Never invest in any type of gear carrying solution unless you can use them 90% of the time not camping. I preach this to the congregation whenever the topic comes up.
What do you do if you don't use them more than 90% of the time not camping? I guess you are suggesting to borrow it from someone else?
I ask because that is the only time when I need to bring my bikes somewhere. We have a trail close to the house and that's the only place we go to when we ride our bikes (yes, boring and non-adventurous). Or I guess you are suggesting to take out the equipment more w/o camping?
I have Thule and Yakima bike and kayak racks. I love these things.. But as for my short body its hard to load on top of van.. So I we to store cut a 2x4 down the width of the van. Went to bike shop and bought fork mounts and bikes now live in van. I will probably do this for the camper as well..
It was endless discussions over finding racks for the pups, towing with minivans, and all the other nonsense. Thule racked up and use it for all kinds of stuff from carrying trees, canoes, bikes, deer, treestands,and yes those few weekends a year camping. Carry canoe with two straps, vs trying to latch it the the front and rear of the vehicle. Throw a $1500 mtbike up there and not worry one bit. I have swagman solid arm 3 bike hauler for front or rear hitch. Valley offroad hitch hauler for clearing roadkill, to hd runs for whatever.
I put the canoe on the wagon, vs trying to solo lift 14ft and 80lbs up on top of the the trailblazer. They both are also used for canoe portage river runs. I always went with thule for the past 22 years. First setup was on a 1980 rabbit back in 1990. Had racked up 84 gti, all the jeeps, a montero, and now both vehicles in the driveway.
I don't take bikes camping right now. I have a 3 year old, and will have a newborn in February. Bikes are hanging up and collecting dust. The racks get used atleast once per month for whatever. The 430 system on the trailblazer lifts off with a push of a button. Recently used the tb's system for carrying a queen box spring and mattress 40 miles at highway speed without one worry. Picked up twin size mattess with the canoe system last week too. Those who don't own pickups need to be ready for whatever life throws at us thanks to THULE! The pup was nightmare regardless. I had the wide bars on the TB, 25 gallon waste tank, atw wagon, and still could fit bikes up there.