How to Choose the Best Ski and Snowboard Racks for Your Vehicle
There are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right cargo racks when you need to transport snowboards and skis. As you’ve probably noticed, a lot of the features are the same from one mount to the next. However, some features are different, and you’ll need to consider them all in your decision. Read on to learn everything you need to know about buying the best ski and snowboard racks for your needs.
Rack Capacity and Size
Yes, these are two different things. The size of the rack is how big it actually is by measurement. You need to know this so you can ensure that it will fit on your vehicle. If you’re attaching a carrier to existing racks, you’ll also need to be sure that the fit will be accurate there. Measure the roof and roof rack before you start shopping. A lot of sites have compatibility lists that will tell you what fits your vehicle, but it’s always best to double-check.
The capacity of the rack is perhaps the biggest concern. As you probably noticed, most of the racks on this list feature a 6/4 configuration– they hold six pairs of skis or four snowboards. Of course, if you’re not taking the whole family, you might not need something this large. We have reviewed a couple of smaller models, and you can find others out there now that you know what you’re looking for, as well.
Construction and Quality
This is an item that is going to spend a lot of time in the elements, and probably in harsh conditions if you’re using it for skis and snowboards. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a rack that is made of durable materials. Some of the models are designed from rust-proof aluminum, while others are made of heavy-duty plastic materials. Either way, both will withstand the elements fairly well, although they still have their pros and cons to consider.
For example, plastic may break down or just break a lot sooner than aluminum or another material. However, plastic will never be affected by the elements like metal would. Even rust-proof aluminum eventually has a shelf life or could still be prone to elemental damage. Ultimately, it will be a personal decision. These are just some things that you’ll want to think about.
Regardless of the material that you choose, it needs to be high-quality, durable, and designed to withstand even the harshest conditions. If you’re spending this kind of money and looking to secure something as valuable as your boards or skis, it wouldn’t make sense to get anything less than the best. Feel free to read reviews to see how different models stand up over time from a firsthand perspective.
There are four different types of storage options for transporting skis and snowboards on your vehicle. Knowing what they are and what they offer can help you make the right decision about your new ski and snowboard rack. Keep reading to find out the details.
Most of the models on this list are roof racks. These are, by far, the most common choice for transporting skis and snowboards. Plus, they are versatile and they can fit on all kinds of vehicles. These racks are easy to install and feature locks to secure your equipment. They do create more fuel consumption and lower overhead clearance, but those elements are rarely impactful enough to make you change your mind.
Hitch ski and snowboard racks are designed to be mounted on the hitch of the car. These racks are preferred by those who are shorter because it makes the equipment easier to reach than if it were on the roof. They also tend to be easier to remove and put on the car so that you can store them when you aren’t using them. These are a practical choice for those who have or are willing to invest in a hitch. These racks can reduce visibility and affect trunk access, but there are ways around those issues, as well.
Spare Tire-Mounted Rack
For 4×4 vehicles and those with a spare tire on the back of the vehicle, the spare-mounted rack is a great choice. It works similarly to the hitch mount, but it is installed on the spare tire instead. These mounts are great for 4x4s when you want to save space. They also make reaching easier than roof racks, which again is a big selling point for a number of people. You should check out the installation method and types of racks available to help you decide.
Cargo boxes are available for skis and snowboards, although they are far less common. Most of the cargo boxes that you find will be designed for just about everything but skis and snowboards. If you look, however, you’ll certainly find a few different models that offer completely enclosed storage that you can secure to the top of your vehicle with ease. These can be locked and are protected from the elements, which are two of the features that make them popular. They do use more gas and aren’t made for frequent use and removal, but they have their place.
Typically, roof racks are either made of plastic or aluminum. Both styles have their pros and cons to consider, but aluminum is typically lighter and designed to be more durable. Plastic is also durable, but it might be a little heavier. We only bring this up to point out that what really matters in the material, regardless of what you choose, is that it can stand up to the elements and resist rust, corrosion, and other damage.
Related: Best Snowboard Bags
Find Your Fit
The right roof rack for skis and snowboards is the one that suits your needs. Think about the length that you want, as well as how much space you need to haul your outdoor gear. If you want a rack that has other features or that can hold other items, be sure to check in on that, as well. Of course, you should always double-check the compatibility and installation of the rack to ensure that it fits on your vehicle. There are compatibility guides, but they might not always have the most accurate information so it’s often best just to check your racks and measure for yourself.
There are plenty of different options available on the market for ski and snowboard racks. The eight options here are just a glimpse of what you can choose from. Take the time to explore them for yourself to see what you can find. Use the information in the buying guide to help you figure out exactly what you need so that you can make the right purchase. Whether you choose one of the models here or another one that you like better, you’ll know that you are getting the perfect fit now that you know more about buying the right ski and snowboard racks.