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Rightline Cargo Saddlebag - like a backpack for your car


March 27, 2012

Strap your gear to the back of your car and increase your gas mileage over a rooftop box

Strap your gear to the back of your car and increase your gas mileage over a rooftop box

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Similar to the Auto Rucksack, the Rightline Cargo Saddlebag takes your cargo off the roof and throws it on the rear-end of your car. Unlike the Auto Rucksack, a pack aimed at small cars, the Cargo Saddlebag is designed for larger vehicles like SUVs, minivans and crossovers. It's basically a backpack for your vehicle, that hauls all sorts of gear and toys.

Unless you have millions of dollars to spend on a supercar with purpose-built aero box, chances are you're going to opt for a clunky, non-aerodynamic roof box or luggage bag that eats away at your car's efficiency. According to Rightline, you can get an extra 5 miles (8 km) out of every gallon (3.8 liters) of gas, by sliding your gear from the roof to the back of the vehicle – where it won't impede airflow. Two adjustable straps lash the Cargo Saddlebag to your roof rack, while two lower straps secure it to the bumper or tow hitch. A fifth strap can be used to wrap the perimeter tighter. A sleeve on the outside of the bag lets you easily remount your license plate.

Not only is the Cargo Saddlebag more aerodynamic, but its rear-mounted design makes it easier to load and unload. The bag is low enough that you can easily unzip it to access your gear. It has two carry handles, so you can take the entire thing off and haul it wherever you're going.

The Cargo Saddlebag holds up to 14 cu ft (396 liters) and 100 lbs (45.5 kg) of gear. Its Hydrotuff material has a waterproof PVC lining and tough 600D polyester shell. To ensure that your gear stays dry, Rightline also offers a waterproof liner. Of course, the bag's soft shell won't protect from hard hits like a plastic cargo box, so be sure that you don't stop short while someone's tailgating you.

The Cargo Saddlebag retails for US$140, which is cheaper than the average rooftop cargo box and competitive with rooftop bags.

Source: Rightline via Camping Life

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

If you buy wheeled rectangular trash containers and some rope you will have your cargo carrier and it will provide built in hand truck. I don't trust thee handles as tie down points though.


I've used this idea for decades, after I discovered that a rooftop carrier reduced my mileage by as much as 35%. The straps and clamps are easy enough to find at any RV store, and any container that's less wide than the car can be rigged to work with a bit of imagination. I can put something together for considerably less than $140. Some states have requirements that items like this can't project more than a specified distance beyond the car body, locally it's 36".

William Lanteigne

Unfortunately i live in a country where your backpack on your back isnt safe and your entire car is a target. I think its a fantastic product and if i were somewhere like canada i would like mine to look more like a backpack. I would finally have somewhere to keep my incar espresso maker! Lol


A fool and their money! I find it ironic that the pictures show the SUV with an empty towing receiver. How convenient! Rather than blow the $140 for that bag, why not buy this -- Save $90. Stuff whatever you have in ice chests you might already have, strap them down and call it a day.

Sturdier stuff and you have the same ecological effect. Probably longer lasting too.


"According to Rightline, you can get an extra 5 miles (8 km) out of every gallon (3.8 liters) of gas, by sliding your gear from the roof to the back of the vehicle – where it won't impede airflow." Improved aerodynamics of any vehicle can improve mpg. If the saddlebag were made conical in shape and out of plastic then set with the cone facing outwards, there would probably be about a 50% or perhaps even greater improvement in the mpg. It would be best to design the vehicle aerodynamiclly bottom up. These saddle bag add-ons are at best only patch work type improvements.

Adrian Akau

Hmm....I can see this rubbing alot of paint off in the long term

Terry Penrose

Now that certain companies are looking at a foldable solar PV charger that can be used for daily or emergency electric vehicle (or tent power) charging, this type of carrier makes sense.


I agree with MasterG. If you are driving an SUV with a hitch reciever, why not use that. It will handle more cargo, and NOT risk your paint job. If you have a small car, use:

Bob Sovers

@JohnMc - (broken link - try this: - but don't forget that type of towing receiver is only used in the States (correct me if I'm wrong) - Europeans will have to use the back-pack!

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