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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
  • roof racks?
  • trailers?

I'm considering a cross-country trek. The rear seats are coming with me so will have to stay in.
 

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  • roof racks?
  • trailers?

I'm considering a cross-country trek. The rear seats are coming with me so will have to stay in.
I hate roof racks, small trailer is a good option. Haven't used a hitch extension, might be another option.
 

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Contemplate, do you really need to take all that stuff?
If so, trailer.
 

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Depends on how much and what you're planning on carrying, small amount of lighter stuff will fit in an aerodynamic cargo box but heavier/bulkier items would be better in a trailer..
 

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Depends on how much and what you're planning on carrying, small amount of lighter stuff will fit in an aerodynamic cargo box but heavier/bulkier items would be better in a trailer..
A trailer is really the way to go to carry any larger load on most any vehicle up to its rated capabilities. But many folks are rightfully scared of towing due to inexperience and lack of skill. I have noticed that most folks tend to drive way too fast for conditions and like to push their safety margins to a squeezing-point as a matter of course. Folks brake too late, don't look or think far enough ahead down the road, turn much too quickly, and pretty much don't like to pay attention to what they are doing until things on the road "happen to them" rather than managing their progress and being mindful of what they are doing. This type of driving + trailer = recipe for disaster. Most/many folks really have no business towing a trailer until they pull their heads out of their hole, change their driving habits, and skill up. Then again, IMHO, many folks have no business driving on the roads period...
 

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A trailer is really the way to go to carry any larger load on most any vehicle up to its rated capabilities. But many folks are rightfully scared of towing due to inexperience and lack of skill. I have noticed that most folks tend to drive way too fast for conditions and like to push their safety margins to a squeezing-point as a matter of course. Folks brake too late, don't look or think far enough ahead down the road, turn much too quickly, and pretty much don't like to pay attention to what they are doing until things on the road "happen to them" rather than managing their progress and being mindful of what they are doing. This type of driving + trailer = recipe for disaster. Most/many folks really have no business towing a trailer until they pull their heads out of their hole, change their driving habits, and skill up. Then again, IMHO, many folks have no business driving on the roads period...
Ugh, so many times I hear people talk about towing above the recommended weight or speed, saying "Hey, I'm a great driver, nothing has ever gone wrong before". Yeah, maybe, but it only takes one time. I agree with you; people really need to understand how the vehicle and the trailer react under load and how they need to drive to control everything. It really is a lot like regular driving done carelessly; just because you haven't wrecked yet doesn't mean you won't. And you're putting everyone else's safety at risk. Not meaning to turn this into a lecture thread. Just trying to say if a trailer ends up being the method of choice for the cargo haul, please make sure you and the van are up to it. (Not you, Randonnerd, you know what I mean). Anyway, off the soapbox. Old man condescending attitude over.
 

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Ugh, so many times I hear people talk about towing above the recommended weight or speed, saying "Hey, I'm a great driver, nothing has ever gone wrong before". Yeah, maybe, but it only takes one time. I agree with you; people really need to understand how the vehicle and the trailer react under load and how they need to drive to control everything. It really is a lot like regular driving done carelessly; just because you haven't wrecked yet doesn't mean you won't. And you're putting everyone else's safety at risk. Not meaning to turn this into a lecture thread. Just trying to say if a trailer ends up being the method of choice for the cargo haul, please make sure you and the van are up to it. (Not you, Randonnerd, you know what I mean). Anyway, off the soapbox. Old man condescending attitude over.
ID-10-T error:

 

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A trailer is really the way to go to carry any larger load on most any vehicle up to its rated capabilities. But many folks..
Wow, what thread drift... I didn't realize this was a trailer safety seminar or judge your fellow road user thread.

A trailer is one option of increasing cargo capacity, roof carrier is another. Each has benefits and costs.
If OP simply needs a little more room to put say sleeping bags and mats or a duffle bag / suit case of clothing, roof carrier is the way to go. MPG hit will be similar between a trailer and a decent cargo box, but with a box you won't have to look for special parking arrangements and will be less restricted in where you can drive. (unpaved roads and trailers often don't make a good combination, particularly on these low clearance vans).

Again, if one needs lots of additional cargo capacity a trailer or a larger vehicle is the way to go. Roof box is not an option for anything over ~150 lbs...
 

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I vote hitch extension. Fairly cheap to buy (~$50) and stores in very little space in the garage (hangs on the wall). We use one for short trips, we throw the cooler, stroller, folding chairs & a few other items that are fine if a little dusty/wet. Doesn't get the mpg hit of a roof carrier plus not dragging a trailer (which usually costs extra on toll roads). Just have to be careful not to back up too far, and we just throw the stuff inside the van when we get somewhere to secure it.

-Andrew
 
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I vote hitch extension. Fairly cheap to buy (~$50) and stores in very little space in the garage (hangs on the wall). We use one for short trips, we throw the cooler, stroller, folding chairs & a few other items that are fine if a little dusty/wet. Doesn't get the mpg hit of a roof carrier plus not dragging a trailer (which usually costs extra on toll roads). Just have to be careful not to back up too far, and we just throw the stuff inside the van when we get somewhere to secure it.

-Andrew
If you have a hitch, that's a good option.. (though it might bottom out the rear, if the van is loaded + the hitch carrier)
Most vans have no hitch receiver, and to put one on would cost $300+
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Contemplate, do you really need to take all that stuff?
If so, trailer.
That's a really good question. Lightening my load, which means I'll have to re-buy everything, is a project, while dragging everything with me is a hassle too. I don't know what to do. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A trailer is really the way to go to carry any larger load on most any vehicle up to its rated capabilities. But many folks are rightfully scared of towing due to inexperience and lack of skill. I have noticed that most folks tend to drive way too fast for conditions and like to push their safety margins to a squeezing-point as a matter of course. Folks brake too late, don't look or think far enough ahead down the road, turn much too quickly, and pretty much don't like to pay attention to what they are doing until things on the road "happen to them" rather than managing their progress and being mindful of what they are doing. This type of driving + trailer = recipe for disaster. Most/many folks really have no business towing a trailer until they pull their heads out of their hole, change their driving habits, and skill up. Then again, IMHO, many folks have no business driving on the roads period...
caveat acknowledged

I have no experience with a trailer specifically, but am a modest/safe driver. Truly. Yet, even something like parking would be intimidating.

Hitch extension, 150lb roof limit - reading them all. Grateful for the input.
 

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I used everything from roof carrier to hitch carrier and even a trailer. My personal choice is the hitch carrier. They carry between 350 and 500 pounds depending on the size of receiver you have. No aerodynamic drag and easy to secure a load onto. The roof carrier is just awkward to load up on a minivan (worse on a suv) as it sits way too high. Roof racks can only take a max of 200 pounds. You have to be aware of any low overhanging areas(parking garages). A trailer is just too much of a burden. MPG really bottoms out. You have lots of extra pressure on the power train and braking system.
 

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This thing, if adapted for cargo, would be the safest way of moving your light cargo on your next vacation trip!

Check it out!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNWQOoxF3XE

Since it was designed for transporting wheelchairs, it is very expensive.

Backing up is a breeze, doesn't behave as a trailer when backing up, watch the video.

Tried it myself, on a long trip, you even forget about it, it doesn't add weight to your hitch!

Note: Motorized wheelchairs can weight over 400 lbs, small vehicles can not carry one of those on the hitch. With this thing, any vehicle can carry those wheelchairs.

Time to fabricat one of those for general light cargo!







 

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That's a really good question. Lightening my load, which means I'll have to re-buy everything, is a project, while dragging everything with me is a hassle too. I don't know what to do. :confused:
If it's a cross country move, get a quote or few for shipping the heavier & bulkier stuff..(perhaps something like a pod)
If shipping / towing trailer is more expensive then buying replacement you have your answer (unless it's sentimental value).
 

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That Chariot is a pretty neat item. I'll have to keep that in mind. Looks like it can be towed behind a fairly small car. If one needs a powered wheelchair and doesn't want (or can't afford) to buy a larger vehicle that is a great option.

For cross-country moves buying a decent trailer is another option. One can purchase one used on Craigslist, use it, and then sell it again at the other end. Nice enclosed aluminum trailers cost only a few thousand dollars on Craigslist -many of them lightly used from trailer specialty stores which seem to be doing a LOT of advertising/selling of trailers over Craigslist these days in my area (Chicago.) Then, when you get where you are going and don't need/want a trailer any longer then simply sell it. If you are a good shopper you should be able to get 80% or more back out of your purchase. Perhaps even turn a tidy profit depending on where you are going and where you started. Things like trailers seem to always have price differentials from one part of the country to another.

If your minivan doesn't have a hitch right now they are not very expensive. I got a really good deal on mine from Amazon. I just checked my records again and I actually only paid $104.35 for it when it was sale, but even today I see the one I got listed for $139.21 shipped. A drawbar/ball kit is another $25 or so. $25 or so more for a wiring kit (if you want to splice wires yourself) and you have everything you need for under $200 and you can use it again and again for as long as you own your van.
 

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We had to make this type of decision last summer. Thankfully, we only needed mildly more space. We considered both a hitch platform and a roof carrier.

Ended up going with a soft-sided rooftop carrier. We put a lot of lightweight, bulky, stuff up there (like backpacking packs, etc.), and kept the speed down a bit due to MPG and durability concerns. Had no problems whatsoever.

If you go with a hitch platform, be aware of a couple of things: 1) it's very easy to drag the hitch/platform on the road when going over a bump or dip, so be sure to have the right amount of rise in the hitch assembly; and, 2) avoid putting lots of weight behind the rear axle - in addition to loading the rear axle, it also causes some weight transfer from the front axle to the rear.

- G
 
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