When my family travels anywhere, even for just a few days, we always find a way to bring enough stuff to fill up every inch of space in our SUV. We don’t have a big vehicle, it’s a regular sized Chevy Trailblazer, but I thought it would be big enough for our family trips…I was wrong. So, we decided to look at a couple different options for increasing our storage capacity. We looked at roof carriers, but we like to bring our canoe with us sometimes. Then we came across the Rightline Gear Cargo Saddlebag. It attaches to our roof rack and hangs down to where it sits on the bumper. Now we can still put our canoe on the roof and bring everything we need for camping or hunting.
The first thing I noticed when I took the saddlebag out of the box was how thick the rubberized material was. It felt really heavy-duty. Rightline claims its 100% waterproof, and based on the material, I had no reason to doubt it. Luckily, we got to put it to the test!
I’m not much of a direction-reader so I was happy to find that the set-up and installation are pretty fool-proof. I did forget to put the bottom straps on (they secure the bottom of the bag to the bumper) and the bag still travelled perfectly!
My wife and I both teach and we had a few days off of school so we took our two kids and dog down to the in-laws for some family time. I was going to do some pheasant and deer hunting so the back of the SUV was packed full of hunting gear, guns, the dog kennel and my bow — a perfect opportunity to try out the new saddlebag.
I attached the saddlebag to our Trailblazer and filled it up with all of our clothes. We stuffed 4-5 backpacks and a large dufflebag in there. It didn’t look as pretty as the one that Rightline has on their box though. It’s a bag, so its shape conforms to the shape of what you fill it with. You could probably stick a Rubbermaid bin in there if you wanted to square it up and make it look prettier. The bottom is reinforced with poles however so that stays flat. We made the four hour trip and the bag didn’t move an inch.
Taking the bag down was even easier than putting it up! There is a heavy-duty handle on each side so my wife grabbed one side, I took the other, and we lifted it a couple of inches, released the buckles and it was down. 10 seconds max! And it’s a good thing it’s so easy to take down because the only challenge with having a large bag on the back of your SUV is that you don’t have access to open the back hatch. This wasn’t a problem for us since we didn’t need to get back there until we arrived at the in-laws. I’m happy with the trade-off since we are still able to put our canoe (or anything else) on the roof.
After the long weekend of relaxing and hunting, we packed up (unfortunately there was no venison) and headed home. It rained the whole way! Just as I had expected, when we got home everything was bone dry. The thick rubberized material is great and there is a nice sized flap that velcros over the zipper.
We are really happy with the Rightline Cargo Saddlebag and will definitely be using it often when we travel, at least until the kids are out of the house.