In addition to Roof Rack Systems, you can also carry your gear with rack systems that mount to a Trailer Hitch. But the first step would be to have a Trailer Hitch installed onto your vehicle. Fortunately there are Trailer Hitches available for most vehicles.
With a Trailer Hitch installed, you then have a choice of adding a hitch bike rack, hitch ski rack (requires bike rack), hitch cargo box, or hitch cargo basket. These rack systems slide into the receiver hole in the Trailer Hitch and are held in place with a bolt or cotter pin. Or add the appropriate towing drawbar, ball and wiring harness to allow you to tow trailers, campers, boats, etc.
Trailer Hitches are typically bolted to the chassis of the vehicle. Trailer Hitches are categorized by their load capacity into a few common classes: I, II, III, IV, and V.
The opening of the receiver-type hitches are usually 1.25" or 2" square, but some Class IV or V are available in 2.5" square. Below is a list of each class' weight range (WC stands for Weight Carrying, meaning a basic ball mount and coupler. The WD ratings are higher, and those limits require the use of a Weight Distributing ball mount.)
- Class I is for loads up to 2,000 lbs WC
- Class II is for loads up to 3,500 lbs WC
- Class III is for loads up to 6,000 lbs WC / 10,000 lbs WD
- Class IV is for loads 6,000-10,000 lbs WC / 10,000-12,000 lbs WD
- Class V is for loads up to 18,000 lbs WC / 18,000 lbs WD