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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Location: Annapolis, MD
Hi All -

Looking for feedback on cargo carriers to augment the amount of "beach fun" we can bring with us !

Any recommendations/feedback ? We have a 2003 Sienna and 2004 Highlander that we alternate trips. I'm leaning toward the trailer hitch carrier since it won't add to the vehicle height, but all discussion is welcome !

Thanks in advance

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:34 pm 
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Bryan and I have a trailer hitch carrier and it's fantastic! WE got it from Harbor Freight and it's aluminum. It holds the same amount of weight as a steel one (500 pounds), but it won't rust like the steel. We bought a weatherproof bag that attaches to it and it holds a ton. It's very easy to use, too.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=92655

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:08 pm 
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We use a Samsonite cargo carrier that you put on top. We drive a Ford Expedition and have no trouble with height even at the drive thru of restaurants. It is made of weather proof fabric to keep everything dry. We actually bought it on clearance and didn't pay a whole lot I don't think. I've used it 8 or 10 times and it is still in great shape. It's not the hard case that you see a lot of. If going this route make sure you research it and get one of the bigger sizes available. We used to have a mini-van and it worked great on it too. We chose the soft pouch type so we didn't have to leave it on the car all week. We just unpack, take the carrier off, fold it up and stick it in the closet of the hotel room. They are pretty easy to load your luggage. I actually load the whole thing myself as well as tying it down.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:11 pm 
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Location: Rock Hill
I would go with the hitch thing of a soft top storage. I doubt you will be able to fit into all the parking decks with a hard top at some hotels/


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:03 am 
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I considered every option the hitch mount style, soft roof bags, and hard roof bags. After very exhaustive research for price, convience, and user reviews i settled on and X sport 20 as in 20 cubic feet of storage. I'll paste the link for you http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1260 ... 000P?mv=rr as you can see this one is a sears carrier but you can not find one that holds so much stuff for such a reasonable price. We have a 2007 Kia Sedona Mini Van and am EXTREMELY happy with it... Was big enough to hold everything we needed (4 adults 2 kids) and bear in mind we greatly over packed... our fuel milage with it loaded on the top only changed by 1 mile to the gallon following the manufacturers directions to place it as far back as possible and even driving through massive rain storms everthing stayed dry. Another thing is i know we always exceede the weight limit of 100pounds. We have loaded 300 to 400 pounds of stuff in it with no problems. Also we have not had any clearance problems in hotel parking garages or fast food drive thru's either... we caught ours on sale for $169 or $179 but i would be happy even at $250!!!! if you have any other specific questions feel free to send me a private message and i would be more than happy to answer or give you more info...

take care and good luck with your choice!!!!! :joker:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:04 am 
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Location: Annapolis, MD
Wow - thanks for the great feedback ! Soft tops, hard tops, trailer carriers, mpg feedback... only the best info from MBMB !

Couple followup question for the cartop versions, both soft and hard. Do they attach directly to the roof racks, or clip into the door rain gutters ? (not sure if that's the appropriate term)

Also, any impact on speed ? I get excited on the trip down and occasionally drift up to 80mph.... all through my subconscious, I would never knowingly violate any speed laws :nanner: On a trip down a few yrs back, I recall 2 backups on I-95S caused by carriers spilled in the roadway. don't need that to start off a vacation !

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:18 am 
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KirkG wrote:
Wow - thanks for the great feedback ! Soft tops, hard tops, trailer carriers, mpg feedback... only the best info from MBMB !

Couple followup question for the car top versions, both soft and hard. Do they attach directly to the roof racks, or clip into the door rain gutters ? (not sure if that's the appropriate term)

Also, any impact on speed ? I get excited on the trip down and occasionally drift up to 80mph.... all through my subconscious, I would never knowingly violate any speed laws :nanner: On a trip down a few yrs back, I recall 2 backups on I-95S caused by carriers spilled in the roadway. don't need that to start off a vacation !


KirkG, Like I said earlier, I have the Samsonite soft version that I can store in the hotel closet while at the beach. I opted for the bigger carrier and it holds quite a bit. To answer your question about the tie downs. Mine hooks directly to the roof rack. It has worked fine on both the windstar and expedition roof racks. It has 8 straps (2 front and 2 back, 2 side/front and 2 side/back). I also run two utility straps bought from wal-mart across the top. These are made to tie down motor bikes etc... It''s probably not necessary, but I already had them so why take a chance.

All the soft tops that I have seen zip, so no problem with them flying open. As far as mpg, I lose maybe 1 mpg according to the car's mpg indicator. I've actually driven around 90 mph and really can't tell it's on there (the manufacturer doesn't recommend this, but hey it stayed on). The only time you can really tell it's there if you get heavy crosswinds.

One more tip, I usually check all the straps at every gas/food stop to make sure everything is tied down snug. I'll give the straps an extra pull at every stop. Just make sure you follow the manufactures recommendation on looping the straps and pull up on them before you leave to make sure they don't loosen. I'm sure that almost all of the spilled carries were caused by owners not tying everything like it should be.

If going this route also don't forget to go waterproof.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:46 pm 
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to answer your questions... x 20 carrier i have that i attatched the link to the hing is in the front and the lock is on the back so unless you drive 80mph in reverse it wont open and spill... lol.... as for your question my kia sedona van came with factory roof rack so yes that is how i mounted mine and it mounted very easlily and quickly..... as for whether it mounts without a roof rack i am not sure.... as for the speed.... i noticed almost no loss of power or speed... i also tend to go with the general "flow" of traffic even if that means 80 - 85.... having driven at those speeds i will the say i had no trouble with mine... and since it mounts on the roof racks you get air flow over and under the carrier.. i was worried about that so i used a simple ratchet strap over the top and under the roof racks.... by doing that it made it impossible to open even if the locking mechanism was to fail... also one thing to consider the hard side ones will say they are "waterproof" and i have driven through wind and heavy rains and never had any wetness or moisture trouble.... all the research i did the softsided ones are considered "water resistent.... that makes me wonder in a heavy enough or long enough rain would they eventually leak even if a little... just a thought.... and as i said i only lost on average of 1 mile per gallon which i didnt think was bad for having 300 to 400 pounds of stuff on the roof.... as i said you can feel free to ask more questions on here or through private message.... good luck in your choosing of the roof carrier that most fits your needs


take care

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:22 pm 
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beachbum reminded me of something about the soft tops. Many makes will have WATER RESISTANT advertised on the item. My dad actually bought one that said this and yes they will leak. Make sure if going the soft top route to buy one that says WATER PROOF. There is a difference. Mine is water proof and has never leaked.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:30 pm 
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We actually use both! I borrow a hard top carrier (Thule) from someone here at work every year. It attaches to the luggage rack on my Trailblazer.

We also have a cargo carrier we bought from Harbor Freight -- great for the large cooler of food, rubber made tubs of towels and sheets, etc.

The only thing you may have to watch is the height of the parking garages if you stay at a high rise condo. In Garden City, One Ocean Place has an area for taller vehicles specifically. Water's Edge does not have the clearance.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:55 am 
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Bumping this thread due to our March 2010 trip being w/4 teenagers which leaves little room in the van.... (Four 16 yr old girls... why are we doing this again ?) Am leaning on a soft-top carrier for easy stowage at MB, but appears the Samsonite model recommended is no longer made. Personally like the hitch carrier, but would require adding the hitch bracket in addition to buying the carrier. Not sure how much longer we'll have this van....

So... if any additional carrier comments (all types), we would love to hear them ! Thanks again to all who posted above - great feedback !

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:51 pm 
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Bumping this to the top once again. Anyone have any suggestions for a soft top waterproof carrier? I had great results from the samsonite that I have, but after years of use and overloading, some of the straps are showing strain and allowing a little water to come in where they connect to the actual carrier. I may just continue using it since it does still function, but wouldn't want to go through a downpour with it. Need a large carrier that doesn't need a 20 minute youtube video to learn how to strap it down.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 5:23 pm 
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I had bought this unit from REI:
http://www.rei.com/product/677675/sherp ... 5-roof-bag

On our way down to MB two years ago we hit the mother of all rain storms in WV. It lasted about 20 to 30 minutes and took my speed down to about 20mph, tons of accidents. I was worried about the stuff on the roof, but it was mostly beach stuff and a stroller. When we got to MB the next day, everything was DRY. It held up great and no water got into the bag. Just make sure you follow the directions when you install it and put the zipper on the back. Can beat the price.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Thanks for the bump, can't believe I didn't post a follow-up.... Here is the carrier-top we used.... added a few 5 ft bungees criss-crossed the top and had no problems:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002M ... 06_s00_i01

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Thanks for the fast replies Mr. Green and Kirk. Gotta love this message board for its helpful members. Both of those bags are exactly what I'm looking for. They both have similar type of straps as the Samsonite brand that I have now. I really don't like the net type strapping that have to cover the entire bag, but both of these have the single straps that are a little more simple to attach.


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