Skiing and snowboarding are great hobbies and it’s important to have the right gear for maximum enjoyment. However, what people don’t often discuss is the need for ski and snowboard racks for your car, truck, or SUV. It doesn’t matter how great your boards or skis are if you can’t take them with you, after all. Roof racks are the best choice– not only will they store and transport your skis and snowboards, but they can provide a secure solution for all of your outdoor gear.
There are tons of different ski and snowboard racks out there, of course, and if you’ve never shopped for them before you might have no idea what you’re looking for. To help, we rounded up the 9 best ski and snowboard racks. This guide offers a detailed review of each product, as well as a helpful buyer’s guide to choosing the best racks. First up, let’s take a quick look at the top competitors in the table below.
Table of Contents
The Best Ski and Snowboard Rack
Rhino-Rack Ski Carrier
The Rhino-Rack Ski Carrier is one of the bestselling ski and snowboard racks available on the market today. This model features heavy-duty construction and is made with durable aluminum for resistance to rust and corrosion. The set includes two ski arms, four keys, and mounting hardware. There are also universal mounting brackets that will make it easy to mount this rack to any vehicle. There is even the option to remove the universal mounts and use only the T-bolt to mount directly on compatible roof racks.
The Rhino-Rack is 27 inches in length and designed to fit several cars and SUVs. This is the largest model from the brand, and it can hold up to four snowboards or six pairs of skis, or a combination of the two. The easy-release mechanism makes it easy to use with gloved hands and it is UV protected, waterproof, and comes ready to install in minutes. This rack even includes a fishing rod holder and is installed to the roof rails with 5mm tamper-proof Allen screws, giving you extra peace of mind that your gear is protected at all times.
- 5-year warranty included with purchase
- Mold-resistant construction
- The snap-close feature makes securing your boards and skis a breeze
- Large size may be too much for some buyers
Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack
The Thule SnowPack Ski/Snowboard Rack is a large rack that will hold all of your gear securely, thanks to rubber grips that guarantee no scratches on the surface. The durable construction allows you to carry thicker, more modern snowboards and skis, and when it’s unloaded it reduces the height of the carrier. It’s also easy to operate, thanks to a large push-button operation. This rack will carry up to four snowboards or six pairs of skis, and it includes extension feet for additional roof clearance for taller skis.
This ski and snowboard rack from Thule fits into the T-tracks of your roof rack with tool-free hardware for easy installation. It also utilizes an integrated spring system so that you can carry equipment of different thicknesses in the same load. The rack features locking cylinders and is compatible with most types of roof systems, including round bars and other Thule rack systems. This premium rack is designed for the true snow enthusiast who wants the highest quality and most useful design in their ski and snowboard racks.
- Flexible spring system holds all types of skis and snowboards
- Tool-free installation for all vehicles
- Nearly 30 inches of loading width
- One of the most expensive options
Thule SnowPack Extender
The Thule SnowPack Extender is a popular choice for its aerodynamic design and slide-out style that makes loading and unloading a breeze. This ski rack includes compatibility for a variety of roofs and racks, and it includes rubber grips on the arms to ensure a secure hold without the risk of scratching. There’s a push-button that’s big enough to hit with gloves, and the locking system guarantees that your skis are safe even if you have to leave them unattended on the rack for a short period of time. This is the biggest in the SnowPack family, and it has the most convenience features.
Everything that you need for universal mounting is included, including for around-the-bar mounting and T-track mounting options. Plus, the sturdy aluminum design is weatherproof and designed to stand up to rugged use. It comes from one of the leading brands in the industry and gives you everything that you want in a high-quality ski and snowboard rack. From the versatile design to the easy-to-use features, this roof rack is worth the money, even if it is at the higher end of the price range.
- Security included with locking cylinders
- Designed to adjust for the perfect fit every time
- Aerodynamic design reduces excess fuel waste
- High price limits some shoppers
Apex SKI-4 Ski and Snowboard Roof Rack
The SKI-4 ski and snowboard rack from Apex delivers everything that you want in a smaller racking system. When you need to take your skis or boards on the road but you don’t need room for the whole family, this smaller rack can deliver what you need. It holds four pairs of skis or two snowboards with comfortable rubber grips that prevent scratching and scuffs. Your equipment will always have a gentle, secure ride when you use this mount. It is lightweight and designed from durable plastic materials to stand up to the elements.
The plastic won’t rust or corrode over time as some metal racks would. This rack also features the easy-to-use larger push-button operation so that you don’t have to remove your gloves to unload your gear. This is one of the most affordable racks on the list, and it still gets great reviews because it gets the job done. For those who don’t ski as often or who don’t have the budget to buy the top-of-the-line brands, this model humbly delivers more than enough for your money and never leaves you wanting for ski and snowboard transportation.
- Attaches to existing vehicle rack with ease
- Includes two keys with lockable rails
- Nearly 30 inches of loading width
- Plastic construction may not be as durable as aluminum
SportRack Groomer Deluxe Ski Carrier
The SportRack Groomer Deluxe Ski Carrier is made by Thule, a leader in snow and ski equipment. This rack features room for four snowboards or up to six pairs of skis and comes as two separate pieces for easy mounting. Its unique design allows it to be more compatible with different vehicles than other rack systems, and it offers one of the most affordable options. This roof rack is easy to operate and has the standard rubber arms that will protect your skis or boards.
You’ll also enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes with the included locks. This carrier will fit existing SportRack roof systems and most other factory racks, and it includes everything that you need to install and load up in a matter of minutes. This is one of the lightest options on the list, as well, which makes it great for those who are smaller or who don’t want to add a lot of weight to their vehicle. If you’re looking for affordable versatility, this ski and snowboard rack should definitely be on your list of choices when you’re shopping for a new roof rack.
- Fits most factory roof racks
- More affordable price point than most models on the list
- Locks included
- Plastic design may not hold up as well as aluminum
- Only 23” of mountable space
BUZZRACK BUZZSKI Hitch
The BUZZSKI hitch from BUZZRACK gives you a different way to take your gear along. This hitch fits both 1 ¼ inch and 2-inch hitches. It can carry six pairs of skis, four snowboards, or two boards with three pairs of skis. It also has an adjustable height feature that ensures that you can fit snowboards and skis of varying sizes. There are trays to hold the skis and boards in place, and those can be folded up when they aren’t being used. The durable steel construction guarantees that your boards will be stored safely whether you’re driving across town or across the country.
The BUZZRACK features padded arms and secure clips that make loading and storage easy. The separators are completely removable and adjustable and there are three straps to guarantee a secure installation. You can purchase a hitch lock set for integrated locking if you want to upgrade this set. Plus, you’ll still be able to access your tailgate and the trays can all be individually locked if you want to secure your gear. This rack is all about modern compatibility and compact design, and it delivers in plenty of ways.
- Holds up to 99.2 pounds
- Tilts for tailgate access
- Trays fold when not being used
- Lock is an optional feature
RockyMounts LiftOp Biggie Ski and Snowboard Carrier
The RockyMounts family is known for creating great ski and snowboard gear and equipment. Their LiftOp Biggie Ski and Snowboard Carrier is no exception. With 27.5 inches of cargo space on top, this rack will hold five sets of fat skis, four snowboards, or a combination of the two. It also comes with all of the mounting hardware that is needed for different roofing systems, including T-track mounts and cable straps. It’s one of the easiest to install and it’s all about convenience without compromising the quality of the rack.
This tubular rack features a quiet design with plenty of padding to hold your boards and skis securely without damaging them. This rack also includes a dual locking system to ensure that the rack is secured to the car and the boards or skis are secured to the rack. It will work with just about any roof rack, including some of the other brands you’ve seen on the list so far. Plus, it’s one of the most affordable options for the features that you get, and it features durable construction that can withstand the elements.
- Compatible with a variety of roof racks and systems
- Easy installation
- Almost fully-assembled out of the box
- Less horizontal space than some similar models
YAKIMA FatCat EVO Premium Ski and Snowboard Mount
The YAKIMA FatCat is another of the bestselling mounts. If you’re in the market for ski and snowboard racks that also have a touch of style, this might be just what you need. The rack includes a universal mounting system that works with square, round, aerodynamic, and factory roof racks. It also features its own aerodynamic design, which means you’ll lose less fuel when hauling your equipment. Plus, the overhang clamp point makes it easy to access your boards and skis and there’s a big button that can be operated even with thick gloves.
Like a lot of the models on this list, the FatCar is a tool-free installation. The clamp design makes it easy to put this rack on and take it off your vehicle. Plus, you can rely on the integrated SKS lock system to secure your boards and your rack itself, giving you peace of mind at all times. The DoubleJoint hinges are designed to accommodate fatter boards and skis with ease, and the rack will hold up to six pairs of skis or four snowboards.
- Universal mounting system offers maximum compatibility
- Tool-free installation
- Easy access via overhang clamp
- Base rack required for installation
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.
Lindsey grew up on the snow in Colorado. Lindsey is an awesome snowboarder who loves exploring new places and riding. Lindsey’s favorite snow spots are Aspen, Mammoth, Park City, Vail, and Lake Tahoe.