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  1. #1

    Default Roof Top Cargo Carrier or Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier? Compare and Contrast.

    I'm looking into either getting a Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier or a Roof Top Cargo Carrier to help free up space in the Traverse for longer road trips. Let's compare and contrast in this thread the differences between them and what manufacturers you guys like, don't like, etc.

    Need Extra Space? What's your preference? What do you have and how do you like it?

    TRAILER HITCH CARGO CARRIER
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    or ROOFTOP CARGO CARRIER
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    ... and remember ...


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    If you can give specific information that would be helpful too.

    Steve
    10 Chevy Traverse LT AWD
    02 Chevy Trailblazer LS (110K+ miles - loaded except for 4WD - WRECKED!)
    99 Chevy Cavalier LS (105K+ miles - commuter car)
    78 Chevy Suburban Silverado (454, 3/4 ton)
    62 GMC 3/4 ton Pickup (350 police interceptor)

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  2. #2

    Default

    I'm a tightwad and would buy the Harbor Freight trailer carrier when it goes on sale for $50-$60.
    Additionally, for road trips I would choose the trailer hitch carrier since I've heard the roof-top carriers wreak havoc with your cd and fuel economy (I know, I drive a Suburban, what cd?). Thankfully I've only needed to occasionally use a bike rack on the trailer hitch as the suburban usually has more than enough cargo space (that's why I bought one!)
    My two cents
    Current Rides: |99 Chevy Suburban- the family truckster |93 Lincoln Town Car- 250K miles & still churning -now a fan of the Panther platform |95 BMW 325is coupe- Wheeee!
    Former GM cars: |78 Suburban 454 |71 Buick Electra 225 (deuce & a quarter) |75 Monte Carlo- 400SB- heaviest doors GM every made |70 Impala coupe- my 1st car

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  4. #3

    Default

    On my trip to Florida this summer I would guess that at least 5% of the SUVs on the road had some type of extra cargo carrier on them. That could either be a a rooftop unit or a trailer hitch unit.

    Question, the trailer hitch units cover up the license plate! What do you do to let your plate be shown, anyone been ticketed for this?

  5. #4

    Default

    Hey Steve, if you have small kids, the roof top units can be opened and used as a kiddie pool in the hot weather (someone on my street did this a couple of weeks ago, haha)

    Here is how I see it, I have a hitch carrier, I used it for very dirty, large items (like a lawn mower) when I had an Envoy.
    But, it was always in the way, had to watch for it when backing and when walking around the truck. If I had anything in it, I had to unload to open the rear gate.

    I've never had a roof top, but I have carried ladders on the roof racks. not fun trying to get heavy things up there.

    I guess, it depends upon what you carry. I would use a roof top (because they are dry) if I carried skis, good for small suit cases, maybe coolers.
    Ray

    '09 Avalanche LTZ - Black
    '05 Envoy XL (sold)

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  7. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RayVoy View Post
    Hey Steve, if you have small kids, the roof top units can be opened and used as a kiddie pool in the hot weather (someone on my street did this a couple of weeks ago, haha)

    Here is how I see it, I have a hitch carrier, I used it for very dirty, large items (like a lawn mower) when I had an Envoy.
    But, it was always in the way, had to watch for it when backing and when walking around the truck. If I had anything in it, I had to unload to open the rear gate.

    I've never had a roof top, but I have carried ladders on the roof racks. not fun trying to get heavy things up there.

    I guess, it depends upon what you carry. I would use a roof top (because they are dry) if I carried skis, good for small suit cases, maybe coolers.
    a lot of what I'm looking for is extra carrying capacity for longer Road trips . so luggage, coolers , beach and-or camping Chairs , tents, etc .

  8. #6
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    130

    Default

    The trailer hitch may lose a few points for long trips if you drive in much rain. Around here we get a lot of mud on the highways from traffic coming off of dirt roads.
    2013 Escape Titanium 4WD

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  10. #7

    Default

    How's your upper body strength? LOL Here's my .02: If you are just looking for xtra space to put "luggage, coolers , beach and-or camping Chairs , tents, etc", those don't sound too cumbersome and are def. things you would want dry and secured. If you get the hitch hauler, who's to stop that stuff from walking off while you're enjoying road breakfast at denny's? And, you can't get into your hatch with stuff on the hitch hauler. I don't like crawling over back seats in chevys unless.... well I'll keep it G rated.
    Hotty Toddy!

  11. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by donl View Post
    The trailer hitch may lose a few points for long trips if you drive in much rain. Around here we get a lot of mud on the highways from traffic coming off of dirt roads.
    There are some hitch-mounted cargo carriers that are fully enclosed as an option, and there are some rooftop units that are just open baskets as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel_Bowtie View Post
    How's your upper body strength? LOL Here's my .02: If you are just looking for xtra space to put "luggage, coolers , beach and-or camping Chairs , tents, etc", those don't sound too cumbersome and are def. things you would want dry and secured. If you get the hitch hauler, who's to stop that stuff from walking off while you're enjoying road breakfast at denny's? And, you can't get into your hatch with stuff on the hitch hauler. I don't like crawling over back seats in chevys unless.... well I'll keep it G rated.
    Yeah, that was one of my concerns. Sure, anyone at any time can smash your window and make off with your goodies inside, but the open hitch carrier is right there. Now, a lot of people do travel from Point-to-point, like from home to the hotel with no un-attended stops in between.

    I've also thought about gaining access to the rear cargo areas, but one of the reasons that I would want this is because the rear is full of people and once you get all of the seats up in a 3rd row vehicle, there's not a ton of space back there for anything else.

  12. #9

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    I, personally, prefer the hitch cargo carriers as I can't stand trying to crawl up on top of a car to try and load or unload from a roof rack.

    But the issue of security is applicable to both the rooftop carriers as well as the hitch carriers. Anything that you don't want to be accessed by the local riff raff at where ever you are stopped should have at least one, if not more than one, lock on it to keep it secure. If this means using light duty chains on a hitch carrier, or adding hasps to an enclosed carrier for more locks, then that is what is needed.

    My $0.02.

    Also, as long as you don't try to do it alone (for weight and safety reasons), a hitch carrier can be removed from the receiver as a whole unit without having to "unload" it just to access a rear hatch.
    Last edited by csltrains96; 08-01-2013 at 12:00 AM. Reason: addition
    csltrains96
    Myself, my beautiful wife
    3 - boys
    3 - minivans
    1 - '89 Chevy K2500 Silverado Truck
    1 - 27 foot travel trailer
    Not enough family time!

  13. #10
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Markham, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    112

    Default

    I have tried both, but, found the rooftop yo cumbersome on my vehicles. The hitch cariier I had worked great but the capacity was very limited. I now have a small 4X6 trailer instead, covered, lockable and my wife can load it up before I get home so all I have to do is hook it up and go once the truck is packed. Advantage more capacity and I can also use it for other purposes, disadvantage more cost and storage when not in use.

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