StowAway is lucky to have amazing customers that share their stories and adventures with us! This particular story arose when our customer, Tracey, was installing the StowAway with her granddaughter, Sophia…
Tracey loved camping and sleeping under the stars. She remembers playing outside as a kid and the excitement of outdoor adventures. Motivated to get Sophia outdoors, Tracey decided to take her on a camping trip!
It had been years since Tracey went camping, but she remembered how fun it was when she took her two daughters and was excited to share the experience with Sophia. However, Tracey had a smaller vehicle now and as the gear began to stack and the list of supplies grew longer, she realized her Nissan Versa would not carry everything. Especially since she was planning to bring her Yorkie and its kennel!
Tracey began looking for a solution to her cargo carrying problem. She didn’t want to have her gear on a hitch rack covered with a tarp and bungie cords – as she had seen other people do – because it didn’t seem secure or weather proof. And rooftop carriers were inconvenient and didn’t keep things very organized.
Tracey typed “cargo box” into a search engine and found an array of hitch mounted carriers. After browsing other options, she landed on StowAway Cargo Carriers. She discovered that our cargo box was equipped with a SwingAway frame that allowed full access to the back of her vehicle. The SwingAway frame made it convenient to load both her hatchback and the StowAway easily – maximizing accessibility and storage capacity.
Tracey contacted us via the live chat on the StowAway website when she was installing the cargo carrier. With only a few questions, she easily installed the StowAway – just her and her granddaughter. Tracey said the most difficult part was getting the StowAway out of the box it arrived in! Her friends and family were all impressed that she installed it with ease. Not too surprising when you meet Tracey though. She is a hardworking, single mom that is used to accomplishing a lot on her own. So if you are single and concerned you can’t install the StowAway by yourself, Tracey wants you to know, YOU CAN!
So what did Tracey fit inside the StowAway standard carrier?
- Tent (6-person capacity)
- 2 sleeping bags
- Full size inflatable mattress
- Camp stove
- Table lantern & tent lamp
- 2 large folding mesh chairs
- 7-piece pot & pan set
- 2 large bags of miscellaneous camp gear – candles, bug spray, bungee cords, clothes line, cooking utensils, dinnerware for 4, camp toaster, lighters, etc.
- Large beach bag of bath, kitchen, and beach towels
- 10’ x 12’ tarp
- 15′ extension cord
- Tub to wash dishes
Plus, she had room to spare! Tracey says, “…this extra space makes me very happy. I leave it on the car so we can just grab a few clothes, pick up food on the way – and go!”
With a comfortable ride and the ability to bring everything you need for the journey, the StowAway makes road travel more enjoyable!
A special thank you to Tracey and Sophia for sharing their Stow-ry and photos! Happy travels, happy camping!
Fishing Season is Here! Time For the Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder
Fishing season has finally arrived and you’ve got your plans laid out. You’ve got your fishing license, all your gear is packed and ready to go, and you’re heading to the perfect fishing spot. You’ve made camping/cottage/hotel reservations and your rig is loaded up with food, clothes, coolers, tackle boxes and all your other needful things.
But where, oh where, will you put the fishing rods? It’s not safe to put them inside your car, lest they poke someone in the eye. Which is only slightly worse than getting them bent or – gasp – broken. Seriously, where do you put your fishing rods when you’re hitting the road for fishing season?
Here’s a grand idea: The Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder. This handy cargo device safely carries three surf fishing rods on the StowAway Hitch Rack (not included). It can also be installed quickly and easily on the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier. Both the cargo rack and cargo carrier come with an optional SwingAway frame, which pivots 180 degrees to give you full access to the rear of your vehicle.
The Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder is particularly helpful to surf fishers, whose poles typically range between seven and 18 feet long. (The extra length allows anglers to cast further into the water from the shore.)
With the Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder attached to the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier, you can conveniently store all your gear, as well as food and a cooler full of beverages, in the cargo box between your fishing rods.
Some other features of the Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder include:
- Anodized aluminum tubes
- Tubes are 20″ tall x 2″ diameter
- Vinyl end rings protect rods
- Bolts with polyethylene brackets
- Quick and easy installation
- Includes bracket and hardware
Casting about for various solutions for storing, hauling and accessing your fishing gear can be time-consuming, expensive, disorganized and discouraging. This year, celebrate the opening of fishing season with a comprehensive solution. By combining the Stowaway Fishing Rod Holder with the StowAway Hitch Cargo Carrier, you’ll have everything you need – safe, sound and at your fingertips.
All StowAway components are sold separately, which gives you a great deal of flexibility in how you choose to use your cargo system. In a mix-and-match configuration, you can carry many things in addition to your fishing rods, including bikes, a grill station, and up to 200 pounds of essential cargo.
And that makes for a great start to any season.
You’ve got the strength, and we’ve got the steps how!
With a long list of things to do before leaving on a trip, your friends and family are scattered in different directions trying to get everything done in time. Before you pack anything, you need to install your StowAway. You look left, you look right, and no one is around.
How are you going to install the StowAway by yourself? Luckily, you aren’t alone – well, you know what we mean! Other customers have had the same question, which is why StowAway wants to share the steps to complete an installation by yourself.
Note: Upper body strength is a must for lifting the StowAway and sliding it into the hitch receiver. If you have back problems, it is best to wait for assistance.
To install, you’ll need:
- ¾” socket wrench
- Hitch tightener
- Hitch lock and pin
- Good upper body strength
Step 1 – Align the StowAway frame with your vehicle’s hitch and slide it into place. If it is not aligned, the hitch pin will not go in.
Step 2 – Insert the hitch pin and lock.
Step 3 – Next, slide the hitch tightener into place and use the ¾” socket wrench to tighten the nuts evenly.
Step 4 – Plug in cord for taillights.
Step 5 – Lock the StowAway in place and tighten the T-bolt. If you have a SwingAway frame, don’t forget to insert the frame pin to keep the StowAway in place.
Helpful tip: Install the wheel kit to make moving your StowAway from garage to vehicle as easy and effortless as possible. They attach to the existing frame and won’t get in the way. Therefore, you can leave them on permanently, so they are there when you need them.
While installing and removing the StowAway is much easier with two people, it is helpful to know how to do it by yourself. Schwarzenegger strength is not required, but please be careful and watch the How to Install by Yourself Video in advance!
Need a fun, inexpensive adventure with your family? Go camping! Camping is a great way to spend time with your family, without dumping a lot of money into a vacation. Once you have the gear, all you’ll pay for are campground fees. Most park or campground fees are between $10 and $25 – you can’t find a hotel for that price. Plus, with no cell reception, your kids will be forced to put down their devices and interact with their surroundings, and you!
To make your camping trip a success, bring plenty of food and games. Don’t forget to check your camping supplies list… or forget to make it in the first place. Get your family involved in the process and discuss what you all want to bring. However, if you’re like me, even if I make a list I usually forget something. Which is why I suggest checking out what other people and camping sites suggest to bring. For example:
StowAway’s Happy Camper Checklist
- Sleeping bag
- Hiking boots
- Shower sandals
- Multiple changes of clothes, for both warm and cool weather.
- Bathing suit
- Bag for dirty clothes
- Pocket knife
- Waterproof matches
- Toilet paper
- Water bottle
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitizing wipes
- Flashlight (spare batteries)
- Insect repellant
- Bug net
- Trash bags
- Food (trail mix, granola bars, s’mores, jerky, hot dogs, etc.)
- FIRST AID KIT (For a first aid check list, click here)
And don’t forget your StowAway! All of your supplies and gear will fit in the StowAway, providing you a convenient way to access everything and stay organized. With the StowAway, you can bring everything you want and need for the trip to be happy campers!
For additional camping information and articles visit http://campersupplies.camping2u.com.
Have a cycling group that travels to races? A running group supporting a cause? If so, StowAway wants to sponsor your team!
You’ve done a great job squeezing 6 people, travel supplies, gear, and food into your vehicle – but let us make things easier. StowAway will give your team a hitch cargo carrier at no cost to you. That’s more leg room, easier access to your gear, increased storage capacity, and it doesn’t cost you a penny!
So, now you’re thinking – what’s the catch? In return, all we ask for are photos of your team using the StowAway. It’s as simple as that.
In the past we have sponsored:
StowAway enjoys sponsoring teams and getting involved in active communities, but we need your help finding a dedicated team with a purpose! The team does not have to be professional athletes or from a specific area. Most importantly, we are looking for a team with storage issues that need solving!
Have a great team in mind? Email email@example.com with a short description of the team you are nominating and why they could use a StowAway. There is no deadline for when you can nominate a team but we only sponsor 1 a year, so act fast!
Wheels to the Rescue!
You’ve been enjoying the convenience and storage capacity of your StowAway Cargo Carrier for miles and miles. Loading and unloading gear easily, freeing up room in your vehicle, and being able to take everything you need along the way. But when it’s time to store your StowAway, what is the best way to do that?
When you’re moving the cargo carrier from your vehicle into the garage, follow the motto:
work smarter – not harder.
The StowAway Carrier Wheel Kit is here to help!
The wheels easily mount to the frame of your StowAway Cargo Carrier while it is still attached to your vehicle. This allows you to easily install the wheels, and roll the cargo carrier effortlessly from your vehicle to the garage.
The wheel kit includes:
• Two heavy-duty wheels that mount onto any StowAway frame
• Wheels use the same attachment points as the frame
• Easy installation (no drill required)
• Easily move your carrier while still attached to the frame
• Free Shipping
Did you know you only have a month to prepare for holiday travel? That’s right – Thanksgiving is only one month away, and most folks know by now that this is the busiest travel time of the year, causing a multitude of travel snags and traffic delays for those who find themselves unprepared.
According to our friends at AAA, over 46 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends in 2014, with the average distance traveled being around 550 miles roundtrip. With nearly 90 percent of Thanksgiving travelers taking to the highways, and gas prices at their lowest in years, you can bet holiday traffic volumes (and headaches) will be at their highest in 2015.
But with a bit of planning and preparation you’ll be on and off the road, enjoying the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, in no time at all. Here are four Thanksgiving road trip tips to ensure smooth sailing as you head out on the highway this holiday season:
Plan your trip. We all know most folks travel on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. If possible, consider traveling on alternate days and leave early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid increased traffic volume on the highways. Also, research alternate routes in advance to dodge traffic jams or accidents that could slow you down. And don’t forget to check the weather forecast a few days before you leave so you’ll know what conditions to prepare for. *Bonus tip: Although they may be considered outdated due to technology, it never hurts to keep a map in the glove compartment in case of poor internet service along your chosen route.
- Vehicle maintenance. Avoid the last minute rush. Have your car and tires inspected in the next week or two (or do it yourself if you’re able), and be sure routine maintenance has been taken care of before you hit the road. Check the oil, belts and hoses, coolant, battery, and wiper fluid. Been hearing a funny noise and you’re not quite sure what it is? Have that checked too! Be sure you have emergency vehicle maintenance supplies on hand, such as a tire jack, lug wrench, tire sealant, jumper cables, tire chains, tow strap and electrical tape – just in case! And lastly, don’t forget to fuel up before you leave town (if you’re able, fill your tank a day or two before your trip to avoid gas station chaos).
- Emergency Kit. Make sure you have the basics in case you find yourself in a jam: flashlight/head lamp, battery charger, road flares, first aid kit, pocket knife, water/snacks, blankets, snow shovel, and hand warmers. *Bonus tip: Worried that you won’t have room in your vehicle for all of your family, luggage, and emergency supplies? Consider adding more cargo space with a StowAway Cargo Carrier.
The necessities. Don’t forget to pack any prescription medications, and be sure to bring extra in case you get stuck along the way (remember the storm that hit the east coast last year?). It’s also helpful to have extra over the counter medications on hand, like those for head or muscle aches, upset stomach, motion sickness, and heartburn. You’ll also want to remember to bring chargers for your cell phone, tablet, laptop, and any other electronic devices you use to communicate and/or keep the kids entertained on long road trips. And speaking of kids… they’re known to get bored and hungry on long road trips, so be sure you have plenty of snacks, beverages, movies, games, and music to keep them happy along the way.
*Bonus tip: Back in my day, when electronics didn’t rule the world and cars weren’t equipped with DVD players, TVs, and satellite radio, my sister and I were forced to keep ourselves occupied in the back seat of the car. This included road trip games like I Spy, 20 Questions, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Slug Bug, and Mad Libs. Try turning off the electronic devices this year, and see how much fun you can have without them!
Whatever your destination this holiday season, these four road trip tips and a little advanced planning will help ensure smooth and safe travels so you can enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving with family and friends.
Tailgating season is in full swing and football fans across the nation are no doubt enjoying all of the delicious food, friendly faces, and school spirit that accompany this fall weekend tradition. But some fans take tailgating to another level. Painted faces and extravagant costumes, custom made BBQs and smokers to ensure that secret family recipe comes out juuuuuuuuust riiiiiiight, motorhomes, buses, and SUVs with custom paint jobs so everyone knows where their loyalty lies… we’re talking about some extreme tailgaters, folks!
It’s the unbridled enthusiasm of college football fanatics like these that not only keeps the tailgating tradition alive, but leads to a spot on Tailgater Magazine’s Top 25 Tailgating Schools list for 2015.
- University of Oregon (now that’s something to QUACK about!)
- Louisiana State University
- Ole Miss
- The Ohio State University
- Auburn University
- University of Washington
- University of Texas
- University of Alabama
- University of Tennessee
- Notre Dame
- University of Nebraska
- University of Michigan
- North Dakota State University
- Clemson University
- University of Oklahoma
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Michigan State
- Arizona State University
- University of Southern California
- Boise State University
- Penn State
- Appalachian State University
Did your school make the list? If not, no need to fret. Perhaps a StowAway Hitch Grill Station can ramp up your tailgating game and land your school on the list for 2016!
Heading south for the winter?
Along with Canada geese, many retirees begin flocking to warmer climates this time of year to avoid the doldrums that accompany the cold, wet winters in the north. And who can blame them? After all, while it’s snowing and blowing with temperatures below freezing up north, these lucky folks will be wandering about the golf course, basking in the sunny warmth of a balmy 75-degree day.
Once things begin to thaw again in the spring, those who choose to make this yearly trek head north once again to their permanent residence. It’s this yearly migration that sets these fortunate few apart, and earns them the nickname of “snowbird.”
Not to be confused with your average vacationer, snowbirds spend an extended amount of time in the sunny paradise of their choosing. Although not considered residents in their southern homes, snowbirds often become highly involved in their temporary communities — some even find jobs or volunteer for local charities in their home away from home. And while there are many things that set the snowbird apart from the seasonal vacationer, the greatest difference is that this migratory pattern isn’t a one-time deal… it’s a way of life. Each winter, the snowbird travels south to escape the cold. And each spring, the snowbird returns to their cozy nest in the north. Like clockwork.
Fledgling snowbirds often begin as typical vacationers, traveling to visit friends and family in places like Arizona, Florida, Texas, and New Mexico. When the time is right, these fledglings fly the nest and begin what becomes a lifelong quest to avoid cold and wet weather conditions by taking up temporary residence in warmer climates during winter months. And voila! Just like that, another snowbird is born.
So where do they go exactly? There are no actual data sources capable of providing complete, consistent coverage of temporary migration in the United States because the U.S. Census Bureau only defines permanent residents, not snowbirds, and they are counted at the place where they live and sleep most of the time as opposed to where they are on a specific day when the Census took place. Despite the lack of data, however, there are certain states that see a definite influx of temporary residents (and a boost to their local economy) during the coldest months of the year. These states make up our Top 5 Winter Destinations for Snowbirds:
- Florida. With the sunniest winter climate in the eastern U.S. and ample opportunities
for golf,fishing, shopping, sailing, and easy access to cruise ships, it only makes sense that the Sunshine State should be at the top of the list. Top landing destinations for Florida’s snowbirds are Key West, Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.
- California. For wealthy retirees seeking warm sunshine, world class golf courses, an abundance of tennis courts, country clubs, and high-end shops and restaurants, Southern California is the place to be! From Palm Springs to Palm Desert, the Coachella Valley is a snowbird hotspot that offers the ultimate in resort living.
- Texas. Texas has a little something for everyone, and the tropical South Texas climate is particularly irresistible to snowbirds. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, and featuring a bay front promenade, arts and museum district, waterfront restaurants, golf galore, plentiful shopping and beautiful beaches, Corpus Christi is one of the most popular snowbird destinations in Texas. Other hotspots include Galveston, Port Aransas, Rockportand South Padre Island, which is known for its abundance of fishing, boating, bird watching, and shopping opportunities.
- Arizona. When snow begins falling in the coldest regions of North America, thousands of snowbirds head to Arizona where daytime winter temperatures average 70 degrees and RV parks cater to the seasonal residents. Quartzsite is one of the most popular and affordable places to take up temporary residence in Arizona. With thousands of acres of low-cost and free public camping areas known as Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs), Quartzite’s population swells from a few hundred full-time residents to several hundred thousand snowbirds each year. Other popular destinations include Tucson, Yuma, Mesa, and Bisbee.
- New Mexico. For snowbirds who enjoy warmer weather but still want to participate in outdoor winter activities, Alamogordo just might be the perfect winter destination. With an average 70 degree temperature, snowbirds can spend their days in the lowlands and afternoons skiing or snowshoeing in the mountains. Local attractions include the White Sands National Monument, International Space Hall of Fame, and McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch. Another New Mexico hot spot? Albuquerque. With 300+ days of sunshine and humidity averaging approximately 40%, Albuquerque is one of the most popular Snowbird destinations in the entire Southwest.
Now that we know where the flock is headed, how do they get there? Although you might expect a snowbird to fly south for the winter, more adventurous snowbirds often choose to turn their migratory trek into a road trip, traveling along the interstate and back roads so that they can stop off to visit family and friends, state parks, or other tourist attractions along the way. While some drive the family vehicle to a condo or apartment that’s awaiting them in their temporary paradise, others invest in a motorhome or camper, finding an RV park that caters to the snowbird community preferable to a resort or condo complex.
(For those who choose the scenic route, check out the StowAway2 product line. We offer hitch-mounted cargo carriers and a variety of hitch racks to help you transport golf clubs, bicycles, fishing rods, and other toys between your seasonal homes.)
Wherever they go and however they choose to get there, one thing is for certain: each snowbird has their own distinct migratory pattern that, despite its cyclical nature, sets them apart from the rest of the flock.
Will you be joining the migration this year?