Pack Like a Pro with Yakima

We get a lot of questions about how we store all of our gear and about our rack set up in general.  We wanted to just show you guys the ins and outs of our system!

We love to do anything outdoors.  If there is any activity that gets us outside of the RV, we are into it!  The only thing is, most of these sports require gear.  And when you are living full-time in a tiny motorhome, space for gear is pretty limited.  We had to come up with a plan of how we were going cram our gear-head lifestyle into a our home on wheels.  We did not want to end up sharing our bed with our yoga mats and bike pump!

With a pair of Skyboxes we were able to move things from the inside space of the RV, to the top of the rig.  One of our boxes is completely dedicated to storing our kayaks.  Even though our Oru Kayaks fold up, they are still pretty large!  Luckily for us they are no match for the gear-swallowing powers of the Skybox 21!

Our kitty companion (Vladimir Kitten) loves to help us pack up gear.  He only sticks around with us because we tell him that we will take him to “Catagonia” some day.

The other box holds the rest of our “everythings”, as Madison says.  We refer to this box as The Garage.  It’s the place we banish the ‘not everyday’ things.  However, I still find myself up there everyday getting the essential gear for that day’s activities.

Keeping it organized is another matter.  We rely heavily on Mountainsmith gear cubes to keep it sorted.  Red is climbing.  Blue is slacklining.  Black is biking. Green is miscellaneous.  We also use a few duffels for camping/backpacking stuff that we throw up there.  Keeping it sorted into activities helps us get what we need quickly.

To give you an idea of how much gear one of these swallows, here’s a list of what we are able to cram in there: climbing gear (a full rack, multiple ropes, and our helmets), high lining setup (300+ feet of webbing and steel), biking essentials (helmets, shoes, pump, tubes, tools), yoga mats, camping table, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, a tent, backpacking stove and accoutrements, both of our backpacks, and our supply of Our Vie t-shirts.  It’s seriously a lot of stuff!  It is really pretty insane when we list it out like that!

Bringing the bikes was a big deal – in fact it was a make or break deal for us.  We weren’t about to tour to all of the beautiful places in the United States and not bring our bikes along.

The front loader racks make it easy for us to take down and ride.  We don’t have to worry about putting on wheels, we can just go.  And they are solid too!  With the bikes on the top we are a whopping 13 feet tall!  We have to (shamefully) admit that we have hit a few low-hanging branches!  Even so, these things haven’t even budged.  Luckily we haven’t hit anything too thick – yikes.


One of the best features of this whole set up, is that there is only ONE KEY.  We have one key to lock the box for the kayaks, The Garage, and the built-in bike locks on the front loaders.  We’re already juggling a huge ring of keys for every little compartment on the RV, so the same key system is a life-simplifying piece of rack engineering;  It’s brilliant.

At the end of the day, our Yakima Rack setup is what makes the trip possible.  If we didn’t have a way to bring the gear we need, our adventures wouldn’t happen.  We’re just glad we can keep the stuff up on the roof, instead of up in our business.


  1. Dave

    …so I have two oru kayaks as well and looking into roof boxes, how much excess space is in your skybox 21 with the kayaks (ie I’m trying to determine if two oru kayaks will fit in a smaller skybox than the 21 such as the 18 or is a 21 a must). appreciate your thoughts! Thanks! If you have a packed view of your kayak box that be awesome to see – Dave

    • Cees

      Hey Dave! So it is a VERY tight fit in our roof top box. Its the width on the sides that will get you. Honestly, I don’t think they could fit in the smaller one (if I remember right the 18 is even more narrow?) There is room enough for life jackets and paddles as well… because there is some give on the height, and in the front. We are currently out of the country, but if you want to shoot me an email at, I can send you a picture of the box with the kayaks in them so you can get a better idea. It is nice to have them all contained in their box up top, but it is kind of a struggle getting them to fit every time; I swear, I have to fight them in every single time I load them up. haha

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