Difference Between a Rooftop Bag and a Rooftop Box (What You Should Know in 2021)

Quite a number of times, road travelers find it difficult to understand the difference between a rooftop bag and a rooftop box, that is why this topic is here to do justice to the question.

Being careful will not cause you even a cent. It will only further make you happier depending on the situation you find yourself.

This statement served as a guide for uprooting this topic in order for me to rescue you from a materialistic mistake you may encounter while purchasing things like a rooftop bag and rooftop box.

Behold, these products are two different items. They may have some similarities but 100 percent different when it comes to what they are.

There can be a time you are planning to go for a picnic or travel with family and friends but later realize that there is no space in the vehicle for you to store your loads, there will be a need for you to create space since it is a must you go with those load.

How do you do this? Are you going to keep the loads on each passenger’s lap? Or will you keep the loads on your head while you drive?

Well, I don’t think you need to give me an answer here. This is exactly the reason why the rooftop bag and rooftop box will come in.

Wait a Minute!

What is a rooftop bag and what is a rooftop box? Let me say something about what they are before comparing them or clearing the difference between them.

What is a Rooftop Bag?

A rooftop bag is used in carrying bulky objects such as canoes, skis, luggage, bicycles, Kayaks, including various carriers and containers.

This rooftop bag is so important that it allows you to transport your items on the roof of your vehicle without in any way reducing the inner space in your car, jeep, or bus. If you have targeted the number of people that can occupy the interior space in your vehicle, getting a rooftop bag is an ideal decision.

The design of a rooftop or cargo area is limited to the size of the main car’s trunk design. You must have seen people carrying an object that looks like a bag on their vehicles rooftop, it could be a rooftop bag or rooftop box, you and I don’t know yet.

Let’s continue to read the article until justice finally prevails.

What is a Rooftop Box?

Difference Between a Rooftop Bag and a Rooftop Box

A rooftop box is said to be a large box you can attach securely to the roof of your car.  This is an item that is made specifically to add storage space to store things like suitcases, sports bags, camping equipment as well as outdoor equipment, and so on.

Are you able to spot any difference yet? or you haven’t discovered any difference. Perhaps, you are thinking that one of them is a box and the other is a bag.

Understanding the Differences Between a Rooftop Bag and a Rooftop Box

Difference Between a Rooftop Bag and a Rooftop Box

It is often difficult deciding which to buy, a Cargo Box (Rooftop Box) or a Cargo Bag (Rooftop Bag) after all, you now have the need to store your travelling items and yet you can’t just call a space a shovel because there is no enough space in your car.

Hmm, you are still trying to figure out where I’m driving to, right? For you to be able to differentiate between a Cargo bag and a Cargo box, you must first of all understand the features each of them carries. This will aid you in carrying out the right decision at critical times like this.

This write-up will make a clear difference between the two items to enable you to understand the difference between the two and then help you automatically channel your intelligence to a reason to buy a particular item.

It could be from the use, your purpose, budget, and another requirement. Are you picking the difference already? Good. Now, let continue to the main point.

Detailed explanation about Cargo Roof Box

Can you see this diagram? What shape can you see? Fine, keep it in your heart, that’s just a diagrammatic illustration of what a cargo box looks like.

What is the technical significance of this item? I just want to draw your attention to these.

Security Wise: what makes you think that you are safe in your room while you lock your door with security locks and then sleep peacefully?

It is the quality of the door and the lock that locks it. Now, open your mind. Come along, a cargo box is made of locks that enable you to lock away your valuables and then walk away as if you are sleeping in your bed after locking your giant gate with a lock.

Your properties will be secure and fine in the rooftop box, not only because it has locks but the body is made of tough materials that cannot be easily broken what’s the meaning to a thief trying to open it? So, there are hard shell casing for these boxes – extra security for you and me.

I can also compare a cargo roof box to a car trunk. This is because a car trunk protects everything in it from weather conditions.

The same thing a cargo box does, it is hard enough to protect your valuables from thieves and any weather condition.

This is an amazing fact about the cargo roof box. Facts cannot be overruled; they have come to stay until there is a record-breaker.

You see, there is one advantage of the cargo box, and that’s the crazy space they give you to store your valuables.

A cargo box is usually 22 cubic feet, and can also help protect your luggage from influences during the trip.

Detailed explanation about the roof cargo bag

Look at this diagram too. What can you see? How does the bag look like? Is it looking hard or soft? What about the shape? Can you identify it?

Now, let us talk about the roof cargo bag. A cargo bag cannot accommodate much luggage as a cargo roof box does, and at the same time, don’t see it to be as hard as a box.

We call this bag, we call that box – definitely the material used in making them differs, the previous is softer while the latter is hard.

Cargo roof bag takes about 18 cubic feet on top of your vehicle; I conclude that it holds nearly the same amount of luggage as the rooftop box. Now, you can spot another difference. Isn’t it?

An advantage a cargo rooftop bag has is that it can be easily folded after use. Just fold your bag into a small box and store it in a safe corner. Another glad tiding about rooftop bags is that they are flexible; you can stop items of any shapes in them.

Let us talk about the difference between the cargo rooftop bag and cargo rooftop box.

The Difference between the Rooftop Box and Rooftop Bag

We have finally reached the stage to reveal the difference between these two items. I am sure that I have done justice to the advantages, and basic information about each of the products to help you easily differentiate between them and also facilitate your decision.

Hold on to this important information with your incisors, firmly without hesitation.

The Space Between the two

There is always elder brother to a younger brother, that’s how nature has made this world, designed, well structured. In terms of space, the two cargos are accommodative; however, the cargo boxes are two feet spacious.

The cargo bags are made to occupy 18 cubic feet while the cargo boxes occupy 22 cubic feet. The two cargos are super spacious, but if you need to add extra luggage, and want your valuables to be more protected, cargo boxes will be your best choice.


Without any argument, cargo boxes are more protective – meaning, they are a step ahead of the cargo bag security-wise. Apart from they are designed with locks, they are also made of hard shell casings that give them extra protection power.

This means if at all you are scared of losing your valuables using a rooftop bag that can be easily slit into the piece using a sharp knife or scissors; your mind will be at rest using a rooftop box that cannot be easily broken even with a hammer.

The Roof Rack

As for the cargo boxes, they are known to increase the storage space of your vehicle. This means unlike the cargo bags, they cannot stay without the roof rack installed.

You will need to do more research on a compatible roof rack with a cargo box before you purchase one. So, don’t be lazy, do your assignment before the purchase.

Storage and Flexibility

Now, we have come to a point where storage and flexibility play a major role. The rooftop bags have an advantage over the rooftop boxes in this case.

When the rooftop bags are not in use, they can be easily stored because they can be folded. The cargo boxed will require a dedicated space that will take their shapes.

To me, having a rooftop box is like having a borehole thank. There must be a dedicated point to store it and it must take its shape too.

What are the Shapes of the Rooftop Bags and boxes?

Difference Between a Rooftop Bag and a Rooftop Box

Every item has the shape it is generally identified with. In the case of rooftop bags and cargo boxes, they are not exempted.

The rooftop bags are normally designed in a rectangular, C-Shape shape just like the common shapes associated with normal bags.

They can come in different colours but the general space common with them is 12.25, 13.5, 15, 18, and 21 cubic feet capacity respectively. As for the rooftop boxes, also come in different shapes.

Some cargo boxes come in the rectangular shape too while most of them come in the shape of a boat that can be compared to a triangular shape, in fact, some are in the shape of plastic cooler depending on the shape of the manufacturer is creative about.

The space capacity can be 22 cubic feet maximum.

A tabular Illustration of the difference between a rooftop bag and a rooftop box

Cargo Box Cargo Bag
It is made of hard shell cases. It is made of nylon or vinyl material.
It is larger in size and height recommended, maximum of 22 cubic feet. It is lesser in size and height, recommended maximum of 18 cubic feet.
Cargo boxes are usually more expensive. They are less expensive.
They are made of locks that increase the security of your valuables. They are made of durable zippers to enhance the security of your items.
This is a box not bag as many have misunderstood to be a cargo bag. This is a bag not box. It should be noted.

I have given the detailed difference between the two items on review, so let us look at the differences in a tabular form to further ease human understanding.

Compare the two items by yourself to know which you should purchase at a particular time, for a particular reason and purpose.

Things to note before buying a rooftop bag

Rooftop bags are awesome options for many families as a means to increase storage space for their vehicles especially during the journey on the road.

Remember, rooftop bags serve the same purpose with the hard cargo boxes, they are actually designed differently. This implies that you must, first of all, know what you are shopping for.

This is the first lesson in this guide for you to find the best cargo bag you can purchase.

The way to guide you to know how to buy a cargo bag is that you should understand the difference between a cargo bag and a cargo box.

Without a doubt, I have been hammering on the difference since the beginning of this article. Then, after that, you are free to follow this guide below.

Internal Volume of the Cargo bag

Don’t joke with this factor at all. This should be the first thing you should consider as a shopper whenever you are planning to get yourself or loved one a rooftop bag.

The primary aim of getting a rooftop bag is to create additional space for your luggage that cannot occupy any space in your vehicle.

When the internal volume of your cargo bag is large enough, it will definitely accommodate luggage, this is why it is ideal to consider it as number one priority.

However, smaller vehicles need smaller rooftop bags while larger vehicles can accommodate suitable sizes.

Check the Material of the Bag

Despite I have been mentioning that rooftop bags are soft, I am doing so as a means to differentiate between the toughness of what is made of harder solid and what is made of less hard solid.

Don’t go for a cargo bag that will not last long. You need to consider the material a rooftop bag is made of. Is it the type of material that easily turns or what does it look like?

You also must consider the reaction of the rooftop bags to weather, rain, and UV rays, so I will advise that you go for the types made of vinyl fabrics they tend to be more effective than those designed with nylon.

Consider the Weight Capacity

There is no need to buy a bag that cannot carry the weight of the items it was purposely bought for. Your item must be strong enough to accommodate the luggage stored in it so that it doesn’t split into pieces.

So, while you are buying your rooftop bag, ensure that it is made of material tough enough to resist the pressure exerted by the loads contained in it.

Part of precaution measure; do not store too heavy stuff in a rooftop bag when you know it may not be able to take the weight.

What about Security

Despite that rooftop bags are not as hard as the rooftop boxes, they can still secure your luggage, and however, this depends on you.

As you are planning to purchase a cargo bag, don’t forget to ensure that it is the type that will stay properly attached to the roof of your car even when you are at high speed.

Another thing you must consider is the zippers. The zippers of your cargo bag should be durable enough to close well so they can prevent your valuables from rain and thieves. You should also get security padlocks for your rooftop bags.

Portability and Ease of Storage

It is almost impossible to find no portable rooftop bag, to me, since they can be folded, they are portable and easy to store.

But, if you go shopping and then find a so-called rooftop bag that cannot be folded into a smaller size, then don’t go for it – you must ensure your convenience for a product. Sometimes, what could cause the lack of a portable bag is its size.

So, don’t go beyond 18 cubic feet capacity as advised above.

The Mounting of the Bag on the Rooftop

You need to consider the mounting of the bags on the roof of your vehicle. If your car doesn’t have a permanent roof rack, you can consider a bag that can rest on a pad and then strap run through the doors to keep the bag firm.

It is very important for families to consider the entire factors mentioned above. These factors when followed properly will aid the family to purchase the best product that will serve them and also last long.

Which of the rooftop items should you buy?

I emphasized earlier when I was talking about the difference between cargo bags and cargo boxes. Depending on the purpose and need, you can decide to buy any of the items.

In some areas that are not secure, of which you know, if your car is packed, some people can easily steal something by all means, you may want to consider buying a rooftop box that will give them a tough time to break.

There are many factors that may want to trigger you to buy one in place of the other, let me analyze some of them.

Why you may want to buy a cargo bag instead of a cargo box

Here are some reasons you should consider a rooftop bag rather than a rooftop box.

  • Are you considering storage space and flexibility?
  • Do you need a smaller storage material?
  • What is your budget?
  • Affordability is also key in making a buying decision

Why you may want to buy a cargo box instead of a cargo bag

  • If you are considering a higher security advantage, you may want to go for a cargo box because they are made of a hard shell casing that cannot be easily broken.
  • They also come with locks that protect your luggage. With a cargo box, you are more secured and relaxed compared to a rooftop bag that may be slit with a sharp knife even though it is made of vinyl.
  • It creates more space of 22 cubic feet compared to a cargo bag with 18 cubic feet. If you are considering this factor too, you may want to go for the box.
  • Rooftop boxes can withstand harsher weather conditions, compared to the rooftop bags, so, which are you going for now if you have the money?

What are the advantages of buying a rooftop bag

The advantage in this context means the benefit of the rooftop bags. So, what are the benefits of buying a good rooftop bag?

The Versatility of the item is important. There is a universal advantage attached to a cargo bag. A cargo bag can aid in carrying sports equipment, personal valuable, camping gear, and so on.

Additional Storage Space for you. A carrier cargo bag will definitely create additional storage space for you if there is no enough space in your car to accommodate extra luggage that must be carried along during your journey.

Security and organization of your item guarantee. With the cargo bag, your items will not be misplaced, which means they will be intact throughout the journey. Apart from the misplacement of items prevented, your valuables will be protected from rain and other weather conditions during the journey, and also people will not find access to your bag.

Safety Tips for Cargo bags and cargo boxes

Since these two items serve the same purpose but made differently, their safety tips in this aspect remain the same. Here are some tips you should consider the safety of your valuables.

  • Ensure that the cargo fits. The rooftop you are considering to buy should be the type that will fit the size of your car rooftop to prevent sliding while the vehicle is at high speed.
  • Consider the road. What do I mean by this statement? It means you should load your cargo bag or box to a height that will enable you to pass through hanging branches, garage, and carports.
  • Ensure a balance weight. When the load contained in your cargo is balanced, there will be no swinging at high speed. This balanced loads increase the firmness of your cargo bag or box attached to the roof rack.


Families should begin to consider cargo bags or boxes for travel or picnic or sports events since the vehicle may not always accommodate the entire load needed for a trip.

The two cargo carries work for the same purpose but is not made the same way which makes one tougher, more secure, and expensive than the other. So, it is left for you to purchase any of the two cargos depending on your budget and purpose.

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