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What a Simple Tool Can Represent

Before we know it, life can slip right by us. It’s essential to make the most of a day. Famed and world-renowned author Haruki Murakami said it best:

“Grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it.”

But for those lovers of water and winter sports, finding the right moment to get away and get lost in your hobbies seems impossible. Getting to the slopes is tough and that’s not even counting all the time spent loading up your skiing or snowboarding gear.

This is where a ski rack comes in.

This tool represents, your best chance at seizing the day. Being able to quickly and securely load up to six pairs of skis to your vehicle, like with the Kuat Switch, is more than a convenience, it’s a life changer.

Consider all the snow days lost and then consider how a ski-snowboard rack could have let you make the most of them.

Product

Details

Best Overall

Yakima FatCat Ski Rack

  • Color: ‎Black
  • Item Weight: ‎11.6 Pounds

Lightest Option

Kuat Switch Ski Rack

  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: ‎1 pounds

Secure Option

Rhino-Rack Ski Rack

  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: ‎6.12 pounds

Best Storage Capacity

Thule SnowPack Ski Rack

  • Color: Aluminum
  • Item Weight: 14.2 Pounds

Most Durable

SportRack Groomer Deluxe Rack

  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: 7.5 Pounds

Fastest Installation

INNO Gravity Snow Rack

  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: 8.58 Pounds

Solid All-Arounder

Apex SKI-4 Ski Rack

  • Color: Black and silver
  • Item Weight: ‎14.77 pounds

Best Budget Option

DORSAL Aero Pad Roof Rack

  • Black
  • Item Weight: 0.5 pounds

8 Best Ski Racks for Better Snow Days

When it comes to the ski racks listed below we made sure to run the gamut. Our desire was to present you with that ski-snowboard rack that could make your life easier.

As such, we focused not only on the storage capacity of each ski and snowboard rack but also on a few other factors.

Namely, the installation process. This is where the most headaches are born and it’s why our top pick, the Yakima Fatcat, can be installed without the use of any tools. Now it doesn’t get better than that.

But don’t just settle for first. For a skiing or snowboarding rack to make it onto our list, they had to be at the top of their game at something. There is nothing but winning choices down below.

1. Yakima FatCat Ski Rack

best ski racks

The FatCat may not have the largest storage capacity on this list but it’s capable of fitting four pairs of skis or two snowboards. That’s more than enough for most skiers and snowboarders.

How then, did the Yakima Fatcat get to be number one?

Well, it had solid design principles across the board and its tool-free installation certainly helped. When you can get this on and off your vehicle in less than 15 minutes, that right there feels like a dream come true.

Its universal crossbar compatibility means that you won’t have to worry about any product returns and stress-filled afternoons. The best part is that skis and snowboards of a thicker build can comfortably slot right into this rack.

Most ski racks can’t count on that kind of design excellence.

best ski racks

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Four pairs of skis or two snowboards
  • Locking Mechanism: Locks to crossbars
  • Mounting System: Clamp Mount
  • Tool-Free Installation: Yes
  • Weight: 11.6 pounds

Pros

  • The clamp design makes for quick and painless installation and removal.
  • Is compatible with round, factory, and square roof racks.
  • Even thick skis and snowboards can fit perfectly into the FatCat.

Cons

  • Can’t be folded down to minimize drag.

Yakima FatCat Ski Rack

The price of “Yakima FatCat Ski Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

2. Kuat Switch 6 Ski Rack

best ski rack

Coming in with the same storage capacity as the Yakima Fatcat, the Switch earned its stripes because of its integrated locking mechanism and insanely low weight.

There are two things that you’ve got to worry about when it comes to a roof-mounted ski rack. Its effect on your gas mileage and the annoying whistling sound that it generates as you drive.

Having a roof box that weighs less than one pound takes care of both of these issues, putting most racks to shame.

The Switch is a true premium rack thanks to its flexibility and storage capacity despite its smaller size. However, this roof box does have a tall profile and it can only be folded down when empty.

But this only further shows the versatility of the Switch.

best ski rack

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Two boards or six ski pairs
  • Locking Mechanism: Integrated locks
  • Mounting System: Fits round, aero, and square bars
  • Tool-Free Installation: Yes
  • Weight: One Pound

Pros

  • Comes with integrated locks.
  • Can fit six sets of skis or two snowboards of your choosing.
  • Its low weight won’t affect gas mileage negatively.

Cons

  • Sticks out due to its tall profile.

Kuat Switch Ski Rack

The price of “Kuat Switch Ski Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

3. Rhino-Rack Ski Rack

best ski roof rack

The Rhino rack (as far as cargo boxes go) has a much lower storage capacity than other racks. It can only carry two sets of skis. As a result, the Rhino rack ski carrier is the best option for those who are single or those who are the only skiers in the family.

Moving past its carrying capacity, the key lock mechanism of this rack will keep your skis safe. This mechanism applies to the rack as a whole and if you want to access your equipment, simply engage the easy-release system.

But your skis are protected in more than one way.

This rack is fitted with soft rubber grips that secure your gear into place without leaving any scratches. This is a must because I think we all know just how expensive ski gear can get.

best ski roof rack

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Two sets of skis
  • Locking Mechanism: Key lock
  • Mounting System: Fits all Rhino rack crossbar types
  • Tool-Free Installation: Yes
  • Weight: 6.12 pounds

Pros

  • The key lock mechanism provides great security.
  • Can be installed quickly and easily.
  • Compatible with all Rhino rack crossbars and most non-Rhino crossbars.

Cons

  • Only two pairs of skis fit into it.

Rhino-Rack Ski Rack

The price of “Rhino-Rack Ski Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

4. Thule SnowPack Ski Rack

ski carrier for car

By far the most expensive item on this list but when you take into account all the features it has, you’ll know that every dollar was worth it.

The Thule snowpack can fit all the skis and snowboards that you could possibly want. Up to six skis (pairs) or four snowboards. This one has the loading width to contend with an entire family of ski enthusiasts.

There is also an anti-theft locking mechanism for each ski pair and snowboard that you heave onto it.

The high-quality materials used to construct the Thule snowpack pay dividends because, despite its storage capacity, it doesn’t weigh nearly as much as you would expect. My personal favorite ski rack. It doesn’t just carry skis, it carries everything you’ve got.

ski carrier for car

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Six pairs of skis attached or four snowboards
  • Locking Mechanism: Anti-theft locking for each ski and snowboard
  • Mounting System: Compatible with Thule racks and crossbars
  • Materials: Aluminum and plastic
  • Weight: 14.2 pounds

Pros

  • Incredible storage capacity.
  • Surprisingly lightweight for its storage capacity.
  • Rubber arms grip your gear without damaging it.

Cons

  • Its incredible quality comes with a hefty price tag.

Thule SnowPack Ski Rack

The price of “Thule SnowPack Ski Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

5. SportRack Groomer Deluxe Ski Rack

ski rack car

When something is made with corrosion-resistant aluminum you can expect it to not only last well into the near future but for many years to come.

The Groomer deluxe has got a strong and durable structure that can stand up to the coldest temperatures without breaking down. This cargo box comes with locks that you can use to deter thieves from wanting to swipe your hard-earned toys.

If you’ve got any crossbars from SportsRack installed on your car then you should have no problems getting the Groomer deluxe installed.

Longevity seemed to be the key design philosophy here because the Groomer comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Any parts that can break down are covered. When it comes to accessibility, massive buttons on the sides that push to release make it easy to access your gear.

It doesn’t matter how many skis you’ve got, they are in good hands.

ski rack car

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Four snowboards or 4-6 pairs of skis (Depending on size)
  • Locking Mechanism: Locks included for your gear
  • Mounting System: Compatible with all Sportback roof rack systems
  • Materials: Made with corrosion-resistant aluminum
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with a great limited lifetime warranty.
  • Not even the coldest winters will bring down its aluminum structure.
  • Large buttons for easy access to your gear.

Cons

  • Not universally compatible with all crossbars and systems.

SportRack Groomer Rack

The price of “SportRack Groomer Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

6. INNO Gravity Snow Rack

ski rack car

If you’ve got the right crossbars then it only takes seconds to install this cargo box onto your vehicle. This lightning-fast installation brings you a top-tier storage capacity of six pairs of skis or four snowboards.

The only issue that I had with it is that if you’ve got thicker crossbars than ordinary, then that installation time will climb up. This is because you will require the use of a long bolt kit to get it on.

Despite this, it does have a universal mounting system and its cradle jaws are wide enough to accommodate most fits and gear.

It comes with a key and lock that you use to lock down your gear. The Gravity snow rack has got killer security and carrying space. Not much more you could want from a rack.

ski rack car

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Six pairs of skis attached or four snowboards
  • Locking Mechanism: Key and lock included
  • Mounting System: True universal mounting system
  • Tool-Free Installation: No, long bolt kit needed
  • Weight: 8.58 pounds

Pros

  • Can be mounted onto all crossbars and systems.
  • Uni-clamp mount is incredibly easy to work with.
  • Great wide cradle jaws form a secure bond.

Cons

  • For thicker crossbars, a long bolt kit is needed for installation.

INNO Gravity Snow Rack

The price of “INNO Gravity Snow Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

7. Apex SKI-4 Ski Rack

ski racks for cars

The Ski-4 stays true to its name, capable of carrying up to four pairs of skis or two snowboards. Moving on to its make, with heavy-duty plastic and aluminum used for its build, you’ve got a pretty solid and durable framework.

The best feature of this snowboard carrier is that all of its roof rails come with their own lock and two keys. The same key system is used for each lock, don’t worry about mixing up the keys.

Now that is the kind of Fort Knox security that makes for stress-free ski trips.

The Ski-4 doesn’t have the most aerodynamic design but then again, this cargo box was made to transport skis not speed up your vehicle. It’s a solid all-around option that doesn’t break the bank.

ski racks for cars

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Two boards or four ski pairs
  • Locking Mechanism: Each rack has its own lock
  • Mounting System: Clamp, roof, and crossbar mount
  • Materials: Heavy-duty plastic and aluminum
  • Weight: 14.77 pounds

Pros

  • Loved that each individual rack would lock shut.
  • A spare key is included encase you lose the first one.

Cons

  • Has a heavy build of nearly 15 pounds in weight.

Bonus: Roof Rack Accessory

Apex SKI-4 Ski Rack

The price of “Apex SKI-4 Ski Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

8. DORSAL Aero Pad Roof Rack

ski racks for cars

I’ve presented you with so many great cargo boxes and rack fits but now I’m showing you an accessory that will go great with all of them.

This Dorsal product is a set of long-lasting durable nylon pads that you slip onto each individual rack. It’s one of the best-priced ski-snowboard rack accessories that you will find.

These pads increase the durability of your rack by shielding its surface from the elements. It’s also another layer of protection for your gear. Further decreasing the probability of any scratches or nicks to the surface of your skis.

Pick a ski rack and then get these to go with it.

ski racks for cars

Features

  • Storage Capacity: Can fit a majority of ski and snowboard rack systems
  • Locking Mechanism: None
  • Installation: Hook and loop closure
  • Tool-Free Installation: Yes
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds

Pros

  • Great build quality despite being a budget option.

DORSAL Aero Pad Rack

The price of “DORSAL Aero Pad Rack” varies, so check the latest price at

What You’ve Got to Consider, Before Purchasing a Ski Rack

Following are some of the factors worth considering while looking for ski racks:

What Do You Need Before Getting a Roof Rack

Hold on! I know that you are excited to take your ski gear with you on the road but there is still work to be done. First, you’ve got to head outside and take a look at your car. Inspect the top, does it have crossbars or not?

Encase you don’t know what crossbars are, crossbars are (typically) two bars that stretch across your car’s roof at a horizontal angle.

These crossbars are where all the magic happens. This is your true mounting system and where the new ski rack you just purchased will be installed. But what if you don’t have crossbars?

If your vehicle’s roof doesn’t come with crossbars then you are going to need to head online and purchase some there. There are several types of crossbars (round, square-shaped, and aero crossbars) but you can’t go wrong with the classic two horizontal bars.

Hooking up your ski rack or snowboard racks is a cinch once you have the crossbars in place. But there is one very important matter to keep in mind when purchasing crossbars. The next section will explain it to you.

Is Your Crossbar Compatible with Your Ski Racks

Not all roof racks and crossbars are compatible with one another. Getting the right crossbars to go with your vehicle is important, here are two things to look out for.

The first thing to look out for is whether there is uniform compatibility between your vehicle, your roof rack, and your crossbars. This is because of the strain that a roof rack will place on your vehicle.

Besides making it possible to install a ski rack onto your car, the main purpose of crossbars is to handle the weight of all your sports gear. Whether it’s fishing poles, four snowboards, or any other gear. The crossbars are to take all that weight and transfer it to their sturdy towers and feet.

If your crossbars are the right size then you’ll get better weight distribution which means less potential for damage to your vehicle. The other thing to look out for is ensuring that you get the crossbars that your ski rack can accommodate.

Almost all ski racks will be compatible with your crossbars but there are always outliers.

I am not a lucky person. If lady luck avoids you the way she avoids me, then I recommend triple-checking what crossbars your ski rack of choice can accommodate before making a final purchase.

Two Things to Lookout For

In most countries, gas is extremely expensive at the moment and I doubt that those prices will ever sink back down to acceptable levels. Getting the best gas mileage possible is important. Except, there is an issue.

Whatever ski and snowboard rack you end up getting, it’s going to add extra weight and generate drag for your vehicle. This drag is going to create two issues for you (or none depending on how easily irritated you are and the make of your car).

The more drag your vehicle has, the more fuel you’ll have to burn to get it moving and keep it moving. But that’s not all, ski and snowboard racks create a lot of whistling. This is because the wind flows through their structure and they are designed in such a way that a constant whistling sound is created.

The best ski rack (or snowboard rack) that minimizes the negative effects discussed above would be the Kuat Switch 6 snowboard rack. The Switch can fold down into place to lessen the drag and dampen that annoying whistling sound as you drive.

What a Ski Rack Is Made of and Its Quality

Of course, with anything, the materials used to build the equipment are vitally important. The materials used directly impact build quality. You don’t want a ski rack that is made from cheap materials, no matter how tantalizing its price may be. It’ll fail you when you need it most.

The last thing you want is four snowboards tumbling out onto the highway behind you.

The best ski and snowboard racks are those that are mostly built from metal. This is what ensures their longevity. You’ll also want a roof rack with secure locks or soft rubber grips where your skis and snowboards will go.

The rubber grips improve the hold of your roof rack, making sure that nothing slips out.

What’s in Your Wallet?

The partial truth is, if you want a high-quality ski rack, then you are going to have to fork out a hefty sum of cash.

But this isn’t always the case. In fact, the eighth entry on our list, the DORSAL Aero Pad Roof Rack, is a great budget option for anyone that wants a ski snowboard rack at a price that won’t decimate their entire budget.

There are good deals out there but they are difficult to find.

My Final Thoughts

Ski racks are an awesome way to haul around your gear. Dynamic sports, like skiing and snowboarding, create dynamic situations. If you always want to be ready for that first snowfall, the hills of fresh pow, then a snowboard rack is the way to go.

Dual-purpose roof racks, like the Yakima FatCat 4 EVO Ski and Snowboard Rack, let you hook up four pairs of skis or two snowboards. With that kind of storage capacity and convenience, you’ll always be ready to ride.

This is what a ski rack is all about. They allow you to adopt an “always ready” mindset. Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

Categories: Skiing

Adrian Salazar

My name is Adrian Salazar and I have been wrapped up in the world of water and other extreme sports since the first time I went kayaking. When I’m not working hard trying to deliver the best writing that I can, I am usually out on a lake or hiking up a mountain. My world is completely dominated by writing and the mix of adrenaline and peace of mind that can be achieved while engaging in new sports. I will use my knowledge, experience, and mistakes, to inform you about the best ways that you can become a part of the world of extreme sports. You can count on me to give you my informed and unbiased opinion about any sporting equipment you may need. I know from personal experience that extreme sports are something that you need to head into completely and accurately informed. Let my experience guide you.

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