How To Carry Bikes With a Pop Up Camper

How To Carry Bikes With a Pop Up Camper

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More and more RVers are bringing their bikes with them when they go camping using their pop-up campers.

Using bike racks is the easiest way to transport bikes instead of removing the wheels of the bike or to have a folding bike.

Biking is a common way to enjoy trails that allow to do so. A pop up camper is a modest RV that folds like a box and therefore people often need to know if they can bring bikes while towing it.

How to carry bikes with Pop up camper

It is possible to carry bikes while towing a pop up camper. Bikes can be hauled on a pop up camper using compatible bike racks mounted at different locations which includes below,

  • Towing vehicle front mounted bike rack
  • Tow vehicle roof mounted bike rack
  • Camper tongue mounted bike rack
  • Camper roof mounted bike rack
  • Truck bed bike rack
  • Ball mount bike rack

Most bike racks can carry 1 to 3 bikes on a pop up camper. You will also find those that can haul 4 and some times even more. Moreover, since pop up campers are compact and small, carrying more than 4 bikes can pose additional risk while transporting.

Front Mount Hitch Bike Rack

This is the easiest way to bring your bike with you when camping if the hitch receiver is not available. This is another part of the vehicle that is most ideal and helpful to place your bikes on.

Placing your bike on the front of the vehicle keeps you aware of it, and you need not keep checking, unlike when you place your bike racks at the back of the vehicle.

You may have to check the quality of the bike rack you will purchase.

What To Look For When Choosing A Bike Rack:

  • You may choose the type that can be placed in front or on the rear of the vehicle.
  • Rust and corrosion-free material that is lightweight but durable, and that can hold the bike securely in place.

Pros

  1. It makes it easier to monitor your bike when it is in front.
  2. They can use the rear space of the vehicle for the camper alone.

Cons

  1. With the bikes in front, it may impede the vehicle radiator’s airflow.
  2. There is also a chance of getting the vehicle’s headlight blocked.

Tow Vehicle Roof Bike Rack

Roof bike is also one method to transport your bike. Others would rather have it on the roof instead of the rear or the front of the vehicle as they feel more confident that it will not just slide off and fall off the vehicle, as long as it is well secured. There is also the possibility of bringing multiple bikes.

Despite the advantages, there are other considerations by users such as the additional height to the vehicle when bikes are placed on top. This could be a problem when passing through an underpass that has low vertical clearance, and the additional height could pose a problem.

Another issue that you may like to think of is how to place your bike on top and to remove it afterward. You may need a ladder or climbing steps so you could easily unload the bikes.

If you are to buy a roof bike rack, it is ideal to choose the bike rack that can both accommodate kids and adult wheel size.

A roof rack that will fit any crossbar without the need to purchase an adapter, and lockable cable that will keep the bikes secure at all times.

Pick one that is easy to install, but not too easy that it can be uninstalled by crooks. If there is a foldable model, this is more than ideal.

Pros

  1. Even if the pop-up camper is not mounted, it is easy to set up the roof bike rack.

Cons

  1. Using a roof bike rack adds height to the vehicle, which may pose some problems in a low vertical clearance tunnel.

Truck Bed Bike Rack

Besides using the extra space to put other significant materials you will need for camping, the area is best for your bed bike rack. It is secured, with no need for additional protection. No worries as well that it may fall off anytime.

Although some users buy bungee cords or soft straps to secure the bikes in place, others use a more stable metal strap to keep the bikes in place.

There are two types, which are a fixed truck bed, bike racks, and an adjustable mount.

Pros

  1. Simple to use.
  2. Can carry a different bike or wheel size of bikes.
  3. It can haul not just one, but several bicycles, even for the entire family.
  4. It can protect the truck and not just the bicycle.

Cons

  1. Some may cost more than other brands.

Hitch-Mounted Bike Rack

Preference differs for bike racks such as others like roof-mounted bike racks, and others are happier with a hitch-mounted bike rack. The reason mostly because of the lesser worry of overhead clearance, which makes it more ideal for some.

Hitch mounted racks can carry three to a maximum of four bikes in the back of the camper, and it is not recommended to maximize the space.

You also have an option to add a trailer hitch receiver for your camper, which is either fixed on the camper frame or attached to the bumper of the pop-up camper.

Your trailer bumper’s strength and its width are also important to know, so you can buy the right hitch type that will fit in your camper. A reinforced material is ideal since it can ensure ease in hauling of additional weight during the travel.

Pros

  1. Sturdy because of the material used.

Cons

  1. They require a trailer hitch when using.

Towing Bike Rack

They make bike carriers that are towable to slide or fasten on the hitch of your camper where the towing bike rack has a dedicated ball mount, or there is a 2 to 3-inch ball mount shank it can be mounted to.

This bike carrier can hold 2 to 4 bikes and have different styles and designs. Bikes are either placed standing on a platform or just hanging securely.

Some manufacturers make their bicycle racks with reflectors for added visibility at night, which makes it manageable for you, and you have less to worry about. The same thing goes with the rust proofing and corrosion-safe materials they use, plus the lightweight selection.

Some manufacturers can provide you a vast range of options and a solution for your bike racks.

Pros

  1. Best used between the tow vehicle and the pop-up camper and can carry up to 4 bikes.

Cons

  1. Not able to carry more than the allowed number of bikes.

Tongue Mount Bike Rack

This bike rack can be placed at the front of the travel fifth wheel. This is, however, usually customized.

If you visit bike shops, some offer such bike racks, but it may not be suitable for pop -up campers, and it may not be the right fit for the camper that you own. Some owners who would like to have this bicycle rack would rather have it designed by a professional, so the right measurement and materials are correctly chosen.

It may require them to pay more, but they will get to bring their bikes with them securely.

Rust and corrosion-free are still on top of the option for materials used. Also, some are finished with a black powder coat, which makes it safer for bikes during transport as the metal will not get scraped.

Sturdy and durable steel construction is a priority.

Pros

  1. You can easily monitor your bike while you are traveling.

Cons

  1. You may need to have it customized, as there are a few who manufacture this bike rack that can be compatible with your camper.

Camper Roof Racks

They install these bike racks on the roof of your camper instead of the vehicle that is pulling it.

Some manufacturers of pop-up campers are generous enough to add a mounting system to their campers without a fee, but for other manufacturers, you may have to pay for it as an add on.

Even the roof rack can be installed so everything is secure and in place. Again, the only issue here is loading and unloading your cycles as it would sometimes be a hassle climbing up and down the roof.

For some users, this is easy as long as there is a climbing tool to use.

Having this customized is also a good option for you cause you can choose the materials and designs that would suit your taste.

Pros

  1. Securely locks your bikes in place.
  2. It will not cover your line of vision as it is on top of the camper.

Cons

  1. You may need to check it now and then.

Spare Tire Bike Racks

This is also one of your options because you can carry your bikes with you, up to two bikes are allowed. The bike rack also has an anti-sway mechanism to keep each bike from moving and hit each other while traveling.

You can still have your spare tire, which is an added comfort for you.

Most of the bike rack manufacturers sell high-quality racks that will keep your bikes secured and will surely reach your destination.

For those camper owners who would like to attach a bike rack on the spare tire space, there are options of bike racks for you that are designed to fit in there.

Pros

  1. You use all the space in your vehicle, and you can bring up to two bikes with you on your travel.

Cons

  1. May need to customize some bike racks to fit in the spare tire area.

Best Bike Racks for pop up camper

Here are some of the best bike racks that you can buy from amazon. This are trusted and most popular brands out there.

1. Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack

This is a highly rated and popular bike rack that has sturdy design. It is capable of carrying upto 2 bikes that will remain secured while transportation. It can handle upto 35 lbs of load per bike.

Swagman is a trusted brand in this space and it has series of other racks that you can choose.

This bike rack is easy to assemble and you can get it installed in around 30 minutes. The manual comes with fairly easy to understand instructions. This product is definitely value for money and you will be highly satisfied specially if you want to transport 2 bicycles.

Here are some of its features:

  • It is versatile as its compatible with 1-1/4′ and 2 inch receiver.
  • An amazing storage saver for your pop up camper.
  • Solid design and ability to hold the bikes firmly will keep you relaxed while traveling
  • Very easy to setup and get going.
  • Its light weight and very reliable for a pop-up camper

2. Yakima frontloader bike rack

This is single bike carrier that can fit different types of bikes. You can carry bikes with 20″ to 29 ” wheel size. It features a universal fitting hardware which can fit round, square crossbars.

Its assembly is easy and you wont need any specific tools as such. It carries the bikes secure and thee wont be any contact with the bicycle frame. Its a super light rack weighing just 18 pounds.

3. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black

This 1.94 lbs weighing bike rack comes with 3/4 bike carrying capacity. This has strong built and smooth on the exterior. It comes with a reflector or security and very easy to fold for storage.

You will find unfolding the bikes easy due to its tilt feature. The overall design makes it easy to load and remove the bikes from this rack. Its a heavy duty rack that comes with Velcro straps.

Here are its features for your quick reference.

  • Weighs around 1.94 pounds
  • Pretty easy to load/unload cycles from this rack
  • can fit 2 and 1-1/4 inch receiver
  • Reflector for safety added at the rear.

4. Stromberg Carlson

This trailer tongue rack can carry a weight of upto 100 lbs. It can easily fit a A-frame camper. Its arms are adjustable making east o fit the camper tongue at different places. Its simple design makes the installation an easy to do process.

Here are its key features and plus points.

  • Light weight, weighs just 15 pounds
  • Versatile design
  • Easy to adjust and setup
  • Smooth ride
  • Reasonably priced and value for money

5. CURT Clamp On Trailer Hitch Bike Rack

This is an easy to use mount rack that can mounted 0n the hitch ball. Its easy to use and allows for easy access of the bike. It is capable of holding upto 3 bikes. Rubber cradles secures the bikes while traveling which also fit for different bike sizes.

An in built reflector and strap helps in providing enhanced safety. Here are are its features for a quick reference.

  • Corrosion resistance design to protect the rack from rain.
  • Easy to install and use
  • Secures the bicycle firmly
  • Versatile usage

What To Consider When Buying A Bike Rack For Camper

Carrying bikes with pop up camper may sound easy but if it was not originally designed with the bike rack then you have to be careful on which rack you will choose.

There are a lot of factors that you need to consider. Since there are different ways to mount bike/bike racks, its easy to make a mistake while choosing the type. Don’t just choose the top rated rack from this list, as it may not be compatible with your pop up camper.

When you cannot do it on camper, you can always use the tow vehicle. But, here again since the back side of the vehicle will be engaged in towing the camper, you need to decide what part of the vehicle will be used to mount the rack.

Compatibility

When you choose a bicycle rack for your pop-up camper, make sure it is compatible. You cannot waltz in a store and find the design and color of a bike rack and bring it home with you without the necessary measurements and where it is used for.

Some bike racks don’t go with campers, so ask questions, scope your options, and check stores and manufacturers first.

DIY Bike rack for pop up camper

It is also possible to make a DIY bike rack for your camper. Although this is not a recommended way to carry bikes, it may sometimes happen that none of the bike racks are compatible with you car/camper setup.

This happens when you are towing a very small or vintage camper. Whatever may be the reason, if you are doing it yourself make sure you are making it as secure as possible. Do not go long distances until you are very sure about about the security.

Number of bikes and size

Consider where you want it installed, how many bikes you need to haul with you, what options do you have – will it be the camper or the vehicle?

Will you be needing your cycle while you are traveling or just when you arrived at your destined place? Are there different sizes of the bike you have to bring? Where would you rather have it, in the front, the back, or on the roof?

When you have a big RV like travel trailer, it is much easier to carry bikes. People also carry bikes inside travel trailer or fifth wheel.

With ladder at the back it is also easy to mount the bike rack on such bigger RVs. Toy hauler travel trailer or fifth wheel can transport not only bikes but also other adventure toys like ATV, kayaks and motorcycles too.

Secure

Its important that the bikes are securely placed on the rack. The bike rack that you will choose should hold the bikes securely and avoid any such hazards while traveling. Towing a camper behind a car in itself can be stressful and adding such additional weight need to be done with utmost safety.

The bike rack should hold the bikes firmly without causing any issue in the ride. The bike rack should have minimum contact with the bike and also with the camper or the car.

More contact means there will be more friction and chances of damage. Most quality branded racks make sure this is avoided and this will keep both bike and camper protected.

Installation

Most of the bike racks we listed above come with easy to follow installation guides. But, even then it can get confusing as all the campers/towing vehicle are not universal. And, therefore having a versatile easy to follow mounting bike rack is important.

The bike rack should be easy to install and once it is done, it should also be easy to load/unload the bikes. Most quality branded bike racks are easy to handle after the initial installation.

Rack weight and capacity

A pop up camper in itself is a light weight camper and your towing vehicle too will have less capacity. Therefore, it is important to have a rack that is light weight.

Moreover, if you want to carry multiple bike racks then the rack should be capable of holding those many and the overall weight should also be within its range.

Most bike racks can carry 1-3 bikes and sometime even more. But, with a low weight/low profile popup be sure you aren’t exceeding the GVWR.

Value for money

A branded bike rack may not always deliver what you were looking for. This is specially the case with pop up camper.

Most bike racks are designed for car’s and SUV’s and therefore choosing it for your camper whose towing vehicle’s back end will be engaged demands specials considerations.

After you are sure that its compatible, it should also satisfy a lot of other factors like, smooth ride, weight etc. Overall, the price should justify the brand for your pop up camper.

The rack should last long enough. When you will be spending more than $100 on a bike rack it should last long enough. Rusting is one of the reasons it can go bad so choose one that is rust proof. Most of the racks on our list are rust proof.

  • These are just some questions you need to ask yourself before you purchase a bike rack for your pop-up camper.
  • Also, if it will make you feel at ease, you may just have it customized so you can also have a say on the materials and design.

Advantages Of Having Bike Racks On Camper

  • If you are not a fan of folding bikes and you find it requires too much work for you, then having a bike that you can place on a bike rack is your best option.
  • You can bring up to 4 bikes with you, even the bike for your kids, so you can all enjoy your vacation. You have another option of fun when you bring your bike and your family’s bike with you.
  • They make bike racks durable and sturdy and can transport your prized bike to safety.
  • Having bike racks makes it convenient for you compared to putting your bikes on just about any space in your vehicle that may even lead to accidental scratches and scrapes to your bike. The space that should have been used for other items will be used to bring your bikes.
  • Bike racks are the most affordable way to bring your bikes with you in the most convenient method.
  • It can last you a long time since they are made with high-quality steel and are resistant to rusting and corrosion. Plus, they are affordable and make your touring life easier.
  • You won’t even notice your bike rack is there when it is correctly installed on your vehicle.

Conclusion

Bringing your bike with you in a pop-up camper is made possible by the proliferation of bike racks and not just bike racks, but those that are made for pop -up campers. You no longer have to think of ways and find extra space in your camper, just to bring your bicycles.

Gone are the days when you have to compromise whether to bring your bike or leave it, which means lesser things to do while on vacation and can be a bummer not just for you but for your whole family.

Yoganand Gadekar

Yoganand is a RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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