Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most exciting wintertime sports. During the season, many people flock to the slopes to enjoy sliding through the snow. However, to enjoy the season, you have to be able to get your gear to the slopes.
Skis, in particular, can be difficult to travel with. They’re large and rather fragile, so you don’t want to throw them in the backseat or trunk of your car. A convenient choice is to look for a car top ski carrier. These let you securely strap your skis to the top of your car, saving you space and ensuring your skis stay safe.
Here, we’re going to look at 10 top-rated ski roof racks that will help transport your skis wherever you need to go.
How To Choose A Ski Rack – Buying Guide
Safety and Stability
The most important and basic aspect of choosing the best car top ski carrier is making sure that it’s safe to use. This means the rooftop ski rack won’t shake or slip and that your skis won’t come loose during travel. Situations like these can be especially dangerous because not only will it damage your gear but it could also cause an accident.
The best way to ensure that you don’t have any trouble with safety, try taking your skis on short trips before committing to a long one. It’s also crucial to make sure that you’ve installed your snowboard rack and lashed your skis on correctly. Otherwise, you risk any damage or safety threats by slipping and sliding.
One of the most important things to consider when you’re purchasing a snowboard roof rack is if it’s compatible with your vehicle. For the most part, ski racks are made to be universal. However, not every rooftop ski rack is made to fit every model of car, so it’s important to check that the ski rack you’re looking at is made to fit your car.
To start, measure the roof rails on your current vehicle. Then, you can compare that measurement to the manufacturer’s measurements of their ski racks. This cross-reference will help you understand if the rack will fit your car. The last thing you want is to order a snowboard rack for your car only to receive it and realize it doesn’t fit.
You’ll also want to consider how your car is designed. Not every car has built-in roof racks. Some have raised side rails and some cars aren’t made with crossbars at all. Depending on the suggestions for the ski rack you’re looking at, you may need additional accessories such as adapters. Once again, look out for ski racks that have universal accessories because they’re made to work for almost any car model.
Loading and Unloading
No one wants to run into complications when loading and unloading skis. More likely, you want a ski rack that makes it easy to pack up your skis on the way to the slopes and easy to take them down when you get to the slopes. After all, ski carriers for cars are for convenience and if you have to take all day to load and unload your skis, that convenience is gone.
The main concern of unloading skis is if the rack isn’t made for use with gloves on. Once you get to the slopes, it’s probably a little chilly to comfortably work outside without any gloves on. So, you’ll want to look for a rack that’s made for quick and easy unloading. You can look at honest ski rack reviews like the one we’ve created to get an opinion on the unloading process without the marketing influence that managers are tied to.
Ease of Set Up
Just like no one wants to deal with unnecessarily strenuous loading and unloading but they also don’t want to deal with a strenuous installation. This is especially true if you plan to take the rack on and off between seasons. Most are meant to install easily.
The biggest factor for most people is height. If you’re particularly short, it can be difficult to lift gear on top of the car. While the design of a roof rack can only do so much about this problem, it can help to look for less bulky models that don’t add as much height to the top of your car.
Strength and Weight Ratings
Strength and weight don’t necessarily correlate when it comes to car racks. There are plenty of lightweight ski racks that can carry your gear. Specifically, aluminum metal ski racks are going to give plenty of strength without adding a lot of weight.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the weight limit of your car. If you aren’t sure what that limit is, you can find the answer in your owner’s manual. This will tell you the total max weight. This means the weight of the passengers as well as the cargo. Larger vehicles like SUVs are made to carry more whereas smaller cars like sports cars aren’t made to handle a lot of weight.
The best bet is too long for a strong, lightweight rack that will hold your skis securely without adding unnecessary weight.
Then, there is the weight capacity of the rack itself. This will be listed by the manufacturer. The average weight capacity for the best ski racks hovers around 150 to 160 pounds.
This concept is fairly straightforward. You need to know how many skis you want to transport when you’re purchasing a ski rack. If you purchase one that’s too small, you’re going to have trouble transporting the extra skis. If you purchase one that’s too big you might be spending more money that you need to.
It’s a good idea to think of the maximum number of skis you might carry. For instance, if you sometimes go skiing by yourself and sometimes make a trip to the slopes with your family, it’s a good idea to choose a car rack that will carry the larger capacity.
Small models are usually designed to carry 2 pairs of skis while larger models can carry up to 6 pairs of skis.
The best ski roof racks usually aren’t made to only hold skis. A rack solely dedicated to skis probably isn’t the best deal for your money because you’ll want to use it outside of skiing season. Luckily, most racks are versatile enough to hold other items such as fishing poles, paddles, and other outdoor gear.
Even if you aren’t going to use them outside of the season, ski racks are made to be pretty low profile. In other words, you aren’t going to need to worry about taking them on and off when the season starts and ends.
If you have a rack on the back of your car, you probably don’t have any difference in the fuel efficiency of your car. When it comes to roof racks, though, this isn’t the case. This has less to do with their weight and more to do with the wind resistance they cause. If the wind blows easily over your car, you’re going to have better fuel efficiency. But, when you have a rack that’s causing the wind to drag, your fuel efficiency will decrease.
To reduce this effect, you’ll want to look for a ski rack that isn’t too bulky. The larger a roof rack is, the more wind resistance it will cause.
Amount of Equipment
We’ve already gone over the recommended number of skis or snowboards and the weight capacity of a ski rack. However, if you want to extend this to carry more equipment, you’ll want to look for extra accessories such as T-Rack extensions. This will allow you to carry more cargo than the original ski rack could hold. These accessories usually come at an extra cost or need to be purchased separately.
Q: Are ski racks universal?
Most manufacturers design their ski racks to fit any make or model of car. If they make it for a specific type of car, they usually disclose that information on the product information page. What you will want to check closely is that you have any roof rails or crossbars to install your new ski rack. If you don’t have these installation components, you can purchase the roof rails or crossbars separately.
Q: Do you need roof rails in order to mount ski racks?
Now that you know you need to look out for the need for ski racks, do you need them for every ski rack that you purchase? Well, the answer is maybe. You’re going to need something to secure your ski rack into place. Aside from roof racks, there are options including hitch racks, trunk racks, and spare tire racks.
Roof rails – a term that is used interchangeably with crossbars – are the most specialized option. Truck racks are also a good choice if you’re driving a truck. They also make it easy to quickly lash your skis to the top of your car and get going. You’ll want to make sure you have the right straps to lock everything into place.
Q: How safe are these ski racks?
The first step to choosing the right ski rack for you is to consider the safety of the rack. All the ski roof racks for cars we’ve looked at here are completely safe and you can rest easy knowing that they aren’t going to fall or come loose. However, it’s still much safer to test the rack out and make sure everything is secured tightly before hitting the road towards the slopes.
Rare product defects can cause problems with safety and performance. Luckily, most companies offer a warranty policy to ensure that you aren’t stuck with a product that doesn’t work.
Q: How many pairs of skis can you mount on one ski rack?
This is an aspect that depends greatly on the product you’re choosing. It’s a good idea to start by thinking about all of the gear you need to bring with you. From this list, take a look at how many skis you need to transport. Then, jump into looking at products. Most manufacturers will disclose the maximum number of skis they recommend for their ski rack.
Generally, smaller ski racks are made to hold a pair of ski sets and you can find sizes that will carry about six sets of skis.
The 10 best ski racks give you plenty of options when it comes to finding the right rooftop rack for you. To choose the best ones, you need to do exactly what we did here: break down the features and compare that to your own needs. It’s even better that these roof racks can be left on year-round, so you don’t have to worry about taking them on and off and you can even use them for transporting other items. Depending on what you’re looking for, one of these options will be the perfect choice for you.
- How Much Can Your Car Carry?, plymouthrock.com