If you follow Preppers Illustrated, you probably know that we recently started converting our 1994 Toyota T100 into a Bug Out Vehicle.
I also told you to stay tuned for the first modification to our BOV and this article will describe what we decided to do first.
All preppers know how important storage space is so we decided to do something to increase the amount of gear we can carry on our truck. You might be wondering why we decided to do this because it’s a truck that has plenty of storage space in the bed. While that is true, our plans are to use the bed of the pickup to sleep in if we ever have to stay mobile while bugging out. This means that we need to be creative and find other places to store gear.
The first logical location for storage space was the roof but unfortunately our particular truck doesn’t have roof racks. This led us on the hunt for a roof rack system that could be installed on vehicles that don’t come from the factory with preinstalled roof racks.
Our search led us to a well known and highly respected company by the name of Yakima. After a quick search through their website, we learned that they have a product called “Q Towers™” that seemed to be the solution to our problem. The clever folks at Yakima designed a product that makes it quite easy to mount roof racks to a “naked roof” like ours.
While browsing through their website, we discovered that they also sell a cargo basket that mounts to their crossbars called the “LoadWarrior”. It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that this would be an extremely handy accessory to have on a BOV so I contacted Yakima and asked if they would like to be a part of our Bug Out Vehicle build and send me the products that I saw on their website.
I was quite pleased when they agreed to do just that. So, before you read on, you should know that I didn’t have to pay for the Yakima products that I’m about to describe to you. With that being said, what you’re about to read is my honest opinion. I would write the same review whether I paid for these products or received them free.
What Yakima Sent Me
The following is a list of the products that Yakima sent me for this portion of our BOV build:
- 4 – Q Towers
- 4 – Q Tower locking cylinders
- 2 – 58″ Round crossbars
- 1 – LoadWarrior cargo basket
- 2 – LoadWarrior cargo basket locking brackets
- 1 – LoadWarrior stretch net
My Thoughts About the Installation Process
When all the boxes arrived, my husband and I were a bit overwhelmed at first. Our initial impression was that it was going to be quite a project to install these accessories but to our surprise we were mistaken.
It all actually went together quite easily. The most difficult part for us was getting the Q Towers spaced evenly and centered on the cross bars. Truth be told, this step really didn’t have to be difficult but my husband has OCD and consequently he spent more time than he should have getting the measurements correct down to the 32nd of an inch.
I’ll spare you the details about how to install these parts because there are lots of good YouTube videos on that subject and the instructions that come with the products were easy for us to follow.
What I will tell you is that the entire installation process only took about an hour and a half.
My Impressions About the Quality of the Products
Both my husband and I are extremely impressed with the build quality of the Q Towers, crossbars, and the LoadWarrior. We actually own another brand of cargo basket that is installed on one of our other vehicles and the LoadWarrior seems to be more rugged. It even came with a windshield to help improve the aerodynamics of having a cargo basket mounted on our truck’s roof.
After we finished installing all of these Yakima products on our vehicle, we were both quite impressed with how tightly the system is attached to the truck. We can grab hold of the rack and pull back and forth and the truck will rock side to side but the Yakima products are rock solid on the roof. This REALLY surprised us both considering the fact that our truck didn’t come with factory installed roof racks or a mounting system.
I would like to point out that if you’re going to use the Q Tower mounting system, be sure to purchase the optional locking cores. Otherwise, anyone could easily unfasten the Q towers and steal your entire rack in a matter of seconds.
Another product that we’re glad they sent was the locking LoadWarrior mounting brackets. Yakima made the LoadWarrior mounting brackets so that their cargo basket can easily be removed to make room for their other rooftop storage systems. This is a GOOD thing but without the optional locking brackets, it could make it that much easier for a thief to make off with your cool cargo basket.
The Bottom Line
To be honest with you, we weren’t quite sure if we would be pleased with the look of these products on our truck. Mainly because the basket is longer than the cab of the truck. We chose to deal with this issue by mounting the LoadWarrior so that part of the basket hangs over our camper shell. It still seems to be quite sturdy and it looks really nice.
To sum this review up, I can say with a very clear conscious that at this point I can’t find anything I don’t like about the products Yakima sent me. The installation was a breeze, the build quality appears to be top notch, and now we have extra cargo space on the top of the cab of our truck. Ever since we installed this rack on our cab, we’ve noticed that not many trucks that we see have this accessory. As a prepper, I don’t understand why because I absolutely LOVE it!
In my opinion, if you’re building a bug out vehicle, you really can’t afford to not have a way of attaching gear to the roof of your vehicle. Yakima has a full line of products to suit most vehicles. I highly suggest that you check out yakima.com and see if they have accessories that will be a good fit for your BOV.