Slim

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Which model box?
I like the long and skinny boxes, because they are easier to load, and they leave roof rack space for kayaks or bikes. They are also long enough for fishing poles or XC skis if you do any of that. The wider boxes tend to be shorter.

If you are family with a quiver of skis for each member, you will need two of them, or one giant box.

BTW Watch out with big roofboxes or lots of other stuff on the rack, most cars only have a 165lbs roof load limit, which includes the rack and box itself. Yakima’s website will let you check the actual limit for your vehicle.


I love the roof box, because it keeps the snow out of your vehicle as well as sharp edges away from your trim. It’s also easier to load.

I line the bottom with a foam camping mat cut to fit (or you can buy an overpriced one from Yakima) and put some pieces of foam mat between pairs of skis to protect them.
 
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Slim

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. Our main complaint with the Sienna AWD is the lack of a place for a spare. We had all sorts of problems with the run flat tires it came with and recommend for replacement. Due to the AWD there’s no place under the car for a spare. We carry a full sized spare in the back of the van which takes up some cargo space. We’ll never have run flat tires again. They’re terrible.
We hemmed and hawed about 2wd or 4wd Sienna. Ended up with the 2wd because it was about $2000 cheaper, better fuel efficiency, less potential repairs, but most of all that tire situation and the fact that you lose the 8th seat option.

Since we already have an Impreza for must-get-to-work-through-the-snow-days for my wife, and it’s big enough to take on ski trips for our 4 person family, we chose the 2wd. I have Blizzard WS70 on it. There are 1 or 2 Times every winter where I don’t make it up a street in downtown Duluth (15-20% grades) in bad conditions, but mostly I try and stay off the road when it’s that nasty anyway.

We have taken our Sieanne from MN to CO on a week long trip with 3 adults and 3 kids. Roof box on top, Plenty of room. 6 pairs of DH skis and 2 pairs of XC skis. I fit nicely in back and I am 6’5”.

Nice thing about a minivan is that there are heating vents way in back, so you can put your boots back there.
 
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crgildart

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I like the long and skinny boxes, because they are easier to load, and they look roof rack space for kayaks or bikes. They are also long enough for fishing poles or XC skis if you do any of that. The wider boxes tend to be shorter.

If you are family with a quiver of skis for each member, you will need two of them, or one giant box.
Got a 21 on the driver's side and a bike tray, room for surfboards on the passenger side.. Could also do a Kayak or canoe on the bike tray side if you're in to that sort of thing.

 

Don in Morrison

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I fold down the rear seat on the narrow side of the back seat, and throw all the gear in there. One in the front passenger seat and one in the back seat of my Chevy Cruze. If I'm hauling more than two passengers, I hijack Grandma's Carryvan and fold down one or both third seats and throw the gear back there and the kids ride in the remaining seats.
 

Slim

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Got a 21 on the driver's side and a bike tray, room for surfboards on the passenger side.. Could also do a Kayak or canoe on the bike tray side if you're in to that sort of thing.

I would say that qualifies as a long and skinny model, not a short and wide model.
That one is narrower than the 18 and 21 cft Models from Yakima that I used to sell.
 

crgildart

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That one is narrower than the 18 and 21 cft Models from Yakima that I used to sell. That one is indeed no wider than my 12 cft model.
It's tall enough to stack 2-3 pairs high inside and long enough for 210 cm skis. I can get 7 pairs in there without too much drama..
 

Fishbowl

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What are you bringing on a ski trip for 2 kids and 2 adults that an Outback with a roof box won’t hold?

Serious question. Maybe you are racing and bring gate setting gear, or a team tent and heater, maybe you are camping. Maybe all your family plays an instrument they like to bring.

We have taken our Impreza from northern MN to Steamboat, with a family, including kids still in giant car seats, brought alpine and XC skis for the adults, alpine skis for the kids, ski clothes, going out clothes, etc. still had room left over. And we only have the 12 cft box.
Because I can’t even sit in the back of an Outback without my knees around my ears. Because two teenage girls cannot just pack one of anything. Because a roof box is good for skis but inconvenient for luggage. Because packing a car too tightly is a PITA. But mainly because we like to travel in comfort. Because we are all different?
 

Monique

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Because I can’t even sit in the back of an Outback without my knees around my ears.
Is this true with the current model? It's got a lot more room in the back seat than our old Outback.
 

Slim

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. Because we are all different?
Very true.
I admit I have a bias to packing less, which is why I posed the question, I was trying to broaden my horizon and see other viewpoints. I realize that my experience is not universal, and that others have different needs. I figured this was a good opportunity to get a different viewpoint explained. You made a blanket statement that an Outback was too small, and that doesn’t mesh with my experience, so I figured you could educate me as to why you feel that way.

Because I can’t even sit in the back of an Outback without my knees around my ears.?
As a another tall guy at 6’5” I feel your pain, when we were shopping for a small/mid sized car I purposely sat in the back of every one. Ended up with the Impreza because it was ok. (Not great, of course but no mid size car is). I had not considered that since I assumed that in a family trip the adults would be sitting in front.

Because two teenage girls can’t pack just one of something.?
Oh god, I hope that's not Inevitable. My girls are 7 and 10, so we will be there soon enough. Right now they are still of an age where reasoning with them works, but I know that’s not the case with teenagers.

. Because a roof box is good for skis but inconvenient for luggage. Because packing a car too tightly is a PITA.
Agreed on both counts. And yes, the Impreza was packed very tight for that trip, a larger car would have been easier to pack. But I figured an Outback is a larger car than the Impreza.

And of course I agree that a larger car might offer more comfort, in the sense of ease of packing and maybe more space next to your feet, but you said “an Outback is just not big enough”, which is an absolute statement, so I took it as such, to mean that it would not fit ski gear and clothes for a family of 4, and that was something I wanted some explanation on.
 
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DerKomisar

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When making local runs to ski areas, we use a roof mounted Thule snowpack ski rack.
My question is I’ve routinely load them binding side up, with the front tips in back. A guy at work swears by loading them base up and tips in front (pointed down). He says that it deflects the wind and also protects the bindings. I was thinking maybe the salt and road grit might wear the waxed base, but wondered if that might be worth it.
Might be a no better/no worse situation, but thought I’d ask the question to get some others insight.
 

KingGrump

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The sand, salt & grit getting in the bindings would be a bigger concern for me.
 

DerKomisar

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The sand, salt & grit getting in the bindings would be a bigger concern for me.
I guess that makes sense that going upside down would spare the binding of some direct contact with road debris. I haven’t seen many people driving with them this way, but maybe we should. Does anyone else load their skis in the roof rack upside down ?
 

Ogg

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I guess that makes sense that going upside down would spare the binding of some direct contact with road debris. I haven’t seen many people driving with them this way, but maybe we should. Does anyone else load their skis in the roof rack upside down ?
I don't think it matters road spray gets everywhere.
I think you will find very few people here that leave their skis exposed in a rack if they can possibly avoid it.
 

Andy Mink

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When making local runs to ski areas, we use a roof mounted Thule snowpack ski rack.
My question is I’ve routinely load them binding side up, with the front tips in back. A guy at work swears by loading them base up and tips in front (pointed down). He says that it deflects the wind and also protects the bindings. I was thinking maybe the salt and road grit might wear the waxed base, but wondered if that might be worth it.
Might be a no better/no worse situation, but thought I’d ask the question to get some others insight.
I remember using these back in the day. Biggest problem I had was some of the wider skis/bigger bindings didn't allow it to zip. Maybe the newer ones are different?
6688.jpg
 

EricG

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We survive with a forester with a yakima LoPro box (fits in the garage). 2 Kids in the back seat (in booster seats), gear in the roof box and dog in the back.
 
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