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Inno Racks Shadow 16 Review

This is a great cargo box if you want a low-profile way of carrying skis, snowboards, or other similarly shaped pieces of gear
Inno Racks Shadow 16
Photo: Inno Racks
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Price:  $550 List
Pros:  Sleek, low-profile
Cons:  Not our favorite mounting system
Manufacturer:   Inno Racks
By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 5, 2021
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Ease of Use - 40% 7
  • Durability - 25% 6
  • Security - 20% 7
  • Appearance - 15% 8

Our Verdict

Overall, we think the Inno Racks Shadow 16 is a solid cargo box. It has all the critical features that we want at a reasonable price, all while having an ultra-low and super sleek profile above your car. It’s very easy to use and quick to install or remove once you have the hang of it. The Shadow 16 looks good and is above-average in our minds when it comes to durability and security. It might not be our all-time favorite cargo carrier, but it functions well and looks good doing it. We especially think this model is useful to those transporting skis and snowboards.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Inno Racks Shadow 16
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $550 List$699 List
Check Price at REI
$599.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$460 List$340 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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54
Star Rating
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Pros Sleek, low-profileSleek, large capacity, dual-opening, flat bottomGreat handle, cool appearance, less expensiveRelatively inexpensive, easy to attach, convenient to useInexpensive, decent looking, fits long skis and snowboards
Cons Not our favorite mounting systemNo integrated light, dedicated tool required for installFrustrating installationWon’t fit longer skis, longer crossbar spans can be problematic for installNot the easiest to install, less convenient
Bottom Line This is a great cargo box if you want a low-profile way of carrying skis, snowboards, or other similarly shaped pieces of gearIf you are looking for a premium cargo box that's easy to use with plenty of room, this is our strong recommendationAn exceptional value because of its top-notch user friendly designIf you are searching for bargain cargo box and don’t need to transport longer skis and boards, then this is a great optionIf you want to transport skis and snowboards on top of your car without spending a ton, this is a great option
Rating Categories Inno Racks Shadow 16 Yakima GrandTour 16 Yakima Skybox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Ease Of Use (40%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Durability (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Security (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Appearance (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Inno Racks Shadow 16 Yakima GrandTour 16 Yakima Skybox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Weight (lbs) 41.89 lb 51.50 lb 47 lb 25 lb 25 lb
Volume (Cubic Feet) 13 cu ft 16 cu ft 16 cu ft 14 cu ft 11 cu ft
Size (Inches - L x W x H) 78.7" x 31.9" x 13.4" 79" x 35" x 18" 81" x 36" x 15" 63" x 31" x 15" 88.75" x 21" x 15.75"
Additional Sizes Shadow 14 cu ft, 15 cu ft, 18 cu ft 18 cu ft Lo, 12 cu ft, 18 cu ft, and 21 cu ft n/a L (16 cu ft), XL (17 cu ft)
Maximum Ski Length 182 cm 180 cm 185cm 140 cm 210 cm
Box Opening Dual-side Dual-Side Dual-side Dual-side Passenger side

Our Analysis and Test Results

One key feature that sets this cargo box from the others in our minds is how low of a profile it has compared to some of the other options. It definitely is designed with an eye towards skis, snowboards, or other long skinny pieces of gear. While this doesn’t necessarily give it much more fuel economy, it does lead to a much cleaner and sleeker look when mounted to the roof of your car.

Performance Comparison


We found the Inno to be very convenient and easy to use.
We found the Inno to be very convenient and easy to use.
Photo: David Wise

Ease of Use


First and foremost, we rated and compared how easy to use the Inno Shadow 16, focusing mainly on the installation and removal process, but also taking into account the ease of loading gear and any other convenience features this cargo box may have. It performed quite well, earning a solid score.

While it is considerably quicker and easier to install this cargo carrier than any of the models with U-bolts, it can take a bit of time to figure out the clamps the first time you get it on a car. On top of that, it also is more finicky than the options with one-piece clamps.

It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of installing or...
It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of installing or removing this clamp system.
Photo: David Wise

The Shadow 16 mounts to your crossbars with four metal fittings; one side has a hook, and the other has threads. The hooked side goes around the rounded part of the plastic base, which can be conveniently rotated to accommodate a wider range of crossbars. The threaded side pokes up through the base and is secured with a plastic knob that encapsulates a hex nut. It is possible to use these fittings to mount the cargo carried entirely from the inside but it can be a bit tricky to get everything aligned without holding the metal clamp from underneath or having a second person help.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

However, you can get the Shadow 16 on and off a car in a fairly hassle-free way once you get the hang of it and a bit of practice.

One key feature has that the Shadow 16 has that we can’t stress enough when it comes to convenience is the ability to open on both sides. While it might not seem like much, being able to access your gear from either side of the car is nearly invaluable in our experience.

We weren’t huge fans of the opening system, with the small push button feeling a bit more finicky to use than some of the models with a larger molded handle but, all in all, we did find the Shadow 16 to be one of the easier models to use.

We like that the lid isn't overly floppy.
We like that the lid isn't overly floppy.
Photo: David Wise

Durability


Next, we rated and scored the durability of each cargo carrier. For this test, we looked at how much wear and tear each cargo box sustained during our testing process, how floppy the lid is, and how confident we are that the cargo box will keep your gear safe from rain or snow. The Shadow 16 did fairly well, earning an above-average score.

We didn’t notice any major damage to this cargo carrier after our tests, even after subjecting it to a decent amount of abuse when it came to being stacked up in a garage for storage — potentially even tipping over a few times. It does have a gloss finish that makes scuffs and scrapes a little more noticeable but nothing too bad. We like that the lid is reasonably stiff for a cargo box of this size.

However, our biggest complaint with the Inno when it comes to durability is the larger than average openings for water to creep in. True, these are on the underside of the cargo box, and it includes rubber gasket material to cover the gap after the install.

The included rubber material to minimize water intrusion after...
The included rubber material to minimize water intrusion after installation.
Photo: David Wise

We still found this box to have a higher water intrusion potential than some of the others.

The Shadow 16 seems as secure as any cargo box to us.
The Shadow 16 seems as secure as any cargo box to us.
Photo: David Wise

Security


Our next series of tests looked at the security of each cargo box. Now, we will be the first to admit that a dedicated thief could get into any of these products with enough time and the proper tools, so you will want to keep that in mind when it comes to what you leave in your roof box, how long you leave it for, and where you park. However, we feel the Inno is just about as good as any that we have tested so far, earning it a top-notch score.

A key point is that you can’t remove the keys from the Inno while it is unlocked, which is the most salient point in our mind when it comes to security with these products. We also like that the lock is installed at the factory, preventing mistakes from a DIY installation.

Overall, we think the Shadow is one of the sleeker boxes of the bunch.
Overall, we think the Shadow is one of the sleeker boxes of the bunch.
Photo: David Wise

Appearance


Our final metric for these products focused on their appearance. We base our scores on the aggregated opinion of multiple judges and the available colors for each cargo carrier. The Inno Shadow 16 finished out our review with a great showing in this regard, earning an above-average score.

This cargo carrier looks particularly sleek in our minds, maintaining a very low profile on your vehicle with the recessed clamps. It’s available in two different colors: black and white, with a glossy finish. We also like that the lid has a slight contrast with the base.

Value


While it isn’t the cheapest cargo carrier around, this product does have a lower than average price tag and can be a good value if you are shopping on a budget but still willing to pay for a few convenience features.

Conclusion


We like the Inno Shadow 16. This compact and sleek cargo carrier is easy to install and opens on both sides, all while having ample space for your skis and boards. It seems quite durable and secure to use and — even better — doesn’t look too shabby on most cars.

David Wise