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Hitch Cargo Tray
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SSWesty
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Location: Bellevue
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

This summer my wife and I took the plunge and picked up some inflatable paddle boards. I quickly learned that we didnít have a very good way to transport two paddle boards. Two donít really fit very well in the luggage rack over the cab and paddle boards can be a bit messing to haul inside after using them especially after salt water use.

So I figured a cargo tray for the hitch would be the way to go. All the cargo trays I looked were wider than the tail lights which could be okay if you donít stack stuff in front the tail lights. I studied the harbor freight trays to see if I could cut them down to size but gave up on that and decided to just make a custom one.

I think mine is a bit over built but I guess it can get banged around and I donít have to worry about it. Itís a 20Ē x 36Ē platform so it fits neatly between the tail lights. Here is what I used:
-1/8Ē wall thickness for 2Ē receiver tube
-1/8í 2Ēx2Ē angle for bottom of tray frame
-1/8Ē 1Ēx1Ē angle for top rail uprights
-1/8Ē 1.25Ē flat bar for top rail
-flat/smooth expanded metal for bottom, I donít remember the thickness but itís less than 1/8Ē

Two deflated paddle boards stack nicely on the tray. I decided to leave the top rail off the front of the tray facing the bumper to allow for oversize stuff to hang forward of the tray. I canít imagine the need to use heavier metal than 1/8Ē and a lighter gauge would probably be fine. Both our paddle boards together weigh about 45-50 pounds. Iíve also used it to haul some firewood and totes which work fine. I do need to wire up a license plate light and I think Iíll add some reflectors to play it safe. My 2wd westy has gowesty lift springs and 27x8.5 grabbers which has kept the tray plenty high off the ground. I don't see any issues with it dragging with on road use or forest service road use. Enjoy some pics.

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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

Do you have roof bars? Inflatable SUPs can be strapped to roof bars fully inflated, just like hard boards. I highly recommend Yakima's lockable "SUP Dawg" for boards and their "Multimount" for paddles: https://www.yakima.com/ca/multimount
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bokonon42
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

I have been considering a hitch cargo tray as well, and had the same issue - they tend to block the tail lights.

Thanks for the pics - I think I may want more space, and will go with a small trailer that I can tow probably. Or is it possible to go with a larger cargo tray and wire up some external brake lights??

As a side note, do you find that the spare tire blocks the tail light? Thats another concern I had so have just kept mine on the roof for now...

thanks
-terry
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Schultzie
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:28 am    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

We had the same concerns about blocking the rear lamps, so we wired up some trailer lights on our cargo carrier. We found this to be easy and inexpensive. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

This is the most stuff I've ever seen piled on one of these trays: From GWTWTLW

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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

SSWesty wrote:
So I figured a cargo tray for the hitch would be the way to go. All the cargo trays I looked were wider than the tail lights which could be okay if you donít stack stuff in front the tail lights. I studied the harbor freight trays to see if I could cut them down to size but gave up on that and decided to just make a custom one.


Nice you have the ability to go the custom route. Pro-looking job there! Cool

I've got the standard Hitch Haul, but use a Recon Tailgate Light Bar on it for added safety.

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It's also used on my Thule bike rack (initial reason for buying it).
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

If you're worried about blocking the lights, then you can try and raise up the platform to sit above that level. An added bonus is that it's also less likely to drag into and out of steep driveways. I converted a cheap used swingdown bike carrier for our new cargo carrier. It clears both the lights and hatch, and will work with my T3 and T4.

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SSWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Hitch Cargo Tray Reply with quote

ThankYouJerry wrote:
Do you have roof bars? Inflatable SUPs can be strapped to roof bars fully inflated, just like hard boards. I highly recommend Yakima's lockable "SUP Dawg" for boards and their "Multimount" for paddles: https://www.yakima.com/ca/multimount


No roof bars yet however at some point I am going make a pirogue and will need bars up there to haul it around. I did think about doing foam pads/blocks and rain gutter straps to all the paddle boards on the top. Those inflatable paddle boards are some exercise to inflate each time.

As for the spare tire blocking the tail lights, the spare sits well above the lights. I set the height of the spare above the height of a passenger car hood like a Camry so if I get bumped by a car it may prevent the spare from taking out the back hatch. An SUV or truck would definitely push the spare into the hatch.

Kamz I like the way the reflectors on your tray wrap around the sides, I think I'll copy that. I have also thought of either running lights back there or a brake light just to people catch on that something is stick out the back.

As for platform height I did think about going higher but I didn't want to block opening the hatch with the paddle boards back there. I also thought about doing a swing out but had to get this thing built for a trip so it ended up be a basic tray. These trays seem like a good way to carry extra stuff, I can see adding a big tote for dry storage of gear.
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