Reviews You Can Rely On

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 Review

If you are searching for a cargo box without busting your budget, then we highly recommend this option
Yakima RocketBox Pro 14
Credit: Yakima
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $579 List
Pros:  Great value, easy to install, dual-opening
Cons:  Limited to <170cm skis/boards, not the sleekest look
Manufacturer:   Yakima
By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 10, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Ease of Use - 40% 6.0
  • Security - 30% 7.0
  • Quality - 20% 7.0
  • Appearance - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

If you are searching for a new rooftop cargo box and hoping to save some cash, then we highly recommend the Yakima RocketBox Pro 14. This cargo carrier is a great value, offering an exceptionally convenient to install and easy-to-use gear transport solution for considerably less than the premium models, all while holding its own when it comes to overall performance. The RocketBox is exceptionally user-friendly, with ample room for a considerable amount of gear and a dual-side opening for maximum convenience. It feels sturdy and secure, albeit a bit plain regarding aesthetics. Overall, we recommend this to anyone who doesn’t need the largest and most stylish cargo carrier out there but wants a solid model that does the job while maximizing savings.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award   Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $579 List$699.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 4 sellers
$718.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$660 List
$639.99 at Amazon
$450 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
65
70
66
64
53
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Great value, easy to install, dual-openingSimple installation, sleek matte finish, great shape for skisGreat handle, cool appearance, less expensiveRelatively inexpensive, easy to attach, convenient to useWell-priced, decent looking, fits long skis and snowboards
Cons Limited to <170cm skis/boards, not the sleekest lookClunky shape, inconvenient handleFrustrating installation with finicky cam clampsWon’t fit longer skis, longer crossbar spans can be problematic for installNot the easiest to install, less convenient
Bottom Line If you are searching for a cargo box without busting your budget, then we highly recommend this optionThis is an above-average product that is very spacious and easy to useAn exceptional value because of its top-notch user friendly design and sleek good looksIf you are searching for a well-priced 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 Yakima RocketBox Pr... Thule Force XT XL Yakima SkyBox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Ease of Use (40%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
Security (30%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Quality (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Appearance (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Yakima RocketBox Pr... Thule Force XT XL Yakima SkyBox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Weight 40 lbs 47 lbs 47 lbs 25 lbs 25 lbs
Volume 14 cu ft 18 cu ft 16 cu ft 14 cu ft 11 cu ft
Dimensions 74" x 33" x 16" 84.5" x 36" x 17" 81" x 36" x 15" 63" x 31" x 15" 88.75" x 21" x 15.75"
Additional Available Sizes Pro 11 (11 cu ft), Pro 12 (12 cu ft) Sport (11 cu ft), L (16 cu ft), and XXL (22 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 170 cm 200 cm 185cm 140 cm 210 cm
Access Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side Passenger side

Our Analysis and Test Results

The RocketBox Pro 14 is a bit smaller and — we feel — has an overall appearance that is slightly less sleek and stylish than some of the premium options. It has a matte, dimpled texture instead of the smooth, high-gloss surfaces of many competitors. However, we feel this surface helps conceal dirt, scrapes, and scuffs better. While this box has a lot of space, it might not be the best if you routinely transport extra-long pieces of gear, given its shorter interior length.

Performance Comparison


Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - the rocketbox pro is a great value option for those shopping on a...
The RocketBox Pro is a great value option for those shopping on a budget.
Credit: David Wise

Ease of Use


This metric encompasses how convenient it is to use each cargo box for carrying gear and how difficult the installation and removal process are. The RocketBox Pro 14 did quite well in this regard, earning an above-average score for its user-friendly features and relatively painless installation process. However, we noticed a few things we felt could be improved upon.


The RocketBox Pro 14 is fairly easy to install, with a tool-free system that uses four clamps. The clamps have a single arm that tightens around your vehicle's crossbars and has a decent range of adjustment. That said, the single-arm system can make it more difficult to install if you have larger crossbars, particularly third-party or generic square bars, as you have to open the clamps close to their limit to fit them around the bar.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - the rocketbox pro 14 is very quick and easy to install in our...
The RocketBox Pro 14 is very quick and easy to install in our experience.
Credit: David Wise

The internal part of the clamp has a pair of fasteners with plastic knobs. One is used to adjust the forward/back position of the entire clamp assembly, and the second is used to tighten the clamp arm around the crossbar. To install the cargo box, you loosen both knobs until the clamp arm can slide over the crossbar and the assembly moves freely, then slide the clamps into position around the crossbars, lock them in place, then tighten the clamp arms the appropriate amount.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - it can be hard to tell how tight the clamps on the rocketbox pro 14...
It can be hard to tell how tight the clamps on the RocketBox Pro 14 need to be.
Credit: David Wise

We like that the installation process is tool-free, and the clamps are a single piece, making it much easier than other models' U-bolt and plastic knob systems. The internal portion of the clamps also maintains a relatively low profile, though the pair of knobs can catch straps or handles when loading gear. One aspect of this installation system that we didn't like is that it can be a little hard to determine how tight each plastic knob should be. The installation manual states a specified amount of torque for each one, but there is no mechanical clutch or integrated indicator to let you know when they are sufficiently tight. In general, we found the installation and removal process took around 10-15 minutes once we got the hang of it, mainly by learning how loose the clamp arm knob had to be to fit over our test crossbars.

When it comes to actually using the RocketBox Pro, it has all the critical convenience features we expect from a high-end cargo box. The 14 cubic feet of storage can usually accommodate the gear needs of 2-3 people for a trip with a medium-sized car, and it can house items up to 170 cm long. Unfortunately, this probably isn't the cargo box for you if you are planning on transporting longer downhill or XC skis.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - while the rocketbox pro might not be able to hold the longest gear...
While the RocketBox Pro might not be able to hold the longest gear, it can be great for storing all your emergency roadside equipment, like chains, tools, and a first aid kit.
Credit: David Wise

The Pro 14 can be opened from both sides, a feature that we would be hard-pressed to live without after getting used to it. The lid opens and closes quite easily, without a ton of effort required to align any locking tabs or mechanisms. However, there isn't much of a handle to open and close the lid, just the raised lip running along the entire edge.

Security


For this metric, we looked at the locking system, opening and closing mechanism, and the lid's overall rigidity — focusing on how easily we thought the box could be pried open. Now, don't get us wrong; we are quite sure that a dedicated thief could probably break into all of these cargo boxes given enough time and the proper tools. We recommend you consider this when deciding what to leave in your cargo carrier, where you park, and how long you will be gone. Fortunately, the RocketBox Pro 14 instilled more confidence in us regarding its security than most, earning it a solid score.


This cargo box has a lock on both sides, with a fairly typical key system. Yakima offers similar lock cores on many of their cargo boxes and racks, allowing you to create a single-key system, replacing the cores to all work with the same key.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - the rocketbox pro 14 doesn&#039;t have an indicator to show if it is...
The RocketBox Pro 14 doesn't have an indicator to show if it is unlocked or locked but won't let you remove the keys if the box is unlocked.
Credit: David Wise

The latching mechanism is activated by a single red button on either side, with a noticeable click when engaged or disengaged. We like how solid the latching/hinge system combination feels, as this gives us some confidence that the cargo box would be fairly resistant to being pried open. Like many cargo boxes, the key can't be removed when unlocked, preventing you from forgetting the box is unlocked.

Quality


For our quality metric, we scored and compared how impressed we were with the overall build quality of each product. We did our best to put these products through the wringer, driving in inclement weather and packing them to the brim with gear. Points were awarded based on how sturdy and rigid the lid for each box is, how well it handled our abuse, and if there were any component failures or other damage. The RocketBox Pro 14 continued to do quite well in this regard, earning a solid score for its quality performance.


This cargo box didn't suffer any significant damage throughout our rough and tumble testing — only some cosmetic scrapes and scratches. The lid is quite rigid and never presented much of an issue with the latching mechanisms failing to align. We also like that the dimpled texture and the more matte finish do a better job of hiding cosmetic blemishes and dirt than some of the glossy finishes, though the dimples can make it a bit harder to clean.

Appearance


While appearance can be a highly subjective metric, we did score each rooftop cargo carrier on some common factors. Mainly, we looked at the overall profile and how each cargo box looked on different cars. The RocketBox Pro 14 did decently well in this metric but was far from the top performer.


Our judges found this box to have a less sleek profile. It looks more stubby, particularly when compared side-by-side to the premium offerings. It still looks fine overall; we feel it's a bit plain.

Yakima RocketBox Pro 14 cargo box - the rocketbox pro 14 (back) is a bit less stylish than the skybox...
The RocketBox Pro 14 (back) is a bit less stylish than the Skybox (front) or the Motion XT (middle).
Credit: David Wise

Value


Overall, we think this roof box is a great value. It offers all the critical features that we would want while costing considerably less than the high-end models.

Conclusion


If you are searching for a top-tier cargo carrier without paying top-tier prices, then we highly recommend the Yakima RocketBox Pro 14. It's convenient and easy to use, with an easy installation and removal process. It feels secure and well-made and doesn't look too shabby, even if it isn't the most stylish or sleek option we have seen. It's a great option for someone looking for a no-nonsense cargo carrier that won't break the bank.

David Wise
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More