Imagine driving down a long dirt road. The mountains are in view and the sun is glistening up above. You can feel the warmth seeping into your skin and the air feels perfectly cool. You set up camp for the day and decide to go for a ride. A Bike ride. You quickly take your bike down from your campervan bike rack and now you are riding on this beautiful dirt road with your pup by your side with the long red tongue lolling out. Nothing feels freer. 

This is exactly how we felt on back roads with our pups. Riding our bikes through the forest with the dogs running beside us keeping cadence despite their long legs will always be my favorite thing in the world to remember. Bringing our bikes on the road was the best decision we ever made.

In order to bring your bike on the road and experience this level of joy you first have to get through picking out which of the best campervan bike racks you need. In order to help you, I have broken down the types of bike racks that are available and taken the bike racks that we would consider buying into one cumulative guide. 

1. Rocky Mounts BackStage 2″ Hitch Mount Receiver Swing – Our Pick

When we were on the road, the Rocky Mounts BackStage was the bike rack that we truly wanted. It is known for its quality and ruggedness, and this version comes with the swing away extension that allows you to easily move your bike rack and bikes away from the back door. 

Type: Hitch Mount Swing Away

Number of bikes: 2


  • Lightweight aluminum 
  • 180 Degree Swing away 
  • Tilts down 30 Degrees (great for hatchbacks)
  • Holds two bikes up to 120 Pounds (evenly distributed) 
  • Easy to Install 


  • Towing receiver hitch required
  • Expensive – Over $500
  • Cannot add extra extensions

or buy on Amazon

2. YAKIMA FullSwing Hitch Mount Bike Rack

If you have a family, then chances are you will need more than two bikes with you. If that is the case, look no further than the Yakima FullSwing hitch mount bike rack, which can hold up to 4 bikes. Yakima has long been a great brand, and although they have higher prices, they always hold up.

Type: Hitch Mount Swing Away

Number of bikes: 4


  • Holds up to 4 bikes (40 pounds per bike)
  • Easy to Install
  • Integrated Bike Lock 
  • Easy access to the back of the van


  • Expensive – Over $500
  • Need Hitch Receiver 
  • Might need an adapter for women’s and children’s bikes

or buy on Amazon

3. Kuat Racks NV 2.0 Hitch Bike Rack

If you do not mind having to take down your bikes or having limited access to the back of your van, then the Kuat Racks NV 2.0 hitch bike rack might be good for you. It is extremely high quality, makes little road-noise, and has no-tool installation. 

Type: Hitch Rack

Bikes Capacity: 2 but can hold up to four with extension add-on


  • Easy to install
  • 2-bike capacity (120lbs)
  • Adjustable cradles for easy loading
  • Integrated cable locks


  • Expensive- Over $500
  • In the way of the back door

or buy on Amazon

4. Swagman 3 Bike – Budget Hitch Rack Option

This Bike rack does not have many bells and whistles, but it will get the job done at an extremely affordable price. It simply inserts into your tow hitch, and you place your bikes on it. It is the rack we had on the road and used as our Ford Transit Campervan rack and it did a great job! 

Type: Hitch Mount

Bike Capacity: 2 or 4 with add on extension


  • Affordable
  • Easy to Install
  • Easy to take off bikes
  • Can move bikes towards the ground, allowing back doors to be open. 


  • Completely in the way of the back doors 
  • Hard to unload items from the back without taking the rack off
  • Heavier than most racks at 22 pounds
  • Need bar adapter for some bikes

5. Camco RV Ladder Mount Bike Rack

The Camco RV Ladder is an affordable well-known bike carrier that is great if you already have a ladder on your RV or Campervan. You simply add the rack to your existing ladder and use the additional straps for security. It holds two bikes and folds up for storage. 

Type: Ladder Mount Bike Rack

Bike Capacity: 2


  • Affordable
  • Easy to install 
  • Easy to store


  • Not very theft-proof
  • Need a ladder to use

 6. Aluminess Rear Door Passenger Side Bike Rack

Aluminess is known for its high-quality, innovative products at a high price point. This campervan bike rack is innovative because you have access to both of your rear doors without having to adjust anything. The rack allows you to have two bikes side by side or one bike horizontal with room for a storage box underneath.  

Type: Rear passenger side door bike rack

Bike Capacity: 2


  • Convenient 
  • Lightweight
  • High-quality 
  • Two different configurations
  • No drilling into the van


  • High price point 
  • Need to watch high clearance areas

7. Yakima Spare Tire Mount 

A great campervan bike rack option From Yakima that mounts via your Spare tire. Made with alloy steel and carries up to two bikes, around 35 pounds each. It’s an easy option if you have a spare tire already on your rig. 

Yakima Spare ride 


  • High-quality Yakima 
  • Integrated SKS lock
  • It fits most spare tires
  • Easy no-tool install


  • Over $300
  • Blocks spare tire
  • Might need adapters for certain tube mountain bikes

or buy on Amazon

8. Surco Spare Tire Mount Bike Rack – Budget Option

If you like the idea of a Spare Tire Mount but simply don’t have the extra budget, then consider this lower-priced option from Surco. Not only is it a budget option, but this spare tire mount bike rack holds up to three bicycles. It attaches to most spare tires except for RAV4’s 2006 or newer. If you are new to biking and not sure how much you want to invest this is a great option. 

Type: Spare Tire Mount

Bike Capacity: three


  • Budget-Friendly 
  • Holds up to 3 bikes 


  • Need spare tire 
  • Harder to Install backplate

Why You Should Bring Your Bike On the Road

When we first hit the road, we knew we wanted to take our bikes but simply did not have room for them or the money to invest in a campervan bike rack. So we headed out, sans bikes. We traveled all around for two years, from Acadia National Park to The Florida Keys and all the way to the West Coast. We had a blast. 

However, we did wish that we had found a way to bring our bikes on many occasions. Sometimes when you are in a small city, it’s way too tempting to park the van and ride around enjoying all the local sites. Having a Sprinter Van meant it was harder to find parking in the heart of the city, and it would have been super handy to be able to take our bikes and ride to the busy areas instead of trying to find parking.

So in our second van, we brought our bikes with and boy was it a game-changer. Having our bikes changed the way we looked at van life. We always had a hobby and something fun to do with the dogs. There was pure joy in watching Remi and Jaxon running full-spirited down dirt roads off-leash. I highly recommend it. 

Bringing your bike on the road is important for enjoying the journey. It allows you to feel kid-like again, free-spirited. If it is possible for you, I highly recommend making it a priority. It makes van life that much more fun. 

Types of Campervan Bike Racks

Diving into the world of campervan bike racks can be overwhelming, to say the least. Not only do you have to consider what bike rack will work with your rig, but there are also different qualities of campervan bike racks; they each can mount differently and have different weight maximums.

From the rear door, hitch-mount, to mounting on your spare tire, Sprinter van bike racks, Ford Transit bike rack, and others,  we will dive into each and help you understand the pros and cons of each so you can properly decide which one is right for you. 

Hitch-Mount & Hitch Mount Swing Away 

CAmpervan Bike racks - Back of van -side

A hitch-mounted bike is just as it sounds. Ideally, you already have a hitch mount on the back of your vehicle; you purchase the hitch and mount the bike rack to it. This is one of the most common van life bike racks you will see on the road. It is mostly because the weight goes all on your hitch, and you do not have to worry about mounting it to your vehicle. 


  • Easy to Install
  • Common 
  • Plenty of options from high-end to budget
  • Easy access to bikes
  • Can easily unblock the back door (Swing-away)


  • Requires a tow hitch 
  • Blocks back door 
  • Adds Length to the van (tight parking spots can be a problem)
  • Can block some backup campers if located by license place 

Spare Tire Mount

A spare tire mount bike rack attaches to the spare tire on the back or front of your car. The mount goes through the spare tire and attaches to the vehicle. If you already have a spare tire, it could be a great way to use up space that is currently being used. Therefore making it a good bike rack for campervans.


  • Taking advantage of space that is already there
  • Ease of access
  • Nothing extra required to buy 


  • Need Spare Tire Mount 
  • Need to remove bikes to get to spare tire

 Rear Door Passenger Side Bike Rack

Campervan bike rack options - Aluminess
Photo Courtesy of Aluminess

The biggest problem with a campervan bike rack is that they typically block the back of your van. Every time you want to open up your back doors and get some fresh air, you have to go through the process of moving your bike rack.

Even if your bike rack swings or moves down, you still have to get out of the van and adjust the bikes. With a rear door passenger side bike rack, you don’t have to worry that the bikes are only one back door. A rear Door passenger side bike rack is a great option if you are looking for an easy-to-use bike rack for van with double doors.


  • Easy access to back doors
  • Requires zero drilling onto your van 
  • Can hold a bike and a storage box on one door
  • Compatible with backup sensors


  • Extremely pricey 
  • In-Depth Installation 

Ladder Mount

A ladder bike rack is an easy and affordable way to store your bike on the road. The catch is that you need to have a ladder attached to your van, and it needs to be in the back.

In our opinion, a ladder bike rack is also one of the least secure ways to store your bike. If you are full-time I don’t necessarily recommend it. 


  • Taking advantage of space that is already there
  • Affordable options 


  • Ladder mounts are the least secure (theft)
  • Need a ladder 
  • Gets in the way of your ladder


When you love being outdoors as much as we do, it can be easy to accumulate a lot of gear. In a tiny space like a campervan, it quickly becomes too much. This is why, adding on bike racks, storage boxes, and roof kits is so handy. Roof Mount vanlife bike racks are a great option if you don’t mind the hassle of getting down your bikes. This, of course, means it won’t be the best option for anyone in a high roof rig. 


  • Ideal for minivans, micro-campers, or low-roof vans
  • Frees up the back doors 


  • Not Ideal for higher roof vans
  • Time-consuming to get down
  • More in-depth installation 
  • Requires roof rack or crossbars
  • Takes up solar panel space

Front Hitch-Mount

Most campervan bike racks are at the back of the vehicle. However, there is such thing as a front hitch-mount bike rack. It’s a great option because it utilizes space that is often free or not used. The downside is that they are pretty prices and hard to find. Each front hitch mount bike rack is custom to the vehicle brand, and most are costume-made. Often you need to get a front bumper replacement. 

If money is no option and you need the extra space, this would be quite ideal. 


  • It frees up space in the back
  • No need to block back doors


  • Costly 
  • Hard to find
  • Custom – made
  • Expensive  

Bike Rack Storage Mounts

If none of these options seem appealing to you then there is one left that might work. Instead of utilizing the outside of your conversion van, it is possible to have your bike inside your vehicle. With a campervan bike rack storage mount, you can store your vehicle on the wall or in the rear storage area; assuming you have a fixed bed. 

The main downside of this option is that unless you have a tall area to store your bike, you will have to take off the front tire to fit it inside your campervan storage area. 

There are many vanlifers who have their bathroom and a storage area in the back of the van. This allows you to shower after a long day riding your bike and then on the other side you have an area to store your bike upright.


  • Saves outdoor space 
  • Easy to access
  • It can be done with as little as $20 


  • Takes up valuable interior space 
  • Might need to reassemble the bike for every use

What to consider when choosing a campervan bike rack

Before you press that purchase button on that van bike rack, let’s cover a few things you need to think about. Not everyone has the same rig, or the same kind of bike, which means there may be more or fewer options for you to choose from. 


Everyone has a different budget, and bike racks range from $20 to $2000. If you need an outdoor bike rack, even those can cost around $100. Not to mention accessories, you will need several locks, which, if you buy quality ones, they can run anywhere from $50-100. 

If you are on a super tight budget but want to bring your bicycle on the road then consider a DIY vanlife bike rack inside of your van if you have a fixed bed in the back.

If money is no object, I recommend going all out on a bike rack. Having the ability to quickly take your bikes on and off without using precious storage space is a huge win when you are a vanlifer. 


I don’t know about you, but if something is really difficult to do, I’m probably not going to do it. So you may not want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a bike rack, but you also might not want to have to disassemble your bike every time you use it. 

Although a $20 campervan bike rack inside your van sounds nice, my guess is that eventually, you will miss that space and find yourself using your bike less because of the hassle. Consider your choices and decide if convenience matters to you. 

Type of Campervan Bike Rack

As we covered, there are many kinds of campervan bike racks. You have options from tire-mount, roof-mount, ladder mount to hitch mount. Each of them has its pros and cons that need considering. In the end, we will most likely always choose a swing away hitch mount bike rack as it is easy to use and budget-friendly. 

Weight Capacity 

Not every bike rack is made equal. Some are made for one or two bikes, and some can fit four. Not to mention they have a weight capacity. Take stock of how many bikes you will be bringing and how much they will weigh. 


Bringing your favorite bike on the road is not without its risks. As much as I believe in the general population, bikes are a common item that gets stolen. Make sure your bike rack is attached to your van in a way that is theft-resistant. 

Vanlife Bike Rack Security 

Bike Rack Options

As mentioned before, Van life bike rack security is super important. You need to be able to secure your bikes to your van properly, so you are never worried about theft. We had our bikes on the road for two years and never had an issue, but we were extremely diligent in keeping them secure. 

So although the rack is secured to your van it’s essential to have several locks on them. We recommend a lock on your hitch that connects your bike to your car and if you have two bikes, a lock to connect them as well. 

Some posts recommend U-Locks. We do NOT recommend U-locks as they are easily picked and cut through. EVEN Kryptonite. 

How to Keep Your Bikes Secure On the Road

DIY Campervan Bike Rack - John Heida
Photo Credit John Heida
  • We only recommend buying bike racks that can hard mount to your vehicle. We do not recommend any kind of strap design. It’s way too easy to cut and run. 
  • Use at least one Bike lock -Budget option Kryptonite Keeper 785 – Expensive but VERY Secure Kryptonite New York FAHGETTABOUDIT
  • To properly secure, we recommend at least a length of 33in if you have more than one bike. If carrying multiple bikes, we recommend two bike locks; one smaller for the bike closest to the mount and the longer one to loop through the first bike and the others. 
  • We also recommend a lock on your hitch and on the mount itself if possible. This may not be the best secure option, but padlocks at least deter people, and it is one more line of defense. 

DIY Slide Out Vanlife Bike Rack 

Having your bike on an exterior campervan bike rack is one of the most common options. However, not everyone wants to worry about expensive racks or whether their bike will get stolen. Another option is to store your bike inside your van. If you want to build a space for your bike, I suggest a DIY slide-out bike rack which is found at the back of your van underneath your fixed bed.

If you have room to stand your bike up without removing the front tire, I suggest this type of mount . Otherwise, If you have height constraints and will be storing your bike under the fixed bed, I suggest using a bike mount that locks in the front fork. 

Step 1: Designing a sturdy platform

Things to consider when designing your DIY Slike out Bike Rack

  • Wide enough for the number of bikes you will be storing. 
  • Weight capacity of all bikes 
  • Weigh your material and bikes together to know how strong of slides you need. 
  • Choose a bike mount – we recommend a fork mount to maximize interior living space. It will lower your bike closer to the floor because it requires that you remove the front tire. 

Step 2: Make a Bike Tray 

Making a bike tray is a pretty simple process. You are literally making a tray for your bikes: a Base and three sides. We recommend ½ inch baltic birch since it is light and strong. You can utilize the baltic birch for the sides and cut it to match the slide height that you purchase. 

Step 3: Mount Guides 

So you will need a way to mount the slides to the tray and the floor or side of the campervan back storage. 

Some choose to have drawers or cupboards in the storage to make it easy to mount; others like a more open storage area. 

I recommend mounting a solid piece of wood (2×4 or whatever you can get) to the floor, allowing proper slides mounting. If you are mounting to the side of your storage, you will want a piece of wood there. Either way, you want two pieces of wood to secure the bike tray.  

4: Install slides 

Install slides onto tray and floor or side of storage. 

5: Install chosen Mount bike mount attachment to the tray 

Install Your bike mount attachment to the tray and insert the tray into the bike slides!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge