Often overlooked, trunk racks offer bike carrying options that work with most vehicles. Yakima offers 3 trunk racks in 2022: the FullBack, HalfBack, and HangOut. Pricing varies from about $180 to $320, and no existing roof rack or trailer hitch is required.
It should be noted that trunk racks do not universally fit every vehicle. It is important to check Yakima’s fit guide to ensure safe attachment to your vehicle. Sometimes things like spoilers or taillights get in the way and Yakima may list the vehicle as a no-fit. When there is a fit, Yakima will typically call out a fit measurement or hub setting to make it easier to set the rack up on your vehicle. Yakima has a HangOut fit for my 2003 Odyssey, but the FullBack and HalfBack don't fit.
Each rack is available in a 2 bike or 3 bike configuration. They attach to the trunk or tailgate with straps and hooks and have foam pads that contact the vehicle to protect the finish. All of them include anti-sway cradles to keep the bikes from moving around too much and have attachment hooks that can be converted to “anchors” for certain fits that don’t have a firm piece of metal to grab onto. The straps have rubber keepers to keep the ends from flying in the wind. The arms that hold the bikes can fold down, and the entire rack can fold up when not in use. Some bikes might need to use a top tube adapter like the Yakima TubeTop if they have especially small frames or a shape that would otherwise make the bikes sit at an extreme angle.
The HangOut is the most basic of Yakima’s trunk rack family. It is essentially a slightly renewed version of the long lasting KingJoe rack. It utilizes 6 attachment hooks to the vehicle, is made out of plain tubing, and uses rubber straps to hold the bikes. The hub system is reasonably simple to use, and it folds up pretty well for storage.
The HalfBack and the FullBack are based on the same newer frame design, and offer some significant improvements over the HangOut. Both use only 4 attachment points to the vehicle. They manage this by using an especially wide base for stabilization. Instead of rubber straps, bikes are held to the rack with ratcheting SuperCush ZipStrips. The more premium FullBack incorporates a few extra features including a locking cable to retain bicycles, a steel reinforced security strap to retain the rack, and rubber bumpers on the buckles to protect the vehicle.
Benefits & Options
Fewer strap attachment points and ZipStrips instead of rubber straps make the FullBack and HalfBack much easier to use than the HangOut. The trunk security strap is sold as an individual part if you want to add that locking feature to any of the racks. This is most useful for those who keep the rack on the car. If you routinely take the rack off and only install it when you need, you may not find the security strap useful. It actually doesn't even fit into the hinge area of this Scion.
Additionally, the locking capability of the FullBack makes it more difficult for someone to easily walk away with the bikes, but is kind of weird in that it only goes around the very last bike's frame. It should not be trusted to keep the bikes safe for a prolonged period of time; it simply keeps someone from being able to easily walk away with them. The locking cable is available separately so you can upgrade a HalfBack.
Despite using a FullBack here, I think the HalfBack tends to strike the best combination of features. I find the easier installation of the HalfBack to be a big benefit over the HangOut, but don’t need all of the locking features of the FullBack. I would only install the rack on the car when I need it, and already make a point to keep the car and bikes within sight when loaded up.
When it comes down to it, trunk racks are not as user friendly as roof racks or hitch racks. The straps are just not as quick and easy to set up, and while they come with pads to protect the car, they do still contact the paint and have the potential to leave marks. The benefit over roof racks is that they don’t require lifting the bike over your head and they cost less than the price of a base rack plus a bike rack. Compared to hitch racks, trunk racks typically cost less and don’t require your vehicle to be outfitted with a trailer hitch already.
For those without a hitch or a roof rack, trunk racks offer a simple, inexpensive solution.
2022 Yakima Trunk Racks: