Tired of Your Overhead Rack?

March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in HItch Racks - (Comments Off)

Never wear white pants when you’re on a road trip. It always goes badly.

The StowAway Hitch Rack attaches to the back of my rig, not the top.

The StowAway Hitch Rack attaches to the back of my rig, not the top for convenient access

So here I go, cruising down the road, doing everything in my power to keep taco crumbs and Diet Coke out of my lap. It is in the nature of road trips to stop and start, take breaks, eat on the road. And one of the last things I want to do is arrive at my destination with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on my butt.

So why, why, why do I store my cargo on the roof of my Jeep … knowing that I’ll have to climb on a door jam to get access to my stuff? There go the white pants. After all the effort of staying clean – no matter what I’m wearing – I always get dirty hauling my gear off the overhead rack.

Overhead racks are also inconvenient, unwieldy and often require two people get everything unloaded without dropping or damaging anything – including the side of the vehicle.

Fortunately, StowAway has a terrific solution: a rack that attaches to my trailer hitch instead of the roof. Ingenious! And – to give me access to the cargo in the back of my Jeep – the StowAway Hitch Rack has a unique swing-away frame that pivots 180 degrees. Sweet!

The rack pivots 180 degrees to give me easy access to the rear of my vehicle

The SwingAway frame pivots 180 degrees to give me easy access to the rear of my vehicle

You can get a base package, that includes the heavy-duty frame and rack, the SwingAway frame for clear vehicle access and a hitch tightener to eliminate wobbling and vibration. Then you can add on features if you’d like, such as a cargo net, hitch lock and cargo bag.

If you’re fond of tailgating, or want to add a grill station to your campsite, you can get the Tailgate Grill Station Plus package, which includes a Cuisinart Grill and acrylic snap-on cutting board.

They really have thought of everything.

Vital Stats: The StowAway Hitch Rack fits 1.25″ or 2″ hitch models, carries up to 250 pounds, and measures 53″ in length, 25″ in width and 5″ in depth. The heavy-duty, steel cargo rack has a black powder coat finish to resist corrosion, 5” side rails to keep your gear secure, and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

The StowAway Hitch Rack with SwingAway Frame gives me extra room for my gear and clear access to the rear of my vehicle. Which means me, my gear and my vehicle, all arrive in terrific form.

The ingenuity doesn’t stop there. Additional StowAway customization options include a bike rack for four bikes and rod holders to carry fishing rods. You can also remove your cargo rack and add one of their StowAway cargo boxes.

 

 

 

Wheels are easily installed on the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

Wheels are easily installed on the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

You’ve been storing, hauling and easily accessing gear and supplies in your StowAway Cargo Carrier for miles and miles. But when it’s time to store the cargo carrier itself, how best to do that?

I may be dating myself here, but I’m reminded of the adage, “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.” Would the ultimate solution in cargo storage leave you out in the cold when it comes time to store the storage device itself? Now that you’re ready to store the StowAway, exactly how are you going to get it off your car and into the garage? Will you be left with a cargo carrier hangover when all the fun is over?

Absolutely not.

StowAway Carrier Wheel Kit to the rescue! This simple and sturdy system let’s you easily attach three wheels to the frame of your StowAway Cargo Carrier. This enables you to roll your carrier effortlessly from your vehicle to its home in the garage. The StowAway Cargo Carrier is exceptionally sturdy, and can also be stored outside in any kind of weather.

(A note about durability: Boasting a 10-year warranty, StowAway boxes are molded with a super durable polymer, the same material used to mold high-performance whitewater kayaks. They have twice the wall thickness of some competitive boxes and are designed to take a beating without cracking. To test this theory, StowAway backed a delivery van over the lid of a box. The results: not a single crack.)

Wheel Kit PIeces

The StowAway Wheel Kit comes with 3 wheels, 2 U-bolts, and 4 nuts for quick and easy installation.

Fortunately you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or a mechanic for that matter, to install the wheels. They mount directly on the frame, using the same attachment points you use to install on your vehicle – no drilling required. Everything you need comes in the kits, pre-fabricated and ready to go. You will be wheeling and storing the cargo carrier as one unit, even with the swing-away frame (which pivots 180 degrees to give you access to the rear of your vehicle).

It seems as though whenever I assemble pre-fabricated “kits” I always end up with leftover parts, which doesn’t boost my confidence at all. So it gives me great comfort to know that the StowAway Carrier Wheel Kit comes with exactly nine pieces: three wheels, two U-bolts, and four nuts. Voila! How easy is that? And no snarky little parts left over to haunt me.

With the ingenious wheel kit, the StowAway Cargo Carrier will follow you effortlessly wherever you go, just like your suitcase … or a new puppy.

The StowAway Cargo Carrier on wheels, while less adorable than a puppy, is, however, exponentially more convenient.

~StowAway2.com

Tired of the Wobble? Check Out This Hitch Tightener

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Accessories - (Comments Off)

There are certain things in life that we don’t mind if they make a little wobble here and there. One-year-olds come to mind. A voice wobbling with emotion, for example. An egg on the counter. A Weeble, which will “wobble but it won’t fall down.” (And if that phrase isn’t familiar to you, it’s probably because you weren’t playing with toys in the 1970s. But I digress.) A wiggle in your caboose, a wobble in your walk, a jiggle in your girdle … it’s not all bad.

Eliminate hitch wobble with the StowAway Hitch Tightener

Eliminate hitch wobble with the StowAway Hitch Tightener

But a wobble in the hitch on your towing vehicle is not a good thing. Through prolonged use, it is common to have wobble with anything mounted to your hitch, including the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. (The Hitch Cargo Carrier, if you didn’t know, attaches to the back of your car for easy access, carries up to 16 cubic feet of storage, and pivots 180 degrees to give you easy access to the back of your vehicle. But I digress again.)

By using a simple mechanism, the StowAway Hitch Tightener, you can eliminate hitch wobble, and drive more safely, more quietly, and in greater comfort.

Simply clamp the hitch tightener at the junction of your StowAway frame and receiver hitch to secure the frame and virtually eliminate side-to-side wobble. Watch a helpful installation video on the StowAway YouTube channel.

The StowAway Hitch Tightener kit comes with:

  • Stainless steel U-bolt ring
  • Powder coated steel tightener plate
  • 2 Washers
  • 2 Lock ring
  • 2 Nuts
The Hitch Tightener installs easily, in just a few minutes

The Hitch Tightener installs easily, in just a few minutes

All you need to install the hitch tightener is a 3/4” wrench or socket. The combined action of the steel tightener plate and the U-bolt ring eliminates the side-to-side wobble that is pervasive in hitch cargo carriers.

The StowAway Hitch Tightener is compatible with 2” and 1.25” hitches, fits all Stowaway frames and will work with most hitch racks. It also comes standard with many StowAway carrier models.

But don’t take my word for it. Here is a sampling of the many 5-star reviews the StowAway Hitch Tightener has received:

  • “Wish I found this product sooner, immediately stopped the loud rattle noises and shaking [of] the vehicle.”  – Louis A.
  • “Fantastic! Bought this to keep my receiver mounted recovery winch from moving around in the receiver so much. Holds it nice and tight!” Richy R.
  • Worked perfectly!  Installed in 5 minutes. Wobble gone!” – David P.
  • “Best by far. Pulled new trailer with 5,000# tractor 500 miles to the largest classic Tractor Parade and this tightener worked perfect. I use it on all my hitches. Good price, very well made, works perfect. – W.M.
  • Fantastic!! I use this with both my cargo trailer and my hitch cargo carrier. Fast shipping and is an excellent product. Bob W.

Celebrate your shake, wiggles and jiggles, but with the StowAway Hitch Tightener, you’ve got one less wobble to worry about.

~StowAway2.com

The Ultimate Hook Up: Your RV, the StowAway Cargo Carrier, and a Smart Car

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in RVs - (Comments Off)

Question: What do a RoadTrek and a Smart Car have in common?

Answer: Absolutely nothing.

Attached your Smart Car to your RV and a hitch cargo carrier for all your gear.

Attached your Smart Car to your RV and a hitch cargo carrier for all your gear.

Unless, of course, you have a StowAway Cargo Carrier and a dual hitch receiver.

In which case you have the perfect marriage of convenience, space and transportation options.

Road trippers like us occupy an active world full of diverse opportunities for recreation, culture and respite. We may be going on a ski trip, but we also want to take in the local art hop or fine dining choices. We might want to go skating or snowshoeing while we’re there as well.

If we’re going camping, we may also want to have our mountain biking or hiking gear with us. We may even want our off-road vehicle along for the ride.

Question: Where are we going to put all this stuff?

Answer: The StowAway Cargo Carrier with a dual hitch to haul a vehicle trailer.

Fortunately, when you’re off on a vacation and you want to tow your Smart Car (motorcycle, ATV) behind your RV, you don’t have to sacrifice storage space. With a dual hitch and StowAway Cargo Carrier you can have your RV, Smart Car and all your gear too.

Here’s how it works: First, slide the dual hitch into your RoadTrek’s (or other recreational vehicle) hitch receiver.  Add 12.5 cubic feet of extra storage space by sliding the StowAway standard cargo carrier into the top receiver of your dual hitch. The cargo carrier will hold up to 200 pounds of gear, op to four carry-ons, giving you extra storage and elbow room in your RV.

The Dual Hitch Receiver Extender lets your create a convenient caravan of vehicles and gear.

The Dual Hitch Receiver Extender lets you create a convenient caravan of vehicles and gear.

Then plug your Smart Car’s tow bar into the lower hitch of the dual hitch. And you’ve got yourself a sweet little caravan. You’ve also got options for getting around town and room to pack extra gear for the adventures you’ll have when you get there.

Recreation these days is all about choices, and having the right gear for the job. Travelers with multi-faceted interests shouldn’t have to choose between one sport, one location and one vehicle. Shouldn’t we have it all?

~StowAway2.com

Stow your gear in a hitch cargo carrier for easy access to what's most precious to you

Stow your gear in a hitch cargo carrier for easy access to what’s most precious to you

“You take my towel; I breaka you fingas.”

When my husband and I took an RV trip across the country a few years ago, we faced a few challenges. One of which was the fact that we’d never traveled in a motorhome before. The other was space. We had to pack everything we needed for a full month in a very small amount of space.

This is when I came up with the Two Towel Rule. We didn’t have room to pack a bunch of extra things, including towels, so we each had our own specific towel set. His was blue; mine was pink. Easy enough. The rule: Do not use, touch or even look at my towels. They are mine, mine, mine. Everything else was share and share alike. Fair enough.

If you’ve ever traveled in a motorhome, you know that space is extremely limited. Every square inch is meticulously designed to maximize both space and utility. Space is particularly tight in a Class B motorhome (read: the smallest possible living/traveling space). It will behoove your trip – and your relationship – to give yourselves a little extra elbow room. Keep reading; I know exactly how to do that.

It really can be challenging to share 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a motorhome. Here are a few tips to help make your time on the road a great adventure instead of a battle for space (and towels):

1. Maximize Your Space: You can add as much as 16 cubic feet of storage space by using a hitch cargo carrier from StowAway2.com. The great thing about using a hitch instead of a rooftop for your cargo carrier, is access. The StowAway hitch cargo carrier, for example, attaches to the back of your rig instead of the top for super-easy access. And it pivots up to 180 degrees to also give you easy access to every precious thing in the back of your motorhome. It comes in two sizes, has a locking lid, and can hold up to 200 extra pounds of your gear.

2. Respect the Space: Your guiding principle is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Pick up after yourself, put things away right away, and don’t pack what you don’t need. (You do get to pack some extras, though, when you’ve got the StowAway hitch cargo carrier. And you get to keep those extras close at hand, because the big stuff – suitcases, camp chairs, duffle bags – can be stashed in the hitch carrier.

3. Assign Duties: When you arrive at the RV Park, each person should know what his or her duties are. For example: He hooks up the sewer line; she hooks up everything else. Fair enough.

Read more about the StowAway hitch cargo carrier.

Road Trips with Dogs

January 22nd, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Dogs & Pets | Road Trips - (Comments Off)

Don’t Leave Home Without the Dog – or a Hitch Cargo Carrier

The StowAway Cargo Carrier swivels 180 degrees for easy in-and-outs when taking road trips with dogs.

Dogs travel in comfort & convenience with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

I take road trips with my dog, Pippin, the Golden-On-the-Go, all the time. I don’t leave home without him. It seems as though more and more people are foregoing the kennel and taking their waggly best friends with them on road trips. Even some hotels are now specifically accommodating dogs, with pet-friendly rooms, treats upon arrival, and fenced play areas.

So, unless you want your dog to sit on your lap the whole time, which might be fun but isn’t necessarily safe, you’re going to need to do some rearranging for your road trips with dogs. To stow all your luggage, gear, food, and dog/s comfortably and safely, I heartily recommend the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

My Top 5 Favorite Things About the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier:

Having covered thousands of miles on road trips with my dog, I’ve become an expert packer. Here’s what I can fit in the StowAway Standard Hitch Cargo Carrier :

  1. Food: Pip’s food supply includes dry food, treats, bowls for food and water, and a cooler that houses his favorite “gooey” food.
  2. Towels: Pip is a water dog – just try to keep him out of it – so I always pack plenty of towels to keep him dry and happy after his romps in the water.
  3. Pip’s Bed: He goes; it goes. Which is to say, he doesn’t leave home without it.
  4. Room to Move: To make plenty of room for Pip, I can also stow two carry-on bags and two camp chairs, in addition to Pip’s gear – up to 200 pounds of stuff.
  5. Access: I don’t have to climb on the bumper to access this gear, because it’s located on the trailer hitch, behind the car, rather than on top of the car. Wshew!  And the box swings open 180 degrees, so Pip gets in and out of the car sweet and easy, the way he likes.

Note on storage: The Standard Cargo Carrier Box has a capacity of 12.5 cubic feet – which would hold 4 carry on suitcases and two camp chairs. The Max Cargo Carrier Box has 16 cubic feet of capacity and holds 4 carry on suitcases, two camp chairs and two duffel bags. More information from StowAway2.

Pippin, Kyla's Golden-On-The-Go

Pippin, Kyla’s Golden-On-The-Go

Some Other Tips for Road Trips with Dogs

  1.  Stop. Your dog will want to stretch its legs and take a little sniff-n-pee break every few hours. This is a great chance for you to do the same, getting some fresh air and working out the kinks of the road.
  2. Water. Your dog runs hotter than you do, most likely. Make sure you’ve got a water bowl in the car and a good supply of fresh clean water.
  3. Carrier. Some people advise putting your dog in a carrier for the trip, especially if you have a little dog who is likely to get bounced around, run from side to side of the vehicle, and/or get underfoot. If you have a yapper, sometimes a carrier will calm them down … if you’re lucky.
  4. Ventilate. If you’re stopping for breakfast, lunch or dinner along the way, please promise me you will leave at least two windows partially open for fresh airflow. Even in the snow and rain. It’s so important.
  5. Identification. Pippin is chipped. Which means he’s got a little tracker under his skin, installed by his veterinarian. That means if – God forbid – he gets lost, wanders off, or is otherwise misplaced, any good person who finds him can reach me by having his chip scanned. Also, when we’re traveling, I never, ever, ever take off his collar, which has his name, address and my cell phone number on it.

“Safe and Happy” is our motto. A road trip is a road trip, but a road trip with dogs – is a great, tail wagging adventure.

Ski Trip: The StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

January 16th, 2014 | Posted by Kyla in Hitch Carriers | Skiing - (Comments Off)

Hit the Slopes with More Stuff in More Comfort and Safety

Skiing 18w x 14h revised

Ski trip to Mt Hood with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier

“Skis, boots, poles?” This is what we always ask ourselves when we’re pulling out of the driveway on a ski trip. Because if we leave anything behind, we absolutely, positively must have our skis, boots, and poles.

But what about the other gear – the jackets, pants, hats, gloves, and helmets? What about the extra clothing, bedding, food, games, toys-for-all-ages, and – dare I say it – hair care products?

And that doesn’t count the kids – with all their extra stuff. Where will you put everyone and everything in a safe and comfortable manner? Unless you want to be packed in like little sardines for the whole trip, the other “must-have” is a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier.

Here’s the beauty of the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier: It attaches to the back of your vehicle instead of the top, giving you easy access to your things. And the SwingAway frame pivots up to 180 degrees from the rear of your vehicle, so you can open your liftgate, door, hatch or tailgate, allowing full access to all your other needful things.

Here are my Top 5 Other Favorite Things about the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier:

  1. Easy Installation: I can install a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier in a matter of seconds. I simply insert the carrier into my trailer hitch and lock it into place. Voila! Work done.
  2. Carrying Capacity: With two sizes (either 12.5 or 16 cubic feet of functional storage space) a StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier nearly doubles the average SUV’s functional carrying capacity. And that means I have the capacity to add another 200 pounds of gear to my adventure.
  3. Security: The StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier locks to keep my valuables secure when I’ve made a pit stop on the road, or I want to keep my things in storage overnight.
  4. Durability:  I know my StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier is going to last because StowAway boxes are molded with a super durable polymer, the same material used to mold high-performance whitewater kayaks. They have twice the wall thickness of some competitive boxes and are designed to take a beating without cracking. To test this theory, StowAway backed a delivery van over the lid of a box. The results: not a single crack.
  5. Versatility: All of the StowAway rack systems—bike racks, rod racks and cargo racks—are fully interchangeable with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. That means we can easily take our bikes up to the trailhead on one day, load up the carrier with soccer balls the next day, head to the lake with our fishing rods on the weekend, and host a tailgate party on game day. No sweat.

For more details, including information about rear taillights, side reflectors, and the 10-year warranty, as well as photos and product specifications, visit StowAway2 Cargo Carriers, the Rooftop Alternative.

Go Prepared: Bike with a StowAway Rack

October 30th, 2013 | Posted by Pacrec in Bicycling | Bike Racks - (Comments Off)

Between now and the onset of winter, several weeks of great biking weather are ahead. Regardless of whether road biking or mountain biking is your preference, StowAway2.com is all about making it easier for you to enjoy your bike. Same, too, if you commute to work by bike.

Trends in Cycling

Bike to workBiking is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and is gaining more recognition as an alternative form of transportation in the U.S. Bicyclists seem to be gaining more perks in many natural areas and parks. Last year, the Virginia State Park System announced a policy to give touring cyclists designated camping spots even when campgrounds are full. The Virginia Bicycling Federation helped promote the new idea.

Joe Elton, Virginia’s State Parks Director, was quoted on the federation’s website as stating: “I credit the Virginia Bicycling Federation with helping us understand the special circumstances that long-distance touring cyclists can find themselves in when the campgrounds are full and there is no reasonable alternative place to overnight.”

Along with this trend, many cities are bolstering infrastructure to support the biking lifestyle.

A recent study released by the University of Massachusetts shows that bicycle project spending creates jobs and supports the economy.  In this study, on average, every $1 million spent on cycling related infrastructure projects creates nine jobs within the state.  If you add interstate employment through the supply chain, another three jobs are added per $1 million spent.

One bike blogger, Elly Blue, who wrote Bikenomics, says that bicycle infrastructure can be an economic, social, and public health boon for cities. Blue writes: “Bike lanes cost anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 per mile to add to an existing road … Freeway construction in Michigan’s countryside clocks in at $8 million per mile.” That’s a lot of taxpayer money.

Some cities have successfully removed old highways from downtown areas in favor of smaller roads and bike commuters. It’s happened in Seoul, which tore down the Cheonggyecheon Freeway; in San Francisco, which decided not to replace the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 earthquake; and in Milwaukee, which replaced its aging Past East Freeway with a boulevard.

Commuting by Bike? What to Know

If you are commuting by bike, here are some things to remember:

  1. You don’t need the most expensive bike on the market.
  2. Make sure you are comfortable with the equipment you have and take it to a shop for a quick tune-up.
  3. Scope out your route. Take traffic under consideration.
  4. Carry spare tools: a tube, patch kit, pump, and tools to make a quick tire repair.
  5. Consult local traffic rules and wear the proper protective equipment.
  6. Secure front and rear flashing lights to your bike for cycling after dark. Reflective clothing also is a good idea.
  7. Have Fun!  Unlike your job, commuting by bike shouldn’t be stressful.

Be Prepared with a Car Rack

roof bike rack

Hard-to-reach rooftop bike racks (above) are less convenient than StowAway’s rear-mounted hitch racks.

StowAway has many bike rack options for your other mode of transportation — your vehicle. Our racks are rear-mounted and are available on fixed or swinging frames, which make them much easier to load up when distance is an issue. Our racks also are available with a cargo rack to carry your helmets and other biking gear.

Cycling benefits your health, the environment and even the economy.  So give cycling a try, whether it’s commuting to work or taking your bike to your city’s new trail. You’ll love it.

2013 Fall Foliage Predictions

October 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Pacrec in More! | Road Trips - (Comments Off)

The shorter days before the holiday season bring outdoor football games, corn mazes and fall colors. Before the autumn passes you by, find a few hours to get out and enjoy the colors as the seasons change.

Fall Foliage

Leaves are turning. Time to travel with StowAway.

Fall Colors: Seasonal Predictions

Many forecasters like to predict the degree of brilliance the fall leaves may bring to the season. Depending on where in the United States you happen to live, these changes are influenced by weather.

Accuweather.com gathered the opinions of several leaf watchers and forecasts that the mid-Atlantic states may have the best outcome this fall, especially if the weather patterns aren’t too wet or too dry. Similarly, Weather.com concurs. Ideal weather conditions usually produce ideal fall colors.

An especially useful website to chart color changes is maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. Based on eyewitness accounts, the USFS follows changes in the fall colors and provides an easy-to-use visual guide to the parts of the country where leaves are in peak turnover. The USDA even has a handy YouTube video about finding a great place to gaze.

For the detail-oriented, there’s also a link to the science behind the fall color changes.

Fall Foliage by State

A peak fall foliage map by state is also available from a very no-nonsense website called StormFax.com. The map allows users to click on a state to find a site specific website with information or tools to determine if the leaf peeping is good. Not all the states have links, but enough of the map is hyperlinked to get a good sense of what’s going on in the regions where many good views can be found.

And, if all else fails, try StormFax’s handy Fall Foliage Hotline phone listing. Whatever plans develop for your trip out into the fall weather, remember to take a snapshot or two and send it to us at StowAway. We’d love to see your travels.

 

StowAway Cargo Box Cruises the Midwest with Wrigley

October 9th, 2013 | Posted by Pacrec in Dogs & Pets - (Comments Off)

The latest news from Wrigley, our super dock-jumping dog champion, is all good! Wrigley’s owner, Meghan Williams, reports that Wrigley was a contender at the Super Retriever Series in Springfield, Ill., last month.StowAway2.com

Wrigley, our champion dock-jumper, is on the road with his StowAway in the Midwest this fall. We’re so proud.

 

 

 

“It was a fantastic event with lots of great crowds watching all weekend. Wrigley took 2nd place in the Pro finals with a 23’10″ jump and only missed first place by a few inches!” she says.

He earned an invitation to the Crown Championship.

“We also got to try out a new discipline for SRS called ‘Super Swim’,” Williams says. “It’s a timed full retrieve swim. We practiced a lot and had a lot of dock time with his vest on.”

Wrigley’s next registered event is the DockDogs World Championships in Dubuque, Iowa, November 15-17, where he will be competing in the Veteran Big Air category. This is a huge deal because it attracts large crowds and world-class jumpers. Just take a look at the DockDogs website photo gallery.

And, there’s plenty of fun videos of dock-jumping dogs on the DockDogs YouTube Channel.

Of course, everyone at StowAway is proud of our pup! Go, Wrigley, go!