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Gear Review

5 5

Road Warrior

Our first big road trip tested the Tahoe's mettle. We drove 730 miles from Utah to San Francisco. The weather was brutal leaving town: below freezing with head/cross-winds up to 50 MPH and horizontal snowfall. The Tahoe was a great travel companion. It was quiet/secure, kept our luggage dry, and freed up a TON of space inside the vehicle so the family and I weren't packed to the gills. While still compressed to 15 cubic feet, I was able to fit an oversized suitcase, a carry-on size suitcase, a large duffel bag, and a crib mattress with plenty of room to spare (the carrier could have been expanded an additional 2 cubic feet by unzipping the expansion zippers).

I discovered another advantage of the Tahoe carrier the hard way. When I arrived in San Francisco, I tried to squeeze into our parking garage. It was close but too short - the bag snagged and snapped one of the anchor rings. As a result, one of the front tie down straps couldn't be reconnected. I called Thule customer service and was told that there was no way replacement part for those links (kind of like how you can't buy a replacement lid if you shatter your hardshell cargo box). So I went to a climbing store in San Francisco and purchased the smallest Petzl Quick Link I could find. This solution worked perfectly. Had I made the clearance mistake with a hardshell carrier, it would have been a vastly different ending to the story.

Attached is a picture from the return trip (somewhere in the Nevada wasteland). You can see the steel quick link on the driver's side front strap.

Road Warrior