Taking It With You - Carrying Anything While On the Road

Ah, vacations. Travel. Sight-seeing. The chance to “get away from it all”. Living minimalistically. Taking only what you need - just the clothes on your back and a spring in your step. Buying food on the way.  Borrowing or renting what you don’t have.

Sounds…sentimental. Poetic. Environmentally responsible. Counter-culture.

And, as it happens, hard to do. At least for us.

Set aside the fact that we traveled with a fully self-contained home on our backs.  Heat, AC, fresh water, refrigerator, bathroom, shower, kitchen, beds and chairs - all following us around the country, just needing to be parked and setup in each new location. 

This is the appeal of RV-based travel, letting those of us who can’t be inconvenienced to the point of being able to travel long-term on foot or on bike still be mobile easily.   

While we already weren’t “roughing it” - there was still more “stuff” we wanted to bring on our trip.

How Do We Carry Bikes?

We wanted to give the kids something to do once in a location, and had hoped to offset gas cost with biking more.  While we had mixed success in that area we still had the puzzle of how to carry them.

Rear Bumper = No Good

We left with the 4 bikes all on a bike rack installed on the rear of the trailer, taking advantage of a 2” receiver hitch that a previous owner had installed. This lasted only a few weeks.

We realized that the constant teeter-tottering of the trailer going down the road meant the bikes were getting thrown around too much. If we didn’t move them, we’d break something and not only lose the bikes but possibly cause an accident in the process.

Roof Rack = Good

So we opted for a truck roof-rack which, once we got over the initial cost, performed well the rest of the year.  We rarely even noticed the bikes up there going down the road.

Other Stuff?

Once we solved our own “taking it with you” puzzle we got interested in how others figured out how to take along the stuff they wanted to while traveling.  Whether these solutions are ingenious or dangerous we’ll leave up to you to decide - but here is our collection of “taking it with you” photos:

Note: I took these photos while traveling. I have no further details on any of the racks or systems shown.

We moved bikes to the truck roof after nearly losing them off the trailer

We moved bikes to the truck roof after nearly losing them off the trailer

Full size diesel truck as toad, plus bass boat stored overhead.

Full size diesel truck as toad, plus bass boat stored overhead.

That's not a Jeep waiting for the RV, they are all attached.

That's not a Jeep waiting for the RV, they are all attached.

Can't decide what toy to bring?

Can't decide what toy to bring?

Note how the rear suspension has been cranked up

Note how the rear suspension has been cranked up

The Mustang is actually a clever luggage carrier.

The Mustang is actually a clever luggage carrier.

Scooters & Motorcycles get carried on the back of RV's

Scooters & Motorcycles get carried on the back of RV's

If you are too short to get them off the roof....

If you are too short to get them off the roof....

Hitch racks are easy to add...

Hitch racks are easy to add...

...but can be overloaded

...but can be overloaded

Not sure why it's so tall but lots of capacity on this rack

Not sure why it's so tall but lots of capacity on this rack

Two quads, and two bikes on a poor 1/2 ton truck toad

Two quads, and two bikes on a poor 1/2 ton truck toad

A heavy duty 5th wheel puller - we've seen Smart Cars carried in the same spot

A heavy duty 5th wheel puller - we've seen Smart Cars carried in the same spot

If you look close there is something different about the Jeep

If you look close there is something different about the Jeep

If you are creative just about anything can be carried

If you are creative just about anything can be carried

Or just build a multi-purpose RV

Or just build a multi-purpose RV

Another boat slammed on top of a truck

Another boat slammed on top of a truck

Motorcyclists get clever with gear

Motorcyclists get clever with gear

6 bikes on the back of a bunkhouse 5th wheel

6 bikes on the back of a bunkhouse 5th wheel

Still Thinking About Stuff?

For a more serious look at what we actually do use while traveling fulltime in an RV take a look at our exhaustive What Stuff Do You Fulltime RV With? article.

9 Comments Taking It With You - Carrying Anything While On the Road

  1. Picture of Dean Dean October 12, 2011

    Brilliant! Love the pics. I wonder… what other photo goodies do you have that you haven’t shared!? Heck, you have all winter to upload. Love to see more of the oddities on the road.

  2. Picture of Boyink Boyink October 12, 2011

    Oh - I don’t have a *ton* up my sleeve.  We kept things pretty tight.

  3. Picture of DurtKlod DurtKlod October 12, 2011

    Those are great!  I most closely resemble the last one.

  4. Picture of Holly Holly November 22, 2011

    Too Funny! We recently unloaded the two 12’ kayaks stuffed into our living room each time we moved. Didn’t realize what a pain they were until we got rid of them! However, now that we will be on the Fl coast for 3 months (in one place), I’m checking craigslist for a couple more ;)

  5. Picture of salguod salguod November 22, 2011

    The triple stacked Subaru Justy was a hoot. 

    We bought a hitch mounted rack and weather proof bag for our SUV for use when we don’t have the trailer.  Unfortunately, an SUV that will tow a pop up well doesn’t have much space inside for 5 plus a dog and gear.  I certainly miss that about our minivan.  We don’t usually put much weight back there, mostly sleeping bags, pillows and blankets.

    Oh, and I stared at that white Jeep for a long time and couldn’t tell what was different, other thant he kayaks.

  6. Picture of Boyink Boyink November 28, 2011

    Before having the truck I loved having little utility trailers - always had them along for trips and camping.

    On the Jeep - look through the door window…

  7. Picture of jayhawkclint jayhawkclint November 15, 2014

    I think I spy a RHD TJ.

  8. Picture of Rob Rob April 07, 2017

    Really like the 6 bikes on the back of the bunkhouse.  Wondering if you have more pictures or details on this rack?

  9. Picture of VIctor VIctor December 18, 2017

    I just bought an 18’ 1991 5th wheel. I am still working on it. Hope to be on the road in the summer of 2018. I loved the photos. I am already going to pull a 4x8 cargo trailer.  I don’t want to be like those photos. 
    Thanks for your Articles,

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