YAKIMA has been around in the USA since the 1970s, but the brand is a relative newcomer to the Australian market, setting up here when the Kemflo Group purchased it – along with New Zealand’s Whispbar and Prorack – in 2010.
As a result, the local line-up of load-carrying equipment hasn’t always matched some of the more established players in the Australian market, but Yakima’s range has undergone steady growth over the past nine years and is now comprehensive.
These days, while Yakima USA produces most of the brand’s cargo management systems, sister company Yakima Australia engineers the brand’s off-road products. One of Yakima’s products, the MegaWarrior cargo basket, has been hanging on my garage wall for the past couple of years.
It used to be fitted to the low-profile crossbars on my previous 4x4 (a D22 Navara) but wasn’t compatible with the higher-profile crossbars on my current 4x4 (a Defender 110). The solution, or so I thought, would be to fit Yakima crossbars to the Defender but, until recently, no suitable gutter-mount legs were available.
4x4 Australia’s Deputy Editor, Justin Walker, mentioned to me about a year ago that Yakima would soon offer gutter-mount crossbars to suit vehicles with high rooflines and, sure enough, while perusing the Yakima Australia website a couple of months ago, I spotted the new 210mm gutter-mount legs.
4x4 product test: Yakima FullSwing bicycle carrier
Yakima LockNLoad crossbars
I OPTED for a set of three 1650mm LockNLoad crossbars mounted to the 210mm gutter-mount legs, with the setup providing a generous 150kg load capacity for $722.20. There’s also a 150kg capacity four-crossbar system for $963.60, as well as a 100kg capacity two-crossbar system for $481.80.
Fitting the secure gutter-mount legs isn’t rocket science, but there’s a bit more fiddling about compared to unsecured legs. A key-lockable security cover prevents unauthorised access to the bolt heads that clamp each of the legs to the vehicle’s gutter, to prevent theft.
The crossbars feature a low-profile design with a wide base, and they have a wide T-slot channel for accessory mounting. Protective rubber load strips need to be measured and cut to length when fitting, and these are aimed at protecting equipment carried on the crossbars as well as minimising wind noise; although, the latter isn’t really relevant when fitted to a rattly old Defender. The end caps are equipped with integrated tie-down points for securing gear, and the 1650mm bars offer generous overhang of the legs for looping over rope or tie-down straps.
One of my favourite design aspects of the LockNLoad crossbars might seem a bit gimmicky to some, but I now have six integrated bottle openers on the exterior of my Defender – one on each end of each crossbar.
With the 210mm legs the low-profile LockNLoad crossbars sit close to the roof of the Defender, adding a paltry 53mm to overall height which is fantastic for those who need to access underground parking.
This doesn’t leave much space between the crossbar and the vehicle roof, though, so to fit the MegaWarrior cargo basket you need to add optional height packers that raise the crossbar enough to fit the mounting bracket underneath.
Yakima LockNLoad crossbar prices
2-bar system: $481.80 (100kg)
3-bar system: $722.20 (150kg)
4-bar system: $963.60 (150kg)
Yakima MegaWarrior cargo basket
THE MegaWarrior is a quick and easy fit (just lift it into place and tighten the brackets around the LockNLoad crossbars) and, as the Defender’s roof is significantly longer than the Navara’s, I added an optional centre-mounted 560mm extension.
I also fitted the included cross brace that acts as another handy tie-down point and can also be situated at different spots to hold items in place, such as my large cargo box. Even with the cargo box up top, I can still easily fit three swags and camp chairs in the MegaWarrior.
Due to the added length with the extension fitted, I needed to relocate one of the brackets for the axe/shovel holder. I also fitted my awning to the LockNLoad crossbars using a universal awning bracket, and the generous width of the crossbars means there’s enough space between the awning and the MegaWarrior to squeeze in the optional Yakima Hi-Lift jack brackets and a jack.
With the custom wind fairing fitted to the MegaWarrior there’s no discernible addition to wind noise and, although this is hardly audible on the Defender, this was also the case when I had the setup fitted to my Navara.
There are plenty of accessories available to suit the $489 MegaWarrior including the aforementioned extension ($189), axe/shovel bracket ($65) and Hi-Lift jack bracket ($109), as well as a stretch net ($59), spare wheel carrier ($109) and light mounting brackets ($59).
For those after something a little more substantial and permanent, Yakima offers the LockNLoad Platform that fits directly to the LockNLoad legs. Made from powder-coated aluminium, the platform features east-west slats with built-in perimeter channels that allow for numerous positions to mount accessories.
It is available in a range of widths and lengths to suit just about any vehicle, and accessories include holders for recovery tracks, Hi-Lift jacks, gas bottles, jerry cans and more, as well as awning brackets, light brackets, load rollers and eye bolts.
Yakima MegaWarrior parts prices
Standard fitment: $489
560mm extension: $189
Axe/shovel holder: $65
Hi-Lift jack holder: $109