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Car Racks


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Car Racks

Before picking a car rack that is right for you, you must first pick which sports you want it for:

Skiing/Snowboarding
Biking
Kayaking/Canoing

Each of these rack options have various strengths and weaknesses, each of which this article will explore in detail.
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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.

Canoes
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 and straps, as seen in the picture below.

Biking
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.

Upright racks are typically more expensive, but don't require the user to take their bike apart at all.

Kayaks
There are a lot of options for mounting kayaks to roof racks. One of the favorites is a roller / saddle 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.

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Trunk/Hatch Racks
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).

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Hitch Racks
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).

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Pickup Bed Racks
If you have a pickup and you want to haul a bike, look no further.

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