trailer hitch and can be utilized as needed. Basket cargo carriers have 6″ high walls that provide extra security for your belongings, and its mesh base makes them easy to clean. The 2″ x 2″ bent, folding shank of the CURT gives extra ground clearance and can be folded up and out of the way when needed. They also have a robust mesh platform that can hold up to 500 pounds of cargo and a long-lasting black powder coat finish.
The value proposition is the best we’ve ever seen on a hitch cargo carrier.See more on Amazon…
3. Nevlers Folding Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier with Net Cargo Storage Bag 2 Blue Ratchet Straps and Bonus Hitch stabilizer – Waterproof – 500 lb Weight Limit…click image to see more on Amazon
- The Nevlers hitch hauler has a 2 shank rise for better ground clearance, and the foldable basket trailer can be folded when not in use to take up less space.
- Heavy-duty steel to withstand up to 500 lbs.
- The Cargo Bag is made from Heavy Duty Abrasion Resistant Vinyl.
- The Nevlers Tow Rack Cargo Carrier has reflective strips so that your carrier is clearly seen at night.
The Nevlers Cargo Carrier can be used as both a cargo carrier and a rear bike rack. Made of heavy-duty steel, it can withstand weights of up to 500 pounds. The Cargo Bag is waterproof and sturdy, with a zipper, flap, and Velcro closure to protect whatever you put inside. The Nevlers Cargo Carrier can be used with any vehicle with a 2″ receiver hitch, such as a car, van, pickup truck, or SUV. You now have plenty of space.
See more on Amazon…
4. Mockins Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier | The 60” X 20″ X 6” Steel Cargo Basket Has A Hauling Weight Capacity of 500 Lbs and A Folding Shank to Preserve Space When Not in Use ……click image to see more on Amazon
- Includes a Waterproof Cargo Bag & an extra 2 ratchet straps with a bonus hitch stabilizer.
- The car trailer hitch carrier is constructed with heavy-duty steel and can hold up to a hefty 500 Lbs of cargo.
- Mockins hitch basket will work great with any vehicle car SUV van or truck with a 2 receiver.
- Includes a waterproof hitch rack cargo carrier bag that is approximately 57.7 long X 19.4 wide X 24 high, giving you a capacity of around 15.5 cubic feet.
Carry up to 500 lbs of cargo such as luggage, camping gear, or construction materials. It has a waterproof bag, and a 2″ angled shank for better ground clearance to help limit the exhaust hitting your stuff. The Cargo Carrier is affordable and durable with its powder-coated black.
5. KING BIRD Upgraded 550LBS Capacity 60″ x 24″ x 6″ Hitch Mount Folding Cargo Carrier Fits 2” ReceiverHeavy Duty Cargo Basket with Trailer Hitch LockHitch StabilizerNet and Straps…click image to see more on Amazon
- The 19-inch clearance allows you to open and close the rear door of your vehicle easily.
- When folded, provide a 9.5″ clearance for vehicles with a spare tire.
- Upgraded features include Raised Folding Shank, Mesh Base, Hitch Tightener, and Elastic cargo net.
- It’s available in black or white.
Sports a tubular and carbide black powder coat, which greatly enhanced rust resistance and durability. For any problem, they provide timely and effective help and lifetime parts replacement service. Upgraded cargo basket size up to 60x24x6. 6 side rail with 4 metal plates improves the safety of the cargo in the basket and makes it easier to place the license plate. Upgrades include: angled shank will raise the ground clearance, so you can easily open the back door, even for the truck with spare tires.See more on Amazon…
6. Goplus Aluminum Cargo Carrier 50″x29.5″ Hitch Mounted Wheelchair Scooter Mobility Carrier Medical Lift Rack Ramp 500 lbs Weight Capacity…click image to see more on Amazon
- The aluminum cargo carrier is ideal for carrying a wheelchair, scooter, lawnmower, snow blower, and other cargo.
- It has a maximum bearing capacity of 500 lbs, and it weighs 40 lbs.
- This hitch-mounted carrier is suitable for most vehicles, like trucks, SUVs, or vans.
- Use this basket carrier to haul cargo behind any vehicle with a Class III or IV 2 hitch receiver.
- The basket measures 50 (L) X 29.5 (W), and the ramp measures 41.5 X 27.5.
Most vehicles with a Class III or IV 2″ hitch receiver suitably with a hitch-mounted mobility carrier. All you need to do is open the latch, lower the ramp, and load the equipment. It is made of heavy-strength aluminum, is corrosion-resistant, and has a maximum bearing capacity of 500 lbs.See more on Amazon…
Hitch-Mounted Carriers Vs. Roof Mounted Carriers.
There are two locations, rooftop or rear mount when packing gear outside of the car. Let’s compare those two options and see why the hitch mount is better.
Hitch cargo carriers are quick and easy to put on and take off. You can have it installed and ready to go or have it removed in less than a minute. Roof-mounted carriers, not so much. You are also less likely to scratch your car than a roof mount carrier. Hitch mounts do not require you to lean up against the vehicle or to load or unload gear over the top of your car and do not make for a top-heavy vehicle.
Aerodynamics and Clearance
Being mounted on the vehicle, hitch carriers have minimal disruption to the vehicle’s aerodynamics. However, using a less aerodynamic roof carrier means that it costs you money in wasted fuel every time you use it.
With rear-mounted carriers, you won’t have issues clearing parking garages and fast food drive-thru overhangs like with a roof-mounted carrier.
About half of rear-mount carriers have a raised shank design, which raises the hitch carrier’s bottom higher than the hitch receiver. That helps prevent the carrier from bottoming out on driveway inclines and speed bumps when mounted to a vehicle with low ground clearance.
The raised shank also helps increase the distance between your exhaust pipe and the cargo you’re transporting.
The other half of hitch-mounted carriers have a straight shank. These would work well with bigger trucks higher off the ground or for trucks with rear-mounted spares. That way, there is more distance between the carrier and the tire for cargo.
A trailer hitch receiver tube can accomplish this if you need to increase the distance further than the cargo carrier provides.
Protection from the Elements
Although most roof-mounted carriers protect your cargo from the elements in a sealed bin, you can use a storage bin or buy a weatherproof cargo bag to accomplish the same thing. A word of caution here… It’s important to know where your exhaust is at the end of your bumper or goes out to the side.
If your exhaust pipe is by the bumper and your cargo bag comes into contact with it for an extended time, it could end up melting your cargo bag or bin or create an outright fire.
You want to maintain a reasonable distance between the cargo and the exhaust pipe. This is where a raised shank hitch-mounted cargo carrier could have possibly saved the day.
Nearly all hitch-mounted cargo carriers have a mesh platform or support bars for the flooring. In either case, it makes clean-up quick and easy cleanup. This allows for dirt, sand, and liquids to easily escape and a quick spray with a water hose tends to remove anything left behind.
Hitch mounted cargo carriers are easy to store and take up very little garage space, unlike roof-mounted carriers.
Rooftop vs. Rear Mount Conclusion
Compared to rooftop cargo solutions, hitch-mounted carriers are arguably the best way to haul cargo outside the vehicle.
Picking the Best Hitch Mounted Carrier.
Steel or Aluminum Build
Carriers are generally made of either steel or aluminum.
Steel carriers are less expensive but are heavier to carry. They can weigh in at around 50 lbs or more, depending on size and build quality.
On the other hand, aluminum cargo carriers generally weigh between 20 to 30 pounds, depending on size and construction.
If you struggle to carry and work with a 50 to 60 lbs cargo carrier, the extra cost of an aluminum carrier or a folding steel carrier to remain on the vehicle might be justified.
Folding Carriers vs. Fixed Shank Carriers
Choosing a folding carrier over a fixed carrier depends on how often you plan on using it and your vehicle.
If you frequently use your carrier (such as with an electric mobility scooter) but do not want to be burdened with regularly removing and reconnecting it to your hitch, a folding hitch-mounted carrier would be the right choice.
Make sure to consider your vehicle’s style and what is most important to you before purchasing a folding carrier. For example, a rear-mounted tire could block it from fully folding up. Once folded, carriers can also block the vehicle’s rear hatch or tailgate from opening and closing. Therefore, you may not want to lower the carrier when accessing the tailgate or hatch.
If your vehicle has rear parking assist sensors (to warn you if something is behind you), having a folded cargo carrier can also cause it to sound nonstop while reversing.
Whether constructed of steel or aluminum, most carriers can safely carry support anywhere from a few lightweight items to around five hundred pounds or more of cargo.
Hitch-Mounted Carrier Platform Styles:
Basket StyleHas retaining wall sides to help keep cargo secure and in place on the platform. The rails give peace of mind and convenient locations to attach bungee cords and cargo straps. This style is easier to carry as the rails make for great handles.
Flatbed StyleAllows you to transport odd or oversized items easily. It’s also great for heavier items as you do not have to lift them as high to load and unload them on the carrier. The outside edge of the framing is usually made from angle iron, so it often has a raised lip on the outer edge. Notice the holes in the raised lip? Those are used for anchor points for cargo nets and bungee cords.
Three Rail Style
These are like a hybrid of both the basket style and flatbed style. It has three rails to keep cargo from sliding off the back or sides and hitting the road, but no railing on the vehicle side still allows bulkier items. These seemed more popular a few years ago but are becoming increasingly harder to find.
Ramp Cargo Carriers
They are available in basket and flatbed styles. A folding ramp is perfect for loading anything with wheels, from a mobility scooter or wheelchair to things like lawnmowers or snow blowers.
The ramps that slide in (instead of sticking up in the air) are often available in the fold-up carrier style as well.
Don’t Forget the Accessories.
It’s important to know the size of vehicles receiver to know if your new rear mount carrier will fit. Most hitches are made to fit a 2 inch receiver. If your vehicle has the smaller 1 1/4″ receiver, you can buy a 1-1/4″ to 2″ Receiver Adapter to convert it.
If you don’t have one, you will need one. Some rear-mount carriers include one but the norm is that they do not. Even if they do, I would recommend purchasing a locking hitch pin. The Masterlock B0009V1WS4 is the number one selling locking hitch pin. For less than ten bucks more than a normal hitch pin, it’s cheap insurance for your new cargo rack.
Often when fully loaded with cargo, the gear may be blocking your tag from view. The last thing you want is to be pulled over and receive a traffic ticket. A tag bracket is a simple and cheap fix.
Light KitsOn larger (wide) carriers, once loaded it could block your tail lights from view. Many carriers have cutouts for installing lights kits like the Partsam Red LED Light Kit. It can help prevent rear-ended collisions and keep you legal.
Bungee Cords and Ratchet Straps
Most cargo bags made for carriers come with attached straps. However, if you plan to transport gear that’s not in a cargo bag, bungee cords and ratchet straps can help ensure your load arrives with you to your destination.
They are a great alternative to individual bungee cords.
Sometimes there is a little play between the rack and the receiver, causing the rack to sit slightly sideways or rock. Some people who have experienced this have wrapped a little duct tape around the shank to create a tighter fit. This extra accessory will take every bit of slack and is a more permanent solution. It’s worth every penny.
Inattentive drivers can collide with your carrier, not realizing how far out it is extending from the vehicle’s rear. Some carriers have built-in reflectors or come with reflective tape. Most do not. You can easily add your own reflective tape or stickers to help bring attention to your carrier.