Yakima ShowCase 15 Quicksilver
Field Test: Colorado’s roads rumble with Subarus sporting sticker-splattered cargo boxes, but my 2007 Forester and Yakima ShowCase stand out from the pack. How can I know? In parking lots, strangers tell me. With 15 cubic feet of cargo space, the box is more than ample: On a camping trip in May, it fit four people’s gear. Dual-sided openings and a low, wide design invite stress free access, and it easily fits six pairs of skis up to 180 centimeters (taller skiers can upgrade to the 20). After logging some 500-highway miles, I noticed a minimal effect on fuel efficiency, offset by more room for carpooling. Bonus points: The box took less than 10 minutes to install, and didn’t require a single tool.
Why It’s Timeless: You can’t leave the ShowCase unlocked without leaving the key in—helpful for the absentminded.
Vac Rac Quad Rack
Field Test: Handy for transporting rigged fly rods to various fishing holes, these twin towers attach to your car’s hood and roof with powerful suction cups (think cat burglars in action flicks). Support posts are high enough to keep large-arbor reels from damaging your vehicle’s paint job, and the elastic shock cords kept four rods secure at 45-mph speeds.
Why It’s Timeless: Yank them off after your fishing session and they stow into a tidy, 12×12-inch tote. —Kelly Bastone
Thule T2 Pro Bike Rack
Field Test: I put heavy use into my original T2. To me, such tray-style hitch mount racks are the ideal way to carry delicate carbon fiber road bikes and modern mountain bikes with their ever-changing axle dimensions and tire sizes. The new T2 Pro is the heir to that time-tested rack with a bunch of smart upgrades. The best of those? The release trigger to fold or unfold the rack was moved outboard—it’s now easier to lift the rack, especially if you have to lower it with bikes onboard to access a window hatch. Better still, the new wheel trays accommodate everything from 23mm-wide road bike tires to 5-inch wide fat bike rubber.
Why It’s Timeless: Last fall, a sleepy college kid rear-ended my original T2 on the interstate. The bikes were nearly unscathed, but the rack was battered. I bent it back into place and still use it. These are tough products. —Marc Peruzzi
From our Early Summer 2016 issue.