Common Questions

Perhaps you're planning a family road trip for the upcoming summer. Or maybe you're busy prepping for the big tailgating party before the next game. Either way, making StowAway an integral part of the experience is always a good idea.

But what if you still have some questions that need answering? Well, for any and all questions about StowAway products, you've come to the right place! To begin, take a look at our most commonly searched categories below. Click on the category that's specific to your needs and we'll take you straight to its most frequently asked questions. Not sure which category you want? Scroll through and browse the commonly asked questions in each category until you find your answer.

Thanks for making StowAway a part of all your amazing road trips, weekend bicycling getaways, and fishing excursions. We love being a part of making your adventures possible. Happy searching!

The many uses of StowAway Cargo Carriers


Q. Is some assembly required when I receive my StowAway Cargo Carrier?

A. Yes, some assembly is required. Each StowAway is pre-assembled at the factory to ensure all parts and components fit and function properly. The unit is then partially disassembled so that it fits into a StowAway shipping carton. The assembly required includes up to five basic steps:

  1. Using the pivot bolt (not required with a Fixed frame), bolt the two pieces of the SwingAway frame together.
  2. Attach the StowAway Cargo Box to the frame.
  3. Using the hinge pins, attach the box lid to the box base.
  4. Attach the license plate bracket to the outside of the box.
  5. Install the unit into your hitch receiver and tighten with the hitch tightener. You will need two large adjustable wrenches (up to 1-1/16" opening) and a phillips screwdriver. A socket set is helpful. We recommend two people for assembling the carrier. Plan on 30 to 60 minutes for total assembly process.

Q. How large is a StowAway Cargo Carrier? Do they come in different sizes? What are the interior dimensions?

A. For detailed product information and technical specs, please refer to our StowAway Cargo Carrier Comparison Table.

Q. Can I purchase a StowAway box or frame individually?

A. Yes. All of our cargo carrier boxes and frames can be purchased individually in their respective categories on our website: Cargo Boxes and Frames Only.

Q. How does the SwingAway frame swing out?

A. StowAway's SwingAway frame is designed with a pull latch, threaded safety bolt, and a drop safety pin. These prevent unplanned opening of the frame while not in use. To swing open the frame, simply pull out the drop safety pin, remove the threaded bolt, and lift the pull latch. Once unlatched, the box can be swung out as far as 180 degrees for clear access to the rear of your vehicle. The drop safety pin can be used to lock the carrier open at a 90-degree angle if desired. For safety reasons, the SwingAway frame pivots on the passenger side of the vehicle. To close the SwingAway model, simply swing the carrier closed until the latch is fully engaged. Always tighten the threaded safety bolt and drop the safety pin into place before driving with the SwingAway frame model.

Q. Can I remove the Cargo Box and install the StowAway Bike Rack or Cargo Rack on the same frame?

A. Yes, you can. The StowAway frames are designed to accommodate our cargo box, cargo rack, or bike rack. To install the bike or cargo rack, simply unbolt the StowAway Cargo Box from the frame and then bolt the cargo or bike rack (or both) in its place. The Bike Rack can be used by itself or with the Cargo Rack. One of the best features of the StowAway Carrier is the versatility of its frames and their ability to accommodate the full range of StowAway racks and boxes.

Q. Are the StowAway Cargo Carriers waterproof?

A. The StowAway Cargo Carriers are designed to keep water away from the contents of the box. The MAX box is designed with a water channel and weep holes to channel water from the lid to the outside. The Standard box utilizes a gasket to seal the lid and base and prevent water penetration. Silicone is applied to the taillights on both units and a rubber gasket is used to prevent water penetration around the latch. Despite all these preventative safeguards it is still possible, under severe conditions, for slight water penetration to occur. As a result, we recommend that you pack your items accordingly. We also recommend using a cargo carrier cover to cover your StowAway Carrier if storing the unit outside.

Q. How much does the StowAway Cargo Carrier weigh?

A. The StowAway Carriers (with frame) weigh from 65 to 99 pounds depending upon the box and frame model. Please refer to the following list for individual weights:

  • Standard Cargo Box - 47 lbs
  • MAX Cargo Box - 52 lbs
  • Fixed Frame - 18 lbs
  • SwingAway Frame - 47 lbs

Q. How much will the StowAway Cargo Carrier hold?

A. The MAX Cargo Carrier offers 16 cubic feet of capacity and will carry up to 200 pounds of gear. The Standard Cargo Carrier offers 12.5 cubic feet of capacity and will carry up to 200 pounds of gear with a 2" hitch, and up to 125 pounds with a 1.25" hitch. Refer to this quick Standard vs. MAX Carrier Comparison to get a more practical idea of luggage capacity.

Q. Is the StowAway Cargo Box offered in different colors?

A. The StowAway Cargo Box is available in Black or Eggshell White. Please indicate your color choice when placing your order. Special colors are available for orders of 20 or more boxes. If you're looking for customization, our replacement reflectors come in 6 different color options.

Q. What are StowAway Cargo Boxes made from?

A. The StowAway Cargo Boxes are rotomolded with linear low-density polyethylene. This material is super durable and is the same material used in some white water kayaks. Extensive tests have shown that the box can take an impact without cracking or failing.

Q. Can my exhaust heat damage or melt my StowAway Cargo Box?

A. Exhaust heat and plastic don't mix well, so you want to be sure that your exhaust is directed away from your StowAway Cargo Box. Many vehicles already divert their exhaust, but some do not. If your exhaust points directly toward or under the StowAway Carrier, you will either want to purchase an exhaust tip (available at any local automotive store) that will divert your exhaust downward, or purchase a StowAway Exhaust Shield that mounts directly to your StowAway box. Exhaust damage to your carrier is not covered under the StowAway Warranty.

Q. How long is the StowAway warrantied for?

A. StowAway offers a 10-year warranty. We will, at our sole discretion, replace or repair a defective unit. Contact us directly by calling 800-943-5377 to provide proof of purchase and make your claim. Unless otherwise authorized, return transportation charges must be prepaid by the purchaser.


Q. Will a StowAway Cargo Carrier fit my vehicle?

A. There is a StowAway Cargo Carrier that will work on almost every SUV, RV, van, truck, and even some sedans. When ordering, select the hitch size on your vehicle, 1.25" or 2”. Also include your vehicle's make, model, year, and whether or not you have a rear-mounted spare tire or ladder. We will make sure we send you the correct cargo carrier. If you have special clearance issues, or are concerned about compatibility, please fill out our Contact Us form or call StowAway Customer Service toll-free at 800-943-5377. We are happy to answer questions and address your concerns. Please include your vehicle and hitch information when contacting us.

Q. How do I decide which StowAway Carrier is best for my needs?

A. Check out our Cargo Carrier Comparison Table to compare our different StowAway models or click here for a quick view of our MAX vs. Standard Carrier luggage capacities.

To speak with a vehicle fit expert, please fill out our Contact Us form or call StowAway Customer Service toll-free at 800-943-5377. When contacting us regarding vehicle fit questions, please include the make, model, year, and hitch size on your vehicle.

Q. How does the SwingAway frame work? Can I open my liftgate or rear doors with the StowAway Carrier swung out?

A. Our patented SwingAway frame pivots up to 180 degrees to accommodate almost all rear liftgates, tailgates, and single or double doors. For safety purposes, the SwingAway frame hinges open to the passenger side. Rear passenger doors will still be able to open between 70 and 90 degrees, giving you easy access to the back of your vehicle. Check out this short video that demonstrates use of the SwingAway frame on a vehicle with rear double doors.

If you have questions or would like to confirm compatibility, please fill out our Contact Us form or call StowAway Customer Service toll-free at 800-943-5377. When contacting us regarding vehicle fit questions, please include the make, model, year, and hitch size on your vehicle.

Q. Can I put my pickup truck's tailgate down while the SwingAway frame is swung out?

A. Our patented SwingAway frame accommodates almost all truck tailgates. Please refer to the StowAway Tailgate Clearance Guide for more information. When ordering a StowAway Cargo Carrier for a pickup truck, please include the make, model, year, and hitch size on your truck, along with the horizontal distance shown on the Tailgate Clearance Guide.

Q. I have a spare tire on the back of my vehicle. Will a StowAway Cargo Carrier work with my vehicle?

A. Our StowAway Cargo Carriers with the SwingAway frame can accommodate almost any rear-mounted spare tire. Our Fixed frame models generally do not provide enough clearance behind the tire. Please refer to the StowAway Spare Tire Clearance Guide for more information.


Q. I don't know much about hitch receivers. Can you help me?

A. Please refer to our StowAway Trailer Hitch Basics Guide for more information regarding:

  • Hitch sizes and hitch classes
  • Hitch safety
  • Hitch compatibility
  • Hitch converters
  • Installing an aftermarket hitch
  • Ordering a hitch for your specific vehicle

Q. I'd like to tow a trailer or a vehicle behind the StowAway Cargo Carrier. What are my options?

A. Please refer to our StowAway Trailer Hitch Basics Guide to learn about your towing options and limitations.


Q. Where can I get a set of replacement keys for my StowAway Cargo Carrier?

A. StowAway Replacement Keys can be ordered directly from our website. You can purchase a replacement lock core with keys, or the complete lock latch, core, and keys. Keys are not available for purchase without a new lock core.

Q. What is the StowAway Hitch Tightener?

A. It is common to have hitch wobble or "play" at the junction of a hitch rack or carrier and your hitch receiver. The StowAway Hitch Tightener installs at the junction of your StowAway frame and your hitch, and helps to remove most of the hitch wobble. The StowAway Hitch Tightener is included with most StowAway Cargo Carriers and racks, but is also available as a standalone hitch accessory.

Q. Is the StowAway License Plate Kit required?

A. License plate requirements vary by state, but many states require your vehicle's rear license plate to be visible at all times (and illuminated at night). The StowAway License Plate Bracket is included with most StowAway Cargo Boxes. It is also available as a standalone hitch accessory. The StowAway Wire Harness includes leads for the License Plate Bracket.

Q. The light bulb in my License Plate Bracket burned out. Can I order a replacement?

A. The model number for the light bulb used in our License Plate Bracket is C168. This model of light bulb can usually be found at your local automotive or hardware store.


Q. Where can I purchase a StowAway Cargo Carrier?

A. You can purchase a StowAway Cargo Carrier factory-direct via this website. To order by telephone or to request a list of retailers that carry StowAway Cargo Carriers in your area, please call us at 800-943-5377.

Q. If I place my order today, when will I receive it?

A. In most cases, domestic orders placed on will be processed and shipped within 1-2 business days. All StowAway orders ship from our headquarters in Portland, Oregon and are shipped by FedEx Ground. Smaller packages are usually shipped via USPS. Transit time is generally 1 to 3 business days in the Western U.S., and 4 to 5 business days in the Midwest, South, and Eastern states.

Q. Do you offer expedited shipping?

A. We do offer expedited shipping via FedEx Express. However, due to the size and weight of the StowAway shipping cartons, expedited shipping tends to be quite expensive. Expedited shipping can run approximately $400 for 3-day express delivery, and $1,000+ for overnight service. Shipping rates vary depending upon the StowAway model purchased and your shipping address. Express shipping orders must be made by calling StowAway Customer Service at 800-943-5377.

Q. Do you ship to Canada, Alaska and Hawaii?

A. Please refer to our StowAway Shipping page for more information regarding order processing, shipping costs, shipping lead times, priority shipping options, international shipping, and order tracking.

Q. How will my StowAway Carrier arrive?

A. Your StowAway Carrier will arrive in two large boxes. Please refer to our MAX SwingAway Shipping Diagram or Standard SwingAway Shipping Diagram to get an idea of what is included in your StowAway shipment, as well as where to find items.

Still have questions concerning your StowAway Cargo Carrier or other StowAway products? Please contact us via email, or call StowAway Customer Service at 800-943-5377. We look forward to answering all your StowAway questions!

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