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Old 02-24-2015, 02:17 PM #1
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Roof Rack vs Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier

One of the first purchases my wife and I are looking at for our 2015 SR5 4Runner is either a roof rack or a hitch mounted cargo carrier. Main reason is for our vacations we take with the kids. There's not enough room on the inside for our luggage. I like the looks of a roof rack, especially the full length Stingray. I would think I might keep it on the 4Runner and install LED light bar. Or I might just use it when needed. I tend to think the hitch mounted carrier will be less of a worry when it comes to traveling and hoping everything is tied down properly like I would on a roof rack, and I'm sure there's a little less wind resistance there as well.

We already have a soft carrier with nylon straps we used on the old SUV, so a roof rack would just add more capacity to store on top. So my question is, from y'alls experience, which option seems to be more logical, convenient, and durable?
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:20 PM #2
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Get both, that way you have plenty of room and when you get to where your going you can take the hitch one off and still have room up top for other stuff.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:23 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gupster88 View Post
One of the first purchases my wife and I are looking at for our 2015 SR5 4Runner is either a roof rack or a hitch mounted cargo carrier. Main reason is for our vacations we take with the kids. There's not enough room on the inside for our luggage. I like the looks of a roof rack, especially the full length Stingray. I would think I might keep it on the 4Runner and install LED light bar. Or I might just use it when needed. I tend to think the hitch mounted carrier will be less of a worry when it comes to traveling and hoping everything is tied down properly like I would on a roof rack, and I'm sure there's a little less wind resistance there as well.

We already have a soft carrier with nylon straps we used on the old SUV, so a roof rack would just add more capacity to store on top. So my question is, from y'alls experience, which option seems to be more logical, convenient, and durable?
I agree with both. I have a full length rack up top and a hitch mount in the rear. This weekend, I was able to haul enough firewood camping on the hitch rack for the whole trip without taking up more valuable cargo space, and I kept the bark and bugs out of my truck. There are going to be loads that are more appropriate for the hitch than the roof. A full cooler, for instance, isn't something you want to try and put up top but it goes perfectly behind. Lastly, my hitch rack was something like $60 from Harborfreight, it's almost silly not to have one, regardless of whether you put a rack up top. The only thing I wish I'd thought about when I bought it was finding a fold-up model.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:55 PM #4
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some hitch options :

.
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Roof Rack vs Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier-hitch_1-jpg  Roof Rack vs Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier-hitch_3-jpg  Roof Rack vs Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier-hitch_3_1-jpg  Roof Rack vs Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier-hitch_2-jpg 
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:56 PM #5
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I have a Thule roof box, and I use it for skis in the winter or soft stuff like backpacks and camping equipment in the summer. It's nice for keeping stuff relatively clean and dry (though it's not really sealed, and it will let water in in heavy rain).

I also have a cheap hitch mounted cargo carrier that I used when I had a smaller car. I've only used it for a cooler, and once to transport a bbq. In bad weather it puts your stuff in the worst spray area behind the vehicle.

Those enclosed hitch carriers are really expensive! It would be an easy DIY to make a better one, anyway. Or some people put a plastic box on a regular hitch carrier.
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:19 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bay33saw View Post
Get both, that way you have plenty of room and when you get to where your going you can take the hitch one off and still have room up top for other stuff.
Wow you have quite the setup! Thanks for the pics, we definitely need as much storage space as we can get. Maybe both is the way to go.

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I agree with both. I have a full length rack up top and a hitch mount in the rear. This weekend, I was able to haul enough firewood camping on the hitch rack for the whole trip without taking up more valuable cargo space, and I kept the bark and bugs out of my truck. There are going to be loads that are more appropriate for the hitch than the roof. A full cooler, for instance, isn't something you want to try and put up top but it goes perfectly behind. Lastly, my hitch rack was something like $60 from Harborfreight, it's almost silly not to have one, regardless of whether you put a rack up top. The only thing I wish I'd thought about when I bought it was finding a fold-up model.
Never thought about Harbor Freight having a cargo carrier. Has yours held up pretty well?

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Originally Posted by NoDak View Post
some hitch options :

.
Thanks for the options, it'd be nice to have that first setup, probably weighs quite a bit.

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Originally Posted by m85476585 View Post
I have a Thule roof box, and I use it for skis in the winter or soft stuff like backpacks and camping equipment in the summer. It's nice for keeping stuff relatively clean and dry (though it's not really sealed, and it will let water in in heavy rain).

I also have a cheap hitch mounted cargo carrier that I used when I had a smaller car. I've only used it for a cooler, and once to transport a bbq. In bad weather it puts your stuff in the worst spray area behind the vehicle.

Those enclosed hitch carriers are really expensive! It would be an easy DIY to make a better one, anyway. Or some people put a plastic box on a regular hitch carrier.
I thought about fabbing up my own hitch carrier completely enclosed but went against it just for time. We would probably just be putting coolers and whatnot on the back that wouldn't be a big issue if it got sprayed during wet weather. But an enclosed box would be handy.
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Old 02-25-2015, 02:52 PM #7
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Never thought about Harbor Freight having a cargo carrier. Has yours held up pretty well?
Yah, it's been great so far. Rated for #500, I walk on it end to end without worrying when I'm loading the roof, and I'm #200. No rust or anything, I think I paid $60 and another $15 or so for the elastic net with hooks, which has been by far the most efficient tie down method. It works with nearly anything that will fit on the rack. I've had it for a few years, I actually sold it to a friend between trucks and bought it back after he used it for a year, still looks the same.
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Old 02-25-2015, 04:46 PM #8
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that big one is for loading like snow blowers, riding mowers, bikes, motorized walkers, etc.

and also realize, that's a suburban which prob has a 700 lbs tongue weight instead of a 500 lbs for the 4runner.

edit : at least the stowaway2 has a license plate location and light for legal purposes that looks like it taps into the hitch light adapter. a lot of the others just cover the original license plate location which could get into legal issues in some states.
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