Trailer hitches are wonderful things. People tend to think of them only as a way to tow a trailer, but a more common use is carrying additional cargo or bikes with a hitch rack. Here, we review the Tow Tuff Cargo Carrier with an integrated bike rack, an affordable but super sturdy cargo rack that we use regularly for carrying camping gear or bikes. These simple but sturdy racks can make a big difference for family road trips, car camping, and overlanding.
Tow Tuff Cargo Carrier Models
Tow Tuff makes several different models of cargo carriers. In this article, we’ll focus on the model that we own, the carrier with an integrated bike rack, then we’ll run through some of the other types. We recommend this one for its versatility, as you can carry bikes if you want, but you can easily remove the bike wheel holders (or never install them) and just use it for cargo.
- 500-pound cargo capacity
- Integrated bike cradles (removable)
- Works with 2-inch trailer hitches
- Available in steel or aluminum
This Tow Tuff cargo carrier comes in two base materials, stainless steel or aluminum. We bought the aluminum model, which is lighter but a bit more expensive.
Tow Tuff TTF-2762KR Steel Cargo Carrier with Bike Rack
This version is constructed of heavy-duty steel, with a steel mesh surface as a platform. Otherwise, it’s pretty much identical to the aluminum model below, but at 67 pounds weighs more.
Tow Tuff TTF-2762ACBR Aluminum Cargo Carrier with Bike Rack
This version is constructed of aluminum, which results in a lighter rack with the same cargo capacity. The aluminum model weighs 48 pounds.
We bought Tow Tuff Carrier with an integrated bike rack because we wanted to do two things: 1) carry our mountain bikes, and 2) expand the amount of cargo we could bring on overlanding trips.
Jeeps don’t have a huge amount of cargo space inside, and the trail hitch cargo carrier really expands how much gear we can carry. We thought about purchasing a separate bike rack, but they tend to be twice as expensive as the Tow Tuff rack and less versatile. Also, we own electric mountain bikes, which are too heavy for many other bike rack models.
The cool thing about the 2-in-1 version of the Tow Tuff is that you can remove the bike wheel holders and just use it as a cargo rack. Or, you can just fold the wheel holders down and put cargo on top of them.
The trade-off is that most bike racks for trailer hitches have simple latches for attaching bikes. The Two Tuff carriers have velcro straps that help keep the wheels in the wheel holders, but they aren’t particularly strong and you’ll need to use additional straps to hold your bikes to the rack.
It takes a bit more work than your typical bike rack, so if you are ONLY looking to carry bikes, you might want to look at a dedicated bike rack. That said, the Tow Tuff carriers have several sturdy anchor points, including a metal loop, that makes it easy for lashing down gear and bikes. It can hold up to 4 bikes and can carry a total cargo weight of up to 500 pounds.
The rack attaches to 2-inch hitches with a cotter pin. In the image above, you can see the black metal ring that can be used for lashing down cargo and bikes. On my Jeep, which has an external spare tire, the tire gets in the way a bit, so I typically lash to other parts of the rack. You can purchase a separately sold lockable cotter pin if you want more security.
|Material||Steel or Aluminum|
|Dimensions||27 x 62 x 3 inches|
|Weight||Steel: 67 lbs; Aluminum: 48 lbs|
|Bikes||Carries up to four bikes|
These racks are very sturdy and can take a ton of abuse. They are also versatile, allowing you to carry a variety of loads, and quite heavy loads if need be. The only negative we’ve noticed is that the rack wiggles around in the hitch a bit, so it bounces around some when you hit bumps. But that’s probably more of an issue with our hitch than with the cargo carrier and will happen with other hitch accessories as well.
To solve this, we purchased a separate Libberway Hitch Tightener. This firms up the connection between the tow hitch and the rack, which reduces the movement of the rack as you travel.