Cargo Carrier / Cargo Bag combo - North American Motoring

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Cargo Carrier / Cargo Bag combo

  #1  
Old 12-30-2006, 04:01 PM
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Cargo Carrier / Cargo Bag combo

So, after being in a number of fistfights on NAM about whether or not the Cabrio presents too many "compromises", I'll admit to one compromise that pretty much all small convertibles share - cargo capacity. While the MINI kicks butt in this category over two-seaters when you're only hauling one or two passengers, the problem is compounded if you actually think about going on a road trip with FOUR people in the car... and that's precisely what I'm planning to do in May for MOTD. So I had to have a solution.

After studying many threads on the subject, I opted for the Miniature Trailers / MiniDoMore hitch system - got a deal on a gently used one. Then I discovered that the small hitch-mount cargo carrier I was planning on had been discontinued, but Brent at MiniDoMore had a few to sell, and is planning to build his own version. But I didn't like the look of the big black storage box. So I hunted for other solutions.

What I decided on was a waterproof rolling duffle setup designed for cartop use, that is just the right size for the small cargo carrier. It's made by Highland. I found one on sale at AutoBarn.

Got this all setup and, IMHO, it's excellent. The duffle is a great compliment to the cargo buddy for someone looking to add this amount of waterproof space. I like that the bag doesn't block any lights (other than the rear fog) nor does it obscure the license plate. And you can just take it off and roll it into the hotel at your destination. Looks like it will be totally waterproof between the material, the sealed seams, the way the flap is contructed, and the tight fitting waterproof cover. I'll add a tarp underneath it on the carrier just to be sure it doesn't leak from the bottom. It pretty much doubles my cabrio's top-down 4 passenger cargo capacity - still not tons, but we can make it work for a weekend trip. You could probably stack two of these bags as long as you were careful to lash them down properly (and maybe add some hardware to stabilize it vertically). Just don't overload it weight-wise.








It's level - the photo's just crooked.
 
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:33 PM
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Love it
 
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:19 AM
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Paul, way cool. How difficult is taking the back deck on and off? And what des it do to backing up? How odd is that? (I'm still getting use to how damn small the Mini is!)
 
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:01 AM
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love this
 
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Old 12-31-2006, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by abuzavi View Post
Paul, way cool. How difficult is taking the back deck on and off? And what des it do to backing up? How odd is that? (I'm still getting use to how damn small the Mini is!)
Both very good questions!

Installing / removing the cargo carrier (platform) isn't a nightmare, but also isn't trivial. Illustrated instructions are here. You have to lay on the ground, shove your hands up between the plastic bumper cover and the heat shield, and unclip and remove the hitch pin - then you can crawl back out from under the platform, stand up and pull it out. Then plug the light back in and snap it back into place. It's really not as hard as it sounds once you've done it a time or two and have figured out how to bend the heat shield to the right place. Best on a cold car (the exhaust gets HOT). I actually like that the hardware is hidden up in there, not much chance of someone stealing the platform while it's parked outside at night.

Backing up - I have limited experience with the carrier on - you just have to be conscious that you have an extra 2' of tail hanging back there. The butt of the Mini is so short that this actually means it's more like backing up a "regular" car... the only negative side effect I've found is that, if you have park distance sensors (like all cabrios), when in reverse the thing sounds continuously since it "sees" the rack and bag back there a few inches away from the middle two sensors. So PDC is useless with the rack on. But this behavior is actually good - the fact that it sounds reminds you that you have the rack back there, and if it "ignored" the bag and worked normally it wouldn't allow for the rack depth so you'd be backing into things if you were relying on the tone when parking...
 

Last edited by BlimeyCabrio; 10-04-2007 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:46 PM
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Post-MOTD report

I used this rig for MOTD - about 700 miles round trip to haul a long weekend's worth of gear for my family of 4. It worked GREAT. The duffle was easy to load, stayed on securely, there was NO rattling, shifting, etc. My cabrio actually got BETTER mpg fully loaded with people and with this on the back than I usually get on the highway (29.7mpg vs. 27ishmpg typical highway). I pulled the platform off while driving around Fontana, and reinstalled for the drive home. Other than the backup warning sound when in reverse, you can't tell it's back there.

My family isn't used to packing light (we usually travel in a Town & Country van), so forcing some packing discipline was a little tough, but we had everything we needed.

I'm looking at getting a trailer for next year, just to have 2-3x the capacity. Either that or tow Blimey behind the van like ImagoX towed Nano this year - but for a weekender with the kids, the platform and duffle combo works GREAT.
 
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:01 PM
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I assume you drove the Dragon on the way in with the cargo buddy attached, correct? Did you notice much "sway" on the back-end with that in place?

I have the same setup, but I attached the box to mine (as shown on Brent's website.) I ditched the entire setup at the last minute, mainly because we were able to squeeze (barely) all the cargo in the back with the seats down (I have a hatchback). But I was really worried about how the setup would handle the turns on the Dragon.

Next year I am planning on using the carrier, as I will probably bring more beer for the brewswap!

Thanks,
Ed
 
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:37 PM
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Actually I come in from the east and stayed near Tuskeegee - so I didn't drive 28 or the Dragon with the rig on. But you don't feel any difference with it back there. It's just an extra hundred pounds or so and all the load is on the rear bumper mounts... not much different that having a hundred pounds in back - actually may make the rear end stick a little better...

I wouldn't hesitate to drive any road with this on - I just wouldn't drive at 10/10 speed. Maybe more like 7/10...
 
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:45 PM
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I had 0 problems with mine on the way to; on, or on the way back from the Dragon. And I carried a case of Beer a full spare and a cHighland Cargo bag back there...
 
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BlimeyCabrio View Post
Actually I come in from the east and stayed near Tuskeegee - so I didn't drive 28 or the Dragon with the rig on. But you don't feel any difference with it back there. It's just an extra hundred pounds or so and all the load is on the rear bumper mounts... not much different that having a hundred pounds in back - actually may make the rear end stick a little better...

I wouldn't hesitate to drive any road with this on - I just wouldn't drive at 10/10 speed. Maybe more like 7/10...
Originally Posted by mistro View Post
I had 0 problems with mine on the way to; on, or on the way back from the Dragon. And I carried a case of Beer a full spare and a cHighland Cargo bag back there...

Excellent. Thanks for the info!
 
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