What do You do? Skiing/Snowboarding
As far as skiing and snowboards are concerned, you really don't have many options. Board/ski roof racks
are pretty much the way to go. Every now and then you can find a hitch mounted rack
, but those are few and far between.
If you have a factory roof rack often times you can often find adapters
(like Yakima's Mightymounts) to mount ski/board racks on top of an existing rack, which can save you hundreds of dollars. This option is great if you want to haul
just skis, but if you start hauling
heavier gear you'll have to use your own discretion as to whether or not the rack is strong enough.
There are little to no options as to the location of boat racks. They can go on your vehicle's roof or, if you have a pickup, you can get a bed rack for them.
Canoes can be secured fairly easily with the aid of load stops
, as seen in the picture below.
When looking at bike racks the two main things to consider are 1. Where you want the rack (roof, trunk/hatch, hitch mounted, or in a pickup bed), and 2. Whether you want a fork mounted rack (where you have to take off the front tire)
or an upright mount (no disassembly of your bike is necessary).
Fork mounted racks
are usually cheaper, and don't require the user to lift up their bike quite as far as an upright mount. If you have a mountain bike,
special care needs to be taken to make sure that you don't squeeze the front break, as this can damage your bike. Many riders will jam a piece of plastic or rubber in between their disc brake's pads to to protect them against accidentally grabbing the wrong brake lever.
are typically more expensive, but don't require the user to take their bike apart at all.
There are a lot of options for mounting kayaks to roof racks. One of the favorites is a roller
combination. This option allows the user to put the tip of the kayak on the rollers
and roll the kayak on top of the vehicle so it can be secured easily in the saddles. This system is best when you are hauling
one or two boats, and want an easy way to get boats on top of a roof. This rack type is also very gentle on the boats.
Another common option is something like a kayak stacker
. These racks are fairly cheap, and can haul
up to 4 boats. Unfortunately, they also require the user to hoist their boats all the way on top of their roof, which is hard on the boats. If you have a plastic boat this method works fine, but it would likely damage composite boats.
Types of Racks Roof Racks
If you find yourself hauling skis
or boards around in the winter, and bikes and kayaks in the summer, this is what you need. In addition to being THE mark of an outdoors enthusiast these days, roof racks can haul
the most stuff, and can keep your $1,800 MTB
rig safe so you don't have to babysit it while its sitting on top of your car.
- The most versatile option.
- Admit it, you want one cause it looks cool.
- One of the most secure options.
- Expensive. A basic rack that just has bars and towers fitted to your car will usually set you back about $250 in addition to buying the accessories to actually haul stuff.
- Wind resistance caused by the rack has a substantial negative effect on a car's gas millage.
- Bike roof racks, in particular, can be a hassle on SUV's, because they are elevated so high.
- Most roof racks are made modularly, so they can be mounted on different cars fairly easily with the purchase of additional parts. However, those parts can run anywhere from $50-100. Be sure to check compatibility before counting on your roof rack fitting another car.
Trunk and hatch racks are great for people that just want to haul
bikes, and won't be doing much road tripping (or are at least willing to keep an eye on their bikes during stops).
- Easiest rack to put on/take off
- least expensive rack option.
- Relatively good gas mileage compared to hauling bikes on a roof
- Easy access to bikes
- Will fit virtually any car/SUV. Some racks can even be mounted against a spare tire in a pinch if you are absolutely desperate.
- Hardest rack type to secure bikes from theft.
- Taking the rack on and off every time you want to take out your bikes is a pain (assuming you don't want to leave it on your car).
- Only hauls bikes
- Kills access to your hatch/trunk while the rack is on.
Hitch racks are one of the best options for bikes if you have a receiver on your car/truck/SUV. There are some hitch racks that can even hold skis
or snowboards. This is one of the preferred methods of hauling
stuff if you have a high roof (like on most SUVs), want to save on gas mileage, and want a rack that can be locked (beware, many hitch racks can't, or require an additional locking accessory).
- Ease of access. These are just as easy as trunk/hatch mounted racks to gets bikes on and off of. The user is not required to hoist their bike way over their head.
- Some hitch racks swing out of the way easily so you can access your vehicle's trunk or hatch.
- Many hitch racks can be locked, often with the purchase of an additional locking accessory.
- Can be switched between any vehicle with the same size hitch.
- Big price range $100-400. Make sure you know what features are worth paying for and which ones are not.
- If you don't have a hitch on your vehicle, they can be fairly expensive to put on.
Pickup Bed Racks
If you have a pickup and you want to haul
a bike, look no further.
- Cheap. For about 20 bucks you can get a fork rack that holds your bike just as securely as some of the $100+ roof rack attachments.
- Can be locked. Locking mounts cost more money, but they are easy to find.
- Some mounts require permanent holes to be drilled in your truck's bed. But hey, its a pickup, not a prom queen.
- Hauling kayaks or canoes can be expensive. It'll cost about $350 to get the frame pieces to mount to your pickup, then you have to buy the additional boat mounts etc.