Top 9 Best Hitch Accessories
By | Last updated: December 4, 2020
best hitch accessories

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.

1. Editor’s Pick: Maxxhaul Hitch Mounted 2-Bike Rack

What is likely the most commonly purchased item on this list, the bicycle carrier you see here is designed to carry a pair of pedal bikes. Unlike a few others of its ilk, this thing can be tilted forward so users can access the cargo area of their vehicle without having to disassemble everything. Dual-arm carrier rack construction and adjustable mounting saddles allow for bicycles of a wide range of frame sizes and designs.

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The unit weighs about fifteen pounds, not including bicycles. In the intervening couple of years since we first broached this subject, that is no longer a super-light figure. Real-world customers report a slight bit of wobble when fully assembled.

Pros/All-steel hitch adapter can be used on a variety of recievers
Cons/Not the lightest thing in the world
Bottom Line/Free up interior space for the first aid kit you'll need after falling off the bike

2. Useless But Fun: Bully Black Bull Series Hitch 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 rooftop items, acts as an additional brake light
Cons/Your vehicle’s bumper does the exact same job
Bottom Line/Not the best spend of cash but fun stuff usually isn't

3. Most Useful: 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/Properly support those long loads, adaptable to different needs
Cons/Will require a tie down or two
Bottom Line/Much more useful than the hitch step above

4. Bolaxin Hitch Mount Flagpole Holder

Here’s a product that a person can deploy for patriotic duty or showing allegiance at a football tailgate party. Though, now we’ve said that, this flagpole holder renders a tailgate unable to be lowered. Driving to the party, then.

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Constructed of heavy duty steel and blasted with rust-resistant powder coating (meaning even Lions fans can use this in the dead of winter), it fits a standard 2-inch hitch receiver and widely suits all flagpoles with a diameter measuring between 1.6 and 2.3 inches.

Pros/Dead simple to install, you’ll be the most obvious fan at the barbecue
Cons/A skilled welder can make one for next to nothing with scrap steel
Bottom Line/'Murica!

5. CargoLoc 2-in-1 Hitch Mount and Roof Top Cargo Carrier

Sometimes, all you need is an 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.

After saying all that, know this carrier can double as a rooftop unit. Just be careful at the 11’8″(+8″) bridge, okay?  type of carrier will easily accommodate square and rectangle items like Rubbermaid totes or moving boxes. The platform provided measures four feet by 19.5 inches, bigger than your author’s first apartment. A retaining rail stands 4.5 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/Doesn't fold
Bottom Line/Put your hitch to actual use

6. PetSafe Happy Dog Hitch Step

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
Bottom Line/A best friend for man's best friend

7. TMS Heavy Duty Motorcycle / Dirt Bike Carrier

Using this type of hitch-mounted carrier will introduce a mahoosive amount of weight to the tail end of your vehicle, so make sure to use extreme caution when deploying this thing into action. Still, we see them on RVs and the like quite frequently, so they do have their place.

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It features an anti-tilt locking device to prevent wobbling and includes tie-down sites on either side of the track for added security. It is designed to safely haul 500 pounds, though we’ll not again about the weight distribution properties this adds to your vehicle. It is powder-coated black for rust prevention.

Pros/Gets the bike out of the bed of your truck
Cons/Requires a great deal of care (loading and moving)
Bottom Line/Useful but be careful

8. HitchSafe HS7000T Key Vault

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.
Bottom Line/An easy way to load heavy items onto your trunk

Hitch Accessories FAQs

Are they one size fits all?

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.

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Do I need special tools?

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.

Any other advice?

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.


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.

(Editor’s note: 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.)

[Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    First picture, serious question: What happens when someone pushes the power liftgate button?

  • avatar
    woodywrkng

    Pssst. You may wish to check the picture, title, link, and assorted verbage of #8.

  • avatar
    woodywrkng

    Pssst. You may wish to check the picture, title, link, and assorted verbage of #8.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Many of these bike racks block the license plate view. How do they get by the police is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      The same way that people with cargo carriers get away with it, and trucks with illegal lifts driving with LED light bars on 24/7, and motorcycles with illegal exhausts.

  • avatar
    usedtodriveasaabbuttheydontmakethemanymore

    The second one, bumper step is not useless contrary to the authors perspective. It allows you to reach the roof rack on an SUV. It protects your painted rear bumper from parallel parking dings. For me this is the most important reason, I’ve had two of these get mangled in low-speed rear endings but they saved my bumper. Finally it has a fourth brake light for extra safety. Not useless in the right circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah the step is far from useless. Great for SUVs and their narrow step and also good on pickups even with a step bumper as it is 6-8″ lower.

      The useless one is the flag pole as it will beat up the flag pretty quickly at anything over parade speeds.

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