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Carrying Bikes While Towing a Pop-Up Camper Trailer

Though your vehicle's trailer hitch is occupied while towing your pop-up camper, there are other ways to carry the bikes to make sure they can come along as well. Camping in a pop-up allows you to be closer to nature than a travel trailer or 5th wheel, so it's important to make sure your gear that helps you get out into nature gets to make the trip.

Pop Up Camper

How Can I Carry My Bikes?

Hitch Mounted Bike Rack

Hitch-mounted bicycle carrier with bikes on trailer

When looking for a hitch bike rack to mount on a trailer, it is important to make sure the bike rack is approved by the manufacturer for RV/trailer use. This is to ensure that the rack can stand up to the force exerted on it at the back of the trailer. Hitch mounted racks are available to carry up to 4 bikes at the back of the camper. The biggest benefit to using a hitch mount bike rack is that it can then also be used on the tow vehicle when the trailer isn't attached. After setting up the trailer at the campsite, a hitch bike rack can be transferred to the truck and the bikes can be driven to the trailhead.

Hitch mounted platform bicycle carrier Hitch mounted hanging bicycle carrier

Need a trailer hitch?

There are a couple of options when it comes to choosing a trailer hitch receiver for a camper trailer. The hitch receiver can either be mounted to the trailer bumper or installed on the trailer frame. The durability of the trailer bumper and the width of the frame are factors that will determine which hitch type is best suited for your camper. If the bumper is not designed to carry additional weight or it is not reinforced, a frame mount hitch receiver is the way to go. A bumper mounted receiver typically requires a continuous welded steel bumper, most often measuring 4 inches x 4 inches.

Front Mount Hitch Bike Rack

Carrying bikes with a front mounted trailer hitch installed.

If the tow vehicle has a front mount hitch, a standard hitch mount bike rack can be used to carry bikes on the front of the tow vehicle. Some people prefer to carry bikes on the front of the vehicle so the bikes can stay in view from the driver's seat. The things to keep in mind when carrying bikes on the front of the vehicle are to make sure the bikes won't block the headlights when driving at night and to make sure the airflow to the radiator isn't limited by the bikes. When not towing your camper, a hitch bike rack can be carried in the rear hitch of the vehicle to take the bikes to the trailhead.

Hitch bike rack

Tow Vehicle Roof Bike Rack

Roof mounted bicycle carrier on vehicle roof with bike installed

A roof rack allows bikes to be carried on the roof of the tow vehicle. Much like hitch racks, a roof rack will also allow the transportation of bikes when not towing a trailer. Roof mount racks are a great solution when a variety of bikes are coming along on the trip. With a roof rack, each bike can have the best style rack for the bike's style. One thing to keep in mind when carrying bikes on your tow vehicle's roof is the height of your vehicle. The height of the newer model pickup trucks can present a challenge in mounting the bike racks. To help reach the top of your tow vehicle, consider running boards, a tire step, or a step stool can be helpful.

Wheel mount roof mounted bicycle carrier Frame mount roof mounted bicycle carrier Fork mount roof mounted bicycle carrier

Towing Bike Rack

Ball mount bicycle carrier installed with bike mounted

Another way to carry bikes between the tow vehicle and the trailer is to use a bike rack that mounts onto the ball mount. These style bike racks have either a built-in ball mount or will mount around a 2 inch ball mount shank. These bike racks are available in both hanging and platform style bike racks and are made to accommodate from 2 to 4 bikes. Keep in mind however, with 3 or more bikes on this style rack turning clearance could be limited.

Ball mount bicycle carrier Ball mount bicycle carrier Ball mount bicycle carrier

Truck Bed Bike Rack

Truck bed bicycle installed with bike mounted

When towing with a pickup truck another option for carrying your bikes is in the pickup bed. There are a number of different options to carrying bikes in the truck bed, such as fork mount racks, frame mount racks, wheel mount racks, and tailgate pads. Between these bike rack options, there is a rack to fit nearly every bike and every truck bed.

Truck bed mount bicycle carrier Truck bed mount bicycle carrier

Tongue Mount Bike Rack

Tongue mount bike rack installed with bike mounted

Tongue mount bike racks like the Stromberg Carlson Bike Bunk are another option for A-frame trailers. Although the weight capacity on these racks is limited, tongue mount bike racks keep your bikes within sight without blocking the view out your windshield. Some tongue mount racks install around the A-frame of the trailer, while others, like the Jack-It, mount to the A-frame jack. Make sure to check the specs on both your bike rack and your camper to make sure they are compatible with one another.

Tongue mount bicycle carrier Tongue mount bicycle carrier

Camper Roof Bike Rack

Ball mount bicycle carrier installed with bike mounted

Some pop-up campers come with a roof mounting system installed from the factory. For those that don't, an aftermarket roof rack can be added. A standard roof mounted bike rack works well on top of the pop-up to bring along everyone's bikes. Carrying the bikes on top of the pop-up works well to keep the overall height of setup lower than if the bikes were on top of the tow vehicle. Carrying the bikes on the pop-up also helps reduce the wind drag from the bikes because they are behind the tow vehicle. Typically the roof of the pop-up is lower than the roof of the tow vehicle, making it easier to load the bikes.

Camper roof bike rack installed on camper Truck bed mount bicycle carrier

Related Products

Related Articles

Carrying Bikes While Towing a 5th Wheel Camper Trailer
Carrying Bikes While Towing a Travel Trailer
How to Tow a Trailer and Carry Bikes

Written by: Victoria B

Updated on: 5/7/2018



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