Best Hitch Mounted Cargo Box

It doesn’t matter how big your vehicle is, one day you’re going to find yourself needing extra space for more luggage or cargo. It could be a family camping trip, a fishing trip with friends or even moving home just across town.

Old-fashioned roof mounted cargo boxes can be difficult to load, especially with heavier items. Traditional cargo carrier baskets or platforms on the hitch of your vehicle will leave your valuables exposed to the elements, and even worse, potential thieves.

The best hitch mounted cargo box is an ideal solution to your vehicle storage issues. Although you can get cargo boxes or bags that fit into a basket style carrier, we have focused on hitch mounted boxes for this article.

The following YouTube video looks at the SwingAway frame which is now being employed by many cargo box manufacturers.

Which is the Best Hitch Mounted Cargo Box?

There may not be as many hitch mounted cargo boxes available as the basket/platform carrier type, but there is still enough variety to make it a challenging decision. We have looked at some top selling products to help you choose the best hitch mounted carrier box for your vehicle.

1. Transporter Combi Hitch Cargo Carrier

What we really liked about the Thule 665C hitch mounted cargo box was the tilting action of the short hitch arm. This allows for easier loading of cargo and access to the rear of the vehicle. A one-key security lock means you can happily leave this box on the back of your car.

The large 13-cubic foot storage area can store up to 150 pounds of your gear. It includes a drain plug in the bottom for easy cleanup should any accidents happen–ideal for hosing the box down after moving muddy camping equipment. Extra safety features include tail-lights that plug into your existing 4-pin harness plug and a license plate attachment to ensure you stay within the law.

Top Points

  • Rigid hitch mounted cargo box with 13 cubic foot storage capacity, maximum weight of 150 pounds.
  • Works with ¼ inch and 2-inch receiver hitches
  • Wired rear lights using the power of your vehicle’s 4-pin wired plug.
PROSCONS
Tilting box hitch for easy access to back of a vehicle when box is emptyDoesn’t include locking hitch as standard
Wired rear lights and license plate adapter.Bulky to install and carry from hitch indoors.

2. Max Cargo Box with Swingaway Frame

One of the more expensive options, the StowAway carrier features a frame which swings out up to 180 degrees for access to the rear of your vehicle. This cargo box is designed to fit any 2-inch hitch receiver and can carry up to 200 pounds of cargo. The 16-cubic foot storage box allows for plenty of luggage, bags or tools. Your receiver hitch should be rated for at least 300 pounds of weight for the extra weight of the frame and box.

The Max cargo box comes complete with a hitch tightener, swingaway frame, wired rear lights and a license plate holder. Designed to fit any class III or higher 2-inch hitch receiver.

Top Points

  • Heavy duty cargo box designed to be hitched mounted to any 2-inch hitch with at least 300 pounds tongue weight capacity
  • Frame allows the box to swing out up to 180 degrees.
  • 16 cubic feet of storage space with 200 pounds capacity.
PROSCONS
Swing out design allows for easy access to your vehicle, Large 16 cubic foot capacity and 200 pounds max load.Vehicles with rear mounted spare may need a hitch extender, Only water resistant and not 100 percent waterproof.

Number: 3. Adventure System and SwingAway Frame

Another premium option is the Rola Adventure System. This uses a cargo tray which can be used separately. It features a swingaway frame and has a cargo pod on top. The pod has 13-cubic feet of storage capacity and is weather resistant. The carrying system mount attaches to a 2-inch receiver hitch which is weighted for a minimum of 250 pounds.

The swingaway frame allows for 120-140 degrees of motion for access to the rear of your vehicle. Being mounted at hitch level allows for easy loading. Again, this carrier features tail-lights that plug into your car’s power, plus a license plate holder. The main advantage of this model is that you can use the tray by itself when you need the extra space for storage.

Top Points

  • Cargo tray and pod designed to fit 2-inch square hitch receivers.
  • 13 ½ cubic feet of storage capacity when used with pod, more when just the cargo tray is used.
  • Fully functional tail lights and security locks included.
PROSCONS
More versatile with a choice of pod or just cargo trayWiring for tail lights can get too hot if too close to exhaust
Swingaway frame is a popular choice for many who want easy access to the back of their vehicleLatches on the pod and that attach to carrier need to be stronger

4. Hitch Mount Cargo Carrier and Cargo Bag

The last option we look at is the cheapest. This Mockins product includes a cargo carrier tray with a waterproof bag. The heavy-duty vinyl cargo bag has water resistant ratchet straps. It’s a viable alternative to rigid plastic boxes but still keeps your possessions safe and dry.

The sturdy steel constructed platform allows for up to 500 pounds of cargo or luggage to be towed. A 2-inch angled shank elevates the platform higher for better ground clearance and to avoid exhaust fumes hitting your possessions. At this price you only get reflectors and no license plate attachments, although both can be added for not too much extra.

Top Points

  • Heavy duty steel platform can hold 500 pounds of cargo/luggage.
  • Waterproof cargo carrier bag and rainproof ratchet straps.
  • 2-inch shank rise for use with any vehicle with 2-inch receiver.
PROSCONS
Fully waterproof bag to ensure your cargo remains dryDoesn’t offer as much protection as a rigid box
Can be used as cargo platform with 500 pounds capacityWill need extra security locks to protect your cargo

Our Choice - Look NO Further

Although it was difficult to choose between our top two best hitch mounted cargo boxes, our personal favorite has to be the Thule Transporter Combi Hitch Box. Both are similar in price, have approximately the same storage capacity and come with fully working tail light-sets and license plate attachment points. It’s down to whether you want a box that tilts down or a SwingAway frame for easier access to the back of your car.

We found the tilt down mechanism didn’t require as much clearance space and was much easier to use in confined spaces, like a parking lot. In addition, the hitch box of the Thule seemed to be more sturdy with a quality one-key lock for security.

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