Stef mentioned that we’d be occasionally be sharing some of our answers to common reader questions. This week, I thought I’d take a shot at it with a question that I get pretty frequently. (Note: emails have been slightly edited for privacy…) This answer is mostly just my opinion, so hopefully, others will chime in with their opinions and experiences down below in the comments.
My wife and I have learned so much from Stef and you. I think I recall you mentioning that Stef was starting to get into SUP’ing. We are finalizing an RV decision, and the Travato 59K might fit the bill. However, we would love to have Noah’s ark go with us so to speak :-). Actually, I dream about carrying 2 bikes, 2 kayak’s and 2 SUP boards (for us the bikes would be inexpensive so not concerned with putting them inside the RV).
So maybe we could put the 2 kayaks on the rack on the roof, the 2 bikes in the rack on back and I guess we would have no choice but to put the 2 SUPs inside the RV, which on the 59K would eat up the floor space and walkway to the bathroom in the back. Then we would worry about what to do with this stuff if we were boondocking and wanted to take the RV to go grocery shopping or something.
I found some innovative looking trailer racks online: https://www.google.com/search?q=RV+Kayak+Rack
One of the options has the 2 bikes in the middle section, then the 2 kayaks next to them and then the 2 SUPs on the outer portion. However, I think you have said that putting bikes, and stuff like this on the trailer hitch might be bad for the RV hitch? Also, this does not help with the security aspect of leaving these items at the campsite. So I guess we would have to carry the equipment with us wherever we go or take a chance and try to somehow lock them to a tree at the campsite or something? Last option is to purchase the lightest and smallest of trailer campers that can somehow fit 11-12 foot long kayaks and SUPs inside so we can leave the trailer locked up at the site…..but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of traveling easy with a class B (which I guess means the true last option is decide to not have all that stuff with us…..but what a dream that would be to be able to camp next to those clear mountain lakes in places near Bend Oregon or Idaho and choose a morning bike ride followed by either a SUP ride or a kayak ride).
Determined to die with the most toys
Dear Determined –
Stef likes SUPs, but we don’t have any ourselves yet. Even if we did, it would be the kind of thing where we’d just decide to take either the SUPs or the kayaks, or one of each, and just go with it. Barring that, honestly, I’d get a trailer.
Here are my thoughts on this:
- With a class B, there’s really not very much to “setting up camp”, at least, not for us. Everyone is different, but typically, the main selling point of a class B is to be nimble, and that doesn’t lend itself to staying in one place for very long. If you wanted to go someplace, set up camp, and take a vehicle occasionally to run to town while leaving camp intact, a travel trailer is honestly better suited to that. When you take a Travato into town, you are, by definition, breaking camp. In practical terms, it would actually seem easier to me to just secure one cargo trailer with things inside instead of locking up SUPs, locking up kayaks, locking up bikes, locking down patio furniture, etc. This is just my opinion though, you have to figure out what makes sense to you.
- Sometimes (usually on travel trailers and Class Cs) you will see someone mount a receiver directly onto the rear bumper – and then load up the receiver with a heavy rack. That can torque the bumper right off the vehicle because it’s not designed for that. I’ve shared pictures of that before. But mounting a rack on a properly designed receiver that’s securely attached to the frame would be different, and better. You have to be sure not to exceed the tongue rating of the hitch, but beyond that, there shouldn’t be the risk of damage to the vehicle.
- Even if it works, I’m not really a fan of carrying bikes on hitch mount racks because they can bounce around a lot and kick road grime onto your bike. (But I’m probably biased due to my expensive taste in bikes…) If you mounted a hitch mounted rack onto the Travato, it would probably be safe. I can’t say how the boats and SUPs would fare as I’ve never done it.
- The maximum number of Recreational Vehicles we’ve brought in our Recreational Vehicle is four. (Is that RV squared?) Two expensive bikes inside, and two mountain bikes outside. There have been times though, where I wanted to take just one more bike (my time trial bike). At that point, we’re sort of our own bike team anyway, and I really should be putting them in a trailer.
- A number of people with Class B RVs attach a StowAway cargo carrier to their rear receiver. You obviously wouldn’t carry bikes in there (although there are other products like it that will carry bikes). This is something I’ve honestly never even considered, and the reason why gets back to the “nimble” thing. Adding those few feet to the back of a Class B will likely push you out of a standard parking space. But more than that, when backing up, I’d be terrified that I would crunch the trunk into something and damage whatever I had back there. Others seem to use these without incident, so perhaps it’s all in my head.
- As you can probably tell from the design of our own RV, I’m not a fan of storing things inside unless you can use all the RV facilities with them in there. So for us, storing or transporting Kayaks or SUPs inside the RV wouldn’t be an option. I just know that if I did it, and thought “the only way this will be a problem is if we urgently need to use the bathroom while we don’t have battery power in a bad neighborhood where we can’t take something out of the rear doors because it’s raining”… that’s exactly what would happen.
I have seriously thought about getting an enclosed trailer for our Travato. (It would have to be a yellow one.) There are occasions where it might be really handy. But then I always come back to wanting to be able to park anywhere and I talk myself out of it. But honestly, an enclosed trailer would be my preference of all the options I’ve kicked about. Best protection for everything. And you’ll never forget it’s there and accidentally back it into something.
This probably didn’t help you make any decisions, but those are my thoughts.