Drive down the main street of any outdoorsy town like Boulder, Jackson Hole or Ely and every other Subaru you see will have some sort of roof rack on it, carrying a quiver of bikes, boats, skis or cargo. But rarely will they carry all of the above. That’s because most of the rack systems that are sold crowd the load bars with bike mounts or a giant cargo box, leaving no room for the other toys. But the upstart brand Küat, hailing not from Washington or Sweden but from Springfield, Missouri, has a solution that lets you carry a couple of bikes and as much other gear as you dare pile on top of your car.
The Küat Vagabond mounts to any shape load bars from the big name rack companies and looks like a standard black powder-coated gear basket. But cleverly fitted at the front of the basket are two bicycle fork mounts that will accept any standard mountain or road bike with the front wheel removed. Unlike other fork mount bike carriers, this one doesn’t come with an integrated clamping mechanism. Instead, you supply the skewer and the rear wheel is held in place by nylon straps. It’s decidedly low-tech but highly functional. The mounts will hold bikes up to 40 pounds each (if you have a bike heavier than that, you’ve got other problems) and up to 160 pounds of gear. You’d be wise to check the load capacity of your car’s roof.
The Vagabond assembles and mounts easily and quickly with only a supplied hex wrench and thumbscrews. An integrated wind foil at the front deflects air, but this beast makes no illusions of being aerodynamic and the foil is really just a good place to put your collection of gear company stickers. Load up the basket with gear, firewood, duffel bags, skis, a cooler and your bikes, then sell your house and head south. Don’t stop until you hit Tierra del Fuego.
Buy now: $295