If you are thinking about getting car roof storage, and/or a bike hitch this post is for you. Its been a while since my last post — right now we’re in the middle of a seven week road/trip working vacation/ three home exchanges and camping. To make it all work we’re using our Yakima Products which are absolute lifesavers (Not an Ad) for storage and safely and easily bringing four bikes.
We have a Subaru Forester and we love it. Its super reliable, all-wheel drive and fairly good on gas mileage. But its not a big SUV. Packing for 7 weeks including camping gear and clothes for big temperature ranges, along with four bikes is no easy feat.
YAKIMA SKYBOX CARGO BOX
To maximize storage, a year ago we purchased a Yakima Skybox Carbonite Cargo Box Overall we really like it. Here is some feedback on what to expect:
-Expensive but worth it for the quality — We did a lot of research on Yakima, Thule and other brands. After lots of research, and going to look and test the products we settled on the Yakima Skybox. They sell for around $500 but you can get a 20% discount once a year through REI’s big sale and sometimes sales come up.
–Holds a surprising amount of stuff! — We were able to get four sleeping bags, four sleeping pads, bike helmets, and a lot more of our camping gear up into the SkyBox saving tons of car space.
-Opens from either side — You can unlock the box from either side. This is a great feature, especially if you need to pull something out from one side.
-Its pretty lightweight and easy to get on and off — My husband and I can easily lift this onto our Subaru. The box slides onto the Subaru roof racks and you can easily lock them into place.
– Things to consider before you buy a roof storage box — You will need to have the appropriate roof racks. We had to go to Subaru to have our racks put on. You also need to carefully measure your car to make sure the length fits. If its too long, your trunk might not open.
YAKIMA RIDGEBACK 4-BIKE HITCH
We originally had bike rack that hooked to our trunk. It chipped paint and freaked me out that it would somehow break and our bikes would fly off the car. We decided to put a hitch on our Subaru through U-Haul which was easy and pretty inexpensive. We were already fans of Yakima because of our SkyBox so looking at the company for Bike Hitches was a no brainer. We settled on the Yakima Ridgeback. We ordered ours from Amazon for about $350 – I noticed the price has gone down to $308 at the time of this writing, so that’s a good price. Click on the photo below if you want to go to the Amazon page.
Pros: Yakima makes it really easy to put the hitch on. There is an integrated locking system that you can purchase separately. Its pricey but I recommend it. The lock will not deter a true thief with a heavy duty lock cutter, but will definitely make it harder for someone if you’re stopping during a road trip for dinner, for example. To get the bikes on, Yakima provides essentially a large zip tie system. Its easy to do and very secure. Just don’t forget the zip ties on the back of the car and drive away and then have to spend an hour slowly driving down the road looking for all the ties on the side of the road like someone I know. (my husband :). The hitch easily swings down so that you can open the trunk if there are no bikes on the hitch.
Cons: The only real con for us is that we wish we would have bought the more expensive model that swings out with the bikes on it for trunk access. At the time we had pretty big sticker shock for the higher price swing arm Ridgeback. We thought it would not be that big of a deal, and really its fine. But it would be SO convenient to be able to get things out of the trunk without having to remove the bikes .