We’ve all experienced that road trip. You know, the one where you’re relegated to the way-back seat with all the bulky luggage because you either drew the short straw or had the untimely misfortune of being the smallest of the group. Every bump and pothole causing your sister’s sharp-edged and overpacked suitcase to jab into your ribs. Foot space gone, thanks to snack bags and lunch boxes. And you’re fairly certain the big, incessantly squeaking, plastic cooler wedged between the seat and the door is some sort of minivan no-no safety violation.
Thankfully, mercifully, we’ve come a long way since then. The minivan has all but died (Hallelujah!), replaced by capable, cargo-friendly SUVs. But more importantly, aftermarket companies have innovated clever travel solutions to preserve comfort (and sanity) on long trips. From cargo boxes and roof racks to bike mounts and hitch extenders, savvy manufacturers are (almost) making family road trips fun again.
One such brand in particular though, continually stands heads above the rest. Yakima has been in the cargo game for forty years now. And as if the company hasn’t gifted us with enough incredible products over that time, (You’ve seen the SkyRise tent, right??) those adventure-loving engineers have done it again. This time, with the OffGrid Cargo Basket.
Haul It All
“We not only make safe, secure racks for your gear,” says Yakima proudly in its online manifesto. “What we really do is make room for butts in seats. AKA, more people competing for the shotgun seat. More people to belt out the best 80’s ballads, more backseat drivers, more shoulders to use as pillows when you fall asleep. Because we believe if you’re gonna go, you should Take More Friends.”
We bet your inner child—the one squashed between Dad’s smelly duffel and the damp beach towels—is rejoicing at the mere idea of a product that would not only eliminate your current predicament but also create seat space for a non-relative companion. Amirite?
So what exactly is the OffGrid Cargo Basket?
Constructed of tough, tubular steel with a weather-resistant powder coat finish, the OffGrid Cargo Basket from Yakima marries the strength you expect from a rooftop cargo basket with the sleek, low-profile look of modern design. Built to haul and simple to install, the OffGrid basket has more than a few features that set it apart from your regular ol’ cargo rack.
Yea, it’s burly and aerodynamic and it’s got that attractive Yakima look. But sweet Mother Mary, the sheer versatility of this thing is incredible. Granted, some of that comes from years of engineering a diverse and healthy product line of cargo accessories, but Yakima has truly struck gold here.
First, the basket itself.
It comes in two main sizes—medium and large—measuring 44” x 40” and 53” x 49” respectively, with a 165-lb weight capacity. Oh, you’ve got a lot more crap to haul? Lucky for you, Yakima offers two durable steel extension pieces, adding 40% more cargo capacity and essentially adding two more size configurations to the lineup. So, now you’ve got medium, large, extra-large, and why-don’t-you-just-buy-a-trailer-jumbo cargo basket options to haul everything from luggage to firewood.
Additionally, the OffGrid Cargo Basket comes with two adjustable accessory bars that not only allow you to pin in bulky items like that giant squeaky cooler or Dad’s stinky tackle box, but also serve as a base for adding on a near endless variety of Yakima gear mounts. Plus, those bars—and the integrated fairing used to reduce wind noise and drag—can be removed to accommodate long or awkward-sized items.
Tell me more about these gear mounts…
The adjustable accessory bars that come as part of the OffGrid Cargo Basket can hold a variety of gear mounts, such as bike carriers, kayak haulers, ski/snowboard carriers, or surfboard mounts. (It is worth noting that this system has round bars, not T-slots, meaning your accessory mounts will need to be compatible.) Additionally, Yakima offers several helpful OffGrid accessories, like a spare tire carrier and special mounts for axes, shovels, and paddles, as well as stretchy cargo nets and SKS Lock Cores to keep gear safe from bumpy roads and sticky fingers.
Plus, since the OffGrid Cargo Basket comes in either a 40” or 49” width, a narrower selection allows for more access to the existing roof rack’s crossbars. So, if your gear mounts aren’t compatible with the cargo basket’s round accessory bars, but fit your crossbars, you can still accommodate both. Capiche?
And since we’ve come around to the crossbars, let’s talk about the incredibly easy installation process Yakima has worked out for this system.
The OffGrid Cargo Basket does require an existing roof rack system for installation. (Don’t worry, Yakima more than has you covered there.) The basket’s universal mounting hardware, and optional T-Slot Hardware Kit, works with any Yakima crossbar and most factory crossbar setups. And mounting is a breeze. A rubber-coated steel strap simply wraps around the crossbar and feeds into an all-in-one clamp that simultaneously tightens to both the bar and the cargo basket. In the topside of the clamping mechanism is a micro-adjuster that allows you to get the exact amount of grip or positioning that you need—a luxury you don’t get with most rooftop carriers!
No tools or complicated directions. No cussing or pleas for divine intervention. Just a simple installation, right from the box, that takes only minutes to accomplish.
“Regardless of your destination or adventure, Yakima helps get you, your friends, and all your gear there,” says the company. “Allowing you to focus on what really matters—creating memories that last a lifetime.”
Family road trips are stressful enough, right? We promise, a Yakima OffGrid Cargo Basket will eliminate some of the tension. At the very least, you’ll have to find something else to fight about!