We have a Mazda CX-9 that fits 7 people with about 2 feet in the back for luggage. Not much room at all but that’s the way vehicles are designed. We were driving from Pasadena to Tahoe for a few days and wanted something to carry the bags and leave some space on the inside.
Here’s how we outfitted ours:
- We bought a hitch online through Costco: $130.
- Hitch installed at Hitch Depot in Monrovia for $150.
- Highland cargo carrier base, cargo bag with netting and straps: $139.99 bought as a package through Costco. AutoZone, Amazon and other outlets also make it available.
Bars alone for the rooftop rack can cost more than $400 and not offer as much versatility.
Also, we did not have our hitch outfitted for a trailer. That would have been more than $300 additional.
The cargo carrier is 60 inches by 24 inches with a maximum load of 500 pounds.
It took me about an hour to set the metal plates together and ratchet the nuts and bolts. The cargo bag held a cooler, snow clothes, and about five duffel bags. I took about 45 minutes more to attach the straps and secure them.
It’s a bit physical getting the luggage in and out and loading and re-loading, but we’ve found it’s a practical and welcome way to travel around Southern California, north, or anywhere in the country – no matter where you live, work, and play.