A whisper-quiet solution for the family holiday
By PETER CHAPMAN
I SHOULD say at the start that I love my Toyota FJ Cruiser.
I fell in love with the boxy 4WD a few years ago when I did a test drive for the Chronicle, so it was no big decision for me to buy one when I decided to trade up my former vehicle.
The FJ handles like a car, has great acceleration and gives a smooth ride, and nothing seems to trouble it when you take it off-road.
So what is my issue and why am I writing this story?
Well, I believe if you have a 4WD, then it’s not right to just drive it around the suburban streets and down the highway.
And this is where I found I had a problem.
The FJ ticks all the boxes except when it comes to having loads of luggage space in the rear. It’s not alone in this category of 4WDs, especially when you have to fit kids and the wife, plus all the camping gear in the back or on the roof.
Not that I am suggesting putting the family on the roof.
My 4WD holiday journey was aimed at the magnificent Fraser Island, so simply attaching a trailer onto the back of the car wasn’t going to be the best solution, especially when the tracks are bone dry as they are at the moment.
Hence I looked at what options I had to use my roof space effectively.
My first priority, especially for roof racks, was that they didn’t whistle constantly while I rolled down the road.
Investigations into what was available led me to the Yakima website and their Whispbars.
Like the name suggests, they are whisper-quiet.
So with quiet roof racks I now needed to find something aerodynamically designed to go on top of them.
Once again, I found the solution through Yakima with their SkyBoxes.
The good thing about the SkyBox is that they can be solidly locked, giving you security if you have to park the vehicle in an open location.
The SkyBox was simple to fit, and when loaded, carried my tent, sleeping bags, fishing gear and four fold-up chairs.
With that loaded away on top and weighing less than 70kg, I easily loaded the rest of my camping gear into the back.
That included the ice box, the slab of Crownies and half a dozen great white wines to have with the fish that I was going to catch.
Mind you, I didn’t catch any, but that’s a story for another day.
Getting mobile with all my rooftop gear cost me just over $1000, which wasn’t cheap, but it gave me total access to all the sand tracks of Fraser without one forced stop to dig the vehicle out of soft sand.
Many fellow travellers didn’t have the same luck. That’s probably why I was asked so many times where I managed to find my rooftop SkyBox.
The Skybox 18
The Skybox 18 (as the name implies) offers 18 cubic feet, or 510 litres, of cargo space, and with quick-installation hardware, it will mount on to your car rack system in a matter of seconds without any tools.
It opens on either side, so you’ll never have to do laps around your vehicle to get your stuff, and is long enough to fit 215cm skis.
Weight: 23.6kg (52lbs)
Dimensions: 233.7cm x 91.4cm x 40.6cm
Capacity: 510 litres (18 cubic feet). Fits Cross bar spreads of 61cm thru 106.7cm.
Last updated: November 12, 2013