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Old 09-02-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
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Hitch Cargo Carrier

We are gearing up for our trip to Chilliwack later this month. A big challenge is how to maximize cargo capacity for the trip up there. We want to bring lots of stuff to stock our new 19 since we’ll be camping 3 weeks on the return trip to TX. With the 2 kiddos, their car seats, etc. the back seat of our 4Runner is already spoken for. That leaves the very back cargo area as well as our Yakima roof top cargo carrier.

We were contemplating ways to increase capacity & were thinking of purchasing a hitch cargo carrier that could go in the 4Runner’s 2” receiver. For the return trip, I’d like to just plug it into the “bike rack ready” hitch receiver on the back of the Escape. Per Tammy, the size of the bike rack ready receiver is also 2” so that shouldn’t be a problem. She also said the weight capacity is 350lbs.

The hitch carrier we’re looking at is the MasterBuilt H2A Hitch Haul Lite. It is aluminum and only weighs approx 24lbs yet has a 500lb carrying capacity. The dimensions are 19.25” x 60”.

http://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-H2...1917738&sr=8-1

Ideally we’d like to be able to put things such as camp chairs, a roll-up camp table & plastic storage box (wheel chocks, jack pads, hoses, etc) on it for the return trip. Does anyone think this would be a problem?

Also, I can’t tell whether or not the spare tire on the 19 sticks out beyond the bumper/hitch receiver. If it does, it could restrict the amount of usable cargo carrying space. Another concern is whether or not the cargo would obscure the trailer’s brake/tail lights. What is the width between the insides of each tail light? Could anyone with a 19 measure that up for me?

General thoughts or opinions?

Has anyone else mounted one of these things on the back of their Escape? If so, how's it working out for you?
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Old 09-03-2009, 12:33 AM   #2
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

Do you have a Harbor Freight? They sell an aluminum cargo carrier for about $80.00. On the 17' there would be no impediment to any cargo and the 19' appears the same from the factory photos. It will carry 500# (so they say), but I am not sure of the weight, but the dimensions appear the same. I would recommend that small items be in the Yakima enclosed carrier. I've been looking at this carrier, but haven't gotten it yet, since it would have to be removed and stored since the "Suite Escape" is parked in my driveway and its hitch about a foot away from the sidewalk, and the garage is suffering from overload.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:13 AM   #3
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

Hi Tex. You are excited aren't you? And for good reason! You'll just wish like we did, that you'd had 6 weeks to come home!
The carrier is great, you can use it later for transporting firewood, and all sorts of other stuff. But you'll definitely need an extension (7"). Check your local stores, but if not you can order it online. I got mine from etrailer.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

Thanks for the feedback.

Sandra - Thanks for the suggestion - we do have one in our city. I looked at their website. I like the lower price and the built in reflectors. However, it appears to be approx 11" narrower. Pro - less likely for the cargo to obstruct the brake/tailights. Con - We have a portable canopy/shelter that is right at 60" long when packed that we'd like to potentially put on the carrier. I'll try to check it out in person though.

Hokie - I like the hitch extender accessory. I remember seeing previous your posting on it in the Bike Rack thread. I'm hoping we won't need the extender but it's good to know there's an easy option to clear the spare if needed, espcecially when we put our bike rack back there.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

Prior to our trip to Chilliwack, I purchased the aluminum MasterBuilt hitch cargo carrier that I referenced earlier. We also picked up a water proof soft-side storage bag that is the size of the carrier. It was a huge help in adding capacity for carrying stuff to outfit Grasshopper. Even though capacity wasn't an issue once we got the trailer, it turns out that it's still great to use on the back of it. On the way back to TX, I picked up two heavy duty Dominator slinkys with several related attachments. I also picked up a hard shell plastic locking trunk to store it all in and which we store on the carrier on the back of the trailer for easy access. [will post pics soon]. We figure we can also use it for coolers, camp chairs, rollup table, etc too.

I had Reace put in a 4 pin wiring harness on the back of Grasshopper so we could install a light kit on the carrier if necessary. [Thanks again Reace - you're awesome to work with] Turns out we didn't need to put lights on it b/c neither the storage bag nor the trunk obscured the tail lights or license plate. However, we did put reflectors & reflective tape all over the carrier though - just as a precaution. The wiring harness might still come in handy when we start carrying mtn bikes back there.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:06 PM   #6
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

The wiring harness is a GREAT idea! When we have our bikes loaded on the back, I'm a little concerned about our tail lights being easily seen.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

I had just about given up on the idea of the rear hitch. It seemed everywhere I had read it was only asking for problems to hang bicycles off the rear of the trailer. Obviously TexasEscapes did not experience this issue with their cargo carrier. Does the dual batteries option change this, I know they have moved both batteries to the tongue?

The hitch extender does address one problem, the spare tire. But it creates a new problem, now you are hanging even further off the back and needing even more off set on the front of the camper.

Bottoming out on curbs and driveways was another issue. Maybe that is OK with a cargo carrier but taboo with a bicycle(s).

Anything is better than bikes on top of my 4Runner, they ride fine but are a pain in the a.. to mount and kills the mileage. I think they cost at least 4 mpg U.S.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:12 AM   #8
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

We have the dual batteries in our 19 and they are located under one of the front dinette seats which will provide some offset weight. However, we haven't carried anything that is very heavy on the carrier (camp chairs, slinky related equipment & plastic trunk are all relatively light). We'll see if/when we try adding a loaded cooler.

Also, our cargo carrier didn't require use of a hitch extender to clear the spare tire. Supposedly the cargo carrier we got has attachments you can buy to mount bikes on the carrier too. Haven't looked into it yet. If we go that route, I'll have to see if an extender would be necessary. Usually I mount them on the roof of the 4Runner except when carrying both the kayak & rooftop cargo carrier.

As for bottoming out, we've already gone in and out of driveways with& over curbs without doing so (not even close from what I can tell). I'm guessing the lift axle is helpful towards that regard too. If the bikes can be mounted on the cargo carrier, then that shouldn't be a problem for them either.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:32 AM   #9
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Re: Hitch Cargo Carrier

Heh Fudgie,
If the extender was necessary, it's only 7", so would not add an appreciable amount of torque. The weight of the bikes would obviously decrease some of your hitch weight. However, having the propane and batteries on the front tongue will offset some of that. But all considered, I'd imagine your hitch weight would still be at least 250-275 lbs (at a minimum), and you'd have to have awfully heavy bikes to counter balance that! If you perfectly balanced your trailer, so there was no hitch weight, you are fine. You just don't want a negative hitch weight.
Concerning bottoming out, notice the picture below, and you'll see that if those bikes bottomed out, I'd have just driven over a ledge! Now, Hokie is a 5.0, but I doubt if there is that much difference in the bumper height. The raised axle as Texas said, would increase the height, but also make it higher (harder) to lift your bikes as you mount them. You'll see also, that mounting your bikes on the back, leaves room on the roof top for a couple of kayaks : - )
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