We know winter is well underway when the Outside gear team heads to Denver for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show. Here, the outdoor industry—retailers, media, and brands—is already hyping up products for winter 2021. Our editors are on the show floor this week, sifting through thousands of items to bring you the highlights, starting with our picks for Gear of Show. Here’s what we’re most excited to test out.
Yakima CBX Solar Cargo Box ($1,299)
For serious outdoor aficionados who inevitably load up their car with gear, rooftop boxes come with some serious pros and cons. Namely: you get more storage space but lose valuable real estate for heavy-hitting upgrades like solar panels. Yakima solved that issue with the CBX Solar, the first mass-produced cargo box with an integrated sun-powered sheet on top.
Its lightweight Sunflare panel is 36 watts (five watts of power with a three-amp max), enough to power your spare batteries and electronics from two USB ports (there is no built-in battery to store the charge). Yakima claims the panel works great in low-light situations but exact charge times have yet to be determined. And there’s no loss of space in the carrier: it features 16 cubic feet of cargo room, comparable to its non-powered boxes, and is long enough to hold up to 185-centimeter skis. Plus, it opens from both sides and is easy to install on any type of crossbar.
There are plenty of car-rooftop solar options out there, but if you want simple installation, added storage, and a tidy little amount of juice for life on the road, the CBX Solar is a smart solution. We can’t believe no company made this sooner.