When you’re serious about a roof rack, going with a platform rack is the only way. One can only do so much with some bars attached rails or pedestals. Platform racks provide a wider, flat mounting surface which yields not only more usable space but also additional means of securing cargo. A solid platform also allows mounting of things that would otherwise need to packed into something (a hi-lift jack, for instance) or require their own mounting brackets (auxiliary lights, for instance).
There are several of such racks on the market now, so one can say that Yakima is late to this game, but that isn’t necessarily the case. I’ve been looking to get a platform rack some time ago and have concluded that many of the companies that make them have several issues. For one, vehicle specific platform racks are built to order or are made in batches. In many instances the lead time can be as much as two months from order time. Other companies require overseas shipping. And still others have quality issues that I personally find unacceptable.
From my experience, Yakima does not have those supplier or quality issues. Their products are widely available in stores or ship fairly quickly. The three Yakima products that I’ve ordered over the years have been of very good quality and design, if relatively heavy.
The LockNLoad platform comes in six sizes, from 55″ x 49″ (think Subaru Crosstrek) to 84″ x 62″ (think full-size van). The capacity ranges between 165 and 440 pounds, depending on the the vehicle. The platform attaches to vehicles in of two ways: directly to an existing roof-racks/crossbars using separately sold clamps, or it can be attached directly to Yakima’s rack towers with a vehicle specific adapter.
What makes platform racks special is the abundance of things that can be attached to them. Yakima offers mounts for spare tires, gas cans, jacks, and light-bars. There are corner brackets for whatever solid cases you can throw on there and mounting rails. Outside of hardcore off-roading stuff, platforms are perfect for roof-top tents and awnings. Typical cargo boxes, bike mounts, ski/snowboard attachments, and anything else that can be strapped onto a typical rack, can be added to the platform. The beauty of the platform is that more of them can be utilized than on cross-bars alone.
I don’t fish so I won’t pretend to know what the hell I’m talking about here. But I have seen people transport their fishing rods in a variety of ways, and most of them were to great. It’s for that reason that Yakima now three new ways of transporting various kinds of fishing equipment.
- DoubleHaul holds four ten-foot fly rods. Each tube has felt pads to protect reels and plastic liners that protect the blanks and guide. It can be magically reconfigured for six-foot rods and therefore shorter vehicles. The box locks so that no one walks away with your rods when you’re at a restaurant, eating a steak, after a day of fishing.
- TopWater is kind of a small cargo box designed for fishing rods. It securely holds eight eight-foot rods tied down to the bottom. The rods are placed on raised pedestals within the box and secured with rubber straps. There’s even room for a small tackle box. Once it’s off your vehicle it can serve as fishing rod storage, too.
- ReelDeal looks kind of like a ski/snowboard attachment but with proper padding for fishing rods. It mounts on just about any kind of cross-bars and is lockable.
All of these new items are now available from Yakima’s website or through one of many retailers.