If you usually drive to the mountain, you will know all too well how inconvenient it can be to store your gear in your vehicle itself. The solution: a roof rack system. Storing your gear externally will give you more room and keep your car’s interior clean and dry. Roof and hitch storage systems can be easily detached and stored when you don’t need them.
There are three main types of ski and snowboard carry system: roof racks, hitch racks and cargo boxes.
Perhaps the most popular and affordable option available. Roof racks secure your skis and board by enclosing them between two rubber lined arms that are locked closed at one end. These arms stop them from sliding as you go around corners on your way to the mountain. Ski and snowboard carry systems are even available as bolt-on upgrades to existing roof racks, making them affordable and easy to install.
The major downside to housing your skis and boards externally on the roof of your car is that they are open to the elements. Over time, the steel edges on your skis or board may rust, so it is a good idea to clean them with fresh water after long journeys and dry them properly before storing them.
There are many benefits to carrying your gear to the mountain on a hitch rack. It’s easy to load and unload because everything is right there at eye level. You don’t get any of the noise caused by roof mounted systems and you can carry more gear than a typical roof rack. However, because they are located just behind the rear wheels of your vehicle and very close to the road, your gear is prone to getting dirty.
You can be sure that your gear is safe in a cargo box. Cargo boxes are capable of carrying the most amount of gear of any option, and aren’t restricted to just carrying skis and boards either. They are large enough that you can throw your boots and poles and even your jacket and pants in there too. The only real downside to a cargo box is the fact that they can be very heavy and impact your fuel consumption on the way to the ski field.
How to Choose the Right Roof Rack
Every type of roof rack has its benefits and sometime its shortcomings. When picking one, it is important to think about how it will work with your vehicle, the amount of gear you need it to carry, and how much you can afford to spend. Cargo boxes will take care of your gear without you needing to clean them after a journey, and allow for the transportation of other types of gear, but unfortunately can be too heavy for some vehicle roof systems and can be very expensive. Hitch racks sit nicely in the middle, providing ample carrying capacity and reducing wind noise, but you end up with dirty gear, and some won’t allow easy access to your boot while attached.
The humble roof rack is still the all-round go to. It’s simple and lightweight and they are capable of carrying multiple sets of skis and boards. You’ll just have to put in a little more effort, lifting those skis above your head and cleaning them down after a long drive to prevent rusty edges. No one wants rusty edges….