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Old 09-01-2013, 12:07 PM   #1
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Large outside storage at rear of van?

One of the biggest limitations to Class Bs for me is the lack of generous outside storage for all kinds of things we may want to take with us; either on a routine or occasional basis. Iím thinking mostly about things that are relatively light but bulky Ė from bicycles to extra sleeping bags and other light camping gear.

Lately Iíve noticed some RV manufacturers are providing one large ďtrunkĒ area at the back of front-engine RVs. They have catchy names like ďMega StorageĒ or the like. To me this seems a lot more useful than a bunch of small storage compartments under the RV. Our rental Class C in May had such a compartment and we really liked it. Obviously it was much larger but the concept of "one" large space was great.

Iím wondering what, if anything, you guys do to include one large cargo-carrying ďbox/containerĒ at the back of your Class B. I happen to see this at PPL in Houston on a small Vixen RV but was hoping to see similar options that may look a little more integrated. I like its function but not sold on the looks.

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Old 09-01-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

When we took our grandson to Alaska we needed more storage with 3 of us in the SMB. So, we had a Stowaway 2 cargo container on the rear hitch.

http://www.stowaway2.com/select-your-hi ... r-box.aspx

Camp chairs, BBQ, Propane, etc. went in the box.

Mike
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:43 PM   #3
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

Mike,

Regarding the Stowaway rear storage:
1.) Do you have to move the rear license plate to the Stowaway for it to be visible?
2.) Will the storage box clear a right rear door mounted spare tire and a left rear door mounted ladder?
3.) If you added a swing-away, will it allow the left & right rear doors to open completely?

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Old 09-02-2013, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

Mike, I agree the Stowaway looks great behind vans and small RVs. During my trip out West in May I saw a few behind Sprinter-based 24-foot class Cs. One owner said his View with rear-bath layout had very little outside storage; and that the Stowaway made a lot of difference in their travels.

While the larger Stowaway is roughly three times bigger than the plastic box I often carry on longer trips, itís still not large enough for bikes, or long enough for a large umbrella. Iíve considered the LetsGoAero cargo unit which can carry two bikes, but with bikes inside it doesnít look (based on pictures) like a great place to carry much of anything else. The rounded lines make it more aesthetically appealing but it looks like it reduces cargo usefulness. It also seems to me that loading items above the midline might be difficult; which could waste a lot of space.



Iíd like to see if anyone has tried using a large aluminum box to see how it looks behind a van. Iíd probably have to have a custom size box made which would be OK as long as it didnít look out of place behind the van.

For what itís worth, I know hauling bikes outside is a common practice but I hate doing that with road bikes.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:03 AM   #5
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

The StowAway box clears the bumper, and should clear the ladder. I never open the rear doors, I have an aisle floorplan and can access everything from inside the van.

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Old 09-03-2013, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
The StowAway box clears the bumper, and should clear the ladder. I never open the rear doors, I have an aisle floorplan and can access everything from inside the van.

Mike
Your comment reminded me to check weight, which I hadnít considered in much detail for such a large box; and how difficult it would be to install and remove on a regular basis. Specs show these large cargo boxes start at around 100 pounds empty and go up from there. This would make it a two-person job for sure (even if empty) and I doubt my wife could handle the lifting without risking a back injury. Doesnít seem like itís worth it if only to carry bikes in an enclosed space.

As much as Iíd like to have an enclosed secure place to carry my road bikes on some road trips, it would probably be more practical to buy a couple of cheap bikes and carry them outside. I just need to figure out a way to carry two bikes (or one tandem) over/behind the smaller box we now use. That way we also have the option to leave the box set up at campgrounds when we drive off during the day.



At present we can either carry a 7-cubic-foot box on a hitch cargo tray and bikes inside, or pack lighter and haul bikes off hitch. We canít do both off hitch at same time which means having to set bikes outside at night when packed for longer trips. And thatís a pain if just stopping to sleep. For now Iíll keep looking for ways to haul bikes and cargo box off back. A future larger van will include bike space inside for sure.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:33 PM   #7
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

My Stowaway box weighs 35# and is bulky, but fairly easy to lift. I mounted it on a Draw-Tite rack:

http://www.draw-tite.com/content/produc ... &part=6502

The rack is rated for 500#, so I don't worry about the Stowaway limits. It fits nicely on the rack and I put a couple of bolts though to keep it in place.

Mike
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

Thanks. That's not bad when you can break it into smaller pieces. I was going by published estimate of 99 pounds for larger Stowaway with swing away frame. The larger LetsGoAero is heavier still.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

I have a follow-up question. At what point do most of you guys worry about adding brake/signal lights at back of cargo trays and boxes? My question assumes the box doesn't block the van's lights.

Most cargo trays I see on the road carrying coolers and the like don't have brake lights; as long as vehicle tail lights are visible. I'm guessing that as long as the cargo tray doesn't extend more than a couple of feet behind vehicle that most cops will let it go. I'm not sure if that's always the case. Any thoughts on this?

Also, when bikes are added behind a vehicle they can extend fairly far back; particularly when hauling four bikes. And I don't recall ever seeing lights with bikes. This doesn't mean some don't, just that it must not be that common.


I'm just kicking around the idea of an 18X18X60 or 18X18X72 aluminum box with door(s) at the back and then bolting a couple of bike fork and wheel mounts to the top surface. That way I could get to my stuff with bikes in place. I could add lights if necessary, but is it necessary when in reality it wouldn't stick as far back as my present box on cargo carrier I've been using for years?
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:21 AM   #10
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Re: Large outside storage at rear of van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
I have a follow-up question. At what point do most of you guys worry about adding brake/signal lights at back of cargo trays and boxes? My question assumes the box doesn't block the van's lights....
Interesting question, and I've wondered the same thing before. I've always been under the unsubstantiated impression that anything extending 1 foot beyond the rear of the bumper had to have a flag or similar on it (think a warning flag on a load of lumber off the back of a truck). I can't tell you how many vehicles I see with bikes, storage boxes, wheelchair on lifts... that block turn indicators, brakes lights, license plates. If nothing else, I would think blocking lights and license plates would give any LEO a legal right to pull you over. Get rear ended by someone, and I would have to think they would have some wiggle room in a court setting to at least have you share the blame for an accident.

At a minimum, I would only run with a storage tray/box if it was integrated into brake lights and turn signals.


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