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CargoSmart Soft-Sided Car Top Carrier Review

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Review of the CargoSmart Soft-Sided Car Top Carrier

Zack: Hey everybody, Zack here at Today, we're going to be taking a look at a rooftop cargo bag from CargoSmart. This is going to be a 10 cubic foot bag, so it's going to lie to get some extra stuff on top of your roof, so you can free up some space in the car or the trunk for some other items.Now, the most important thing about carrying stuff outside of your vehicle, in my mind, is keeping it protected. And this is going to be a vinyl material that's water resistant. So it's going to do a really good job of keeping water and dirt out of your stuff. A lot of people will just put their gear in a cargo basket on top of their car, and that works out great with carrying a lot of different stuff, but it's loose.

It's exposed to the elements. This is going to conceal everything and it's going to keep it dry. And it's going to keep all that dirt off of your stuff.Now, the way it does that is with this vinyl material. So this vinyl material is actually pretty thick and I was a little surprised with that, and that paired with this welded seams and this cover that's held in place with hook and looped over that zipper. That's what's going to make this water resistant.

Now it's not fully waterproof. You can't submerse this bag. And when you get it all secured up, it's going to do a good job of going through those rainstorms. So I have some bags and some camping gear in here, and that's the last thing you want, is to get to your camp site and you have wet sleeping bags. So you can feel confident that putting your stuff up there, it's going to be dry whenever you get to your campsite.If you're looking to get that extra space, there's a lot of different options.

But when you're looking at just the rooftop, you have cargo baskets, bags and boxes. And I think they all serve their purpose. Boxes are definitely the high end. They provide the most protection, the most security, but they're really expensive and you are kind of restricted to the hard lines of that. So as you can see here, I don't have an even load in here.

If I had a box that was kind of a more shallow one, I can't get a lot of different items in there and make the bag or the box fit to my needs. I get what I get.Now, on the other side of that, with bags, I can do that. I can fit a lot of different, weird shaped stuff in there, but I don't get the capacity because it's not sitting on my roof rack. It's sitting on a bare roof. You can't put these in a basket, but I don't get the security that the boxes have. So somebody can very easily get into this bag. If I stop at a rest stop, they can unzip it, they can cut the bag open. That's just one of the downsides to the bags. The baskets are just a more exposed option. I think that this is going to be a really nice way to get some extra step up on there and not have to spend a ton of money.Now, the way that this one is secured down is different than some of the other bags. This one is only held in place with these straps that go around either crossbars or raised side rails that are on some vehicles. You can do a mix of the two, where some cargo bags have the ability to just go down into a naked roof door. They come with little clips. Rightline Gear has a really good option for that. So if you don't have a crossbar system on your roof, this bag is going to be really difficult to get that mounted on here, because you have to have something to strap it to.Now, in my eyes, the industry standard has been Rightline Gear. They make really high quality bags. They're really thick. They have good strap system and they've been tested out. We know that those are going to hold up well for a long time. Now, I wasn't expecting much out of this bag. I was surprised with the material of it. It's not as thin as I was expecting. It kind of reminds me of the cargo carrier bags that you'd see on the back of a vehicle. And those get a lot of miles on them. They hold up well. So this was actually a surprise. The construction of this, the quality is a lot better than I thought.I think what this one is lacking though, is I need a roof rack system to tie this down. So you don't need an expensive set, like we have on this car here today, but you do need something. So if your car doesn't come with one factory, you need to look into a roof rack system or you need to consider a different option.Another thing to consider is picking up a protective pad. We have one in place right now. And this one's from Rightline Gear. This is sold separately, but this is just a nice pad that you put down, it protects the finish of your vehicle. It keeps your stuff from sliding around, and it just also adds a little bit more cushion to your items. So this is definitely a nice addition, if you've got any rooftop bag on your roof.Now to get into this, I already have my straps removed back here, but we'll get that hook and loop undone. As you can see, zippers are pretty easy to use. They got good size to them. They get around the corners pretty easily. I think this is a nice, sturdy material, but it's not so rigid that it's hard to get this zipped up and unzipped. The one thing that's kind of odd for me, is that they only have this go about halfway around. So some of the other bags will go three quarters. So you can just put the flap over and it's a little bit easier to get stuff in. So I think that there might be some benefit where you're not chasing the top of this, with it only going so far. Maybe gives it a little bit more structure, but it's just maybe takes a little bit to getting used to for me, because I've done the other bag style a little bit more than this one. But it's not that big of a hassle.But you can see even with 10 cubic feet, that doesn't seem like a lot, when you see some of the larger bags that are out there, but I'm able to get two carry-on bags up here. I have a duffle bag. I have a hiking pack and a couple, I have four sleeping bags, so that is quite a bit of stuff. Could still fit more in there. If you think about it, 10 cubic feet versus some of the larger bags, your roof has a capacity to it. So you can only put so much weight up there anyway. So I think that this is a good sized bag. It's going to free up a lot of space, whether it's a sedan or an SUV, and it's going to give you some good capacity to carry other stuff in your car. So it's not as crowded inside.So before we get this put in place, here's a good shot of that mat we we're talking about. This is just going to do a good job of holding this in place a little bit better, but it's also going to add a little bit of padding and it's also going to protect the finish of the vehicle.Now, when we put this in place, we want to make sure that the section that's at the front of the vehicle doesn't have the zippered section. So with this only being about halfway around on where that opens up, I'm going to have it open up to the passenger side. So those logos should be in the front and the back. We can get this put in place and you can see my crossbar spread is a little bit small for the size of this bag, but I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to see if I can have it sitting on top just a little bit. And then that still provides us that tie down point.Now when it comes to running our straps, it all depends on the setup of your roof. So with this one, we had the two crossbars on a naked roof. So I don't have that raised side rail to attach to. So I think probably the best way of going about this is taking two straps on the driver's side and two straps on the passenger side. And we'll just run them through this, from front to back, both of them. So I'll just mock it up right away, because we need to get our items loaded up first. But what I'm going to do is take the strap and run it through the loop. And then I'm going to take it underneath the crossbar and then I'm going to come underneath the buckle and feed it through the top slot.Now, after a while these straps may become frayed. And so you may have to clean those up a little bit. So then once you get it through that top one, we'll bring it back from the top and go through the bottom one, and we'll get a tight fit there. And we may need to make some adjustments later. Once we get all of our items loaded up, but then what I'll do is I'll just have it go over the top and I'll run a second one the same way, but let's get our items loaded up first, before we start putting all these straps in place. We can get this unzipped and get the lid of this opened up.And you can see the crossbars might create an issue with being able to use this all the way with this setup. And I think that's where the style of not being able to buckle it into a naked roof, maybe is an issue. I think that's where this one really shines, is with the raised side rails, where we can adjust our crossbars. It still works with this setup, it's just not going to be as good as the other setup. So I'm going to start with a couple carry on suitcases. We want to make sure that we're spreading out the weight of our load properly, and we don't want to put anything too heavy on glass as well. You do want to make sure that you're staying within your weight limits of your roof.I don't have much loaded in here today, we're just using them for size purposes. And this right here is the issue I had with the top of this, not being able to open up all the way. It kind of stays over on itself. And I think I'm going to flip these up to provide a little bit more room so they fit in here. So now I have all my family stuff in here. I have four sleeping bags, two carry on bags, a duffle bag, and a hiking pack. We could still probably get a little bit more in there, but we've got plenty of stuff in there. Frees up a lot of room in the backseat and the trunk for some of those larger, heavier items. So I can get this zipped up.See, there was the thing, the benefit of this over a box is, we can kind of conform around it to get some of those taller items in there. But I always think it's a good idea to keep both of our zippers together in the back, just because that's probably its weakest point of letting water in and that will give us a little bit more protection, if it's back here versus the side. Just less chance of water going through there. So we'll get our flap down on our hook and loop. And then that's when we can run our strap to the back side, get this loosened up, got it pretty tight up front.We're just going to do the same step that we did up front to this one back here. And like I said, I'm going to use all four straps. I can see where somebody would want to just do two, but I think it's better to have some redundancy and just get this strapped down properly. You don't want to be pulling over and trying to get your stuff that flew off the roof because you decided you only wanted to use two straps. So I think you should definitely use four. And that's kind of the problem that I keep running into. Is with this one as well. It's the ends are a little frayed, so I'd probably clean that up, maybe singe them so they're a little bit more stiff to get through there.So I'll just get that brought back through. So then once you get that ran through all the way, I'm going to make sure I have it tightened down evenly from front to back, and then we can get this cleaned up. Now I'm going to run one more strap through here, from front to back and I'll do two more over there.As you can see, when we get that strapped down properly, we're moving the sleeping bag around a little bit, but I'm rocking the car that holds it in place pretty good. I think that overall, this is a really nice way to get some extra cargo on top of your car. I was able to fit a lot of my family stuff up here, so it frees up a lot of room inside the car. So it's just a little bit more comfortable on our trip. I think that this is still going to do a good job when it comes to protecting our stuff, it's not better than a box, but as long as you have everything tied down and the flaps and everything's zippered up okay, it's going to do a good job of keeping the water out. But that's going to do it for our look at the rooftop cargo bag from CargoSmart.

Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Zach D
Installed by:
Zach D

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