Roof Cargo Box vs. StowAway Comparison

As car travel and adventure outings grow more popular, the Stowaway2 cargo box has become the obvious choice for hauling extra gear.

But why is this, when roof cargo boxes offer exterior storage as well? Simply put, the Stowaway2® hitch cargo box excels in every category you would want to consider when purchasing a unit for extra hauling capacity. It truly is the storage unit for the times!

Here is a comparison of the Stowaway2® hitch cargo box versus traditional roof boxes:

comparing the StowAway hitch cargo box with a roof carrier


Safety is always the first consideration when purchasing travel equipment. You and your family want a cargo unit that is built tough and useful, but you also want to consider how safely it can be mounted and accessed. Roof boxes are up high, unreachably high from the ground for most people when attached to some larger SUVs. Standing on a stool or the car’s rocker panel can lead to a fall. Even reaching in and pulling a heavy item out of a roof box can lead to back strain. With the Stowaway2®, everything is right at waist level for safe storage and retrieval.

StowAway rear cargo box offers safe easy access while camping

2Ease of Use

Having your stored items at waist level also means that packing and retrieving cargo is quick and easy. Since you can see every inch of the interior as you pack, utilizing space in the most efficient manner becomes a breeze. And when retrieving items, you don’t have to rummage around blind the way you often do with roof boxes. This makes it especially convenient whenever you need to retrieve an item or two before you’ve reached your destination.

StowAway max box loaded up with bags


Extra space is the reason you want a cargo box in the first place. At a full 16 square feet, the larger Stowaway2® provides ample space for up to 200 pounds of gear. Since roof cargo boxes are an aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, they are usually designed flat which can compromise how the space is utilized. The amount of space it provides is usually far less than a hitch cargo box to begin with. We were able to design our Stowaway2® with convenience and space in mind because our hitch boxes do not affect aerodynamic drag the way roof boxes do.

StowAway box open and spacious

4Fuel Efficiency

Here’s the other benefit of having your cargo box tucked behind your car: fuel efficiency. If you’re traveling any substantial distance, or if you travel frequently, the cost of extra fuel consumption caused by the drag from a roof box can really add up. Not so with the Stowaway2® hitch cargo box.

StowAway does not lead to extra fuel consumption caused by drag of a roof box


Anything that rides on the exterior of your car is going to be exposed to every insult mother nature can throw at it. Rain, snow, hail, wind, dust and sand, the beating sun, even wild animals. Not to mention the normal bumps and bruises of the road. The Stowaway2® is a heavy-duty molded box with a securely latching and locking lid. As such, it is weathertight and virtually impossible for animals to get into. This hitch cargo box is designed to handle it all and come out winning. That’s why Stowaway® cargo boxes are backed by a 10-year product warranty. And they’re proudly made in the USA.

StowAway products are super durable - bear attacking StowAway


We didn’t even begin designing our Stowaway® hitch boxes until we checked with our consumers to see what was important to them. One of the oft-repeated considerations was access to their vehicle’s interior. Our Stowaway® line offers a 180-degree swingaway feature, so you can simply push the box aside and get right into the back doors of your van or SUV. The swingaway frame opens with a simple pull latch then secures again using dual safeties. All quick and easy.

Our Stowaway® line offers a 180-degree swingaway feature, so you can simply push the box aside and get right into the back doors of your van or SUV


The versatility of any cargo box starts, of course, with what kinds of vehicles it can attach to. The Stowaway2® can attach to virtually any vehicle with a 1.5” or 2” hitch receiver and a 300 lb. tongue weight. This includes SUV’s, RV’s, vans, minivans, trucks, buses and shuttle buses. A roof cargo box can’t make this claim due to lack of roof space on some pickup trucks and inaccessibility caused by height (RV’s, buses, shuttles).

What’s more, the Stowaway frames, themselves, are designed to be versatile. If you and your family enjoy a lot of different activities, then a hitch cargo box beats a roof box hands down. The Stowaway2® hitch cargo box can be removed from the frame and replaced with a variety of specialized racks, such as our hitch cargo rack, bicycle rack, fishing rod rack, even a ski box for ski shuttles. For stadium tailgaters, there’s even a custom grill station that swings out ready for grilling (try doing that on your car roof!) You can even mount your own device to the frame. We’ve seen customer-mounted generators, anvils, and other equipment, all because of the versatility of the StowAway frames.

Food counter on top of StowAway Cargo Box


Last in this comparison, but just as important, Stowaway cargo boxes beat anything out there—hitch or roof style—starting with materials. Our frames are welded using heavy duty tube and bar, so they can support a heavy load and still last a long time. Our cargo boxes are molded using linear, low-density polyethylene, the same polymer used to mold white water kayaks and offshore buoys. They’re built not only to last but to absorb impacts that inevitably occur while loading and unloading, as well as road bumps. There’s a very good reason our StowAway racks and hitch cargo boxes are backed by a 10-year warranty.

The Stowaway, by its very design, is easily taken on and off the back of your vehicle for storing away when not in use. Some people leave it on year-round. Others will want to set it aside safely in the garage when not in use, or when using one of our specialized racks in its place.

Any way you look at it, a hitch cargo box makes the best sense for anyone in need of extra storage space when traveling. Look into the best Stowaway cargo box for your vehicle today.

StowAway products are backed by a 10-year warranty