Whether you’re setting off on a family vacation, going camping, or full-time RVing, there are times when you just can’t take along all of your gear. Not only does the best hitch cargo carrier extend your vehicle’s capacity, it will also allow your passengers extra legroom, and give you the chance to bring along all of the essentials, as well as a few luxury items, without any extra hassle.
Do you want to transport bikes, BBQs, suitcases, or camping gear? Installing a hitch cargo carrier will keep your interior clutter-free and clean. Wondering which model to choose? Check out our top-rated hitch cargo carrier reviews and buyer’s guide to find the best one for your needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
- 1.1 CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
- 1.2 Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
- 1.3 ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
- 1.4 MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier
- 1.5 CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier
- 1.6 Mockins Steel Cargo Basket
- 1.7 Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides
- 1.8 CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp
- 1.9 Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy
- 2 Compare the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers
- 3 Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
- 4 Rooftop Vs Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers
- 5 Hitch Cargo Carrier vs Trailer
- 6 Hitch Cargo Carrier Accessories
- 7 Top Hitch Cargo Carriers Video
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Hitch Cargo Carriers
- 9 Final Thoughts
Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
Here is our top selection of the very best hitch cargo carriers on the market. Whatever your needs, you’re sure to find the best model right here.
- CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Mockins Steel Cargo Basket
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
- Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy
Buy from AmazonRead Our Review
CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier
Curt is one of the leading brands in USA-made towing products renowned for their high functionality and durability. The Curt Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier is, as you would expect, a sturdy model accommodating up to 500lbs of cargo thanks to its heavy-duty tubular steel construction. Finished with a long-lasting E-coat and carbide black powder finish it’s also a highly weather-resistant model.
Mount it upfront or at the rear, it features a two-inch shank, although you can purchase an adapter for 1 ¼” versions. Thanks to its folding capacity, you can fold it up when it’s not in use, saving time and hassle removing it from your vehicle. Note that rear-mounted spare-tires can interfere with this feature. As the shank is angled, you get good ground clearance, ideal for trips involving uneven ground or steep gradients.
Its generous internal dimensions, 58” x 19 ¼” x 5 ½”, make it an ideal choice for extended camping trips with plenty of room for your generator, excess luggage, propane bottles, and the like. The mesh base and six-inch sides ensure your items remain secure and you can easily attach bungees, a cargo bag, or net, to keep everything tightly in place.
Complete with built-in reflectors for improved visibility, this model does not come with a light kit, although given its elevation, it isn’t always necessary to install one. Reasonably priced with a limited lifetime warranty, this folding hitch cargo carrier by Curt makes an excellent all-round choice that is easy to install and highly durable.
Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler
Towing-industry specialist Reece manufactures the Explore ProSeries Rambler Hitch Cargo Carrier. It has a generous 500-pound capacity, thanks to its two-piece steel construction that bolts together in just minutes. While the frame and base are treated with a durable powder coat finish, just take care to protect the hardware to prevent any rusting.
This model fits standard square two-inch receivers. Note that it is not folding, however, the rise-shank design gives you good ground clearance and makes loading and unloading much easier. With its 60” x 24” internal tray dimensions, you can transport a lot of bulky cargo behind your vehicle.
The mesh floor makes for an easy-clean up as well as providing extra security for smaller items. The 5.5-inch side rails securely retain your cargo, allowing you to attach bungees, cargo bags, or nets.
Unfortunately, this model does not come with any reflectors, so you will need to order some or get hold of some reflective tape, at the very least, to prevent other road users from rear-ending you. There are, however, cutouts for installing lights that are sold separately, as well as add-on bike clips.
With its one-year limited warranty, affordable price tag, and generous dimensions, this hitch cargo carrier is a good product for transporting bulky goods behind your vehicle.
ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier
Looking for a heavy-duty hitch cargo carrier? The Vortex by Rola is a premium model that has an impressive 600-pound weight capacity – 100 pounds more than most others. It is a very sturdy piece of kit, its steel construction weighs around 70 pounds and features a scratch and weather-resistant coating. The two-piece assembly is simple, although pretty heavy to fit.
For greater clearance, this model features a rise-shank design of approximately four to five inches, ideal for steep gradients and uneven ground. It is compatible with standard two-inch receivers. This hitch cargo carrier does not fold, although it does sit nice and high within your vehicle’s slipstream.
This tray hitch cargo carrier measures 56” x 23”, giving you plenty of space for all of your excess baggage and heavy appliances when traveling. It features a steady-gauge mesh base complete with 5.25” side rails for extra security. The rails provide you with unlimited attachment points, so you can secure your cargo with any type of net, bungee, or box.
Complete with two reflectors and attachment points for a license plate, the Vortex can also be completed with an optional lighting package or the bike mount adapter kit, both sold separately. It is a very sturdy, high-quality construction and well worth the extra money if you are looking for a high capacity, very stable hitch cargo carrier. It also comes complete with a five-year limited warranty.
MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier
One of the best budget hitch mount cargo carriers around, if you are looking for a cheap hitch cargo carrier be sure to check out this model by MaxxHaul.
Made from steel with an exceptionally low 25-pound weight, this unit has a 500-pound distributed weight capacity – on a par with most expensive units. The protective finish scratches off a little easily, so you may want to give it a quick spray over before installing.
As you’d expect at this price point, there is quite a bit of assembly to be done. However, it is very easy, despite the poorly translated instructions. This model fits all standard 2” x 2” receivers, however, you should note that it is not angled. Depending on your vehicle height, this can cause problems getting over speed bumps, or it could dangerously block your vehicle’s exhaust pipe. You can easily solve these issues with the purchase of a hitch riser if needed.
The internal dimensions of this basket-style cargo hitch carrier are a little smaller than standard, measuring 51” x 17 ½”. The raised 4 ½” rails keep your gear securely in place and provide you with plenty of attachment possibilities.
Unlike more expensive versions, this model includes a pin and clip, as well as reflectors. Bear in mind that given its low clearance, you are more likely to need lights and tag brackets, unless you opt for a riser. However, if you are looking for a low-priced hitch cargo carrier, this unit makes an overall great choice for the money.
CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier
The Curt Tray-Style Hitch Cargo Carrier is an affordable fixed model with the quality and service you’d expect from one of the biggest names in the heavy-duty towing industry. This model #18110 weighs just 30lbs and has a bolt-together, simple-assembly steel construction. Despite its low weight, it still has a decent weight capacity of 300 lbs, more than enough for most users’ average needs.
Weather-resistant, this cargo hitch carrier benefits from a carbide black powder coating to ensure it stands up to the elements and will last for many years. It takes a 1 ¼” receiver as standard, however, Curt provides a two-inch adapter with this model for extra versatility – ideal if you have two vehicles with different receiver sizes.
Thanks to its angled shank you get good ground clearance with this model, its raised height also makes for easier loading and unloading. As a fixed version, this hitch cargo carrier does not fold, which is to be expected given its low price.
The mesh base is easy to clean and provides extra security for smaller items that can slip through bases with bars. The short sides of this tray-style hitch cargo carrier measure about 2 ¾” high, with the base’s internal dimensions of approximately 47 ¾” x 19 ½” – a good size for your 300lb weight limit.
There are several holes for attaching your bungees or cargo netting around the tray’s raised edge. While this unit comes complete with a hitch pin and clip, unfortunately, there are no reflectors included, so be sure to order some or at least get hold of some reflective tape.
A good high-quality fixed hitch cargo carrier at a great price, this unit also has a limited lifetime warranty for your peace of mind and testament to Curt’s superior manufacturing process.
Mockins Steel Cargo Basket
The Mockins Steel Cargo Basket can transport up to 500 lbs of cargo, thanks to its steel construction. It comes complete with numerous accessories which make it a good choice if you don’t already own any suitable cases, bags, or bungees. On the downside, its paint coating is not very durable, so we recommend giving it an extra spray to prevent premature rusting.
This unit is compatible with standard two-inch receivers and the shank features a two-inch rise to improve ground clearance. The tray base is foldable, making driving without a load much easier – simply fold your cargo basket down for easier parking. If you are looking for a foldable model at the price of a fixed one, this could well be a great deal for you.
The internal usable dimensions measure 58 ½” by 19 ½” giving you plenty of space for any bulky items. Thanks to its six-inch high rails, even large items remain securely in place and you have plenty of attachment options. The mesh base prevents smaller items from slipping through, giving you extra versatility when it comes down to packing.
This set includes a hitch stabilizer, a 6mm thick cargo net, two ratchet straps, and a 15.5 cubic foot capacity rainproof cargo carrier bag to keep your gear protected during your travels. Unfortunately, there are no reflectors included, so make sure you purchase some separately or some reflective tape to improve your visibility.
For the money, this is a decent enough folding hitch cargo carrier, complete with numerous useful accessories to make your trip smoother.
Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides
A trusted American brand in the towing industry, the Erickson Cargo carrier with Sides is a great choice for all your road trips, as well as fishing, hunting, and camping excursions. It features a strong steel construction, with a maximum distributed weight capacity of 500 pounds, and a black powder coat finish.
It is easy to assemble in just 15-20 minutes, although you may want a hand to help install it with its sturdy 55-pound weight. This model fits standard two-inch receivers. Before purchasing, verify that it will be compatible with your vehicle as it is a straight fixed hitch cargo carrier, making it less suitable for low-rise vehicles. If you have any clearance issues, you could consider purchasing a hitch riser.
With its inner dimensions of 58 inches wide by 17.5 inches long, it provides you with plenty of space. However, the main advantage of this particular unit is its foldable 18-inch high fencing. Whether you want to transport firewood or haul various-sized articles, this hitch cargo carrier is extremely useful. You can also remove the fencing if necessary and use it with the attachment points in the raised edge surrounding the mesh base.
Bear in mind that there is no pin included, plus you’ll probably want to pick up some reflectors or tape to improve visibility. As it sits quite low, if you are not using it with a riser, you may need to add on some lights depending on your vehicle and load. On the whole, this is an excellent model for transporting numerous items securely thanks to its high fence sides.
CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier with Ramp
If you need a hitch cargo carrier with a ramp, make sure you check out this model by market leaders Curt. It’s ideal for easily loading your scooter, push mower, or portable power generator for camping. Its fully welded aluminum construction has a durable carbide black powder finish for protection from the elements.
Weighing 63 pounds, this unit has an impressive total weight capacity of 500 pounds. Assembly is easy thanks to its eight-bolt design. Mount it on to any standard two-by-two inch receiver, the threaded anti-rattle shank resists sway and suppresses noise for a smoother, more pleasant ride. The carrier shank has the distinct advantage of folding up flat when not in use for much easier parking.
With its 50” by 30 ½” tray, complete with 4” sides, you can accommodate large bulky items with ease. Six integrated eye bolts allow you to securely attach your tie-downs for maximum security. The tray features large bars that will keep even smaller wheels safely stowed.
The three-position ramp extends to allow easy loading, complete with non-skid ridges for extra traction. It is also double-folding, allowing you to stow it vertically at half the height when your carrier is in use, without too much wind-resistance. The third position – stowed flat within your carrier makes for compact storage and easy rear vehicle access.
For your safety, built-in reflectors are included with this model, as is an anti-rattle hitch pin to prevent vibrations and load wobbling. As with our other Curt hitch cargo carrier review models, this unit also comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty for your peace of mind.
Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy
The Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy is a budget hitch cargo carrier that is rated for loads up to 500 pounds. Weighing just 20 pounds, it is one of the lightest models around, so you may not want to load it right up to the maximum as it can feel a little flimsy.
Powder-coated to help resist rust, the CC-100 fits a standard two-inch receiver. Note that this model has a straight shank, so if you are using it with a low vehicle, you may need to purchase a riser. This is a fixed hitch cargo carrier that you’ll want to remove when it’s not going to be in use.
Assembly is relatively straightforward if you are fairly handy, however, the instructions are very poor, making it more difficult than it needs to be for anyone with limited experience. It features a mesh base for easy cleaning and greater security when transporting smaller items.
The internal usable dimensions are a respectable 60 inches by 23 inches, giving you plenty of space for all of your camping accessories, bikes, or outdoor equipment. The raised edge features numerous holes for securing your cargo with bungee cords, straps, or netting.
Safety-wise, this unit does not come with any reflectors, so you may like to invest in some. If you are looking to transport your bikes behind your RV or truck on this unit, you might like to purchase the additional bike rack accessory.
For a smoother ride, we recommend picking up an anti-rattle hitch tightener if you decide to opt for this budget hitch cargo carrier.
Compare the Best Hitch Cargo Carriers
|CURT Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Reese Explore ProSeries Rambler||
|Buy on Amazon|
|ROLA Vortex Steel Hitch-Mount Cargo Carrier||
|Buy on Amazon|
|MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Compact Cargo Carrier||
|Buy on Amazon|
|CURT Tray Hitch Cargo Carrier||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Mockins Steel Cargo Basket||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Erickson Cargo Carrier with Sides||
|Buy on Amazon|
|CURT Aluminum Hitch Cargo Carrier||
|Buy on Amazon|
|Stromberg Carlson Cargo Caddy||
|Buy on Amazon|
Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Hitch Cargo Carrier
To help you to find the best hitch cargo carrier for both your vehicle and anticipated needs, we’ve put together this handy buyer’s guide with all the important features you’ll need to consider.
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It goes without saying, you normally get what you pay for. However, nobody wants to pay over the odds and less money spent on your cargo carrier hatch means more money to spend on your destination and other equipment.
Our advice is to, first of all, consider what you are likely to be transporting, your average anticipated load, and how often you’ll be using your hitch cargo carrier. If you are looking for a model for occasional light use, mainly to carry bulky yet light camping equipment or bikes, for example, then you can most probably get away with purchasing a low-priced unit around $100.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to carry loads in excess of 300 pounds or will be using your hitch cargo carrier on a regular basis, we recommend spending several hundred dollars, from $300 upwards. Why? Hitch cargo carriers in this price range feature more durable welds and a better finish to protect them from extensive travels and exposure to the elements, road grit, and the stresses and strains of freeway driving.
Not only do you get better durability at higher prices, you also get a better design, greater ease of use and installation. What’s more, if you are likely to make very frequent usage of your cargo hitch carrier, for a scooter for example, then it is definitely worth paying out more for a folding model that will save you time and hassle regularly disconnecting and reinstalling it.
Hitch cargo carriers are either made from steel or aluminum. Steel is generally considered to be the better choice. Not only is it very strong and highly durable, it is also relatively affordable and when covered with a powder finish, it can be highly weather-resistant. On the downside, it is fairly heavy.
If weight is a problem, or if you are looking for a model with a ramp, a lighter-weight aluminum may be your best option. You may want to check out some models with extra reinforcement as aluminum is a lot more prone to bending and deforming under weight than steel.
Folding or Fixed Shank Carriers
For regular use, a folding shank carrier may be your best option. This can make parking much easier when you’ve unloaded all of your gear and means you don’t have to take off your carrier when it’s not in use.
Folding carriers are not compatible with all types of vehicle, for example, your RV ladder or jeep’s spare wheel could hamper the folding function, so check compatibility before you buy.
As folding models tend to cost more, if you are going to be using your hitch cargo carrier only a handful of times per year, you may be better off simply purchasing a fixed shank model and storing it inside your garage between uses. This will also ensure a longer lifespan for your carrier.
Before you start looking at hitch cargo carriers, you’ll need to work out what your maximum load is likely to be. Once you have a ballpark figure, you may want to add on 100 pounds more for those just in case extras.
Most hitch cargo carriers are rated between 300 and 600 pounds, with the majority suitable for transporting loads up to 500 pounds. A 500-pound model should be more than suitable for most average needs. However, if you are likely to only ever be transporting around 200 pounds of equipment, you could opt for a lighter 300-pound limit model.
In most cases, it is preferable to go for a slightly higher weight limit. This gives you extra options, aside from camping with your regular gear, you may want to transport a heavy item across the country that you have bought or help a friend or relative to move a bulky item across town.
Your hitch cargo carrier’s base size is another important consideration. Always take into account the internal measurements that you will be using for your goods. For regular use camping, for example, measure your items that you will be transporting inside of your carrier to see how they size up and what you can slot in where.
If you have a lot of bulky items it can be really helpful to draw out your carrier base inner dimensions on your driveway in chalk. Place your items within the rectangle and make sure they fit. Sometimes an extra inch or two can really make all the difference when you have a lot of bulky gear.
Hitch cargo carrier bases generally use bars or mesh. This allows any rainwater to run through and prevents them from collecting road grit and debris. Bars are a good choice for large items or cargo bags. Mesh provides extra security for smaller items and is a highly popular option.
Type of Carrier
While you can generally tie most items onto any type of carrier, if you have a specific load in mind, or are looking for a more versatile, multi-purpose hitch cargo carrier, then you may wish to consider one of the specific types below.
Basket hitch cargo carriers are a highly popular option as they provide extra security for your cargo thanks to their railings. Not only do the railings themselves keep your goods in place, they also allow for a limitless number of attachment points with bungee cords, straps, or cargo nets. Basket-style hitch cargo carriers give you good peace of mind on long journeys with expensive cargo.
Flat-bed models feature a raised edge of several inches around your carrier’s base. This raised edge has holes in it for attachment points. If you do not need a lot of height or are mainly transporting objects with a very low center of gravity, you may wish to opt for a flat-bed version.
They are also a good choice for easy loading and unloading of very heavy items as you don’t have to lift them so high – although you could also opt for a model with removable railings.
An excellent choice for any wheeled item that weighs a lot or is extra bulky, a hitch cargo carrier with a ramp makes an ideal choice for your scooter, lawn mower, portable generator, or even just loading heavy wheeled suitcases and containers.
Provided your vehicle has an appropriate receiver at the front, there is no reason that you cannot place your hitch cargo carrier in front of your vehicle. This can be extremely useful if you are towing a trailer or have a bike rack installed on your rear hitch.
As with any installation, make sure that your lights and plates aren’t blocked, especially if you come from a state where two plates are issued. Also, take care that you do not obstruct the flow of air to your radiator, or you could struggle with overheating problems.
Unfortunately, most models do not come with a locking mechanism as standard. However, they are inexpensive and definitely worth picking up to prevent anyone from making off with your hitch cargo carrier and its contents while you stopover en route.
If your hitch cargo carrier doesn’t have a tight fit it risks making a lot of noise, especially when you hit the interstate. If you have this problem, consider investing in an anti-rattle hitch tightener for a more secure fit and a lot less noise.
Ease of Use
Certain features can make your hitch cargo carrier easier to use, depending on your vehicle, needs, and average load.
- Slanted shank – straight shanks can cause clearance issues. Raised driveways, speed bumps, and uneven terrain can all cause issues if you use a straight shank with certain vehicles. While you can always purchase a hitch raiser, there are plenty of excellent models out there with slanted shanks as standard.
- Attachment points – look for models with plenty of attachment points if you are not going for a basket version with railings.
- Reflectors – yes, you can buy reflectors to add on, or reflective tape, but built-in ones make for extra ease of use.
- Folding shanks – if you use your hitch cargo carrier on a very regular basis, it can be easier to just fold it up rather than taking it off and putting it back on every few days.
- Ramp – if you have any kind of heavy wheeled items to transport, then a ramp can make things so much easier, especially if you are loading up your hitch cargo carrier alone. Portable generators for RVing, for example, often have wheels and can simply be pulled up your ramp rather than straining your back lifting a heavy load.
Don’t forget to take your carrier’s weight into consideration, especially with a fixed shank type that you will be removing when it’s not in use. Installing a heavy 70-pound carrier can be quite a challenge if you’re alone.
If you need a model that is easy to take off and put back on single-handedly, you may prefer to choose a lightweight model somewhere around the 30lb mark.
Most hitch cargo carriers are compatible with class three or class four two-inch square receivers without any adapters needed. Always check your hitch class is compatible before attaching any items.
Basically, receiver hitches are divided into five classes depending on the towing capacity of your vehicle. Class one starts out with standard cars and crossovers, going right up to commercial duty trucks at class five. Classes three and four cover most regular trucks, crossovers, vans, and SUVs.
Rooftop Vs Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers
Wondering whether to choose a rooftop or a hitch mount cargo carrier? Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.
- Ease of use – hitch mounted models are much easier to load up, no more lifting heavy items above your head.
- Installation – attaching your hitch-mounted carrier is generally easier than putting on your rooftop cargo carrier, although in both cases you may still prefer an extra hand to help out.
- Capacity – you can fit a lot more bulky items in a hitch cargo carrier, some may even be impossible to get onto your rooftop in the first place.
- Aerodynamics – your hitch cargo carrier sits in the slipstream behind your vehicle, creating very little extra drag if any. Your rooftop box will slow you down and add on to your fuel costs.
- Protection – a closed rooftop box is a good choice for smaller items that need greater levels of protection from the elements. However, bear in mind that you can equally place such items inside a waterproof container and strap it onto your hitch cargo carrier.
- Safety – a rooftop carrier won’t risk blocking your exhaust, or concealing your lights and license plate. Also, as it won’t be adding to your vehicle’s length, you’re less likely to be rear-ended especially in traffic jams or on the freeway. However, make sure you account for your extra height when using any routes with very low overheads.
- Versatility – a hitch cargo carrier is much more versatile, use one for a scooter, bikes, camping equipment, gardening tools… most bulky items will fit on one.
Hitch Cargo Carrier vs Trailer
Wondering if you should bite the bullet and go for a trailer instead of a hitch cargo carrier? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type to consider.
- Ease of use – loading up a trailer can be just as easy as loading up your hitch cargo carrier. Installing your trailer will definitely require new plates and lights, which can be avoided with a hitch cargo carrier provided your lights and plates are unobscured.
- Ease of driving – driving is a lot more tricky with a trailer attached, especially if you’re not used to it. For most people, learning to drive safely with a trailer can take a lot of practice. A hitch cargo carrier, on the other hand, has very little impact upon your driving – just remember to leave a few extra feet when reverse parking and changing lanes.
- Maintenance – a trailer requires much more maintenance than a hitch cargo carrier. You’ll have to check and occasionally inflate or replace tires, as well as checking more ruthlessly for any wear and tear.
- Capacity – a trailer will give you more capacity.
- Versatility – with greater capacity, you can stow more types of items in a trailer than you can in a hitch carrier. However, for general leisure use, hitch carriers are plenty versatile enough and can transport most bulky items, including bicycles and camping equipment.
- Protection – you may think that your cargo will be much better protected by a trailer. This isn’t always the case. Safely stowed on your hitch, your cargo will benefit from your vehicle’s superior suspension and smooth ride. Provided you transport your items in waterproof containers, both trailers and hitch carriers will adequately protect your gear. However, you’ll need to make sure that your trailer is sealed off to the elements, otherwise, your goods could end up being transported in an inch or two of water. Hitch cargo carriers have mesh or bar bases to ensure that rainwater doesn’t pool.
- Cost – trailers cost a lot more than hitch cargo carriers, as well as costing more to maintain. If you can fit your cargo on a carrier, it’s definitely the best option to go for.
Hitch Cargo Carrier Accessories
To make sure that your trip goes smoothly, as well as safely, you may need or want to invest in some of the following hitch cargo carrier accessories.
Receiver Adapters – If you have a 1 ¼” receiver, you’ll need to purchase an adapter to use the standard two-inch shank on most hitch cargo carriers. Some models do fit 1 ¼” receivers, but they tend to be the exception.
Hitch Pins – While your hitch cargo carrier may come with a hitch pin, most don’t. Even if yours does, you’ll likely want to invest in a locking hitch pin to prevent anyone from making off with your carrier when you’re parked up.
Tag Brackets – If your vehicle license plate is obscured by your hitch cargo carrier, you’ll need to display it on your carrier with some tag brackets. A couple of carriers do have a dedicated space for your plate, however, these are not that common.
Light Kits – If you are looking at purchasing a straight shank hitch cargo carrier, you may need to purchase a light kit as your rear lights could well be obscured. Slanted versions are less likely to cover your lights, however, it also depends on your vehicle.
As it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when driving down unfamiliar roads in the dark, we recommend installing a light kit with your hitch cargo carrier to improve your visibility and to help reduce the chances of being rear-ended.
Bungee Cords, Ratchet Straps, and Cargo Nets – Bungee cords are great for attaching any bulky items that are already wrapped or that can be exposed to the elements. While you may already have a few lying around, it’s good to have a dedicated pack just for your hitch cargo carrier.
You may also like to invest in a couple of ratchet straps. Ideal for heavy items that might move about too much on a flat-bed model with bungees, ratchet straps can be tightened up to securely hold your cargo in place.
Cargo nets are very useful for keeping multiple items securely in your trailer. They attach to the attachment points or railings and keep both short and tall items on board. You may also like to consider a specially designed cargo box for your hitch cargo carrier.
Waterproof, they can keep your cargo dry and clean from road grit, bugs, and dirt. They are also a good option for keeping bedding and other bulky fabric items clean without the need for multiple containers.
Hitch Tighteners – If your hitch cargo carrier makes a rattling noise and moves about, you’ll want to pick up a hitch tightener. Not only will this make your drive smoother, it will give you peace of mind instead of worrying about the rattling, and prevent headaches from excess noise.
Reflective Tape/Stickers – We recommend always adding reflective tape or stickers to your cargo hitch carrier. Even if you have in-built reflectors, if you are driving in close traffic or on a busy freeway with a lot of lane changing, you’ll need extra visibility, especially in low lit conditions. Other road users just won’t be expecting the extra length and when approached from the side or at very close quarters the chances of a collision are intensified.
Reflective tape is inexpensive and very easy to apply. Make sure you add some to the sides of your carrier, as well as to the upper railings.
Top Hitch Cargo Carriers Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Hitch Cargo Carriers
We understand that choosing the right hitch cargo carrier for your RV can be a daunting task. With numerous options available on the market, it’s natural to have questions and concerns. In this FAQ section, we aim to address the most common queries regarding hitch cargo carriers to help you make an informed decision.
Whether you’re new to hitch cargo carriers or looking to upgrade your current setup, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to provide clarity on various aspects of these versatile accessories. From understanding their benefits and compatibility to ensuring security and weatherproofing, we’ve got you covered.
Our goal is to equip you with the necessary knowledge to select a hitch cargo carrier that suits your needs and enhances your RVing experience. So, let’s dive into the most commonly asked questions about hitch cargo carriers and find the answers you’re looking for.
What is a hitch cargo carrier?
A hitch cargo carrier is an accessory that attaches to the hitch receiver of a vehicle, such as an RV or a truck, and provides additional storage space for transporting luggage, camping gear, or other bulky items outside the vehicle.
What are the benefits of using a hitch cargo carrier?
Hitch cargo carriers offer several advantages, including increased storage capacity, convenience in transporting large or heavy items, and the ability to keep the interior of your RV clutter-free. They also allow you to carry items that may not fit inside your vehicle, such as bicycles or coolers.
Are hitch cargo carriers universal?
Hitch cargo carriers come in different sizes and weight capacities, so it’s important to choose one that matches your vehicle’s hitch receiver specifications. While some carriers are designed to fit a variety of vehicles, others may require specific hitch sizes or adapters. Always check the product specifications to ensure compatibility with your RV or truck.
How much weight can a hitch cargo carrier hold?
The weight capacity of hitch cargo carriers varies depending on the model. It can range from a few hundred pounds to over 500 pounds. Make sure to consider the weight of the carrier itself when calculating the maximum load you can safely carry.
Are hitch cargo carriers secure?
Most hitch cargo carriers are designed to be secure when properly installed. They typically come with features like built-in locks, adjustable straps, or hitch pins to prevent theft or accidental detachment. However, it’s still recommended to secure your cargo with additional straps or bungee cords to prevent shifting during transit.
Can I access the rear of my vehicle with a hitch cargo carrier attached?
Some hitch cargo carriers are designed with a foldable or swing-away feature that allows you to access the rear of your vehicle without removing the carrier. This feature is particularly useful if you need to reach items in your trunk or tailgate while the carrier is loaded.
Are hitch cargo carriers weatherproof?
While many hitch cargo carriers are built to withstand various weather conditions, not all of them are fully weatherproof. Some models come with rainproof or water-resistant covers, while others may require you to purchase a separate cargo bag or box for protection against rain, snow, or road debris. Always check the product details to ensure it meets your weatherproofing requirements.
Do I need any special tools to install a hitch cargo carrier?
Most hitch cargo carriers can be easily installed using basic hand tools, such as a wrench or socket set. The installation process usually involves attaching the carrier to the hitch receiver and securing it with a hitch pin or bolts. However, it’s advisable to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific carrier you choose, as some models may have additional installation requirements.
Can I use a hitch cargo carrier on an RV or motorhome?
Yes, many hitch cargo carriers are suitable for use with RVs or motorhomes, provided they have a compatible hitch receiver. However, it’s essential to check the weight capacity of your RV’s hitch and ensure it can safely handle the additional load. Be mindful of the overall length and weight distribution of your vehicle when using a hitch cargo carrier.
Are there any legal restrictions or regulations for using hitch cargo carriers?
Regulations regarding the use of hitch cargo carriers may vary by jurisdiction. It’s important to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations to ensure compliance. Some common restrictions include maximum weight limits, requirements for rear lights and reflectors, and restrictions on obstructing license plates or rearview cameras.
All of the models in our selection are excellent choices. It really all comes down to your personal needs, budget, and preferences. So be sure to take your time and consider which hitch cargo carrier is best for you.
If you’re struggling to make up your mind, take another look at one of the most versatile models, the Curt Basket Hitch Cargo Carrier. This folding shank version is made in the USA and comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty. It is made of welded steel and has a generous 500-pound weight capacity, with an angled shank for extra clearance.
For heavy loads, the Vortex Hitch Cargo Carrier by Rola has an impressive 600-pound weight capacity and a limited five-year warranty. Thanks to its raised-shank design, uneven terrain and gradients won’t slow you down, while its five-inch side rails give you extra cargo security.
Need a hitch cargo carrier with a ramp? Take another look at Curt’s Aluminum Hitch Carrier with Ramp. Capable of supporting loads up to 500 pounds, this highly impressive unit has a three-way folding ramp that also enables the shank to fold for extra ease of use.