By on April 12, 2019

accessories for your trailer hitch

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Trailer hitches are awesome. They allow you to, y’know, hitch a trailer to the back of your ride as you head off with a camper or couple of dirt bikes in tow. During those occasions, it seems to be a very logical addition to a car or truck.

But what about the other 364 days of the year in which you’re not towing anything at all? Even if you do tow something every single Saturday and Sunday—shout out to all those weekend warriors—there are still more than a couple of hundred days in which that square receiver is back there doing nothing. Let’s put it to work.

Fair warning: Not every piece of kit shown in this list will adapt to all trailer hitch receivers on the market. Class III hitches are typically installed on trucks and SUVs and bear a 2-inch receiver, which is to say the square hole on the hitch into which the drawbar is inserted measures 2” x 2”. Other sizes are 1.25” x 1.25” on a smaller Class II hitch, for example. Check yer application before splaying out cash on these or other accessories.

With that out of the way, let’s check out a few items that creative-minded individuals have built to occupy that hitch receiver when it is idle.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)


1. Editor’s Pick: Leader Accessories Hitch Mounted 2 Bike Rack Bicycle Carrier

leader accessories hitch mounted 2-bike rack carrier

What is likely the most commonly purchased item on our list, this particular bicycle carrier is designed to carry a pair of pedal bikes on its robust frame. Dual-arm carrier rack construction and adjustable mounting saddles allows for bicycles of a wide range of frame sizes and designs. A tilt-down feature means the works of it can be pivoted toward the macadam when you want to open the vehicle’s rear hatch or tailgate without going through the hassle of taking bikes off the racks.

ALSO SEE: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Tonneau Covers for Your Truck

The unit weighs about twenty pounds, not including bicycles, so it is light enough to be manhandled into position by just about anyone with a grain of spatial awareness. When not in use, pivoting carry arms fold down and out of the way so you don’t centerpunch the wall of Whataburger when you’re backing into a parking space. Real-world customers report easy assembly and good quality powder coating.

Pros: Easy setup, tilts to provide hatchback access, solid reviews

Cons: Don’t forget about the extra width added to your draft by the bike’s wheels

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2. Useless But Fun: Bully Black Hitch Mounted Utility Step with LED Brake Lightbully black hitch mounted utility step

Look, you don’t need this. Really – you don’t. This product is simply a C-shaped bit of rubber that sticks off the back of your vehicle as a supposed place on which to step. That’s what the rear bumper is for, especially the license plate area on pickup trucks. Oh yeah, there is an LED brake light embedded in the thing … just like the one that already exists on your vehicle right from the factory.

But you know what? I’ve purchased many different seemingly useless accessories for my whips over the years and have enjoyed every single one of them. I’d like to think this bumper step would rank right up there with them. Made from heavy-gauge stainless steel with a high-impact, non-skid step pad, the lighted hitch cover provides access to your truck bed, roof racks, and in the case of an SUV, the rear cargo area. I can see it being very useful on a Jeep Wrangler with a roof rack, for example. And you have formidable protection should something sneak up and try to bash your rear bumper

Pros: Allows for easy access to roof boxes and the like, acts as an additional brake light

Cons: Your vehicle’s bumper does the exact same job

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3. Most Useful: MaxxHaul Hitch Mount Truck Bed Extender

maxxhaul hitch mount truck bed extender

There comes a time in every gearhead’s life when they realize the rig they’re driving doesn’t have a cargo area long enough to accept that great deal on lumber or the canoe you just bought on sale at Costco. That’s where an accessory like this comes in.

It essentially extends your truck bed or SUV cargo area for carrying longer payloads. Weighing about thirty five pounds, it can be jigsawed into a number of positions, allowing for the support of loads placed high on the pickup truck tailgate or low on the floor of an SUV. The works of it should be able to handle about 350 lbs, or the average weight of grilling meats your author drags home from the aforementioned Costco after every visit. Reflective tape on the rack in various locations keep you legal.

Pros: A great way to properly support long loads, very adaptable to different situations

Cons: Could use a tie down or two

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4. Dragon Slayer Accessories Black Hitch Flagpole Holder

dragon slayer accessories black hitch flagpole holder

This product’s brand name, Dragon Slayer, is almost enough to get me to unholster the Visa card. On what other occasion will you purchase something with such a cool name? Answer: you won’t, unless you’re shopping for Chuck Norris merchandise.

ALSO SEE: Work That Body: The Best Dent Repair Kits for Your Car

As for this thing, it is simply a holder for a flagpole. You’ve likely seen them on trucks parked at football games or during particularly festive a patriotic Fourth of July celebrations. Its manufacturer claims their steel is a 50% thicker gauge than other brands, offering durability that stands up to the “rigors of the road”. Just don’t forget you’ve got about an extra foot of sheetmetal punching steel poking out from the back of your truck and you’ll be just fine, pardner.

Pros: Dead simple to install, you’ll surely be the most patriotic cowboy at the barbecue

Cons: A skilled welder can make one for next to nothing with bits of scrap steel

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5. CargoLoc 32500 Hitch Mounted Cargo Carrier

cargloc hitch mounted cargo carrier

Sometimes, all you need is a small addition to the cargo area of your rig. Sure, rooftop cargo boxes are fine but they’re hard to get at and do you even remember what happened the last time we drove under that low bridge on South Gregson Street? Exactly. A hitch mounted cargo carrier might be just the ticket to storage bliss.

Able to bear up to 500 pounds, this type of carrier will easily accommodate square and rectangle items like Rubbermaid totes or moving boxes (don’t place the latter on there in rainy weather). The platform provided measures four feet by 19.5 inches, bigger than your author’s first apartment. A retaining rail stands 4 inches high and can be used to tie stuff down and help prevent the shifting of loads.

Pros: Frees up beaucoup space inside your vehicle, large platform

Cons: Hitch pin seems to be sold separately

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6. Solvit PUPSTEP Hitch Steppetsafe solvit pupstep hitchstep pet stairs

Here’s one for the animal lovers in our audience – and if you don’t like doggos, then just get the hell on outta here. We can’t be friends. If you’re still reading, know that this 20 lb accessory plugs into your hitch receiver and folds out a couple of steps to help your canine friend navigate their way down to the ground from your ride’s cargo area.

Perfect for medium to large dogs, its fully extended stair dimensions are 20” x 18” x 12”, while individual step measurements are 10 inches deep by 18 inches wide with a vertical space of 8 inches between the two steps. Picture the ones which fold out from a camping trailer’s door area and you’ve got the general idea. The whole lot of it can be folded up when driving.

Pros: Helps doggos get in and out of your vehicle, traction pads help assure doggo doesn’t slip

Cons: Looks like a broken waffle maker when folded up

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7. Goplus Motorcycle Carrier / Dirt Bike Hauler

goplus motorcycle carrier dirt bike rack hitch mount

At the other end of the spectrum is this unit which purports to be able to carry a motorcycle perpendicularly to a vehicle. Its carry rating is 600 lbs, well within the weight of many motorcycles and just about all dirt bikes. Mounting in a Class III receiver, the rail on which the two-wheeled machine is driven measures 79″ long.

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There is a raised adjustable wheel stop that serves as a stabilizing wheel chock. A loading ramp is included and slots into place between the motorcycle and vehicle once the unit is loaded and tied down. Speaking of, there are an abundance of points on the rack onto which one can secure the bike. Reviews are generally positive from a decent sample size, with users reporting little to no wobble even on cross country adventures. Single-person operation is apparently not a problem.

Pros: Frees up bed space, allows those without a truck to bring their bike along

Cons: That’s a lot of weight mounted really close to your vehicle’s back door

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8. Viking Solutions VS-VSL001 Swivelift

viking solutions swivelift

For the love of all that’s holy, please be careful with this one. As a hitch mounted platform capable of carrying 300 lbs, its uses are vast but the potential for calamity if the unit is overloaded are best left to the imagination. At the very least, if you see someone trying to lift something really heavy with this thing, be sure to whip out your camera phone and post the video to social media. It’ll go viral in a second.

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Hijinks aside, this is a unique and creative way to avoid a hernia. Lifting and swiveling a generator or heavy power washer into the bed of your truck or cargo area of your SUV will suddenly be a breeze with this thing mounted to your rig’s hitch receiver. The platform itself measures 36” x 21.5”, making it big enough for most household gear that’s too heavy to lift. It uses a crank hoist that’ll probably give you Popeye arms if used regularly. Hey, it’s cheaper than the gym.

Pros: Great way to load heavy items, decently sized platform

Cons: Hand crank, unit weighs 50 lbs.

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9. HitchSafe HS7000 Key Vault


This rather interesting product from KeyVault allows you to cover up your hitch tube and gives you a convenient and safe place to keep a key.

With a secure metal construction, built-in code combination and a heavy-duty rubber dust cover, this hitch cover can safely hide a key, cards and other valuables while your off doing outdoor activities or when you’re camping. How many times have you thought “my car keys are a real pain”? This is your solution!

ALSO SEE: Buyers Guide: Top 9 Best HID Headlight Bulbs for Your Car’s Next Upgrade

This hitch cover also comes with a hitch pin and a dust cover. The dust cover is important, as it covers up the key code so passersby don’t know about your little secret storage compartment.


Thoughts, Suggestions, and General Bleatings about Hitch Accessories

As with any accessory, make sure the thing fits your vehicle properly before setting out down the highway with it attached to your vehicle. You definitely don’t want anything flying off your rig and hitting another car or person.

ALSO SEE: Buyers Guide: Top 8 Best LED Headlights for Your Car

When attaching something to your vehicle’s hitch receiver, make sure to properly insert and lock the hitch pin. If you don’t know what that is, ask. In short, it is a jumbo cotter pin that slides into the hitch receiver’s edge, through the mounting point of your accessory, and back out the other side of the receiver. Another pin keeps the whole thing in place. Again, ask for a demonstration from someone who knows what they’re doing if you’re not sure. This hitch pin is probably the only thing keeping the accessory (and whatever it’s carrying) from becoming a victim to gravity’s cruel pull.

Use common sense, plan ahead, and—most importantly—RTFM. Now get out there and find something for that idle hitch! It’s not going to use itself, you know.

[Images provided by the manufacturer]

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5 Comments on “Getting Hitched: The Best Hitch Accessories for Your Car...”


  • avatar
    jeffmete

    Our Walmart had an umbrella for $25 that plugs into the hitch! It’s really pretty cool and the tailgate can be down.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I have a hitch mounted bike carrier that holds 5 bikes. Like six feet off the back of the our Enclave when extended but pretty awesome to be able to transport bikes for whole family. That bed extender is pretty cool. Would be great for hauling baseboard and crown molding as well as the occasional longer lumber needs.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    That fake photoshopped Honda Odyssey in the photo looks a lot better than the real one.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Hmmmmmm
    1up USA is the best bicycle rack
    Hammaka Hammock Hitch Stand is the fun choice
    The 99% solution – Thin Blue Line American Flag Tow Trailer Hitch Cover Plug

  • avatar
    random1

    Love the doggy add-ons. I have the Twistep. Way better than keeping a fold-up ramp in your truck/suv, and better than lifting an old 130lb dog every time you go for a ride.
    Been roof-mounting bikes, which is a hassle, think I’d go with a swing-out rack if I went hitch.


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