There is nothing quite so disturbing to the memories of a wonderful mountain bike ride or paddling adventure as hearing the distinctive crunching sound above the car as you remember -- too late -- that your garage was not built high enough to accommodate the cargo on your roof rack. Sigh. Many of us have been there. Placing outdoor recreation equipment (mountain bikes, kayaks, snowboards, surfboards, etc.), a cargo box or other items on top of a vehicle obviously changes its minimum clearance. This change is easy to forget. Damage to what is on top of your car, and potentially the car itself and quite typically the garage or other low-clearance ceiling can be expensive to repair.
Yes, the SNEWSÂ® team has tested numerous supposedly "tried-and-true" methods for reminding drivers of the low-clearance hazard. Post-it notes -- ya gotta remember to write them, and they often fall off the inside of the window or dashboard to become so much litter on the floor. A suction cup with bright yellow arrow attached designed to be stuck to the car's window -- nice idea, but again, ya gotta remember to put it there, and if you just leave it, then it becomes just one more item your mind tunes out untilâ€¦CRUNCH! And there have been many other ideas we've heard of and tested that have, well, simply been ideas with good intentions, but bad execution. .
So, when the folks at Athlete's Ideas contacted us with another roof rack reminder system, we were skeptical to say the least, though willing to give it a whirl. .
The Roof Rack Reminder is designed to remind you, both at home and away, of the items you are carrying on top of your vehicle. It is a patent-pending warning system that consists of a large, yellow, warning diamond that hangs from your garage door, and a plastic window cling sticker to place on the inside of a vehicle's window with a space to write in the vehicles minimum clearance with gear overhead as a quick-reference.
After three months of testing, the SNEWSÂ® team can unequivocally state that the Roof Rack Reminder is the best of any idea we've seen thus far, though it could still use a few tweaks of improvement. .
While we love the Windshield Cling Sticker which includes an area to write your actual minimum clearance for convenient, on-the-go reference, in the era of two-car garages, only including one sticker -- even if it is easily transferable -- leaves one vehicle essentially unprotected. Sure, you can move the sticker, but frankly, how many of us will actually remember to do so? And if the vehicles are of different height, that means also rewriting the minimum clearance data. The package needs to include two cling stickers with purchase. .
Now for the Warning Diamond. We were very surprised and pleased to find that the diamond never once got tangled in either the garage door as it opened or closed, or on the roof racks of vehicles as they drove in (sans gear thanks to the reminder). The compact design lies flat and out of the way against the garage door when it is down, so the reminder is never in the way when you don't need it. The sign is rigid enough to maintain its shape and is quite durable, though soft enough to prevent damage to a vehicle's paint when it bangs up against the roof or door. .
However, because the Warning Diamond hangs from a single string (intended so that the diamond will whirl and twist adding movement as an eye-catcher), it frequently turned sideways as the garage door opened, and while still noticeable, was not as obvious as if it was spinning slowly or, simply facing forward in all its bright glory. The sign is not reflective either, so at night, driving into a dark garage, it doesn't jump out at you, making it quite easy to miss. We'd suggest improving the color to a brighter fluorescent similar to the vests highway workers wear, and making the sign reflective to bounce back the light from a vehicle's headlights. .
Still, for the money, as it is now packaged, the Roof Rack Reminder is the best method we've seen to assist those of us with too much on our mind already in remembering we've got expensive gear depending on our memory -- or a visual cue. Your gear will thank you for it. .
SNEWSÂ® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping(1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection) .
Suggested Retail: $14.99 .
For more information:www.athletesideas.com