DIY: Build a Trailer Hitch Cargo Carrier

Here’s a Cargo Carrier that we built for one of our Jeeps. It’s specifically built to be used with an older Wrangler which means we had to consider tail-light and gas filler locations into it’s design.

These carriers are very convenient for increasing your payload without using a conventional trailer. It’s a great way to carry extra bugout gear even if your BOV has a roof rack.

We used this carrier to haul most of our camping gear while on an Appalachian excursion a few years ago. We had 3 people in our group and the extra storage space was a necessity.

There are several manufacturers that are producing these but you can save a considerable amount of money by building them yourself. We have converted our shop drawings to JPEGs and included them in this post. If you’re not having any luck printing them out, contact me and I’ll email them to you.

 

 

You will need the following tools: 

  • Saw (hacksaw, sawzall or band saw)
  • Combination square 
  • Marker or scribe
  • Pipe Clamp (pony clamp)
  • Tape Measure
  • Welder (arc, MIG or TIG)
  • Small Grinder or disc sander.

and the following materials:

  • 32′ of 1″ square steel tubing, 16 ga. minimum.
  • 12″ of thick-walled steel tubing or square bar stock to fit your hitch receiver, drilled for a hitch retainer pin.
  • Primer and paint.
  • 7 tubing end plugs, plastic, to fit 1″ tubing. (optional)
  • 21″ x 36″ Expanded Metal, 14 ga. flattened (optional).

 

The following drawings are for this exact cargo basket. The dimensions are specific for an older model Wrangler. You should compare them to your specific vehicle and modify them accordingly. Double check the rear bumper depth and vehicle width before cutting any material. Also, keep your vehicle’s ground clearance in mind while modifying these dimensions. Keep the basket above the bumper for best results.

Make sure the receiver portion of the basket is adequate for carrying the weight of the basket and it’s contents.

The materials list shown above includes a small piece of expanded metal. This is meant to lay across the bottom of the basket and is optional. We didn’t need to use the expanded metal, the cross-bars shown in the drawing provided plenty of support and contained everything that we needed them to contain.

Hopefully you have access to welding equipment. If necessary you could take these drawings to someone that does have welding capabilities. If nothing else, you can use the drawings to give your welder an idea of what you are wanting them to build.

 

Be sure to know the maximum tongue weight capacity of your vehicle’s hitch and be careful not to load the basket beyond your hitch’s maximum tongue weight.

 

 

Justus

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