I always thought that our family had plenty of room in our SUV for all of the extra stuff we had to carry with us. In fact, it actually was plenty of room especially since we owned a Toyota 4Runner that had plenty of cargo room. Even with longer items, we were able to fold down the rear seats and fit a variety of different things over the years.
Eventually, our family grew and I realized that with more kids (and more car seats), the less space in the back we had for carrying stuff. Especially when you want to carry more recreational things like snowboards, skis, and similar items, you want to separate certain items that get dirty with other things you want to keep clean.
We decided to purchase a cargo box as opposed to a cargo rack for the top of our 4Runner because we like the ability to have storage that is protected from the elements and is able to be locked up. We chose the Yakima Skybox 16 mainly because I knew that it would provide plenty of room for our things, but also would fit well on our 4th generation Toyota 4Runner.
We purchased the Yakima Skybox 16 cargo box from Moosejaw, who has awesome customer service and an excellent return policy. Overall, they offer such a great customer experience, so we like to go with them for these types of purchases. The Yakima Skybox costs just over $700 at the time of this writing.
The Yakima Skybox 16 is pretty darn big when you’re handling it off of the vehicle. The crazy thing however is how light it is for the size. It weighs only 47 lbs, but because of its size, it is a bit hard to manage if you’re carrying it all by yourself. I would recommend two people to carry the cargo box, although I have been able to do it myself while installing and removing it off the vehicle.
The Yakima Skybox 16 has a locking system called the SKS lock system (or SuperLatch.) This locking system allows you to lock and unlock (as well as open/close) the cargo box on both sides of the vehicle. The key must be inserted into the keyhole in order to unlock and open; this prevents you from losing the key while the cargo box is open.
The cargo box comes complete with no need to assemble. You take it right out of the box and it can go right onto your vehicle. When installing the cargo box, you must first get the cargo box up onto the roof rack. Use your key to unlock and open the cargo box. Position the roof rack crossbars so that it is located near the feet of the cargo box.
Then, with the cargo box open, you have access to the locking thumbwheels and clamps that will secure the feet to the crossbars. The cargo box should be positioned side-to-side on the roof rack as desired, and then the clamping feet in position around the crossbars.
Finally, the clamps can be clamped down to close the feet onto the crossbars. The thumbwheels allow for fine adjustments for the desired amount of clamping force. The design of the quick release clamps makes it quick and easy to secure the cargo box to the roof rack.
Once secured, the Yakima Skybox 16 is ready to go. It looks really good on top of any vehicle due to its aerodynamic and sleek design, which reduces drag and wind noise. The “carbonite” textured lid looks modern and polished. I really like how it looks compared to the matte-finish of other cargo boxes.
Inside, the cargo box fits snowboards and skis up to 180cm and hauling gear for up to three campers. The dimensions of the Skybox 16 comes in at 81 in (L) x 36 in (W) x 15 in (H). Personally I’ve stored sports equipment, luggage, heck I’ve even hauled batts of insulation in the cargo box when I couldn’t fit anymore inside of the vehicle.
I love the look of the Yakima Skybox 16 on my 4Runner and really enjoy having the extra space when I need it. If you’re interested in one for your car, you may want to do some research online to see if and how it fits on your vehicle with and without the trunk open. There are other sizes for the Yakima Skybox available too in case you need to find a size that works better for your car.
Just like other cargo boxes, if you have this on your roof, you’ll need to be extra mindful when driving into parking garages and drive-thru’s. Furthermore, if you don’t plan on having this on your roof permanently, you should have a large space at home (e.g. garage space) to store the cargo box as it takes up a lot of room when it’s off of the vehicle.