Yakima Racks Camping Weekend Getaway: Big Bear, CA

Andrew Villablanca is a Los Angeles based outdoors enthusiast. If he isn’t mountain biking, he’s out on an adventure in his truck to explore the Southwest. His 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 is equipped with a Yakima SkyRise HD rooftop tent, SlimShady Awning, and OutPost HD rack.

LA Weekend Road Trip

Leave the Home Office Behind

For a lot of us, the past year has been anything but what we expected. With all semblance of a routine gone, it’s been hard to keep track of the little things, like working out or grocery shopping, much less trips or getaways. While I had planned countless trips, each month has come and gone without me leaving the office, aka home. After months of staying put, my girlfriend and I decided it was finally time to get out. While flying was obviously out of the cards, we figured why not take the social distancing thing to the woods, to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.

Living in Los Angeles means that we have a laundry list of interesting places to explore, but this time we set a two-hour perimeter for ourselves to keep things a little more manageable. We set our sights to the north east of the city looking for a mountain escape.

Just a couple of hours from LA, Big Bear, CA is a mountain oasis that feels far removed from the bustle of the concrete jungle. The winter months are perfect for desert trips to Joshua Tree, Mojave or Anza-Borrego, but the heat of the summer makes the mountains east of Los Angeles the perfect getaway. Big Bear is one of my favorite day or weekend trips to get out and enjoy some elevation. While the main drag of town gets crowded during the summer, hundreds of miles of forest, single track hiking, and dirt roads await those willing to go a little farther. It’s always nice to trade the noise of the city for the gentle whir of the wind through the pines.

Camping In The Skyrise Rooftop Tent: Ready For Rain Or Shine

We left early in the morning, hoping to set up camp by midday so we could get out and take in the scenery. The hot day and humid conditions gave us a welcome thunderstorm as we rolled into town. As we drove over to Holcomb Valley to find a spot to set up camp, the rain intensified. It seemed like our day of hiking was going to be cut short, but we decided to truck on in search of the perfect camp site. Eventually after a few miles of driving we found a spot protected by tall pines and nestled up against a large rock feature. Like magic, the rain subsided to a gentle drizzle as we rolled up to camp and started to open the tent and get out our gear. It only took a few minutes to open the tent, set up the rainfly, and unfurl the awning to provide protection from the drizzle. When you’ve got the right gear, you’re never unprepared, which means a little rain isn’t the end of a camping weekend!

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Ford Bronco Sport Ultimate Outdoor Rig

The Sky Island region of southeast Arizona is among the most biologically diverse areas in North America. From parrots to jaguars, this desert oasis is beautiful, fragile and worth taking the time to explore. Four friends set off on a 220-mile bike relay in their all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport to test their ability and introduce people to a place they know and love.

In episode one, learn tips for getting the Ford Bronco Sport ready for your next trip — what to pack, how to organize, and installation tips for rooftop tents and bike racks.

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Gear Junkie – The Best Rooftop Tents of 2021 – Yakima SkyRise Medium

From GearJunkie By Berne Broudy

The Best Rooftop Tents of 2021

If you’ve never slept in a rooftop tent, it’s hard to imagine how different it is from sleeping on the ground.

For overland adventures, life on the road, or just an elevated and more comfortable campout experience, rooftop tents are the way to go. As options for car- and truck-mounted tents expand, it can be tough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Here are our picks for the best rooftop tents.

If you’ve never slept in a rooftop tent, it’s hard to imagine how different it is from sleeping on the ground. Rooftop tent (RTT) sleeping feels safer and more secure than sleeping in a tent on the ground.

Plus, RTTs offer a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings, airflow that’s unheard of in a traditional tent, protection (and peace of mind), and generally superior comfort for sleeping.

The drawbacks: Unlike a ground tent or a tow-behind camper, when your tent is on your roof, you have to break camp before you drive away. And, for those who make nighttime visits to the loo, there’s a ladder to negotiate between you and relief (unless you’re willing to get creative).

Also, if your dog gets to share the human bed, practice your one-handed ladder climb before you attempt to hoist them up. Multiply that effort if you have more than one dog.

Not every rooftop tent fits every vehicle nor every budget. But some tents work for almost every car or truck. Rooftop tents are all pricier than even the plushest backpacking tent, but if you’re able to invest, you won’t regret it.

Best 3-Person Rooftop Tent: Yakima SkyRise Medium

Two of the biggest barriers to entry for campers considering a rooftop tent are weight and price. Yakima’s SkyRise ($1,599) is not only relatively light, but it’s also competitively priced for a three-person tent. And it’s the most similar to backpacking and car camping tents that many backcountry enthusiasts are already familiar with.

The SkyRise is made from the same stuff as most tents you’d pitch on the ground. The 210D nylon is light and breathable, with mesh ventilation panels that double as windows into the Milky Way. All the windows and the two skylights have solid and mesh panels that zip open for ventilation and views.

Much like a standard ground tent, the SkyRise’s waterproof fly is polyurethane-coated, and the tent can be set up with the fly on or off. Aluminum poles give the tent structure. They’re strong, pre-set, and easy to engage once you manually flip this tent open.

Consider a three-person tent if you’ll be sleeping with a child. This is also a good option if you’re a dog owner whose dog climbs ladders, or if you’re willing to shuttle your pooch into your rooftop nest. Everyone will appreciate the plush, 2.5-inch-thick, wall-to-wall mattress.

And after this tent gets some use, you’ll also appreciate that the mattress has a removable cover for easy cleaning.

The SkyRise M is one of the easiest tents to mount on a roof rack. It goes on and comes off tool-free.

It also locks to your roof with the same system used in all Yakima bars and mounts, SKS lock cores, which are included with the tent.

  • Dimensions open: 56″ x 96″ x 48″ H
  • Dimensions closed: 58″ x 48″ x 16.5″
  • Sleeping footprint: 56″ x 96″
  • Weight: 115 lbs.
Pros:
  • Super easy to mount
  • Locks to your roof
Cons:
  • Lighter fabrics may flap more on windy nights

For the other tents that made the list checkout GearJunkie.com

Dropping In With Robin

Dropping In With Robin

We caught up with pro snowboarder Robin Van Gyn to get her winter report.

November 2020

Professional athletes are just like normal people, except for, you know, being faster and stronger. So, just like for everyone else, this year has been strange and challenging for those whose lives and livelihoods revolve around getting outside and getting after it. This is especially true if your work involves flying around the globe chasing winter storm cycles in search of blower pow and untracked lines, which is pretty much snowboarder Robin Van Gyn’s job description. But being flexible and having a good attitude are also part of the what it takes to perform at the highest levels, and those two attributes are at the core of how Van Gyn takes on the world. We caught up with her during some down time at home in British Columbia, as she prepares for a winter season unlike any other she’s faced.

It’s been a crazy year, but winter is almost here. What have you been doing to prepare? (Have you been treating it differently?)

Normally, I’d be in gyms, in workout classes, at the resort early. This year, I’m sort of grounded and doing my training from home. With COVID and not being able to travel the way we normally would, we have to pivot to be in our homes and learn how to do our jobs within those confines.

For me, it’s been interesting to stay home and really explore my own backyard. I fly a lot, so now I get to travel by car. In the spring, I went out into the B.C. backcountry and felt like I was seeing things I’d never seen before. I realized that when it comes to my own area, I really don’t know it all. I’ve barely touched the tip of the iceberg.  So, I’m stoked to expand my exploration of B.C. and really get into my own backyard more. There’s so much to see—you could never see it all!

It’s a really good reminder that we don’t need as much as often think. We can live a bit more simply if we just get creative.

What are you looking forward to this season?

I’m really excited for the Natural Selection contest series. Travis Rice has been scheming up this backcountry-focused contest tour for a long time, and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition. There’s three events—B.C., Jackson Hole, and Alaska. I’m not totally sure how they are going to manage it, but I’m really stoked to see what it looks like.

Personally, I’m in the middle of shooting and producing a 5-part series about women in action sports called “Fabric.” It’s a two-year project, and I’m working hard to make it come to life. Filming, production, and post-production will all be a challenge this year, for sure. For us, it’s all about funding. There’s so much uncertainty, which makes it hard for sponsors to commit, but I’m confident and optimistic about it coming to life.

Things will look a little different on the mountain this year. What’s your approach to tailgating or overnighting in the parking lot or at the trailhead?

I’m a veteran tailgater! So, this is in my wheelhouse. I’m excited to see the larger community embrace this kind of approach and spend a little more time outside together. I’m a backcountry rider, so that’s what we always do. We end the day at the trailhead and celebrate the day and our time in the mountains. For resorts, I think it will simplify things. There’s a lot of expense involved with resort skiing, and this approach brings the mountain experience back to its roots. You come together in the lot, have some snacks, have a beer, talk about the day. I love it.

What are your must-have items for the winter tailgate?

I always have a cooler. Mine’s bear proof, so I can leave it the back of the truck. Inside: hot lunch; cold drinks; lots of snacks. It’s something I love to have—a mobile snack situation. I love having it as a way to gather people together.

Do you have any advice for people heading into this winter in particular?

Be patient. I’m pretty used to being outside, so I know how to be out and be comfortable for long periods of time. But for a lot of folks, it’s not that way. It takes a little bit of getting used to. Don’t give up! You’ll learn what you need, whether it’s better gloves or more layers or embracing the sweat of going uphill.

I truly encourage people to stick with it. Being efficient in the outdoors takes a little time, but once you start to get it, you love it and you never let it go.

Pictured with Yakima OverHaul HD truck towers with HD Bars Medium (60”), and SkyBox 16.

Yakima ‘EXO System’ Turns Your Car Into a Pickup

From GearJunkie by Berne Broudy

Bike and ski racks, gearboxes, even a BackDeck to grill out — with the Yakima EXO system, it’s all on the hitch of your car.

The secret behind Yakima’s latest innovation — the EXO System — lies with its modular rack system. With it, car campers of all levels can enhance any vehicle’s storage and organization with seasonal parts and pieces, like bike and ski racks, that swap with a click.

“Inspired by the overlanding space, we saw an opportunity to do something on the hitch that hadn’t been done before,” said Yakima product manager Jonny Wood.

The foundation of the system is the EXO Swing Base, which mounts to any 2-inch hitch receiver and cleats to EXO’s various parts and pieces, tool-free. The Swing Base sits on a swing arm that levers toward the side of your vehicle to move the base and attachments away from the trunk, allowing you to access your hatch or tailgate.

But it doesn’t stop there. Another attachment, the EXO TopShelf, turns that EXO Swing Base into a double-decker rack. Add it to the Swing Base for two levels of gear storage; install a box or basket on the bottom and a bike or ski rack on top.

Yakima EXO System: Accessories to Match Your Needs

The EXO system has parts and pieces to personalize a system that meets your needs. Accessories include the Gear Warrior basket, Gear Locker storage box, DoubleUp two-bike tray rack, Snowbank ski/snowboard carrier, organizer totes, a bamboo tabletop that turns the rack into a camp table, and Warrior Wheels, an adapter kit that converts the cargo basket into a wagon.

For example, the EXO GearLocker has the functionality of a rooftop cargo box, but positioned for easy access. It detaches, even loaded, so you can carry it to your campsite for watertight storage. It also means no unloading and reloading until you actually need something inside.

GearTotes fit inside the GearLocker to keep things organized. Durable, collapsible, and dividable, they’re made from ripstop nylon with a weight rating of up to 50 pounds. Load them with groceries, sport-specific gear, or your camp kitchen.

The EXO TopShelf, meanwhile, holds the two-bike DoubleUp tray rack at a height that keeps the bikes out of road grime. When you’re not carrying a box or basket, the rack also mounts on the bottom shelf. The TopShelf also holds a ski/snowboard rack where it’s much easier to load and unload than on your vehicle’s roof.

Yakima EXO: More Extras

One of the most clever and unexpected pieces of the EXO system is the WarriorWheels accessory. Unclip the WarriorBasket from your base and clip it to these wheels, and you have a wagon to transport heavy, bulky stuff — like firewood, an oversized cooler, or your overloaded Gear Warrior basket. The WarriorWheels and handle attach while the basket is still on your base rack, so you can drop it and go.

If you live or travel somewhere where cops get cranky when they can’t see your plates, you’ll appreciate EXO’s LitKit. Mount it on the SwingBase, and it gives any vehicle taillights and a license plate a mount where they’re most visible.

Last, but not least, the EXO BackDeck may actually tie the WarriorWheels for “cool and surprising” innovation. Mounted to the rack, it becomes a work surface for bike wrenching, food prep, or a backcountry bar. And when you’re not using it, it stores in a bag inside your car.

Yakima EXO System: Price

When I mapped out the pieces I’d like, it’s not cheap. The EXO Swingarm Base costs $499. Add the top shelf for $379. The Gear Locker adds an additional $399 with organizer totes at $49 each.

Then, the two bike rack costs $479, while the back deck table runs $129 — that’s nearly $2,000 for a three-season EXO system. And all that before adding a ski rack or the basket and wheels. It’s close to the same cost of buying a premium roof box and rack to hold it, along with a hitch-mounted bike rack.

So, it’s sure to give some potential buyers sticker shock. But the convenience and versatility could well make the price worth it for some.

Stay tuned for more on the Yakima EXO.

Introducing – Yakima EXO

Check back or subscribe for more info on the Yakima EXO coming 2021.

Yakima OnRamp – E-Bike Hitch Rack

From snews

YAKIMA OnRamp

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore., October 2020 – The transportation of Electronic Bicycles, or “E-Bikes” just became a whole lot easier. Yakima is proud to introduce the OnRamp, an incredibly convenient way to load and transport heavier than average bikes, such as E-bikes. With an included bike ramp and fully adjustable cradles built to carry everything from mountain bikes to beach cruisers, the OnRamp is one of the most innovative and versatile bike racks on the market.

“The OnRamp will change the way that you transport heavy bicycles like E-Bikes,” said Garrett Barnum, Category Director. “If you are a bicycle enthusiast, then you know how much of a hassle it can be trying to wrestle a heavy bike, or multiple heavy bikes onto a rack. The OnRamp now makes that process a breeze when you can simply roll your bike up the ramp and into position. Plus, with its adjustability to fit different frame sizes, it is a bike transportation no-brainer.”

The hitch mounted OnRamp has the highway hauling capacity of two bikes up to 66-lbs per bike, with off-road and RV ratings coming in at 40lbs a piece. Although designed with E-bikes in mind, it has adjustable cradles which will accommodate a wide array of bicycles types, including urban, road, and mountain bikes with a wheelbase up to 50”, and tires up to 3.25”. Wider tires up to 27.5 x 4.5” wide are also acceptable with the FatStrap Kit (sold separately). The adjustable options of the rack also minimize any bike to bike interference that can occur while travelling. The aforementioned bike ramp makes the loading and unloading simple while also neatly storing right on the rack itself. Once the bikes are loaded, the OnRamp can tilt so there is still full accessibility to your trunk.

Like most Yakima products, the OnRamp (MSRP $549) comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty and is available now at Yakima.com and associated retailers.

About Yakima
A pioneer in vehicle racks and cargo management solutions since 1979, Yakima is known for its rugged and dependable products. Built for a wide variety of recreationists, Yakima products embody the company’s commitment to quality and safety and its passion for the outdoors. Yakima Products, Inc. is headquartered outside of Portland, Oregon.

For more information visit yakima.com

Follow Yakima on social media: facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and youtube.com.

How Yakima Knows Its Racks Will Fit On Your Car

By James Riswick From AutoBlog.com

Yakima’s Fit Team scouts car news and dealers to get settings and instructions on its site ASAP

As I’m writing this, Autoblog won’t get its first drive of the all-new 2021 Mercedes GLA-Class for another 11 days. It’s as new as a new car can get. And yet, I already know that my Yakima FullBack bike rack will fit on the liftgate. I even know that I’ll need to use hub setting 5 and will be limited to 60 pounds of bike. There are pictures, too.

That’s because Yakima’s Fit Team is seriously on top of things. Although they can coordinate with manufacturers ahead of time, such as with the 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport, most of their “fits” are determined by simply getting access to the cars at dealerships and determining which of Yakima’s products will fit and, if they do, identify instructions for customers of the car and product alike.

“We follow new releases,” said Yakima fit technician Taylor Thompson. “We’re looking at all the (sites) for news about the upcoming vehicles that are coming out. Part of our job is knowing when those vehicles are going to be hitting the lots, because we’ve got to get our hands on it and be able to tell people where to place (the products) on their car.”

Sure enough, a new GLA recently arrived at Mercedes-Benz of Wilsonville near Yakima’s headquarters in Lake Oswego, Ore. As one of the Portland-area dealers Yakima has a relationship with, the Fit Team was soon on the scene to size up the redesigned subcompact crossover.

“We could look at a car yesterday on the lot, and we’ll come and get that fit entered in, and our website is populated with information the next day,” Thompson said. “So you have close to real-time information. It makes us very nimble and quick to the consumer.”

The site in question is yakimatech.com, and it’s not just for the newest cars for sale. They have fits going back decades, with a 1976 Porsche 924 the oldest one listed on the site. More helpfully, it makes it very easy to see which of Yakima’s products will fit a car you already own and then provide the appropriate product settings for your car if necessary. In many cases, there are diagrams provided (usually for roof racks and rails) or pictures of cars on dealer lots (usually bike racks like my FullBack). The latter is a terrific idea to make sure that what you accomplished by following the instructions matches what the Fit Team managed with the same car.

After all, getting the right fit is paramount.

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Water Woman and Yakima Rackpack’r – Kayla Lockhart

For as long as she can remember, Kayla Lockhart has always been drawn to the water. Born and raised in Minnesota, she was the only one of seven sisters to gravitate towards the hunting and fishing her dad loved. “I didn’t have the easiest childhood, and I would use the outdoors as a tool for healing,” she says. “When things were tough, I would seek out water and walk to the lake. Luckily, in Minnesota there’s always a lake nearby.”

A committed angler, Kayla is constantly on the move in search of new water and new challenges. In 2019, she got a lot of both. “Last year I experienced some intense highs, and some serious lows,” she says. “I got married, fished incredible water in Colombia, and caught my Holy Grail of fish in Mexico. But I was also in a serious car accident and went through some really down days. Now I’m looking forward to a slightly less crazy year.” Knowing her, it may be less crazy, but probably not less busy.

A Year of Gear

Going through a few vehicles in one year, Kayla definitely put her Yakima set-up to the test with her on-the-road lifestyle. “We road trip every year to Jackson, WY, and last year on the way home our brand-new van broke down—like all the way broke. We had to buy a new van to get home,” she says. “Then a few months later, we were hit by another driver and that van was totaled.” Luckily, the van suffered the worst of the accident.

“Honestly, I was dreading the transfer of our rack system,” recalls Kayla, “But it was so easy! We just unlocked the racks and switched it all over to the new vehicle.” Kayla uses a combo of a SkyBox 16SlimShady Awning, and LoadWarrior cargo basket to carry her gear and keep her camp dialed, but she’s most fired up about her newest Yakima addition: the DoubleHaul“I’m super excited about the DoubleHaul rod carrier!” says Kayla. “It’s so nice to be on the river and when you’re ready to check out a new spot, just slide your rod in and move on.”

Fishing Line = Lifeline

There’s plenty on the list for her in 2020, including another trip to Mexico, but it’s a project closer to home that she’s really excited about. “In the summer of 2020 I’ll be helping launch the Portland, OR chapter of the Mayfly Project,” Kayla says. Founded in 2015 in Arkansas, The Mayfly Project is a non-profit organization that uses fly fishing as a catalyst to mentor children in foster care and give them tools to manage their mental and emotional health. “I grew up as a foster child, with some challenging family circumstances,” says Kayla. “I didn’t start fly fishing until I was in my 20s, and I fully believe if I’d discovered it when I was 10, it would have helped so much.”

Kayla knows firsthand the positive impact of holding a rod, and the power of community to help people navigate challenges, both of which have guided her to a life connected to the water. And she’s committed to expanding that community, to help protect the outdoors she loves. “The more people fly fishing and caring about the waters, the more people who can give a voice to the fight to protect our watersheds and our natural resources,” she says. Spoken like someone who knows how to read the water.

Men’s Journal: Outdoor Retailer 2020: The 10 Coolest Products We Saw This Year

From Men’s Journal by The Editors

Every January, the companies that make winter gear, including skis, boots, jackets, and more, gather in Denver at Outdoor RetailerOpens in a new Window. to show off their latest technology and designs. Gear will hit shelves at your local retailer between the day the show doors open and next fall and winter. We combed the aisles for the latest and greatest, and this is a sneak peek at the gear we’re most excited to put to the test for ourselves.

Yakima CBX SOLAR

Designed in conjunction with Sunflare, this is the first commercially available cargo box to hold your skis and other gear that can also power your campsite. The box has an integrated 36 Watt 5 Volt (3 amp) solar panel that’s permanently affixed to the box lid and powers two USB connections. Other innovations include the removable torque tool that eliminates knobs, clicks when the box is properly installed, and that stows out of the way of gear storage. A new open/close lever features a handle that’s easy to grab even with gloves on. The glossy anthracite box has a matte micro-texture and streamlined shape.

Available later this year $1299