I love the extra storage space that our StowAway2 swing away cargo box provides on our Roadtrek eTrek but now am conflicted about whether I made the right choice in buying it.
It is a great cargo container that mounts securely in the two-inch hitch at the back of the eTrek and the 16 cubic feet of storage that lets us load up to 200 pounds of stuff into its 51 inch tall by 23 inch wide by 26 inch tall box is great for extended trips.
But if you also like to bicycle, you have to leave those bikes behind.
Despite a lot of talk on the Internet that StowAway2 had a solution that let you use the box and also attach a bike rack to it I discovered today in a call to the company that there is no such solution because it puts too much stress on the hitch and “just doesn't make sense from an engineering standpoint.”
So for us, it's either/or – Either take the box and leave the bikes home or bring the bikes and leave the box home.
The StowAway2 representative I talked to said some customers added a trailer hitch to the front of their vehicle and carried bikes that way. But the wear and tear and road grime, not to mention bug debris, that such a front-mounted bike rack would deposit on the bikes makes that idea a no starter from my point of view.
Some have suggested we invest in fold-up bikes. Indeed, the StowAway2 box would hold two fold-ups. At east they show that on their website.
We're a little more hard core bikers than what those little wheels on the foldups would allow. We like mountain biking on trails in some pretty rough terrain.
My friend Tim Mallon from Canada sent along a link to a Canadian company called nicova that makes a cargo box similar to the StowAway2 but has a two-bike rack attached to the top of the box. It holds less cargo than the StoawAway2 (about 100 pounds instead of 200) but it looks like it holds the bikes quite well.
Here's a video, in French, of their Vélo Combo 101 system:
Looks perfect to me.
The downside to that is the nicova system costs $2,095 (Canadian) and they do not ship to the U.S. (if they did, it would cost several hundred dollars more.) But you can go to their southwestern Quebec factory and buy direct.
So, while I love the StowAway2 Max, I have strong second thoughts about the purchase I made. I hate having to leave the bikes behind.