Carrying Bikes While Towing a Travel Trailer

When towing your travel trailer, you have a number of options to bring your bikes along. Bikes can be carried on the front, top, or rear of your tow vehicle, as well as on the front or back of your camper trailer. With a travel trailer, you can take your pick of where you'd like to carry your bikes.

Travel Trailer

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 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





Bumper Mounted Bike Rack


Hitch receiver mounted on popup camper

If you don't want to install a hitch receiver on your trailer, a bumper mounted bike rack is a great option. These racks use U-bolts or mounting plates to clamp around the travel trailer's bumper. Bumper mounted bike racks are available in both hanging and platform style racks. It is important to make sure your trailer's bumper can handle a bike rack. A bumper mounted bike rack typically requires a continuous welded steel bumper, most often measuring 4 inches x 4 inches. Aluminum or spot welded trailer bumpers are usually not strong enough to handle the weight of a bike rack and bikes.

Bumper mounted bicycle carrier for campers Bumper mounted bicycle carrier for campers





Ladder Mounted Bike Rack


Ladder mounted bicycle carrier on RV ladder with with bicycle installed

If your camper has a rear-facing ladder, a ladder bike rack is another option for carrying bikes. Ladder mounted bike racks offer the capacity to carry 2 bikes. The bikes are carried vertically and supported by the frame member between the seat post and the pedals. These bike racks are great for lightweight bikes or children's bikes.

Ladder mounted bicycle carrier for RVs and motorhomes Ladder mounted bicycle carrier for RVs and motorhomes





Ball Mount 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 Hitch Rack


Bike Bunk bicycle carrier installed with bikes mounted

Another way to tow your bikes is with a tongue mount hitch rack, like the Stromberg Carlson Bike Bunk. Tongue mount hitch racks allow the bikes to stay in view without blocking the front of the vehicle. Some tongue mount racks install around the A-frame of the trailer, while others, like the Jack-It, mount with the A-frame jack. The important thing to keep in mind with this style is its weight capacity. Each rack varies, but typically this style mount requires that the weight of the bikes and bike rack total no more than 100 pounds. Some tongue mount hitch racks also require that the bike rack used be approved for use on a trailer. If a bike rack is not included with the mount, we recommend using a lightweight, 2-bike rack, such as the Lets Go Aero BikeWing-2.

Bike Bunk bicycle carrier




Related Products

Related Articles


Carrying Bikes While Towing a 5th Wheel Camper Trailer
How to Choose a Bike Rack for a Fifth-Wheel or Pop-Up Camper
Carrying Bikes While Towing a Pop-Up Camper

Written by: Victoria B

Updated on: 5/7/2018







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