StowAway MAX Cargo Carrier on Sprinter van touring American parks

Frequently Asked Questions: StowAway Carriers

Find answers to common questions about the StowAway family of products. If you don't find your answer here, our Customer Service Department is extremely knowledgeable and will be happy to help with any questions you have. You can fill out the Contact Form and get an answer, usually in 1 business day or less. Or if your question is more urgent, call us toll-free at 800-943-5377, Monday thru Friday, 7:30 am - 4:30 pm PST.

1. StowAway Specs & Features

2. Finding the Right StowAway

3. Ordering & Shipping

4. Assembling & Mounting

5. Use & Warranty

6. Cleaning & Storing

7. Towing & Hitch Accessories


1. StowAway Specs & Features

Where can I find the dimensions of the different StowAway Cargo Carriers?

For detailed product information and technical specs, take a look at our StowAway Cargo Carrier Comparison Table.

How much will the StowAway Cargo Carrier hold?

The MAX Cargo Carrier offers 16 cubic feet of capacity and will carry up to 200 pounds of gear. The Standard Cargo Carrier has 12.5 cubic feet of capacity and will carry up to 200 pounds of gear with a 2" hitch, or up to 125 pounds with a 1.25" hitch. How much is that? Here’s a graphic that should help.

Image comparing the capacity of StowAway MAX and Standard carrier

How much does the StowAway Cargo Carrier weigh?

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

Can I buy a StowAway cargo carrier or frame individually?

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

How does the SwingAway frame work?

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. Watch how easy it is to operate the StowAway SwingAway Frame:

What are StowAway Cargo Carriers made from?

The StowAway Cargo Carriers are rotomolded with linear low-density polyethylene. This is the same material used in some white water kayaks and it is super durable. Extensive testing has shown that the box can take an impact without cracking or failing. We even had one family tell us it protected them in a car accident!

What colors does the StowAway Cargo Carrier come in?

The StowAway Cargo Carrier 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 something to make your carrier stand out a little, our replacement reflectors come in 6 different color options.

Are StowAway Cargo Carriers waterproof?

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 some water to get inside the box. We recommend that you pack your items with this in mind.

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2. Finding the Right StowAway

How can I figure out if a StowAway Cargo Carrier will fit my vehicle?

We make StowAway Cargo Carriers that will work on almost every SUV, RV, van, truck, and even some sedans. You can check our Vehicle Fit Gallery to see if your vehicle or a similar model is listed. We also have several hitch carrier guides including Trailer Hitch Basics, Hitch Carrier Basics, Spare Tire Clearance, and Tailgate Clearance that can help answer your questions. And of course, you can reach our Customer Service department through our Contact Form or by calling toll-free 800-943-5377. We’ll need to know your vehicle make/model and hitch size in order to help you.

Is there a way to use my vehicle’s backup camera with StowAway?

Installation of a StowAway Cargo Carrier typically blocks in-vehicle backup cameras. But there are systems you can purchase that can be mounted to the cargo carrier or the license plate bracket.

Do you have any options for transporting wheelchairs or motorized scooters?

Unfortunately, we don’t have any products designed for transporting assistive devices at this time.

Will your hitch products fit on vehicles with standard European hitches?

No, they can only accommodate American-style hitch receivers.

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

Here’s a graphic that may help:

Image comparing the capacity of StowAway MAX and Standard carrier

For more information, check out our Cargo Carrier Comparison Table. To speak with a vehicle fit expert, please fill out our Contact 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.

Can I open my liftgate or rear doors with the StowAway Carrier swung out?

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 only. Rear passenger doors will still be able to open between 60 and 90 degrees, giving you easy access to the back of your vehicle. Every vehicle will fit a little differently, please call us if you have questions.

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 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.

Can the SwingAway arm be reversed to swing to the driver side?

No. Pivoting the box to the driver’s side would mean that the carrier could be swung out inadvertently into oncoming traffic if the vehicle is pulled over to the side of the road.

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

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. This will help us make sure you get the right hardware for your vehicle.

I have a spare tire on the back of my vehicle. Can I still use a StowAway Cargo Carrier?

Our StowAway Cargo Carrier with SwingAway Frame can accommodate almost any rear-mounted spare tire. Our Fixed-frame models generally do not provide enough clearance behind the tire. Check out the Spare Tire Clearance Guide for more information.

In some cases, you may need to use an extender bar, drop hitch, or our "low rise" frame to fit around and behind your tire. We can make that determination once we know your vehicle year, make, and model. As well as some measurements on your tire.

NOTE - you may not be able to open the carrier in the "closed" position, when you have a rear mounted spare tire. You may have to swing the carrier out to 90 degrees, and lock it into place to open the lid completely.

Are there any options for customization?

We can work with you on custom designs or modifications only if you are ordering more than 5 units.

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3. Ordering & Shipping

Where can I purchase a StowAway Cargo Carrier?

You can buy 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.

If I’m near your warehouse, can I pick up my StowAway in person?

Sure, we’d love to see you! Just let us know you’re coming by calling us at 800-943-5377 and give us 3-5 business days to get everything ready for you.

If I place my order today, when will I receive my StowAway?

In most cases, domestic orders placed on our website will be processed and shipped within 1-2 business days. All large packages (such as StowAway Cargo Carriers) ship by FedEx Ground from our headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Smaller packages (like replacement keys) 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.

How will my StowAway Carrier arrive?

Your StowAway Carrier is shipped in two large boxes. The larger box contains the carrier base, hardware, some accessories and one part of the SwingAway Frame. The smaller box contains the carrier lid, license plate bracket and the other part of the SwingAway Frame.

Do you offer expedited shipping?

Expedited shipping is available via FedEx Express. However, due to the size and weight of the StowAway shipping cartons, expedited shipping can be quite expensive. For example, expedited shipping for StowAway Cargo Carriers can run approximately $400 for 3-day express delivery and $1,000+ for overnight service. Rates vary depending upon the product ordered and your shipping address. If you need your order shipped express or overnight, please call StowAway Customer Service at 800-943-5377 to place your order.

Do you ship to Canada, Alaska and Hawaii?

Definitely, although we have to charge for shipping and it tends to take a bit longer. Please fill out our Quote Request Form to get a customized shipping quote and delivery estimate.

I live abroad. Can I order StowAway products?

Yes, we’ll gladly ship overseas. Please fill out our Quote Request Form to get a shipping quote and delivery estimate. However, please note that all of our StowAway hitch-mounted solutions are designed for American sizing and are not compatible with hitch sizing in most other countries.

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4. Assembling & Mounting

How difficult is it to assemble and install my StowAway Cargo Carrier?

Most people don’t have any difficulty getting their StowAway ready for use. Each StowAway is pre-assembled at the factory to ensure all parts and components fit and function properly. Then the unit is partially disassembled for shipping. Putting it back together and mounting it on the vehicle usually takes two people ½-1 hour.

Can I remove the Cargo Carrier and install the StowAway Bike Rack or Cargo Rack on the same frame?

Absolutely! One of the best features of the StowAway system is the versatility of its frames and their ability to accommodate the full range of StowAway racks and boxes. Simply unbolt the StowAway Cargo Carrier from the frame, then bolt the Cargo Rack or Bike Rack (or both) in its place. The Bike Rack can be used by itself or with the Cargo Rack.

What tools do I need to install my StowAway Cargo Carrier?

You’ll need two large adjustable wrenches (up to 1-1/16” opening) and a Phillips-head screwdriver. A socket set is also helpful, but not strictly necessary.

I don't know much about hitch receivers. Where can I learn more?

Check out our 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

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5. Use & Warranty

Will my exhaust heat damage my StowAway Cargo Carrier?

Exhaust heat and plastic don't mix. If your vehicle doesn’t already divert the exhaust, you need an exhaust shield. You can 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.

Illustration showing tailpipe direction to determine if exhaust shield is necessary for a vehicle

Are StowAway products suitable for off-road or backcountry use?

Smooth dirt or gravel roads are fine, but washboard roads or off-roading create too much stress on the connection points of StowAway hitch racks and carriers and are not recommended.

How do I keep the contents of my StowAway safe from theft?

The StowAway Cargo Carrier comes equipped with a sturdy built in lock with two keys. If you want additional security, you can add hasp locks to the side of the lid.

I lost the keys for my StowAway Cargo Carrier lock. Can I get replacement keys?

StowAway Replacement Keys can be ordered directly from our website. To ensure fit and security, all replacement keys come with new lock cores.

Where can I get a replacement stowaway2.com sticker for my StowAway?

Contact us and we will gladly send you one at no charge.

If I sell my StowAway, is the warranty transferable?

Unfortunately, we are unable to honor warranty claims from anyone other than the original purchaser.

How long is the warranty on StowAway products?

StowAway offers a 10-year warranty on all of our cargo carriers and frames. 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.

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6. Cleaning & Storing

How should I store my StowAway cargo carrier when it’s not in use?

Most people don’t keep their StowAway mounted year-round. In the off-season, store your StowAway in a dry place such as a garage or shed. If you have to store your StowAway outside, we recommend using a StowAway Cargo Carrier Cover. A few of our customers have come up with creative storage solutions:

StowAway Standard Cargo Carrier hanging from garage ceiling on pulley system
StowAway MAX Cargo Carrier stored on garage floor
StowAway Cargo Carrier with cover stored outside

What is the best way to clean the StowAway and keep it looking like new?

Use soap and water to clean the inside and outside of the cargo carrier. Trim Shine (or a similar product) will bring back the luster to the box if the satin finish has faded over time. If you use the StowAway SwingAway Frame on a salted road or beach, we recommend you clean and lubricate frame after each use.

Is it safe to take my StowAway carrier through the car wash?

We don’t recommend this as you will likely get water inside the box due to the high-pressure directional spray.

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7. Towing & Hitch Accessories

Is it possible to tow a trailer or vehicle behind a StowAway?

In most cases, yes. Take a look at our Trailer Hitch Basics Guide to learn about your towing options and limitations.

What is the StowAway Hitch Tightener?

The StowAway Hitch Tightener is a heavy-duty stainless steel u-bolt that installs at the junction of your StowAway frame and your hitch. It helps to remove most of the hitch wobble or “play”, which is a common issue with hitches. It is included with most StowAway Cargo Carriers and racks and is also available as a standalone hitch accessory.

Is the StowAway License Plate Kit required?

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 illuminated StowAway License Plate Bracket mounts easily to any StowAway cargo carrier and connects inside the box to the taillight wire harness leads. It is included with most StowAway Cargo Boxes and is also available as a standalone hitch accessory.

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

The light bulb we use is a standard model number C168. You can usually find a replacement at your local automotive or hardware store.

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