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Using a 4 Bike Thule Rack on a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Towing a Pop Up Camper


Our tow vehicle is a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder and we tow a 2012 Rockwood Freedom 2280 pop up camper with it. We are trying to figure out the best way, other than roof racks on the pathfinder since we use the racks for surfboards, to also tow 4 bikes. We have an awesome Thule 4 bike hitch mount carrier similar to, but cant use it since we need the ball for towing the pop up. Ive looked at the Curt Multipurpose Ball Mount with 2inch Receiver for Bike Racks and Cargo Carriers Item # D210, but the bumper on the Pathfinder is pretty low, and I need a drawbar with a 5inch or 6inch rise for the pop up. I was thinking of settling for carrying only 2 bikes with the Swagman Traveler XCS bike rack Item # S64664 with the Curt Ball Mount Item # C45100 that gives us a decent rise, but was hoping there was either a way to get our thule rack to work with the pop up or to get another rack that would carry 4 bikes in addition to towing the pop up. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Expert Reply:

You've got a couple options for your 2012 Rockwood Freedom 2280 pop up camper to carry your bikes.

One of your most straightforward solutions would be to add a roof rack to the top of the camper itself. Based on my research, it looks like you will likely have a beveled, fiberglass one piece top on your Rockwood Freedom, so you can use the Swagman Ladder Rack, part # S80510 as a permanent installation on the camper's roof.

This will create a 150 pound capacity square bar roof rack on the top of the camper's shell, and be an easy way to load and unload the bikes.

For actual racks, I recommend Swagman's Upright Roof Carrier, part # S64720 as an economical option that includes locks for the bike. I still recommend using a cable lock like part # CAB-10 to add an extra layer of security to the rack. Each of these racks weighs 8 pounds, and will leave you with around 118 pounds of capacity for your bikes.

Another option if all of your bikes have a quick release front wheel and the roof of the pop up is smooth, is the SeaSucker Bomber, part # 298-BB3008 and a SeaSucker Talon, part # 298-BT1004. These innovative racks use strong vacuum cups to mount the bikes to any smooth surface, giving you a quickly adjustable and easy to transport rack. These racks do require the removal of the front wheel, and you'll have to store them either in the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder or beside the rack, or using the Hogg wheel holder, part # 298-BA1580.

The Hogg uses a replacement nut on your bikes rear axle to let the front wheel ride in line with the front wheel. You can equip one of these on each bike as needed to modify how much space you need for wheel storage.

You should mount these towards the front of the camper and use a lock like part # e98891 to secure the bikes.

A final option is to use a dual adapter and a rise/drop, and try to take advantage of the space you have available between the trailer and the vehicle. The biggest drawback of this is that the towing capacity of your rig will be reduced by 50%, and you may not be able to carry all four bikes, the rack, and the trailer.

If you want to go with this, you will need to verify your bike rack's weight, the total weight of all of your bikes, plus the tongue weight of the trailer. Then, find the load sticker on your hitch and halve the "GTWR" or "Tongue Weight," If the weight of your trailer and bikes is more than this amount, you won't be able to use this solution.

You will also want to find your rack's distance from the hitch pin hole to the furthest point in a straight line out from it. This will determine how much extension your Drop/Rise will need to be able to clear the bottom of the rack.

To set this up, you'll use the Malone 2 Inch Dual Purpose Hitch Receiver, part # MPG544 as the first component, then a 5 or 6 inch Drop/Rise Ball Mount like Draw Tite's for 2 Inch hitches, part # 40332.

You'll install this as a rise in the bottom receiver of the Malone Dual Purpose Receiver, and then install your bike rack on the top receiver. To clear the Drop/Rise, your rack will have to either be taller than the top of your ball mount, or short enough to fit behind the rise. Your bikes will end up on either side of the draw bar so they won't interact with this assembly.

I've included video reviews of all of these parts so you can get familiar with their performance and features and make the best choice for your vehicle.

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