The record snowfall recorded at Mammoth Mountain this winter has given me the opportunity to ski often, and thus the opportunity to spend plenty of quality time with the Showcase 15 cargo box from Yakima. For a skier, a cargo box is a necessity, as hauling around skis and ski boots is a space eating chore. Being able to safely and easily carry this equipment on the roof of your car or wagon is definitely the way to go. Wet and dirty equipment can easily stow out of harm’s way, and away from luggage and groceries, or whatever else you might carry in the back or in the trunk. The Showcase 15 from Yakima is part of the top tier collection, and this particular model has 15 cubic feet of storage, and is sized for an average wagon such as my Volvo XC70 pictured above. The sizing chart on the Yakima site shows a maximum ski length of 180cm skis, but I easily stow my 184cm skis without any concern. In addition to my family’s skis, 4 pair in total, I am able to pack four pairs of ski boots. Topping off the load is the trusty sled that travels with us on each trip to the mountains, but sadly rarely gets used. At least it enjoys the trip.
I’ve used several different cargo boxes in the past, but one specific point that makes this one stand out from the others is the locking and latch system. First, the box can be opened from either side, so pick what is more convenient, and insert the key to unlock. Next step is to depress the button, a simple and familiar step. Then, lift the top to access the interior. This may sound like a simple setup, but Yakima is the first I’ve seen to make this a solid and reliable process. For those of you who already own a cargo box, you will quite likely know the difficulties in getting some boxes open, or worse, closed. Sticking latches, keys that will not turn no matter the force, or latches that refuse to close properly. None of these are an issue with the Showcase. The box opens and closes as it should, every time. There is a solid feel to the oversized button when opening, as well as a solid click when the box is closed. Also, the box is a cinch to remove from the vehicle. There are four simple quick release handles on the interior, and once those are released, the box slides off easily. In my estimation, with a second set of hands to help with lifting duties, the box can be removed and stored in under 5 minutes flat. Installation is equally as fast. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a product work so well, and Yakima has mastered them with the Showcase 15. And, to top it all off, I think the box looks great atop my wagon.