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Full Version: A Great Cargo Box for Hitch Racks
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I have found what I think is the perfect cargo box for putting onto a hitch rack. It is a plastic "truck box" from Tractor Supply for $100. It is 44" wide at the top, but there is a large lip, for resting on the sides of a truck bed, so the bottom is about 42" wide. It is really heavy duty and pretty well made. It has two padlock hasps. The actual, usable, inside dimensions are about 41" x 16" x 16" due to the indentations and stuff on the sides.


I'll have more info about what I did with it in my build thread.

P.S. I added all the reflective stickers. The box is just black plastic. The top is white because I live on a gravel road right now.
Nice! Well, what do you keep in that? Just wondering, because I'm not sure that I want something outside the van but . . . I can see is gives a few more square feet of room. I'm really thinking of putting a bike rack on the back, if anything. I know a lot of people prefer to store their bicycles inside but mine is not an expensive bicycle.
I have one very similar to yours that I have had for years. Traded a nice aluminum tool box that sits on top of the truck bed rails for it. Have been thinking about adding a carrier to my van and put that on it. Mostly for automotive fluids, jack, straps, funnels, shovel, etc.
Is there a gasket (o-ring) to keep it well sealed against water entry?
(10-28-2018, 03:34 PM)John61CT Wrote: [ -> ]Is there a gasket (o-ring) to keep it well sealed against water entry?

I added my own. See this post in my build thread:

The lip at the sides and front (where it opens, which is actually facing the rear now) are really tall so no water would normally get in. However, the hinge has no lip at all. So, I am really depending on the weatherstripping I added to keep the water out. Fortunately, the way the aerodynamics of my van are, all the water that comes in contact with the box will actually be coming from behind the vehicle. There is a big back-draft behind these Dodge Grand Caravans. My friend had driven behind me on the gravel road and he says that all the gravel dust just follows me around in a little cloud (like I'm Pigpen or something) instead of dispersing as I go along like it does with trucks. So, your mileage may vary with a different vehicle.
(10-28-2018, 10:13 AM)travelaround Wrote: [ -> ]Well, what do you keep in that? 

I only keep light-weight but bulky things. Mostly spare or off-season clothes. All my heavy, expensive stuff still goes in the minivan. My hitch will support 500 pounds. This rack will support 500 pounds. The rack weighs 32 pounds, the box weighs maybe 20 pounds at the most. I probably only have less than 100 pounds of stuff in there. But it is 8 cubic feet that is not taking up space in my minivan. And, it is an instant table for doing stuff outside. No need to carry a portable table with me.

Because I set the thing towards the rear, to allow me to open my rear hatch, I think I will also be able to put a bicycle between the box and the front rail of the rack. Of course, that means I will have to move the bike before opening the rear hatch, but that might be acceptable, if I want to be able to ride a bike again. I used to ride a lot.
This is an update, more about the rack than the box:

It has all held up really well so far. I used the box as a workbench for all the other things I have added to my van since I hit the road. It is really sturdy. I can sit and stand on it if I want. 

It does drag.... a LOT more often than I would like. I was able to get into the caravan campsite west of Parker, AZ (the one that Bob calls the Parker site but is closer to Big River, CA) with no problems just by going over that berm at a steep angle. I have also bought a cheap shovel at Lowe's ($6.84) which I store behind the tubs that hold up my bed, and I can use that if I get in a spot where I wouldn't be able to get in somewhere without dragging. 

And I have drug that thing pretty badly a few times. I thought I would have practically pulled that thing right off. But no. It barely left a mark on the rack (not even on the plastic corners) even though I cut a 6" deep groove in the dirt. The ground around here is actually just soft sand with some rocks mixed in. It looks hard from the top. But you can literally dig at it with your bare hands. 

All in all, I am very happy with this rack and the box. I do kinda wish I had gotten the steel rack and cut out the rear of the rail to make room to slide the box backwards. But I think it is doing just fine. It really only limits my access a little bit. I mean, I am in a minivan, after all. It is not as if I was ever gonna go four-wheeling or anything.
(01-01-2019, 04:37 PM)B and C Wrote: [ -> ]A riser like this will raise the carrier for you.

It will move the carrier back some for you too maybe making it so you don't have to shift the load.  Do your own search as I am sure you can find one at a better price.

The one I got has the rise built into the shank like this:

But may be too close to your back hatch if it is loaded.

Yup. I looked at both of those options. The second one doesn't work because it doesn't move it back far enough to clear the hatch. (Remember, I moved the box backwards a few inches so I could still open the hatch of my minivan.) I would have to cantilever the box a bit too far off the back side of the rack. 

I am still considering that first option. But I don't want to spend the money right now. Not only would I have to buy the extender, but I would have to buy another bolt-on stabilizer for about $14. However, I am also considering just getting rid of the rack altogether. I haven't posted the new pictures to by build thread yet but, the way I built my rack for my solar panels leaves enough room under the rear panel for me to put everything that is currently in the box, up on top of my minivan. (Again, it is not really a lot of weight, just bulky, lightweight items.)  Then I could just sell the rack (with the box already bolted onto it) to someone else who already has enough ground clearance.
I think for the few problems it does sound like more of a win/win on this addition to your traveling.  Cool.  All about how you travel more of the time then a tiny bit of the time when it comes to what do we truly need for a small bit of situations we encounter.  good update.
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