Yakima 'Luxury Box'

By JILL ADLER

You can pretty much give up on the idea of ever parking underground in a public garage when you add a cargo box on top of an SUV. At least that’s what I thought until Yakima came out with its low-profile SkyBox LoPro model about two years ago.

The box, which is one of Yakima’s most expensive products, adds a little more than a foot to the height of my small SUV, making the vehicle’s clearance hover at about 6 foot 8 inches high. This is about 2 inches lower than many standard parking garages.

yakima lopro skybox.jpg

Low profile: The SkyBox LoPro adds only about a foot of height to a car

Beyond its low profile, the LoPro is one of the nicer gear boxes on the market. Yakima touts it as the “finest rooftop cargo box ever made,” and it retails for a hefty $699.

It’s a great box, no doubt. But worth the ching? For me, the answer is a “yes,” especially considering that I’ll potentially bounce the LoPro from car to car for the long foreseeable future, a couple decades maybe, with the aid of Yakima’s lifetime warranty.

Some of the box’s niceties include a stiff, dual-sided lid and an integrated solar light that turns on when you open the box to dig inside — a cool touch if you’re removing gear at night. The box’s exterior finish and ABS plastic construction are top notch. For example, I regularly grab the base to hoist myself up as I’m removing gear, and it’s solid under my weight.

I have struggled closing loaded gear boxes in the past. On the LoPro, Yakima’s “Super Latch” system makes opening the box a one-person job — you pull down on the lever (aggressively) and push up on the lid with your other hand without ever having to change positions. The box, in a nutshell, is bomber.

yakima lopro skybox review.jpg

15 cubic feet of space inside

Complaints? Initially, the locks seized up on the box. When I finally got the key in to extract my gear, I couldn’t get it out. I called Yakima’s customer service, and they immediately sent new locks. I’ve used them for two seasons now without issues. Also, one thing I would love to add: A mirror in the lid to see gear that’s out of view would have been another nice “visual aid” to build into this design.

I use my LoPro every day in the winter and for road trips in the summer. Its 15 cubic feet of space enables me to squish five sets of skis and poles inside. The box measures at 92 × 36 × 11.5 inches.

Is it the “finest rooftop cargo box ever made,” as Yakima touts? Hard to say. For me, it’s the LoPro and nothing else. It’s a pricey case for sure. But there are online deals now that peg it at around $550. That price might make the buy a lot easier to digest, especially if you plan to use the box, as I do, for the long haul.

—Based in Utah, Jill Adler is a Level-III certified ski instructor. As a writer, she covers skiing, adventure sports, and travel for publications including Sunset, SkiPress, Salt Lake magazine, FuelTV, and MSN.com.

Posted by Melanie Mitchell - 03/11/2011 12:19 PM

Thanks for the review. I am looking at such an investment and saw this at the SIA show this year and the sales pitch. This review helped to make up my mind – this is the one for me. Now onto saving the pennies to get one for next winter!

Cheers,
Melanie Mitchell
Poppy Sports

Posted by Jason Mitchell - 03/11/2011 03:18 PM

I use and love mine as well. The overall construction of the LoPro is far and above anything else on the market. The lid is super-sturdy and closes in one motion. It is very low-profile and can’t fit much more than 5 pairs of skis and a few other items. We jammed it full last weekend on a backcountry ski trip to the Tetons.

I love the good MPG and ease-of-use. I too had a lock issue, but it was self-induced as I broke the key in the lock while the box was on the garage floor by kicking it with the key in the lock (doh!). I had to fish the nub out, but it works just dandy.

You can read my review here

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