Now, maybe more than ever, adventurers are rediscovering the road trip. With travel options limited, getting in the car to socially distance in the wilderness is quite appealing. That raises the question – how will you transport all of your gear? If you’ve already maxed out your cargo capacity and you’re looking for more, the new Yakima EXO System seems like it’s worth a look, whatever your adventures bring.

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Truly a modular hitch system, Yakima calls their EXO family a “new era” in innovation. Everything starts with the SwingBase – a 2″ hitch mounted base that includes a swing-away adapter built in. From there, you have a number of options. If you want to maximize your cargo space, you can add the EXO TopShelf which can carry all of the same accessories as the SwingBase.

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Which allows for setups like two bikes up top with the EXO DoubleUp, and the EXO GearLocker down below. It appears the system will be limited to two bikes, which is understandable with a considerable amount of weight from both the system and storage underneath. It will be interesting to see what the maximum cargo weight will be – with two bike capacity and the Cargo accessory, the Saris SuperClamp EX rack is limited to 120lbs of cargo on the platform itself.

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Or you could run two stacked EXO GearLockers (add the GearTotes for easy loading and unloading)…

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Or a GearLocker below and the EXO GearWarrior (with or without wheels) up top…

Yakima EXO System modular cargo storage

Or a GearLocker and the EXO BackDeck up top to create the perfect shelf for a camp kitchen. There’s also the EXO SnowBank for carrying skis and snowboards up top for the winter crowd.

All that gear blocking your tail lights? Add the EXO LitKit for some added visibility.

We’re told that the system will officially launch in Spring 2021, with expected prices listed below. Look for more details closer to the official launch.

EXO Swingbase – $499
EXO Topshelf – $379
EXO Gear Locker – $399
EXO GearTotes – $49
EXO LitKit – $149
EXO BackDeck – $129
EXO DoubleUp – $479
EXO SnowBank – $279
EXO GearWarrior – $349


  1. Something about license plate (in)visibility comes to mind. Not the only cargo carrying solution to make that tag disappear.

    • The press kit doesn’t make it clear, but it looks like one of the photos shows a spot for the license plate with a white LED for it on the LitKit. So you’ll get visible lights and tags if you add that accessory.

  2. Cool idea, hard to swallow the price it’s almost cheaper to buy a cheap utility trailer from Tractor Supply. I wonder how this would impact departure angle on a sedan, any specs on measured length?

    • Exactly what I did. Love my little 4×5 trailer. Added a few sheets of plywood, paint and I have a camp kitchen/gear drawers/4 Bike carrier. For all about $500

      • Didn’t even realize Harbor Freight has a 4×8 trailer for $350, add in $150 in materials like your rig is set up and yeah you’re at a third of this in price and more functionality, plus those small trailers fold up flat for storage.

  3. It looks super cool…I just wonder about the Tongue Weight you’re adding…would be interesting to see how this affects handling on most vehicles….. Also would be interesting to confirm how much weight you can actually put in it

  4. It is definitely a big investment but the cool thing is that it is not vehicle specific like so many other auto items now. That is good for someone like me who has a higher mileage car/truck that will have to be replaced someday.

  5. Looks like you’ll need to install adjustable rear air shocks on your vehicle as well. How much dose that system weigh empty? 150+ pounds??

  6. I’ve been using HoldUp for 15 years on an Xterra. It partially blocks the plate. I never had a problem on the bonus side it blocks Red Light cameras and speed cameras reading the license plate. But with the cargo boxes in those pictures it might cause a problem.
    For the weight of the system, I can not even imagine! My Hold up is like 60 pounds, this whole system gonna hit 200-250 mark empty. I am pretty sure they have tested this for vehicle safety but it might stress the hitch mount in the wrong direction. Unlike towing the stress would be pushing down, not many manufacturers consider that.

  7. You’re gonna need a bigger boat.. There is a difference between can and should. Most Subaru cars have a 200lb tongue weight limit. But you also need to add up everything you are carrying inside and on top of the car as well. Oh, and you, your friends and animals also count as weight.

  8. Can the DoubleUp bike rack fold up (like Thule T2 or Yakima HoldUp) when there are no bikes mounted? I see the system’s potential when loaded, but for non-adventure days, I hope it stows away neatly.

    Can the GearWarrior and GearLocker be mounted on roof crossbars?

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