The 10 Best Hitch Cargo Carriers

We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. One of the major headaches associated with traveling is coming up with a way to haul all of the cargo you want to transport from point A to point B in a safe, convenient manner. Whether you need a platform to transport lawnmowers, camping gear, bicycles or other bulky items that won’t fit in your car, one of these hitch racks should serve as a quality solution. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Tow Tuff TTF-2762KR

The Tow Tuff TTF-2762KR is designed to function as a bike rack or a gear transporter, depending on your needs at the current moment. The bike cradles fold down to save space when it’s in storage, and its included tie-down straps keep the load secure.

  • 500-pound weight capacity
  • Velcro loops secure bike wheels
  • Instructions are rather confusing

Brand Tow Tuff
Model TTF-2762KR
Weight 62 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. MaxxHaul 70422

A basic and economical choice, the MaxxHaul 70422 provides a stable platform that reliably resists corrosion and can handle an ample amount of weight. It does lack an extensive surface area, though, so it won’t be able to accommodate a ton of gear.

  • Lightweight at only 23 pounds
  • Strong 2-inch rails for security
  • Exhaust heat can melt plastic parts

Brand MaxxHaul
Model 70422
Weight 25.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Apex UCC500

If you’re one of those kindly individuals who likes to pay it forward by mowing your friend’s lawn or snow-blowing your parent’s driveway, the Apex UCC500 will be a useful piece of equipment. It includes a folding ramp, significantly simplifying the loading process.

  • Easy-to-clean mesh surface
  • Does not rattle or vibrate
  • Assembly can be complicated

Brand Apex
Model UCC500
Weight 95 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Rage Powersports Apex

Those of you who are value-hunters will want to consider the Rage Powersports Apex, which is crafted from solid steel and can accommodate up to 500 pounds of gear. It also folds up, so you can easily slip it into the garage when your trip is over.

  • Comes with 1-year warranty
  • Plenty of load space
  • May wobble a bit

Brand Apex
Model CCB-F6020-DLX
Weight 46.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Rola Vortex

The Rola Vortex has a sporty look that won’t detract from your car’s appearance, and a rounded frame that won’t scratch any of the equipment you’re loading up. It can be paired with a lighting system for enhanced visibility in the dark.

  • Simple 2-piece assembly
  • Tough powder-coated finish
  • Can rust over time

Brand Rola
Model 59502
Weight 74 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. TMS Basket

Ruggedly built, the TMS Basket features rounded corners to reduce the risk of injuring yourself when loading gear. It’s designed with strong aluminum, so hauling heavy-duty machinery and similar items shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Side rails keep contents secure
  • High-visibility orange accents
  • Takes a while to put together

Brand TMS
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. MaxxHaul 70275

The MaxxHaul 70275 is made entirely from lightweight aluminum, making it easy for one person to attach and detach it from the hitch. Plus, onlookers will nod in approval when they see this sleek, shiny apparatus attached to the back of your vehicle.

  • Built-in reflectors
  • Folding ramp for loading heavy items
  • Platform sits a bit too low

Brand MaxxHaul
Model 70275
Weight 79.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Curt 18151

Rough weather and bulky loads are no match for the Curt 18151, which is built with thick, tubular steel for long-lasting durability. This sturdy model bolts together quickly, and its six-inch side walls help ensure that you don’t lose any items while in transit.

  • Shank can tilt up when not in use
  • Modern and professional appearance
  • Large red reflectors on all sides

Brand Curt Manufacturing
Model 18151
Weight 59 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Pro Series Reese

Camping enthusiasts and tailgaters are sure to appreciate the expansive 60 by 24-inch surface the Pro Series Reese provides. Thick, sturdy rails line the edge of the platform, which keeps your luggage and equipment in place as you fly down the freeway.

  • Mesh floor prevents water buildup
  • Scratch-resistant black finish
  • Rounded corners for safety

Brand Pro Series
Model 63153
Weight 59.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Five Star ACC-TG

The fold-out ramp attached to the Five Star ACC-TG has a special coating to prevent slipping when you’re rolling your equipment onto the platform. A reinforcement plate is welded to the bottom of the ramp, which helps prevent wobbling and vibrating.

  • Arrives almost fully assembled
  • Made in the united states
  • For class 3 and 4 trailer hitches

Brand Five Star Manufacturing
Model 436 ACC-TG
Weight 60 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Rooftop vs. Hitch Cargo Carriers

You might already know that a hitch cargo carrier is a great way to travel with your luggage and other important items and still save space in your vehicle. What you might not know is that the hitch cargo carriers offer a number of advantages over the rooftop cargo carriers that are so often seen on cars and SUVs.

First, hitch cargo carriers offer a level of convenience and versatility that just isn’t possible with a rooftop cargo carrier. Using a rooftop carrier makes it difficult to access your items in a pinch. A hitch cargo carrier keeps everything at waist-level so you can access anything easily.

Second, rooftop cargo carriers often require additional materials such as mounting brackets in order to properly secure them. A hitch cargo carrier requires one thing: a trailer hitch. The great news about this is that most vehicles, especially trucks and SUVs, already come equipped with a ready-to-use trailer hitch.

The third advantage to the hitch cargo carrier is storage space. Since the rooftop carriers can only utilize a narrow, limited space, only certain types of items and luggage can be stored. Because hitch cargo carriers have a rectangular shape and sides that are generally raised five inches or more, they allow for better stability and secure storage of items that would be too bulky for the rooftop carrier.

Finally, the wind resistance created by using a rooftop cargo carrier can actually decrease the gas mileage you get. Because the hitch cargo carrier sits on the back, it adds a small amount of weight, but it will not add the wind resistance of a rooftop carrier meaning that there will be very little difference in your gas mileage.

It’s Easier Than It Seems

When shopping for a hitch cargo carrier, you might be overwhelmed by the number of options available. The truth is, the decision-making process can be quite simple if you know how you plan to use it. Once you have determined your intended use, you can begin to consider other factors.

First, consider the type of material you prefer. Hitch cargo carriers are made with either steel, aluminum, or polypropylene. Most are made from steel as this tends to be both durable and affordable. Manufacturers coat the steel with a black powder that helps to protect it from the elements. Polypropylene is a type of durable plastic that is also lightweight. Unfortunately, it does not have the same weight capacity as steel or aluminum. The highest quality carriers are made from aluminum because it is both lightweight and rust resistant.

Second, consider the weight capacity. Depending on what you intend to transport, you might need a high weight capacity. Many steel carriers have a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds making them ideal for loading and transporting equipment such as generators and lawn mowers. If you plan to use your carrier for travel, you can likely opt for a lighter option.

Third, check for compatibility with your vehicle’s trailer hitch. Most trailer hitches on SUVs and trucks are Class III or Class IV hitches, and most hitch cargo carriers are compatible with both. Don’t just assume, however, or you could find yourself dealing with more hassle than necessary.

You also have the choice between a solid or mesh platform. The advantage to a solid surface is that the cargo you’re carrying will be protected from debris that can kick up from the road. However, the mesh surface tends to be more popular because it provides openings for better securing items with cargo straps.

Finally, there are a number of accessories available with hitch cargo carriers. These can include ramps for easy loading of heavy items and equipment and lighting kits and reflectors for safe night driving. Some carriers intended to for long-term, frequent use come complete with space for attaching a license plate.

A Brief History of the Hitch Cargo Carrier

The first trailer in recorded history was the cart which originated around 5,000 BCE. It was a two-wheeled vehicle built soon after the invention of the wheel. It was pulled by domesticated animals including horses, oxen, and donkeys. It was used to transport personal belongings and crops.

The next step in the evolution of the trailer was the chariot. It was invented around 3,000 BCE. and was drawn by horses. The early Mesopotamians developed it as a status symbol, and it was used by royalty and members of the upper class.

Centuries later, around 800 CE, the chariot evolved into the sleigh. It appears that it was first used by Vikings for both work and play and was preferred in cold climates because it was safer and more convenient than wheeled vehicles on ice, mud, and snow.

The covered wagon made its appearance in the mid-eighteenth century, and the largest among them could carry up to 12,000 pounds of cargo at one time. They were first used by German settlers in what is now the United States and were pulled by horses or oxen.

Since automobiles are now an essential part of everyday life, trailers are still in use but in a different way. Many people still find the need to haul important items while saving space inside the vehicle. Trailers that hitched to the back of the car were the solution to this need for a long time. Now we have the convenience of hitch cargo carriers that don’t require additional maneuvering and simply act as a part of the vehicle itself.