If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time on the road. At times, the back of my Subaru Outback resembles that of a messy gym locker, or garage storage bin. It bothers me. I’ve used everything from numerous bags and bins, to small pouches and stuff sacks. Each has its benefits and flaws. My usual is to pack each group of items into separate bags so I can better find what I am looking for later. As you can see from the image below, I carry a lot of stuff. I guess it’s the Boy Scout in me to always be prepared.
After another long summer of traveling clocking nearly 4,000 miles on the odometer, it was time to do something about it. Instead of buying several larger bags or new bins, I decided to invest in the Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4.
The Hauler 4 comes in this handy sack that I am now using to store dirty laundry on the road. The entire system packs down flat and weighs only 3-lbs, making the entire system easy to grab-n-go.
You can purchase the Modular Hauler to hold either 3 or 4 cubes. I chose the latter as I need as much packing space as I can get. The four basic cubes are color coded and hold up to 26L of your stuff. The base Hauler measures 15″ x 34″ x 15″ and each cube measures 15″ x 7.5″ x 15″. The base is made from 1680d Ballistic Poly and the cubes are 150d RipStop Poly. Unless you jab a knife through the side, the materials are more than strong enough to keep your belongings safe.
The overall volume is 7500 cubic inches or 123 liters. The yellow interior helps find dropped items just in case you decide to start throwing random items in your trunk after a long day in the sun. Not that I’ve done that of course. Foam padding along the sides and bottom allow the Hauler to free-stand on its own.
Side panel haul handles on each side make it easy to carry, and yellow tie down loops at each corner allow you to secure the Hauler to your vehicle, campsite, garage, or closet.
Additional foam padding has been applied inside the Ballistic Poly base of the Hauler. So far, it’s proven tough enough to survive being tossed around the garage, wood floor, and several dirty campsites.
Panel stitching throughout allows the cubes and base to be stored flat. The carry handles on each cube are also reinforced to handle the weight of your goods. Below, you’ll see everything I have packed in mine and I’ve had no issues.
What I decided to do what show you how I pack each one of my cubes. I chose a specific color to match the desired activity or need. The Heritage Teal cube holds extra clothing, blanket, towel, sleeping pad (not shown) and sometimes my tent (not shown). It all fits. Having handles on each cube is great. I can grab the one I want, head on in the house, load it up, and stuff it back in the car ready.
The Heritage Cobalt cube has become my adventure cube. I’ve been filling this one with my hiking boots, extra water bottles, ENO Hammock, Adventure Medical Kits emergency system, various camping and survival items, TP, books, maps, notepads and hiking poles (not shown). Just in case you didn’t believe that I was actually loading all of this, I snapped a shot of it loaded with room to spare.
As most of you already know, I spend a lot of time on the bike. The Heritage Red cube is the one I grab for the most. It holds everything I need to head out on the mountain bike for a weekend of fun. Helmet, shoes, extra tubes, tools, GPS, headlamp, NiteRider bike lights, ACRE Hauser pack and tool roll, two pair of Oakley sunglasses, Topeak pouches, and more.
You packed for yourself, did you pack for your car? If you don’t have supplies for your vehicle, you’re asking for trouble. The Heritage Black cube holds various tools, tow strap, jumper cables, duct tape, folding shovel, Fix-a-Flat, and an extra gallon of water. I’m fortunate that my Outback also has an in-floor storage system. I keep larger tools, breaker bar, tire wrench, tarp and other items I don’t need to get to often in there. It’s better to have it than wish you did later!
If you spend time driving in the dirt, you’ll appreciate the extra compression strap on top. It keeps everything upright and tight. I’d actually prefer to see one or two more of these along the top.
The Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 more than doubled the amount of stuff I can safely carry in my car. I want to make sure to emphasize that word, “safely”. I hope none of you reading this ever have an accident on the road, but let me tell you from first hand experience, things flying around your cabin can severely hurt you. Even your smartphone sitting loose in your cupholder can fly around and smack you in the head. You don’t think those shoes in the back will hurt you, but think about them flying at your face at 80mph. You invested time in the right gear, now it’s time to think about how that gear travels. Pack safe, pack smart.
What I like:
- Very easy to load and unload from the vehicle
- Cubes are larger than they appear in photos providing a great deal of space
- Handles all around the base make it easy to maneuver
- Priced right at $99 for the entire Hauler 4 system
- Head to the grocery store and take the cubes in with you (no more plastic bags)
- Great organizer system for a dorm room
- Families can assign a color to each person when traveling
- Bike Cube Deluxe – Separate compartments for your bike items
- Utilitote – Heavy-duty cube with mesh sides and dual front pockets
- Cooler Cube – You guessed it, insulated sides to keep food & drinks cool
- Boot Cube – Will fit Ski boots, has drain holes along the bottom
You can learn more about the Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 at, www.mountainsmith.com.
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You have the gear, now you need to keep it organized. The Hauler system will do just that and more. Great for family road trips, or even for the occasional trip to the grocery store. A worthy investment.