Best Hitch Mounted Cargo Carriers

Sometimes, try as you might, you just can’t get that last piece of luggage in the back of your car or truck. Camping trips, fishing trips or even the odd home removals job mean your vehicle suddenly seems a lot smaller. The best hitch mounted carriers offer an alternative to those ugly roof racks or cumbersome trailers, to help you move your extra cargo.

Benefits of a Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier

  1. hey’re easy to install. No extra brackets required, just the hitch point you already have.
  2. They have a large capacity to load extra items and weight, dependent on your hitch capacity.
  3. They’re durable, being made from either steel or aluminum.
  4. They’re easier to load and access rather than roof mounted cargo carriers.
  5. They are less likely to scratch your car or add extra air resistance to the car that roof carriers often do.

Hitch cargo carriers can be an ideal way of transporting those things you don’t really want to shove in the car, including dirty camping equipment or gas canisters. They are safe and easier to maneuver than a trailer. And they’re legal.

The only requirements by law are: a cargo carrier must have reflectors attached to alert other drivers, the luggage should be securely stored so it doesn’t cause any accidents and the license plate must be visible at all times. Some of the most popular hitch mounted cargo carriers have attachments for a license plate. You should ensure your rear license is not obstructed and can be seen.

The following YouTube video shows how easy it is to load a hitch mounted cargo carrier and uses one of the products we have looked at from Curt Manufacturing.

Which are the Best Hitch Mounted Cargo Carriers?

We have looked at some of the most popular hitch mounted cargo carriers to help you decide which one is right for you. These in our opinion are the five best hitch mounted cargo carriers you can buy today.

1. Curt 1851 Basket Style Cargo Carrier

Made with heavy duty steel tubing, the Curt 1851 cargo carrier uses an ingenious folding shank which allows it to be tilted up when not in use. Six-inch tall sides keep items secure as you travel with a spacious 60 by 20-inch basket that is spacious enough to carry all you need for most weekend trips. A mesh steel base makes cleaning the carrier easier and prevents smaller items for falling through.

It’s easy to install the carrier, although the steel is quite heavy–at least you won’t have to remove it too often due to its folding nature. Curt carriers can be mounted at the front or rear of a vehicle as long as there is a receiver hitch. The angle shank allows you to create a decent ground clearance. This is important to avoid the carrier hitting the ground, especially if driving a sedan.

Top Points

  • Made with heavy duty steel and maximum capacity of 500 pounds.
  • Folding shank for when not being used.
  • Sturdy platform with high side walls and steel mesh base.
PROSCONS
Tall side rails on large platform for extra storageCan obstruct tail-lights and license plate if fully loaded
2 by 2 inch folding shank for when not in use.Cargo may get dirty with only a mesh base.

2. ACC-1F Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier by Tricam

The main feature of this cargo carrier is its aluminum construction. This makes it extremely light and easy to take on and off the hitch. The Tricam also uses a blend of steel to make it more sturdy. It can withstand up to 500 pounds of luggage or camping equipment–ample for most weekends away.

Reflectors placed on the back of the carrier improve the safety when driving in poor visibility conditions. Unfortunately, being mainly aluminum, you have to wonder how it will hold up to rough terrain. On some vehicles it sits dangerously close to the exhaust.

Top Points

  • Lightweight aluminum with steel construction weighs less than 30 pounds.
  • Large platform for extra storage
  • Uses any 2-inch receiver hitch.
PROSCONS
Lightweight aluminum construction yet 500 pounds capacityMay not be as durable as all steel constructions
Safety is enhanced with reflectorsToo close to exhaust on many vehicles and may be unsafe.

3. Rola 59502 Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier

This high capacity cargo carrier from Rola features a heavy-duty steel construction. It is finished in a sporty black powder coating to protect it from the elements and resist rusting. Although heavy, a simple two-piece assembly uses a rise-shank design to lift it further from the ground for easier loading and provide some distance from the exhaust.

An optional lighting system gives the convenience of carrying your cargo on dark roads. License plate attachment points help you to avoid any unnecessary traffic tickets. A steel mesh at the bottom of the platform holds your luggage, with support bars to prevent the cargo from sinking when loaded to the max. All Rola products come with an impressive 5-year warranty if you should have any issues.

Top Points

  • High capacity steel construction holds up to 600 pounds
  • Attachment points for fixing license plate
  • Fits any 2-inch receiver.
PROSCONS
Durable solid steel constructionHeavy and doesn’t fold up
Lighting system upgrade for night time travels.Luggage may get dirty with only a mesh base.

4. Five Star 436 ACC-TG Cargo Carrier With Ramp Gate

For transporting lawn mowers, snow blowers or even mobility scooters, the anti-slip ramp of the Five Star carrier offers an easy way of loading your cargo.

Constructed with aluminum, the lightweight ramp uses a pivoting system which simply folds upright when not in use. It stays in place with a provided hitch pin and bracket. For additional reinforcement, a wear plate has been welded to the bottom of the ramp. The platform base is strengthened by four 1 x 1-inch square tubes. This cargo carrier arrives fully assembled except for a 2-inch square tube which attaches the carrier to any class III or IV trailer hitch.

Top Points

  • 300 pounds maximum capacity aluminum ramp-style cargo carrier.
  • Large 48 x 36-inch platform with a reinforced base.
  • For use with class III and IV trailer hitches.
PROSCONS
Large 48 x 36-inch metal platform is suitable for most domestic machineryConservative maximum capacity of only 300 pounds
Reinforced ramp and base unit for extra safety.Ramp tends to wobble.

Our Choice - Look NO Further

Although any of the cargo carriers we have looked at could be the ideal solution to insufficient space in your car, our favorite would have to be the Curt 1851 basket style hitch cargo carrier. We really liked the folding shank that is tucked away when not in use. The heavy duty tubular steel construction makes it the best hitch mounted carrier, in our opinion. The extra large platform, 500 pounds capacity and the added security of 6-inch high side walls makes it the ideal choice for those weekend camping, fishing or hunting trips.

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