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Recommendations to Carry 3 Bikes, 3 Surfboards or 3 Kayaks on 2005 Toyota Prius


We need the capability to carry either 3 mountain bikes, 3 surf boards, or 2 to 3 kayaks depending on the trip. I have not had a lot of luck in the past with the strap on bicycle carriers that go on the rear of the car, although I am open to a trailer hitch arrangement. I do not have a trailer hitch yet, nor any type of roof rack. Can you give me an idea of what items I need to purchase, starting with a roof rack, cross bars, etc? Thanks!


Expert Reply:

Let's start with a solution for your mountain bikes.

To transport your 3 mountain bikes with your 2005 Toyota Prius, you have a couple of options. If you would rather go with a hitch-mounted bike rack, I recommend first installing the Draw-Tite Class I Sport Frame Receiver Hitch # 24808. This is a Class I trailer hitch that will provide a 1-1/4 inch receiver opening and a 200 pound tongue weight capacity. Then for a bike rack, I recommend looking at the Swagman XTC-2 -Bike Platform Rack # S64670. This is a really nice bike rack that can hold up to 2 bikes at 35 pounds each.

The issue with a hitch mounted rack on your Prius (which you may have noticed since I recommended a 2-bike rack), is the capacity of Class I trailer hitches, which are all that are confirmed to fit this vehicle. A Class I trailer hitch, because of its reduced capacity, can only carry up to 2 bikes with a bike rack. So if you decide to go this route, one of your bikes will need to be mounted to the roof with a roof rack and carrier.

With this in mind, a better option for your bikes may indeed be a trunk-mounted rack. I recommend looking at the Hollywood Racks Over-the-Top 3 Bike Rack # HRF2-3. This bike rack is designed specifically for vehicles like yours that feature a small rear spoiler. The high-rise frame and multiple strap mounting options will help to prevent damage to the spoiler and your vehicle's finish. This will allow you to carry 3 bikes at the rear of your Prius and leave the roof open for additional cargo. I have attached a video demonstration on this rack so you can see exactly how it installs and operates.

Moving on to your surf boards and kayaks, the best option will be to first install a roof rack system. I recommend the Rhino Rack Square Bar Roof Rack, which consists of # RRVA126B-2 for the two Bars, # RRRLKVA for the 2500 Series Legs, and # DK079 for the Fit Kit. I have included an installation video that you can check out.

Then for a roof kayak carrier, I recommend looking at the Thule Stacker # TH830. This post style carrier is actually capable of securing up to 4 kayaks using its included ratcheting tie downs and straps. Then for a surfboard carrier, the Inno Locker Watersport Carrier # INA446 is a very nice option. This carrier can secure up to 3 shortboards or 2 longboards and features high-density foam pads to help protect your cargo. I have included video demonstrations for these products as well for you to take a look at.

expert reply by:
Chris R

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