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Double-Decker Hitch Rack Hauls It All: Yakima Exo Critique

Mounting Yakima’s Exo modular hitch rack is like relocating from a studio apartment to a residence with a garage.

I do a lot of athletics and multi-exercise adventures that require a good deal of gear. So when I head out for the weekend, my Toyota Rav 4 Key is loaded so complete I simply cannot see out the back again window. What’s much more, my dogs have to sit uncomfortably atop duffel luggage, bicycle footwear, climbing ropes, a cooler, toolbox, and a lot more.

Luckily, that all transformed since I mounted Yakima’s Exo rack on my hitch. The fully modular rack has dry, protected storage bicycle and ski racks a burly basket that holds coolers and duffel bags (and also converts to a useful wheeled wagon) a bamboo desk — the checklist goes on.

The Exo is a exceptional rack that suits any 2-inch hitch receiver. It presents a single or two levels of carriage: the Exo SwingBase serves as a variety of lessen deck that can be paired with the Exo TopShelf that sits over. Each decks both keep any of the Exo storage baskets, containers, or racks.

yakima exo system - top shelf

Yakima Exo Modular Hitch Race: Setup

It all starts off with the SwingBase, developed on a swing-absent that connects to a hitch receiver with a locking screw-in pin. Its two folding arms have tracks for any of the Exo program add-ons (a lot more underneath).

With the SwingBase installed, storage and mounts slide into tracks on the arms and tighten down with locking screw knobs. The rack rotates absent from the auto for hatch access hatch. And a burly, overbuilt screw manage secures the closed SwingBase when it’s closed.

When it’s open up with loaded racks or storage, a quick-install leg supports the open rack.

Following, the SwingBase has a receptacle for Exo’s TopShelf, the higher deck storage and rack holder. It locks to the foundation. It also rotates independently of the foundation when the two aren’t locked with each other.

Yakima Exo Extras

DoubleUp Bike Rack & GearLocker

Most of the summer time, I have made use of Exo’s DoubleUp bike rack on the upper deck, and its GearLocker on the reduced deck. I keep all my riding gear in the dry, locked storage box. That keeps dust and stink out of my car, and keeps all my equipment in which I can seize it quickly at the trailhead.

The DoubleUp bicycle rack is the only mount that has to be set up on the TopShelf if you’re operating both of those higher and decreased decks. Every single other mount can be made use of on whichever degree you desire.

In the set up I have been functioning, the GearLocker box won’t open unless I rotate the upper deck with the bike rack away from the lower deck. When it’s a slight annoyance, acquiring the further storage has tested worthy of it.

So when I use a GearLocker on the lessen deck, as a substitute of using the locking bolt to safe the major amount to base degree, I secure the two amounts to every single other with a rapid-to-clear away pin and a knob.

yakima exo gearlocker
(Photograph/Berne Broudy)

GearWarrior Basket

When I did not have to have locked, dry, dustproof storage for my gear, I slid the GearWarrior basket into the decreased deck mount.

Yakima sells wheels and a handle that can transform the GearWarrior into a wagon. If you’ve ever hauled significant coolers, 6-individual tents, firewood, and other tenting equipment for any length, you’ll comprehend the benefit of this method.

The wheels put in in minutes instrument-totally free, and they can support up to 110 lbs .. So not only was the basket roomy and easy to load and unload, but it also helped me get my equipment to camp when I couldn’t drive to my site.


A person of the mounts I was unsure I’d use was the Exo’s BackDeck. The bamboo tabletop, which comes in a protective carry situation and have to be saved inside the automobile for transport, ended up remaining one of my favored Exo extras.

Write-up-journey beers were being even much more awesome served on this table. It experienced area for a cooler, snacks, a Bluetooth speaker, and equipment. I also made use of the BackDeck as a work stand to maintain applications, chain lube, rags, and additional for subject repairs.

And, when I parked to capture a sunset more than Lake Champlain, I set it up on the Exo’s decreased degree exactly where it was the great camp chair top to set beverages and foodstuff when kicking back again.

yakima exo gearwarrior basket
(Picture(Berne Broudy)

Exo LitKit

Due to the fact the rack will block your taillights and your license plate, Yakima also would make the LitKit, a license plate holder with taillights that mounts on the rack wherever it is seen to other drivers.  Be aware: You will need to have a wiring harness.

If you are setting up this rack on a motor vehicle other than a pickup, which likely arrived with a wiring harness, you are going to likely will need to have one particular mounted by a mechanic.

All of the sections and pieces of the Exo procedure lock to the Exo SwingBase and TopShelf. The GearHauler and bicycle and ski racks also lock, and the SwingBase and TopShelf lock to each other.

Yakima Exo Review

The most important downside to the rack is that it’s weighty. And when I’m making use of both equally higher and lessen decks, it’s challenging to see out my rear window. On a lot of vehicles, the system also blocks the backup digital camera.

Of system, the major downside is the price. The SwingBase and TopShelf are all around $930, and that is prior to adding the GearLocker ($419), Cargo Basket ($349), DoubleUp bicycle rack ($499), or BackDeck tabletop ($129). All mounts are particular to the Exo foundation rack, which can be mounted on a 2-inch hitch only.

From my point of view, even if I get all the mounts and storage selections, it is a heck of a ton less costly than acquiring a new auto with much more room. As an incurable gearhead who wishes to be completely ready for any adventure that offers by itself, this technique has been priceless to me.

And my pet dogs say that hitting the trailhead, crag, and place-in has grow to be a whole lot far more cozy due to the fact I mounted the Exo on our hitch.

yakima's exo system

The Exo methods is not great, but it is person-friendly, uncomplicated to run, and presents me room I’ve only dreamed of. And due to the fact it’s modular, I have additional mounts as I have to have them and as the funds lets.

So, I’m making a custom made method that satisfies all my demands that can also be transferred to a different automobile if I’m traveling with a mate, or when it is time to trade in my wheels for anything new.

Examine Selling price at REILook at Price tag at Backcountry