Note: Hover your mouse over the “My GTI” link above to reveal a drop-down menu which lists write-ups for various changes to the car or use the “Quick Links” below…
Quick Links for mobile users: Mechanical – Electronics – Accessories – Trailers/Cargo – Index of Parts/Equipment
I choose to maximize the capacity of my VW. Here’s a summary:
TorkLift EcoHitch – I’ve always been one to put my car to work. I refuse to buy a pickup truck. I have a small utility trailer that gets a lot of use; plus, I have a cargo tray that plugs into a hitch receiver. It’s great for carrying dirty items that I don’t want inside the car. It’s nice to be able to run stuff to the dump or carry bicycles outside of the car without resorting to noisy roof racks. I also have small enclosed cargo trailer for when I need larger cargo kept dry. See this entry for details.
Carry-On 3.5x5LSHS – I like small trailers and opted for a 3.5×5-foot trailer with 16-inch tall mesh sides. My wife immediately called it a “baby trailer.” It’s great for taking stuff to the dump or transporting dirty items that I don’t want inside my car. It’s like having a part-time pickup truck that gets 30+ mpg. It’s a good trailer right off the lot, but I made substantial modifications to make the trailer even better. See this page for details.
Homesteader Fury 4×6 – I had often been on the fence when choosing between a 4×6 and a 5×8. A 5×8 is obviously heavier and has more of an aero-killing wall behind the car. My decision became easier when I saw this silver 4×6 with a “For Sale” sign during a leisurely Saturday morning highway drive. It was only a year old, lightly used, and even had a layer of carpet on the floor. So I bought it and towed it home after finding a 2-inch ball. See this page for details.
Rhino Rack Vortex 2500 RS – I prefer to keep all cargo out of the passenger compartment when I travel (seats down with a bicycle inside being the exception). Family trips drove a need for external cargo capacity. I wanted a rack with black, flush, contoured crossbars for improved aerodynamics, which would help fuel economy and noise control. My main goal with regards to crossbar placement was to ensure that my cargo box would be able to swap directly between the car top and the trailer without adjustment. See this page for more information about my choice of rack.
Yakima ShowCase 15 – I’ve been on many road trips over the years. I’ve come to dislike having baggage or cargo in the passenger compartment. I decided it was time to try a cargo box. Oddly enough, I purchased my cargo box before my roof rack. I took this unusual path because my first need for a cargo box was for a road trip to Ikea, a 300-mile round trip with my trailer, which has a cargo rack. I knew I’d eventually want a box for packed trips into cities with limited space for parking my trailer. See this page for more info about my very first cargo box.
Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier – I also have a cargo carrier that I used on earlier cars. However, I’ve come to dislike having my license plate obscured by any cargo that is riding behind the car. The license plate is still visible with bicycles mounted, but I’ve switched to rooftop or trailer transport for nearly everything else. It’s the easiest way to avoid having unwanted conversions with police in areas where license plates must be completely visible. I’ve kept the carrier over the years in case I decide that I need the extra capacity (rooftop plus hitch carrier). But, if I’m carrying that much stuff, I’ll probably decide to pull a trailer. See this page for more info about my hitch-mounted cargo carrier.
Here is a handy guide on how to properly load or balance your trailer.