When opting to expand the hauling capability of your vehicle, there are many options. Most people think cargo box, but odd-sized items don’t always fit. The Yakima LoadWarrior is a great alternative that beats the box in many ways.

Yakima LoadWarrior Features:

  • Universal hardware for round, square and most factory racks
  • Weather-resistant, durable steel construction
  • Front fairing included
  • Front and rear load bars act as mounts for additional racks
  • Can be extended 18″ with LoadWarrior Extension
  • Size: 44″ L x 39″ W x 6.5″ H
  • Price: $299
Yakima Load Warrior - Timpanogos in the background

Wandering around the Wasatch with the Load Warrior – Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

The “Catch All” Basket

Heading into the summer, I was scratching my head how I’d haul some of the gear I knew I needed to haul. My Subaru Outback can haul plenty of gear, but I needed more space for big, awkward items. So, I started looking at options and realized that cargo baskets would provide the right kind of flexibility.

Enter the Yakima LoadWarrior with the ability to throw all kinds of gear on top — including the kitchen sink. The LoadWarrior is 39″ wide by 44″ long and is made to haul all kinds of odd-shaped gear. Installation is a breeze and will fit on a myriad of crossbars. I mounted it to my RockyMounts Ouray crossbars without a hitch.

Yakima Load Warrior Review

Load it up and keep it in place with the StretchNet.

Because the LoadWarrior is built to haul a variety of gear and even additional racks, it needs to have bombproof construction. Once mounted, there’s no flex to this thing as it just becomes one with the roof rack. I will say that over time, you’ll want to re-tighten the attachment knobs. I’ve found that I check them for tightness while I’m filling up with gas. It seems that every few weeks, I’ve had to tighten things up. Just keep an eye on that over time.

My first outing involved two packets of firewood, a large cooler and various other items. Being able to toss firewood and other messy items inside the LoadWarrior was instantly awesome. I’ve been using the LoadWarrior Stretch Net to keep everything in place. I’d say the net is a “must have” accessory to ensure everything you put in this basket stays put. It stretches easily across all kinds of items and securely hooks in place.

Yakima LoadWarrior Review

Who needs a pickup truck when you have the Load Warrior?

Subsequent outings involved a wide variety of backpacks, sleeping bags, tents and other items. I continued to be amazed as I added “just one more item” several times and always found it willing. Not once did I worry about items shifting or falling out because the basket itself is so sturdy and the Stretch Net keeps it all together — even on rough roads and at freeway speeds.

Yakima LoadWarrior - Bike Rack on Top

It’s up there pretty high, but you can put bike and ski racks onboard.

Further extending the capability, I strapped a RockyMounts BrassKnuckles bike rack on top and hauled my Niner ROS 9 Plus with ease. Keep in mind that the bike ends up getting pretty high up there — even on my Outback. That type of arrangement would be pretty unusable on a tall SUV, but you can do it if you need to. I think a ski rack or SUP mounts would be more realistic.

Some may wonder about the drag on gas mileageĀ and added noise. I noticed about a 1 MPG. drop with minimal wind noise. I’d say the included fairing has something to do with both of those items.

The Good

  • A must-have for hauling awkward gear
  • Easily installed on nearly any crossbar design
  • Super-sturdy and capable design
  • Can stack bike, ski or SUP racks on top
  • Add the Stretch Net for a security blanket
  • Bomber finish that looks new
  • Included fairing keeps things quiet and reduces debris

The Bad

  • Attachment knobs seem to loosen themselves
  • Racks on top of the LoadWarrior get pretty tall
  • Make sure your items are impervious to weather
  • You will notice a MPG drop — especially if you stack a ski rack on top

Bottom Line: Yakima LoadWarrior

Cargo boxes certainly have their place, but when you want to haul awkward or extremely dirty items, the LoadWarrior is just the ticket. This sturdy basket hauls all kinds of gear, looks awesome and turns almost any vehicle into a mini truck.

Buy Now: Visit REI.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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