I don’t always have time – or take the time – to comparison shop. I know I should. You can save a lot of money and get a better product when you take the time to compare features and prices. Sigh. As they say, the devil is in the details. And I’d just as soon have somebody else sweat those details for me.
So, seeing as how I love short cuts, I’m going to give you one and compare the three most popular and reliable brands of gear and cargo carriers for you.
Cubic feet capacity doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to how much gear you want to carry. Nor are all boxes and frames made from the same quality grade of materials. Also, not all carriers offer the same options and versatility to their users. I’m also more interested in products that are manufactured in America. So, let’s see how this comparison of hitch carriers plays out in three key areas.
At the Starting Gate: Rola, Thule and StowAway
The Rola hitch carrier has 13.5 cubic feet of space, which holds roughly four carry-on bags. The Thule hitch carrier has 13 cubic feet of space, which will accommodate about three carry-on bags and two large duffel bags. The StowAway MAX Hitch Carrier outguns both competitors with 16 cubic feet of space, holding four carry-on bags, two large duffel bags and two camp chairs.
The frames on the Rola and Thule hitch carriers are both constructed frommedium-wall steel tubing. The StowAway Hitch Carrier, by contrast, boasts heavy-wall steel tubing. The box material on the Rola is polypropylene and on the Thule it’s ABS plastic. The StowAway hitch carrier boxes are molded with Linear Low Density Polyethylene – a super durable polymer, the same material used to mold high-performance whitewater kayaks. They have twice the wall thickness of 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.
If you’re like me you love to accessorize, to add on value, and to mix-n-match. Which means it’s important to me to have one base product that allows me a great deal of choices in add-ons and versatile use. (Saves me money in the long run.) In optional accessories, Rola offers me a bike rack, license plate light, hitch tightener, and hitch lock. Thule has only a hitch tightener and lock to help me out. The StowAway Hitch Carrier on the other hand, offers a bike rack, cargo rack, rod rack, lid rack, grilling station, custom cutting board, wheels, wrap-around reflectors and tie-down rings. All of which blows the competition clear off the road.
It does pay off in the long run to shop around and compare details. (It’s just nice when someone has done that work for you.) At the Finish Line of this race: StowAway by a mile.