First a Little History. I grew up in the age before SUVs. We had cars and trucks--mostly cars. We always relied on the trunk of the car to haul stuff and to keep it out of the way of passengers. And now, everything is about SUVs (and small RV’s). The problem is that the backend of an SUV is sort of like a truck bed, but it’s not a separate trunk. Loading stuff into the back of your SUV could mean that it encroaches on the passenger space. Your stuff sometimes rolls around, and heaven forbid trying to get a single item from the back when fully loaded, you may find lots of other things spilling out.
Missing My Trunk. Several years ago, I had an expanded version of the SUV problem. We bought a cool Class B motorhome. It has many smaller cupboards, drawers, and a closet inside with several medium-size storage bins on the outside. However, there was no place for my metal tool chest, the camp stove, a box of firewood, our camp chairs, long trekking poles, a five-gallon water container, and the bag of trash that we accumulate when camping. I couldn’t just stash this bulky stuff inside the motorhome anymore than you would want to stash all this stuff in the back of your SUV. One day out of desperation, I exclaimed to my wife, “We need a trunk.”
Aha, the Stowaway! I went online to search for “cargo carriers” and found the Stowaway Hitch Boxes. I was so impressed with the product’s size, durability, construction, swing-out hitch frame, taillights, drain hole, and locking latch that I bought myself a StowAway hitch-mounted “trunk” for my motorhome. Hooray, I now had an exterior, safe, out-of-way place for bulky gear and even some stuff that was occasionally greasy (think camp stove), smelly (think trash bag), or just messy (think firewood, paint cans, rags, balls, BB guns, bedrolls, etc.).
And Now There’s a Pandemic. I recently heard a news report indicating that the coronavirus can live for 1-3 days on the packaging of the food and other purchases we make or have delivered. There are invisible handprints all over the packages. Yuck. One expert recommended setting up a “staging table” in your garage on which to place packaged items when you get home from the store--to let them “air out.” I’ve got my table. Then, it occurred to me that a Stowaway cargo box would be the ideal “package safety” accessory for the back of your SUV or RV to keep contaminated packages temporarily away from kids and pets and to prevent those nasty little germs from embedding themselves in your vehicle's carpet, upholstery, or leather seats. Now, I don’t mean to be paranoid. I further understand that the probability of contacting a virus from packaging is maybe just 1-3%. 97% of the contagions we’ll encounter come from the expired droplets from the mouths of others who cough, sneeze, or talk to us in too-close proximity. There is NO substitute for “Social Distancing,” which my daughter now calls “Physical Distancing” to sound less “anti-social.”
The message of this article is to recommend the StowAway Cargo Carrier for Your SUV or Motorhome. Save the back of your SUV for family, pets, golf clubs, gym bags, kids daypacks, and your personalized picnic basket with home-prepared snacks for on-the-road. And use the StowAway for groceries and things that you buy that may have coronavirus residue. And wash and rinse the inside of the StowAway regularly by removing the drain plug and grabbing the hose.
My wife and I now have a new motto whenever we pull out of the driveway: “Never go without the StowAway.”
Darby Checketts is a retired business consultant, outdoor enthusiast, camping expert, and the author of seventeen books. He has traveled throughout 47 of the 50 United States and 27 foreign countries.