Best Cargo Bars in 2020



Heininger 4016 HitchMate Cargo Stabilizer Bar for Full-Size Trucks Review:


This is a true Heavy Duty Cargo Stabilizer Bar and it's all metal except for the rubber pads which are molded completely around metal supports. Each pad rotates freely on a pivot bolt. The rack (geared horizontal section) is also heavy duty metal with its terminus firmly thru-bolted to the inner tube. The small silver "lever" located on the side of the housing holding the geared handle is basically a spring-loaded "catch" to prevent the handle from moving once secured. The inner tube appears to be coated with some type of translucent gold colored coating, possibly to make it resistant to corrosion. The outer tube and rack are painted black and while the rack and the handle assembly appear not to be a powder coated finish, it seems to be a good coat. The outer tube appears to be powder coated. Will this damage your truck bed? The shortest width bed this can handle once latched is 59-1/2 inches, so if your bed is narrower than this then the answer to your question is definitely yes. The force this unit can apply if one isn't paying attention and just applying brute force is sufficient to possibly force the sides outward. Once a tooth is selected the inner tube will travel 1-1/8 inches outward during the full-engagement/lever catch process. So divide this by 2, and thus the deflection toward each side wall is 9/16 inches. Each "tooth" you move the inner bar inward results in a minus 1/4 inch total length. So, if your bed width is 64 inches and you extend the bar to 64 inches and close the handle the final length installed will be 65-1/8 inches. Move the inner bar inward to catch the next tooth reduces that engaged total length to 64-7/8 inches, and so on. So you can adjust how much tension you put on your bed sidewalls. My suggestion is have someone assist the first time this bar is used. Place it in one of the desired locations in the bed and install it with the amount of tension to firmly secure the bar. Then while it is installed, measure 1-1/8 inches away from the end of the floating portion of the toothed rack (the part that floats above the outer tube) and use colored vinyl electrical tape to place one wrap around the outer tube such that the edge of the tape is aligned with the aforementioned measurement. To check proper placement of the tape, release the handle and slowly swing it open, and as the bar shortens the end of the rack should line up with that tape's edge. If not, try again. For subsequent uses, just slide out the inner tube until the end of the rack aligns with the tape's edge and close the handle. You can repeat this process for multiple fit locations. Due to its weight, it is a bit awkward for one person to install, however it can be done and the trick is to find its balance point with length about where it's needed, lift it into place and secure handle.



BRIGHTLINES 2014-2019 Toyota Highlander Cross Bars Roof Racks (Highlander XLE Limited & SE, Black) Review:


Great deal. Super easy to install. 4 bolts, end caps, done. Installed on my 2018 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD

2 things to note, as others have, when installing – I am keeping 5 star because the racks are solid, good quality, and way less expensive then others for the same car. That said, I almost went to 4 start based on below:
1) You'll need to adjust 2 screws (easily visible on the underside of ea rack) to set to appropriate width. Crappy quality, so I used my own tool, vs. the one provided to assure not to strip.
2) There are white plastic spacers on each foot. They literally used one drop of glue to affix. My racks showed up in great condition, but 2 of these had already fallen off. So, I popped them all off, and epoxied them back in to assure they never fall off again. I recommend doing this right out of the gate.

Regardless, very happy with this purchase, and would recommend to others.



BRIGHTLINES 2014-2018 Subaru Forester Aero Roof Rack Cross Bars Luggage Rack (2014-2018 Subaru Forester) Review:


After driving 1,000 miles in our 2016 Forester with a Thule Force XT XL mounted on these crossbars, I'm now realizing I took a bit of a gamble with the 150 lb weight limit. The cargo box itself is 47 lb and has a 165 lb load capacity, which we were close to meeting. So, call it a 200 lb load we had on these crossbars which meant we were at 133% load capacity. Would have been more nervous if I'd realized this while on the road as I watched these crossbars flex up and down in high winds with the cruise set at 85 mph.

And looking at my Subaru owner's manual, it says, "The roof rails are designed to carry loads (luggage and roof rack) of not more than 150 lbs (68 kg)." I see that the 2019 Forester ups this to 176 lbs (80 kg).

So, credit to both BRIGHTLINES and Subaru for being able to withstand my abuse of their stated load capacities. Would be interesting to know the safety margins that are built into these components, but am not going to press my luck any further!



BRIGHTLINES 2016-2019 Ford Explorer Cross Bars Roof Racks Roof Bars Review:


I bought these crossbars for my 2018 Ford Explorer so that I could mount by X-Cargo XL car top luggage carrier for a long distance trip. The crossbars were very easy to install & took less than a half hour, although I have a lot of experience installing crossbars on many of my Ford SUV's over the years. The manufacturer must have read some old reviews because the stickers were very easy to remove and left no residue.

I found that these crossbars are extremely sturdy just like the OEM crossbars I have purchased in the past. After installing the crossbars and mounting the luggage carrier, I went on an 800+ mile road trip with approximately 80 pounds of gear in the carrier. I had absolutely zero issues and my average speed was 80 mph. The crossbars required no additional tightening and held up great. No excessive vibrating by the carrier. I am pleased. The bonus was that these crossbars were almost half off the Ford OEM crossbars.

I will purchase this brand in the future for any other vehicles that need crossbars.



BRIGHTLINES 2018-2019 Subaru Crosstrek & 2017-2019 Impreza Aero Crossbars Roof Racks Review:


These came in MUCH EARLIER than expected!!! They look as if they were factory installed!! VERY WELL MADE!!! Took about 20 minutes to put in total. It was snowing pretty heavily and cold. It most likely would have taken only about 10 minutes on a good day. The Allen wrench supplied worked well and was the PERFECT size for the job. Was not difficult to maneuver at all! HIGHLY recommend this. It fits PERFECTLY on my 2018 Subaru Impreza Premium!!

We have not used for our cargo carriers or kayaks yet, but will be doing so in the next few weeks. I will Update once we have done so.



Reese Explore 1390600 40" x 70" Ratcheting Cargo Bar Review:


I have a pickup truck with a tonneau cover. I open the tailgate and put something in and even with a bed rug when I get to my destination some of the items will slide forward out of reach from the tailgate. Some people use a stick with a hook to pull things back to the tailgate. In the past I would just open up the tri fold cover and reach over the side to retrieve the items. Sometimes scratching the side of the truck with buttons, zippers, belt buckles etc. I generally leave the cargo bar in a few feet from the tailgate, and can install, move, or remove it easily depending on the need. I have thought about two one high and one low and might try that later. I was warned by a friend to use caution not to jack the sides out on the bed. With the rubber ends it seems to hold easily without having the bar too tight, and there is no scratching. I recommend it to anyone that has a problem with loads shifting in the bed. The jacking is done using a rack and pinion with a ratchet that works similar to tie down ratchets.



BRIGHTLINES 2011-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Crossbars Roof Racks Luggage Racks Review:


I have a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with factory-installed brightside roof rails, and this rack does fit it (I just installed mine). This appears to be the same roof rack as the mopar rack. One detail that I wanted to know: their construction. The foot/base on each side is plastic, but the locking mechanism (the inside stuff that hooks to the rails on your roof) and the cross bar (that your kayak, etc. will hook to/rest on) are metal. Overall, the rack seems well constructed. It takes some effort to put it up, though, given the less than perfect instructions. Here's what I learned:

1. First, I followed the other reviews and put the small edge of each cross bar facing toward the back of the vehicle--like an airplane wing.

2. The slightly shorter bar fits the rails at the BACK of my jeep. Others said front, but the feet don't have the reach for the bar's width up there. I was left with one bar that didn't seem to fit anywhere. I breathed a sigh of relief once I took the keyed end part off and slid the top plastic strip out of the rail to expose the screws and saw one screw which (if loosened) allows the feet to be moved closer or farther apart. I still could only get the shorter rail to fit the back of my roof (then only with both screws on each foot loosened a lot--after you get the fit, tightening them up makes it snug to the roof); the longer one easily fit the front part.

3. Something the instructions don't tell you--one of those two screws above each foot controls the "jaws" of the locking mechanism (what pulls the cross bar/rail tight to the car roof). I had to loosen that screw (the one toward the OUTSIDE of the bar, on each end of it) almost all the way. I'm talking look at the end of that screw sticking through the nut on the bottom of the foot and unscrew it(from the top) until the bottom end is even with the nut (I didn't need to unscrew it all the way, though). That loosening allows the "jaws" of the roof rail to come out enough so you can hook it into the rail installed on your car roof. Loosen each side, place it in the rail on your roof, then start tightening each screw. After some tightening, you can slide these cross bars around to get the spread you want. They shouldn't come up off the roof rail, though, as they're locked in now.

4. After you screw these down tightly (watch out not to strip out the allen screws), shake your car with them and make sure they're attached firmly. I don't think I'll be taking these on and off--they look nice (all black), and taking them on and off would be a bit of effort. Now, slide the black rubber strip you pulled off the top in from the side (leave the keyed end piece off), little by little. I was able to do this pretty efficiently, but I could see where others had some issues trying to push it in from the top. I think sliding it in from the side is key here. Then, lock the end piece back into place, store the keys and allen wrench in your car, and you're good to go. By the way, the keyed part is only to prevent (it seems) someone from unscrewing this. It is not a quickly release function.

UPDATE (June 2013): The rack rails seemed to work great in heavy use--I drove 300+ miles at highway speeds with 2 kayaks on them (around 100 lbs of boat up there on my malone seawing brackets), and the rack held it all. Rain, coastal wind, high speeds, and reduced aerodynamics didn't seem to phase these rails.

UPDATE (Oct 2014): The rack rails have transported my kayaks on the malone brackets many times, and haven't loosened up or had any problems. I even made a short drive (out of necessity) with three kayaks mounted/tied to the rack rails, and no problems. Also, no fading or rust. Still very pleased with this purchase.



Shippers Supplies Steel Cargo Pickup Truck Bar 59" - 73" Review:


 There are other bars that have a ratcheting mechanism around the same price. Don’t waste your time on them. This one is the one you want. It very easy to use without risking pinching your fingers. Also the bar is a larger diameter and has a thicker wall. The final benefit is that the lower length is closer to a standard bed width so it’s not so far extended, which makes it sturdier when locked in.



Keeper 05059 Ratcheting Cargo Bar Review:


Truck owner? Get this.

I've owned a couple of these for the past year and just added one more to my arsenal? Why?

One bar works nicely for daily use, near the tailgate, to keep groceries & cargo from floating all around the bed. But principally, I bought these because I offroad in my 4WD Toyota Tundra, and on multi-day expeditions I need something (a) to keep the wood and water tanks secure under the cross-box; (b) the ice chest locked down to the bed; and (c) cargo bags secured.

I've done four-day trips into Death Valley with these bad-boys, and between the dust and the washboard vibration you'd think they'd rattle right off. Nope; never once.

It's a great product and for me, a must-have for any pick-up truck.



Heininger Black Single Hitchmate 4017 Cargo StabiLoad Divider Bar Review:


I bought it along with a different companies cargo bar. The problem was it did not tighten up on the cargo bar I had to use a couple of shims to get it to stay on. So if you are going to buy this make sure your cargo bar is made by the same company. It is a great idea, when I go to Lowe's to exchange my propane tank, this bar in combination with the cargo bar I feel more at ease knowing the tank has not tipped over. Now in my defence when I went to purchase the cargo bar it was recommanded that I buy this bar as well, whom ever works for Amazon made the recommandation and I figured they knew that the two bars were compatable.