The transport of proteins and lipids between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus is initiated by the collection of secretory cargo from within the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum. Subsequently, transport carriers are formed that bud from this membrane and are transported to, and subsequently merge with, the Golgi. The principle driving force behind the budding process is the multi-subunit coat protein complex, COPII. A considerable amount of information is now available regarding the molecular mechanisms by which COPII components operate together to drive cargo selection and transport carrier formation. In contrast, the precise nature of the transport carriers formed is still a matter of considerable debate. Vesicular and tubular carriers have been characterized that are, or in other cases are not, coated with the COPII complex. Here, we seek to integrate much of the data surrounding this topic and try to understand the mechanisms by which vesicular and/or tubular carriers might be generated.