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Which ski racks for your car are best?

A ski rack for your car protects the vehicle’s interior and frees up wasted space for more storage and friends. Further, harmful chemicals found in artificial snow and salt make their way onto your skis and you don’t want those chemicals in your car’s interior. Skis securely carried on top of the car allow for more space for equipment and passengers traveling with you. 

The Yakima FatCat EVO 6 is a top-rated ski rack for recreational and expert skiers heading to the mountain. 

What to know before you buy a ski rack for your car

What is a car ski rack?

A car ski rack consists of two rubber protected clamps that horizontally mount to each crossbar on the roof of a vehicle. Once properly aligned and fastened onto your car’s crossbars, the rack becomes part of the vehicle until ski season comes to an end. Like other car accessories for outdoor enthusiasts, such as kayak racks, ski racks are removable, and proper installation won’t damage the crossbars on the roof.

How to put skis on your ski rack

Skiers can firmly secure their skis when they purchase a rack for their vehicle. An integrated lock system in both clamps is easily accessible from the side of the vehicle. After turning the key 

to unlock the clamps, press the button that releases them. Carefully place each pair of skis onto the opened clamps so the front and back tips reach the rubber protectors. As soon as maximum capacity is reached, close each clamp one at a time or simultaneously with a friend. The rubber protection on the top and bottom of each clamp will tightly compress the skis without damaging them. Finally, lock them back up.  

Why buy a car ski rack

Ski racks allow for the more efficient use of a car’s cabin space while protecting the vehicle’s interior and occupants. Jamming skis inside overtakes seating space. The continuous exposure to ice, artificial snow, dirt and other debris on skis leads to erosion and rusting in the interior of your vehicle. Car accidents from snowy and icy road conditions can cause loose skis to fly around the car, having the potential to seriously injure someone.   

What to look for in a quality ski rack for your car

Universal fit

Ski racks compatible with nearly any car’s roof crossbars are versatile. When the time comes for a new car, you’ll likely be able to use it again.

Toolless mounting

Look for ski racks that can be installed without tools. Drilling or screwing hardware into roof crossbars for the installation of a ski rack permanently damages the crossbars.  

Integrated locking system

A built-in locking system makes it impossible for thieves to use a bolt cutter to cut through the ski rack like they would a traditional lock.

Large push-release button

After unlocking the rack, being able to release the clamps with gloves on helps save your hands from the cold.

Adjustable roof clearance

Adjustable ski rack height gives skiers with larger bindings more room between their skis and car roofs, protecting the exterior of their car from damage. 

How much you can expect to spend on a ski rack for your car

A high-quality ski rack capable of holding four to six skis at any given time ranges from $260-$340.

Ski rack for your car FAQ

Will my kid’s small skis securely fit? 

A. Even if your young child’s pair of skis aren’t long enough to reach both clamps and seal them shut, since theirs are smaller and lighter than adult skis, they don’t need as much support. Two short skis can take the place of one adult ski on a ski rack. 

Is a car ski rack compatible with a snowboard? 

A. Most often, yes. If a ski rack’s capacity is four skis, then it’ll be able to carry two snowboards. Following this pattern, a six-ski rack can hold three snowboards. 

How long does a ski rack last?

A. Given that many ski racks are made from aluminum, just like cars, the better taken care of they are, the longer they’ll fulfill their purpose. To ensure a ski rack stays in good condition over time, store it inside after every use, away from winter’s harsh outdoor elements. 

What are the best ski racks for your car to buy?

Top ski rack for your car

Yakima FatCat EVO 6

Yakima FatCat EVO 6

What you need to know: The Yakima FatCat EVO 6 fits nearly every car’s round or square roof crossbars to hold six skis, three snowboards or a combination of the two. 

What you’ll love: Owners can shift the ski rack to be closer to the side of the car, making locking, releasing and removing skis less of a stretch. No tools are necessary to mount it to a car’s crossbars.    

What you should consider: Road debris can damage skis over time if they aren’t properly washed and wiped down soon after arriving home. 

Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry and Amazon

Top ski rack for your car for the money

Yakima FatCat EVO 4

Yakima FatCat EVO 4

What you need to know: As opposed to the FatCat EVO 6, this model’s carrying capacity is two skis or one snowboard less.  

What you’ll love: Just like its big sibling, this adjustable ski rack height allows owners to customize the clearance from their car’s roof to the bindings. A double jointed hinge expands the clamps for thicker skis and snowboards.

What you should consider: The carrying capacity is the maximum number of typical skis or snowboards that will fit on the rack. A four- and six-ski rack can fit one as well.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Thule SnowPack 4-Pair Roof Mount

Thule SnowPack 4-Pair Roof Mount

What you need to know: This car ski rack is capable of carrying four skis or two snowboards.

What you’ll love: An oversized push release button makes opening the clamps easier with gloves on. Ultra-soft rubber grips press the skis together so there isn’t any damage to equipment. 

What you should consider: If your vehicle doesn’t have roof crossbars, you need to buy them to use this ski rack. 

Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry


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David Rosner writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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