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Rocket boxes are common place on everything from SUVs to pickup trucks. Got to carry all your outdoors gear, right?

Well, playing up on that a bank card TV commercial: “What’s in your rocket box?

Call them roof-top cargo boxes, roof rockets, rocket boxes, whatever, but they really come in handy. Someone came up to me the other day in a ski-area parking lot and asked what the heck I was carrying in that box?

Got to thinking. Here goes: two sets of backcountry skis, snowshoes and poles; two daypacks; shovel, axe, wood saw, extra tire iron, car battery-operated tire air pump, plastic traction devices (they look like baby snowshoes), tow strap; tire chocks; emergency kit including tool and first-aid kits; extra boat straps; camp chairs and camp table for roadside picnic; sleeping bag and backpacking stove and backpacking breakfast and dinner plus coffee and tea and extra dog food; plastic container with self-lighting charcoal for easy fire starting (in case we’re stuck overnight). Did I forget something? Oh, I carry 3 gallons of water inside the car so it doesn’t freeze.

Thank the snow gods for rocket boxes. All this stuff in the back seat would be a nightmare.

Pete has been writing about the outdoors in Idaho and the Northwest for decades. Give him a shout at

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