I never cease to be amazed at the advances made to help us carry extra gear on our vehicles. Even with the added inside room of a Van or SUV, by the time you put several people in them, space for cargo gets limited. We have had roof racks for decades, and they have improved tremendously, without question. But the real plus now are these trailer hitch racks, which insert right into your hitch receiver, same as a trailer. They are compact, in that they don't extend TOO far, making travel or aerodynamics a problem. Yet they still add about 2' x 5' of additional storage. Most of these can carry roughly 500 pounds of extra cargo for you. Not bad.
My immediate thoughts relate to past experiences traveling, where this would have been a huge help on trips across the state, to ball games, college drop-off's and pick-ups, camping & fishing, family picnics, personal sporting events ( especially with bikes, or skis, or kayaks ), and craft fairs.
As you can see in the examples above, they are available with a plain 2' x 5' flat basket, a cage, a storage "bag", a bike carrier, or a hard shell case. So, depending on what you are needing to take with you on that next camping or fishing trip, there is a rack style that will carry it. Pretty sweet!
I would have to guess that by mounting this at the back of your van or SUV, the aerodynamics are pretty good, and probably a lot better than mounting your bikes or bags on the top! Although, I'll bet there will be those "Clampett-types" that will have both a roof rack AND the hitch rack, packed full!!! Sadly, I have been there, with a roof rack and a tow dolly with my daughter's Honda Civic on it, all jam-packed full of "daughter's gear"! We got a lot of smiles from passing vehicles, all humming the Beverly Hillbillies theme song I'm sure!!!
There are versions of these I've seen that mount on top of your trailer hitch as well, in case you're towing the boat or a trailer. They make some that swing out, so you can get at the stuff in the back of your vehicle, and also that fold up, so you can keep it attached but out of the way when it's empty. Perfect for driving around the campground or into town.
I believe that there is a modular type of rack that can be mounted several places on a Jeep. With different mounting brackets, the same rack can be hooked into the trailer hitch receiver, or on the top or in the back of the open Jeep. Kind of a nifty idea!
Anyway, the receiver hitch rack sure seems like a must-have for anyone that has a van or SUV and loves the outdoors! Or if you have kids in colleges any distance away!! Shucks, I bet they would even come in handy when you're picking up Aunt Mary at the airport! And there is no doubt in my mind that my wife and daughters could fill up the additional space in a heartbeat!!!