SnowBoard and Ski Rack Comparison
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SnowBoard and Ski Rack Buying Guide
Things to Consider
If you are in the market for a snowboard and ski gear rack, it’s very important that you take a look at a few things before you make your purchase. These particular factors will help ensure that you know exactly what you are purchasing, and also help you decide on the right model for your vehicle and needs. Make sure you ask yourself these questions and have the answers before you start shopping so you will know which models can be considered and which ones won’t do at all.
- How many pairs of skis or snowboards will you be carrying? – Making sure you choose a rack that can hold all that you need to transport is very important. Make sure you know what you will be regularly transporting and allow for that. Even if you only have one pair of skis, you are better off rounding up just a little bit and ensuring that you have room for a few more in case you want to ski or snowboard with friends or family.
- How often will you need the rack? – Do you ski or snowboard often or just once in awhile? How often you need the gear carrier will determine the type that will be best for you. Unless you don’t mind having a ski and snowboard rack on your vehicle 24/7, there are some racks that are so easy to attach that you can do it on an as needed basis.
- Do you need a rack that has room for other gear too? – If you will just be carrying skis and snowboards on the rack, you may not need one that is as large as you would if you need something to carry boots, clothing and other gear in as well. Determine what you need the rack to carry and you will be able to choose the one that will accommodate all your needs and not just a few of them.
- Do you vehicle already have a rack system? – Some vehicles come with pre-installed factory racks on the roof or trunk. If your vehicle already has a roof rack, see if the carrier you are interested in will easily attach to the existing roof rack. Or if it just crossbars, make sure that you know which systems work with that type of crossbar system.
- What are the height/weight restrictions of your vehicle? – You will need to know what the height and weight restrictions are before you select a snowboard and ski rack for your vehicle. Be sure to allow for the rack AND the gear in your calculations so you won’t go over the limit when you load your equipment and gear onto the rack. If you spend the extra money on a higher quality rack, it will be more durable and will last a lot longer.
Types of Snowboard and Ski Racks
There are a few different kinds of snowboard and ski racks available on the market. Consumers have a choice of three different styles. Each of the styles listed have different characteristics that consumers will find beneficial when it comes to traveling with their equipment.
- Rooftop Rack – Roof racks are made to fit all sizes of skis and boards. Some are also designed to fit larger things such as kayaks, canoes and bicycles. A snowboard and ski rack has rubber coated arms that the skis are laid on and then locked into. Once they are locked into place they are held on top of the vehicle in the rack. If the roof rack is factory installed, there may be side rails, mounting points and crossbars.
- Hitch Mount Rack – Hitch racks are attached to cars with a hitch mount. Hitches are weight regulated so make sure that you know what hitch size your vehicle can tow. The majority of hitch mount racks will need a class 2 or 3 hitch. They are popular with consumers because they are easy to load and unload, they are typically at eye level so you don’t have to reach over your head and depending on the model, they can be swung open or folded don to be out of the way while the user is accessing the trunk or hatch.
- Cargo Box – Cargo boxes are very popular for those who have loose gear as well as skis and boards to carry. They can be used all year round, rain or shine. Cargo boxes come in a variety of sizes. They are either mounted to the roof or attached to a hitch receiver on the car. Cargo boxes are hard sided which protects them from rain, snow and wind. Lock systems are available for cargo boxes to keep the contents protected and safe from potential thieves.
Installing a Rooftop Snowboard and Ski Rack
Installing a roof style snowboard and ski rack isn’t too difficult at all. We have outlined the steps below so you will know how to make sure that your roof rack is installed properly. You can always have it professionally installed if you are not handy or don’t want to do it yourself.
- Decide on a location – The first step in mounting your snowboard and ski rack is knowing where on the roof you want it. Some people want the roof rack installed symmetrically and have it located directly in the middle of the roof. Others may want it off center a bit so it is easier to access from one side of the vehicle or the other.
- Make sure Crossbars are already mounted – Whether you have a factory installed crossbars or add them before you put on the roof rack, you will need crossbars to install the roof rack.
- Adding the plastic mounts – Start by adding the plastic mounts onto the existing cross bar in the locations you want them in. Always work from the rear forward. Mounts are easy to snap into place and are flexible as well.
- Attach the rack to the mounts – Put the roof rack on top of the mounts, lining up the holes in the mounts with the holes in the rack. Take the bolts that the rack comes with and put them through the holes going from, the back to the front. Make sure everything lines up properly.
- Thread the Wingnut – You will need to open the ski and snowboard rack to thread the wingnut. The reason for this is due to the fact that the top of the rack acts in the same manner as a lock would.
- Close and Repeat – Once the wingnut has been threaded, you’re done with that side. Close the rack and repeat the entire process above for the second bar. You want to be certain that the two racks are in line with each other.
Installing a Hitch Mount Snowboard and Ski Rack
- Place the Rack – Start the process of installing your hitch mount snowboard and ski rack mount by putting the assembled rack onto of the bike rack. You want to be sure that the upper cross tubes are on top of the two bike rack cradles that are the closest to the vehicle. If you need to move the bike rack cradles backwards or forwards to ensure proper alignment with the cross tubes.
- Tighten Cradle Straps – One you the snowboard and ski hitch rack adjusted and in the proper place, tighten down all four of the cradle straps that fit over the cross tubes.
- Secure and Tighten – Next, you will add the Allen bolts through the holes that are in the middle of the bar. You also want to attach the bracket on the rear of the mast of the bike rack. Once that is done, tighten the wing knobs until the the rack os fastened properly to the crossbars.
Snowboard and ski rack safety tips
Making sure that your cargo is secure on the roof rack is very important. You don’t want to be driving down the road and have your skis or snowboards and gear go flying off. It can cause an accident for you and/or other drivers. We have listed some safety tips that you can keep in mind for the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road.
- Use the correct securing equipment – Be sure to secure the cargo on your rack properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If it calls for safety straps, use the right kind for your vehicle.
- Don’t obstruct the driver’s view – It’s very important to make sure that none of your snowboards or skis blocks the view of the driver. This isn’t likely to happen with a roof top rack but it can with a hitch mount. When loading up for the first time, be sure to do a check to ensure that you can see everywhere you need to while driving.
- Avoid wide loads – if you are transporting gear that is wider than your roof, you run the risk of making your vehicle very difficult to control. Aerodynamics can make driving easier or harder. An overly wide cargo load can unbalance your vehicle and make it more susceptible to tipping.
- Attach any safety straps to solid points– If you are going to use safety straps, make sure that you hook them to solid points on the vehicle. Never hook them to plastic or lightweight bumpers. Hooking the straps to the roof bars or the metal frame of your vehicle.
- Never speed with rooftop cargo – Wind can really wreck havoc with your driving control and your cargo as well. You want to drive no more than the speed limit or at the very least only 5 miles an hour under the speed limit. Turns need to be taken with extra care.
- Check connections on longer trips – Always get into the habit of checking your connections and tie downs before you leave on a trip and then along the way as well. AS good rule of thumb is to check the connections every time that you stop for gas, food or other things.
Carrying cargo and gear is a natural part of traveling. If you are going on a ski vacation, you want to be able to secure that gear safely and know that it will arrive safely. Having a good quality snowboard and ski rack will help you accomplish that goal.
With the information in this buyer’s guide you have learned many things that will help with choosing and using a high quality rack to transport that gear. You’ve also learned how to install them properly and follow basic safety tips to ensure your safety, your passengers’ safety.
This information will help you narrow down the choices and choose the one that will be a great addition to your skiing and snowboarding.