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Yakima MOD System Review: A ‘HomeBase’ for Any Adventure Vehicle

Do you have a regular ol' car like I do? Do you want a secure and modular storage solution — like those found in larger overland vehicles? If so, the Yakima MOD HomeBase system is for you. It also fits most adventure vehicles.

(Photo/Mary Murphy)
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I was a day away from a ski trip, brainstorming how I’d fit all the ski boots, skins, skis, poles, helmets, goggles, packs, towels, camp lights, duffels, coolers, and groceries in my vehicle. And as I packed up — not just my gear, but three of my friends as well, into my car — I thought, there has to be a better way. No way will all this stuff fit.

I’ve made countless trips in my Subaru Crosstrek. I’ve driven across the country alone from Florida to Colorado, and from Colorado up to northern British Columbia. There have been lonesome road trips by myself and ones with a herd of friends in the back.

Last year, almost every adventure my partner and I took meant two people and two dogs, plus gear. And let’s not forget a couple of years ago when I had water damage to my house — I was literally living out of my car.

All that’s to say, I’ve gotten good at packing. I’ve also cursed myself, wishing for more space. I’ve never had a designated system for organizing gear in my trunk. Every trip, it’s a new packing formula from scratch.

In short: Testing the Yakima HomeBase for 2.5 weeks was a (nearly) flawless experience. The installation was fast and easy, even by myself. The medium size fits into my Subaru Crosstrek’s limited oddly angular trunk space. The whole system is awesome, but especially the drawers that allow you to store and organize gear and lock it all away out of sight.

With the track system, you can swap out totes and drawers, or pre-pack gear crates beforehand. Then, only load up what you need. Yakima integrated everything; the tie-down components, the track system, even optional add-ons like the slide-out for a Dometic cooler and WorkSpace. Cost-wise compared to other modular drawer systems, it’s also a super price.

Yakima MOD HomeBase System


  • Modular options MOD HomeBase, MOD Topper Drawers, GearCrate, GearTote, MicroTotes
  • HomeBase sizes M, L, XL (i.e., Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Grand Wagoneer)
  • HomeBase weight 50-55 lbs.
  • Drawer load rating 100 lbs.
  • Top load rating 250 lbs.
  • Needed for install (depending on vehicle) Fit Kit, Riser Kit
  • MOD accessories WorkSpace, Fridge Sliding Mounting Kit, Stretch Net


  • Drawer system fits in smaller cars, not just trucks!
  • Super easy install
  • Fantastic use of space
  • Tons of storage
  • Secure for city living
  • Lock out drawers don't slide shut on an incline
  • Under $1,100 for basic drawer system is a competitive price


  • Combo of MOD Base with Drawers won't fit in some vehicles
  • Not compatible with all vehicle models
  • Multiple tote organizers (optional) can add up fast

Yakima MOD HomeBase System Review

The Yakima MOD system installed in a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek, before Risers and fit modifications; (photo/Mary Murphy)

Size & Fit

I had a yearning to test this system precisely because I do not have a truck. I have a small crossover. And of all the crossovers, one of the most popular models you’ll see: the Subaru Crosstrek. As you might imagine, my trunk is not the biggest. 

When you go to the Yakima website to look at the MOD system, it will ask for the vehicle brand and model to recommend the right size. This is the first step.

The Yakima HomeBase comes in three sizes: medium, large, and extra large. The difference between medium and large is only in the depth of the trunk area, with no change in width. The extra large will give users with the biggest vehicles on the market both extra length and width. 

The medium fits cars like Crosstrek, Outback, Toyota Rav4, and ever-popular 4Runner.

The L size also fits in the 4Runner; which will be the case for some vehicles — allowing you to choose based on fit preferences. The L size also fits vehicles like the Nissan Pathfinder.

The XL size is reserved for the largest SUVs on the market. This includes vehicles like the Honda Passport, Nissan Armada, and Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

Yakima MOD configurations in a 4th-gen Toyota 4Runner vs. Subaru Crosstrek; (photos/Mary Murphy)

Trips in my car typically require the addition of a roof rack, or very careful planning, because of my small cargo space and plethora of adventure gear. I’m minimalist where I can be, but even then, packing up the car can be like a cruel game of Tetris.

The most I’ve fit in my car — proudly — was two people, two dogs, two travel dog beds, three paddleboards, three PFDs, a four-person tent, a camp stove, a propane tank, two duffels, a backpack, a cooler, a cribbage board, and … Lord knows what else. We were stuffed to the brim. Every single inch of space — behind the seats, under them, and on our laps — got used.

Weight Matters

The gear crates and totes are easily removable to customize your trunk; (photo/Mary Murphy)

I could lift the HomeBase easily by myself. I’m guessing the same can’t be said for a lot of DECKED or ARB drawer systems. The HomeBase weighs about 40 pounds, the MOD drawers 35, and the Gear totes and crates are very light.

The Yakima HomeBase M was the biggest possible drawer my trunk could fit — definitely maximizing the space. This HomeBase has a 100-pound drawer load rating and a 250-pound top surface rating — plenty of load capacity for the gear I haul.

Yakima MOD: Easy Install

Adding the sliders to the track and tightening them into place was easy; (photo/Mary Murphy)

It also took less than 15 minutes to install — provided you’ve got your trunk cleaned out first. Adding on the track sliders and my choice of storage toppers required only a single hex key.

The weight and ease of install are two huge perks for many people, especially younger adults, busy travelers, and families, who may be on the fence and weighing the pros and cons of a vehicle storage system. 

If you constantly have lots of gear in and out of your vehicle, this HomeBase system is meant to be the do-all solution. 

Using the MOD fit kit to install proper tie-downs; (photo/Mary Murphy)

The biggest component of the Yakima Home Base system working and fitting into any vehicle is ensuring the proper tie-downs. For cars that don’t have four tie-downs in the factory/stock build, Yakima thought of a solution: a Mod kit. All it took was my Leatherman multitool and switching out two plugs for anchor rings, a couple of screws, and I was good to go. 

Yakima MOD System Testing

A drawerful of gear; (photo/Mary Murphy)

Testing this system in spring was perfect timing — as I slowly transitioned from hauling skis, boots, and winter essentials to climbing harnesses, trail runners, and warm-weather necessities.

For weeks, I drove around with the MOD system in my trunk. But I didn’t just open and close the drawers a few times and call it a day. If I was going to give up all my precious trunk space for one system, darn right I was gonna use it. I made a rule to only keep gear I thought I’d need in the MOD HomeBase or totes, and try to refrain from tapping other storage or gear in my garage. The HomeBase got used, and fast.

Mod Testing Trips

The Work Space and divider in the drawer provide an extra sturdy surface for cooking, packing up gear, or other camp tasks; (photo/Mary Murphy)

First up was a ski trip. Helmets, boots, skins, and various goggles could all fit in a tote. I could stash my camp slippers in there as well for changing into when the ski boots come off at the end of the day.

After installation, I chucked a multitool and hex key into one of the small micro tote baskets that came with the system (for testing purposes). These divider and organizer totes fit seamlessly between the crate, totes, drawers, and HomeBase.

My next planned outing was a full day at the office, then the park, and then a dog meetup with friends. I loaded up my trail runners, an assorted choice of layers, and three to four camp chairs — impressively, all fit in the drawer. Using the drawer divider, I organized the other half with my gym climbing gear.

Other day trips I took while testing the system included a couple hiking and trail running afternoons, a working remote day up in the mountains, and one backcountry ski day up Berthoud Pass.

Some Organizational Takeaways

The MOD drawers and HomeBase have a lockout feature to prevent sliding closed; (photo/Mary Murphy)

I quickly learned that the drawer was the place to store more expensive gear (climbing gear, ice axes, ropes, beacon, shovel, and probe) since this could be locked out of sight. The hardsided gear crate I used a lot more often than the tote for a similar reason.

The tote was still great for odds and ends like shoes, mail from the office, and reusable bags for the grocery store. Snacks, a spare dog leash, and pickleball paddles for the park also had a place in the tote.

For the duration of testing, I also left a MOD tote stashed in my car with important essentials: hand warmers, duct tape, a spare headlamp, and a Leatherman, just in case.

A Secure System 

Pulling the ratcheting straps tight to secure the tie-downs; (photo/Mary Murphy)

This past weekend, my neck of the woods had severe wind (up to 100+ mph gusts). The highest gusts near my house were around 71 mph. I already had plans to climb that day, so I ended up putting 50 or so miles on my car driving, watching the wind blow other cars over the lines and across roads.

I do think having some extra weight in my vehicle helped keep me grounded. And while I noticed the wind pushing my car on occasion, I never heard any noises or movement from the drawer system in the back. It also helped that I didn’t need to put any gear on my roof.

For good measure, I also drove around on some private dirt roads where I live to check the secureness of the HomeBase, and I did a few laps through our school district over hills and speed bumps. It didn’t clank around or budge at all. If you do leave light, loose items in the drawers by themselves, they will rattle around in the drawer. But once the HomeBase is strapped down tight, the system isn’t going anywhere.

One Setback

The Yakima HomeBase clearance without the risers was less than an inch too short in my Crosstrek; (photo/Mary Murphy)

The HomeBase came with very easy, simple install instructions. But for me, there was one hiccup. I (and the Yakima team) didn’t realize that for clearance in my Subaru Crosstrek, I’d need the extra Risers kit — this not only makes the feet on the HomeBase taller for certain vehicles to clear the trunk latch, but it also provides extra storage space under the drawer if you are stacking multiple drawer systems, in any vehicle.

Factory feet versus Risers which lets the HomeBase adapt to more vehicles; (photo/Mary Murphy)

After a few days of testing the system I had just installed, I had to go back and swap out the risers. One of the bolts was tricky to get to from underneath the system; I recommend standing it on its side or flipping it. It was a few minutes of hassle, but I didn’t even need the instructions. The install on these was as easy as the rest.

Who It’s For

Finally, it’s worth noting who this system is and isn’t for. Going through the install process, I realized this drawer system is likely for drivers who don’t already have their vehicles built out. People with overlanding rigs or built-out 4Runners may already have storage solutions. For hybrid SUV owners like me, I have a few friends who have sleeping platforms built out in their cars or vans.

Anything that you typically keep installed in your trunk will have to go. So, your current setup is definitely something to consider if you are interested in the Yakima MOD.

Yakima HomeBase System Conclusion

Optional top WorkSpace and wood dividers, as well as tote organizers in a Toyota 4Runner; (photo/Mary Murphy)

The Yakima MOD is an awesome addition to any trunk, especially if other traditional drawer systems don’t fit. (Looking at all my fellow Subi owners!)

There are a few drawbacks to consider before buying. If you do plan on hauling other gear — something very large like a paddleboard, bed platform, dog crate, etc. — you’ll have to remove the MOD system. Depending on how tall your trunk is, of course.

This means you’ll also need a place to store it when not in use — so consider where you’d put it. The beauty of the system is that it’s an easy install, but I wouldn’t particularly want to take this in and out of my trunk often.

Finally, it works for a heck of a lot of vehicles, but not all. Ensure that you follow the instructions from Yakima to find the right size for your vehicle and if it’s recommended. Something I learned at the end of testing: I couldn’t have swapped the HomeBase into my partner’s vehicle (a Hyundai Tuscon) even if I wanted to.

While it would fit, and has the appropriate tie-downs, it’s not recommended due to the weight the trunk floor can support. You’ll see this “recommended fit” disclaimer on the Yakima website for some Hyundais and Chevys.

Aside from this, having Yakima’s HomeBase is like striking gold. Sizing for my trunk width, depth, and height — no problem. Clearing the lip on my trunk latch? Easy with the risers. Better solutions for packing? Yes. This system really does flex from everyday storage to gear organization to extended “my car is my basecamp” adventures.

The amount of clearance from the front of the drawer, to the edge of the vehicle trunk; (photo/Mary Murphy)

My verdict: Whether to invest in the Yakima MOD system depends on how often you’d use it. I am seriously considering buying one.

If you’re interested in the MOD system, it’s available online and retail; though at RackAttack, it’s already backordered. So if you’ve decided on a Yakima MOD HomeBase, now’s the time to get in line.

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