Choosing the right hitch carrier for your vehicle

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Comparing the StowAway Hitch Carrier Options

Whether you’re heading off on a cross-country road trip or preparing for another day on the job site, a hitch carrier provides a versatile solution for carrying your gear. If you’re running out of room in your SUV, RV or truck, discover how a StowAway hitch cargo carrier can help you pack the essentials into an easy-to-access cargo box or rack.

Why Choose a Hitch Carrier?

StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier on white Toyota FJ Cruiser in desert

A key advantage of a hitch cargo carrier is ground level access. You don’t have to be tall, use a stool, or lift items over your head to pack away your gear into a rooftop carrier. Items can be loaded, unloaded and accessed from the ground by just about anyone in your group. Like roof carriers, hitch cargo carriers may include an enclosed box or an open rack for your gear. Some hitch carriers are mounted to a fixed frame, others to a swingaway frame that swings out for easy access to the back of the vehicle.

Hitch Carriers are most suitable for vehicles designed and rated for a hitch with a tongue weight capacity of at least 200 lbs. Always check that your vehicle and hitch are rated for the amount of weight you’re attempting to carry.

The StowAway Difference

When it comes to the best hitch carrier, few can compare with the StowAway Cargo Carriers. Here are some of the advantages for choosing a StowAway as your hitch carrier:

  • Accessible
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Spacious
  • Made in the USA

Take a look at three of the most popular StowAway Cargo Carrier options for your travel or work needs. The large StowAway Max cargo box, the mid-size StowAway Standard cargo box and the open rack StowAway Cargo Rack.

Before making a choice, be sure to review your vehicle and hitch tongue weight capacities. Not all vehicles can support a hitch mounted carrier option. Vehicle manufacturers typically rate their vehicles for tongue weight capacity with the lower the capacity the less it can carry on a hitch. Smaller vehicles may not be designed or rated for a hitch at all whereas larger SUV’s or vans are comfortably rated for at least 300 lbs or more. You’ll need to know your hitch size and minimum tongue weight capacity, and whether your vehicle has a rear door, liftgate, rear-mounted spare tire or rear ladder.

StowAway MAX Hitch Cargo Box

StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier on red Ford Van in AnarticaThere’s a reason why the StowAway MAX is our most popular cargo box. The Max offers 16 cubic feet capacity on a heavy duty swingaway frame. You can load your gear at ground level and swing out the carrier to access the back of your vehicle or to let the dog out. The Max is perfect for mid-size and larger SUV’s, van’s, RV’s or trucks as it does require a 2” hitch and 300 lbs tongue weight capacity. The rugged molded box and convenient swingaway frame help.

The StowAway Max can hold up to 200 pounds of gear and like all of our cargo boxes comes with a locking latch, taillights, fixed or swingaway frame, hitch tightener and a drain plug for cleaning the unit. To make the most of your Max Box several accessories are available - wheels for maneuvering your carrier when off the vehicle; a lid rack for bulky items you don’t want in the box or buffet boards for preparing food are some of them.

The MAX Cargo Box is ideal for weekend getaways or long road trips. Easy to install you simply slide it into your receiver hitch (best done with two people), insert the hitch pin or lock, and plug in the wire harness. Move your license plate to the back of the box if necessary and you’re on your way.


  • Ample capacity
  • Ideal for mid-size and up SUV’s, van’s, truck and RV’s.


  • Not advised for smaller vehicles

StowAway Standard Hitch Cargo Box

StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier on blue Ford Escape with Ski RackSometimes the best option is the middle choice. The StowAway Standard Cargo Box is not too large or too small. While it doesn’t have the impressive capacity of the MAX Cargo Box, it does offer a lower price and does offer a version for Class II 1.25” hitches.

As long as your vehicle has a minimum tongue weight capacity of 200 pounds, you’ll enjoy loading up this 12.5 cubic foot box with all your gear for a weekend camping trip or to transport your gear to a job site.

Unlike the MAX Cargo Box, the Standard Box offers a frame that will fit either a 1.25-inch or 2-inch hitch. It still comes with plenty of options to customize your hitch carrier to fit your needs.


  • More suited for some mid-size to smaller SUV’s with a vehicle and hitch tongue weight capacity of at least 200 lbs.
  • Models available for either a 1.25” or 2” hitch


  • Lower capacity than the Max Box

Cargo Rack

StowAway Hitch Mount Rack Carrier with SwingAway FrameWould you prefer an open rack for your gear? Check out the StowAway Hitch Cargo Rack for an open rack design that can accommodate your luggage, gear, cooler or even your own box. The rack will hold up to 250 lbs and swings out to give you clear access to the back of your vehicle.

A number of options and accessories are offered for the StowAway Cargo Rack. You can add a bike rack so you can carry up to four bikes along with your gear. Rod holders are available for surf fishermen to transport six surf rods in addition to your cooler and tackle box. A fan of tailgating? Select our Hitch Grill combination for a grill and cutting board added to the cargo rack. In addition to providing room for the cooler and food it becomes the perfect grilling station when swung out and locked at 90 degrees. And last, but not least a cargo net is available to hold your gear firmly in place while underway.


  • Room for bulky items that won’t fit into a cargo box
  • Offers lots of addons to broaden the range of applications


  • Less secure than the cargo box options
  • Gear more exposed to the elements

The Verdict

In the end, it all comes down to your cargo carrying needs. Are you planning a surf fishing trip and need to bring your surf rods along? Or are you planning a long road trip and want to have your luggage and gear secure and protected from the elements? Either way your travel plans will help you determine the best hitch carrier option.

When making your final choice you’ll also want to take into account your vehicle and hitch capacities. If your vehicle and hitch have a tongue weight rating of at least 300 lbs, any of the StowAway options will work for you. If you have a smaller vehicle, a 1.25” hitch and at least a 200 lb tongue weight capacity the Standard Cargo Box and the Cargo Rack are the only options for you.

If you’re ready to hit the road and leave nothing behind, give us a call at 800.943.5377 to learn more about the StowAway hitch carrier options.

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