How To Increase Your Vehicle Cargo Space | Solution for Busy Families


Do I really need a new vehicle, or can I find a creative (and less expensive) solution to the lack of cargo space in my vehicle? See how one busy mom of five found her vehicle cargo space solution for under $100!


As a busy mom of five, I spend a LOT of time in my vehicle. And recently, I’ve been moaning about a lack of cargo space in my current vehicle. While it fits our family seating-wise, there is little space left over for all our stuff.

Do I really need a new vehicle, or can I find a creative (and less expensive) solution to the lack of cargo space in my vehicle? See how one busy mom of five found her vehicle cargo space solution for under $100!

Around town, I’m usually able to get by – folding down a seat, packing bags around legs, taking only a few kids at a time, etc.

But when we travel (like we’re doing over the upcoming holiday weekend), it gets very crowded very quickly. So recently, I decided it was time to go shopping for a new vehicle.

Is a new vehicle my vehicle cargo space solution?

I really want a Honda Odyssey – in my opinion, it’s the perfect vehicle for a busy family of 7:

  • good gas mileage
  • long life
  • enough seating (even with multiple kids in car seats)
  • plenty of cargo space for all the stuff that goes everywhere with you

A few weeks ago, I was ready to buy one. I had done my research and found “the perfect one” on a local lot… it was three years old with around 33K miles on it, had seating for eight, came with the HondaVac, and even had a built-in DVD player.

Test Drive #1

I went to the dealership to test drive it, ready to trade-in my current vehicle on the spot.

When I got to the dealership, however, the vehicle I wanted wasn’t quite ready to be driven yet (was in safety inspection). The salesperson had me test drive a similar, but more expensive, version (same year, just different features).

I liked it well enough, but it didn’t have the DVD player or HondaVac. Plus, I wasn’t willing to pay extra for leather seats or a sunroof.

Test Drive #2

So I went back the next day to test drive the one I wanted. And honestly, it was a bit of a let-down. Nothing major was wrong with it, but the mileage on the vehicle had been entered wrong into the system (41K versus the 33K the listing showed) and the gears weren’t shifting smoothly.

The salesperson promised they could fix everything to my liking. I just wasn’t as excited about the purchase as I’d been when I walked into the dealership 24 hours before.

I told him I’d think about it and let him know. And the more I thought about it, the less willing I was to increase my monthly car payment for the two features I really wanted (sliding doors and trunk space).

By the time I reran the numbers the next day, I knew I was going to pass on that vehicle. As much as I wanted a Honda Odyssey, I just couldn’t justify the extra monthly expense for the next five years.

Is towing a trailer my vehicle cargo space solution?

But then I was left with a quandary… I still needed to figure out how to fit seven people (including a baby) and all our stuff for a weekend of camping (in a cabin) in our current vehicle.

Since we have towing capability, my husband suggested we rent a small trailer. But after some research, we decided that was going to be too costly.

For the long holiday weekend, it was going to cost more than $150 to rent a small trailer. That just wasn’t going to work in our budget.

Is a rooftop carrier my vehicle cargo space solution?

I decided to look into a rooftop carrier. I’d never used one, so I was a bit leery. I did a LOT of review reading on Amazon, and I decided on a RoofBag.

RoofBag Rooftop Cargo Carrier

The 99% waterproof RoofBag Explorer carrier offers excellent weather protection (99% waterproof) at an economical price and can withstand the severe rigors of travel (1 year warranty). The RoofBag carrier I purchased holds 15 cubic feet of contents, which is the equivalent of 5 medium-sized suitcases.

Manufactured by RoofBag in the USA with the safest and most advanced materials: no harmful additives used. Fabric is heavy-duty, tight-knit polyester canvas liquid-coated (not laminated) on both sides with vinyl for maximum waterproofness and durability. As a result, the carrier is tear-proof, abrasion-resistant, resistant to extreme heat and cold, immune to the sun’s UV rays, mildew-resistant and fire-retardant.

The heavy duty straps and unique strap guide fastening system is more secure than other systems and are designed to secure the carrier at any highway speed, up to 3,000 lbs.


The RoofBag Cargo Carrier IS my vehicle cargo space solution!

When the rooftop bag arrived, I was eager to see how difficult it would be to install and pack. I was shocked to see how easy it was!

Our vehicle has a roof rack frame, but no cross bars, so I used the “pass through” method to secure the rooftop bag. The bag fits perfectly in the space on top, and the straps are quite secure.

Note: I purchased a roll of padded shelf liner at Dollar Tree to use as a mat – to protect the top of our vehicle and to prevent shifting.

I’m eager to pack it full this weekend and enjoy our four drive without having to crowd our seating space inside the vehicle with all the extra stuff we’ll need!

It’s an ingenious and inexpensive vehicle cargo space solution!

For less than $60, I was able to increase my vehicle cargo space. No additional car payment needed.

While I still would love to be driving a Honda Odyssey, it’s a “someday” dream that can wait until the perfect price and timing coincide!

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