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If you’re looking for an easy way to transport all your gear for your favorite snow sports, you should get the best ski and snowboard roof rack for your car. Whether you live just down the road from Mount Elbert or are in the midst of planning a 2,000-mile winter sports road trip, you’re going to have to find space for your gear. Between ski bags, snowboard boots, and people, there may not be much space left in the car. The solution? Strap it all to the roof. Check out our snowboard and ski roof rack reviews and ratings below.
In order to ensure you don’t leave your expensive gear on the highway, you’re going to have to invest in a roof rack. However, there are a lot of different options, and it can be difficult to find which ones are truly worth your money. Fortunately, we’ve taken care of all the hard work for you. Here is our buying guide for the top five best ski and snowboard roof racks.
In This Article
The Apex SKI-4 Ski and Snowboard Roof Rack is the best snowboard and ski roof rack because it can carry up to four pairs of skis or two snowboards, making it a great mediums-sized option.
The low profile Apex Ski and Snowboard Roof Rack is perfect for skiers and snowboarders because it can carry four pairs of skis or two snowboards, making it a great medium-sized roof rack for a trip with friends or a small family. You also have the option to mix and match. For example, you could carry two pairs of skis and a snowboard. The soft rubber arms are designed to prevent scratching skis and snowboards so that they can be locked securely in place without having to worry about them either being too loose or being damaged.
This roof rack will fit most vehicles with its universal mounting clamps. The mounting clamps will fit rectangular crossbars up to 5.5″ wide and 1″ high, or they can fit round crossbars with a diameter of up to 1.5″. It has a large push release button to open the carrier, which makes it easier to get open when wearing heavy gloves. At only 15 pounds, this is a great lightweight option, especially if you’re having to install and uninstall it without help.
- Can carry skis for a family of four
- Locking system is easy to use
- Can’t attach to cars that don’t have crossbars on the roof
- Non-folding (can be bulky in storage)
The Thule SnowPack Aluminum Ski and Snowboard Rack is the best snowboard and ski roof rack because it can carry six pairs of skis or four snowboards, making it great for big sporting trips.
This Thule Ski and Snowboard RackRubber may be the best option for people carrying a large number of skis and snowboards in different sizes. Its vertical spring system reduces the carrier weight when unloaded, and the gripper arms hold skis and snowboards without scratching or damage. This snowboard carrier comes in three different sizes, allowing you to pick just enough space for your equipment or leave space to grow your collection of skis and snowboards. With so much space for your boards or skis, you’ll have plenty of room for your skiing gear and snowboarding gear in the car.
One of the best traits of this ski carrier is the adjustable roof clearance. This allows you to add additional space for skis with tall bindings, and lets you haul skis and boards of varying thickness while ensuring a tight fit. The oversized push button is designed for easy use with gloves on, and this system comes with the keys you need to lock everything in with the one key lock cylinders. For an additional fee, you can have it professionally installed to ensure the proper fit and save the hassle.
- Comes in different sizes for different needs
- Tool-free mounting hardware means easy installation
- Professional installation option
- May take up a lot of storage space during off-season
The AA Products Double Folding Rooftop-Mounted Ski Rack is the best ski and snowboard roof rack because it’s an affordable choice for people who are trying to stick to a budget.
The AA Double Folding J-Bar Rack isn’t built for snowboards specifically, but will transport them just the same. Personally, I like that the bars completely fold down, so you don’t have to remove the rack to fit your car back into the garage. The weather-resistant anti-slip rubber and foam will protect your snowboards from scratching while traveling. This heavy-duty rack can handle weights up to 150 pounds, so there’s no need to worry about overloading, either.
Whether you leave the rack mounted on the car or take it down for the off-season, the foldable factory crossbars make for compact, easy storage. This set also comes with ratchet straps to secure your gear down as tightly as possible. The mounting system is universal and will fit most vehicles, making this one of the best ski racks.
- Also holds kayaks and canoes for winter adventures
- Comes with ratchet straps for extra stability
- Foldable for compact storage
- Not built explicitly for skis or snowboards
The XCAR Aluminum Cross Keyed Locking Snowboard Roof Rack is the best snowboard and ski roof rack because it’s a versatile rack that can be used for a lot more than just skis and snowboards.
The XCAR Aluminum Car Roof Rack is both very versatile and very affordable. It’s functional for snowboards, but also for surfboards, kayaks, canoes, and bikes, so it can be used year-around by adventurous people. It can be rigged on top of a vehicle or attached to the back in a cargo basket style for easy access to heavier gear.
One thing to be careful of is that this roof rack doesn’t have a universal mount. You may have trouble getting it onto vehicles without roof rails or side grooves to attach to.
- Keyed lock to keep your gear safe
- Versatile year-round use
- Aerodynamic design reduces wind resistance
- Assembly can be difficult
The INNO Gravity Universal Mount Ski and Snowboard Rack is the best ski and snowboard roof rack because it comes in two options that can hold either four or six pairs of skis.
This universal mount comes with everything you need to get started on your ski trip. It works with round, square, wing, and teardrop styles, and can hold up to six pairs of skis (three on each side). This system is strategically coated with rubber not only to protect the skis, but the crossbars of your vehicle as well. While the INNO mount does require some tools to install, they are all included so that you don’t need to go out and get anything additional.
The built-in thumb wheel allows you to manually adjust tension on your skis and snowboards, so you don’t have to worry about them wiggling loose. The two locks come preinstalled and come with keys for easy access on both sides. The two-sided system means that you will have easier access to all six pairs of skis since you don’t have to reach to the far side of the roof like you may need to with a single-key system.
- This system works with square, round and wing or teardrop styles
- Universal mount to fit most vehicles
- Two size options available
- Have to lock both sides for skis to be accessible from both sides
Features to Consider for the Best Snowboard & Ski Roof Rack
Now that you’ve finished reading our snowboard and ski roof rack reviews, you can start thinking about the different features racks offer. When looking at your best ski and snowboard roof rack for you and your family, there a few characteristics to consider in what you need. We’ve outlined some of the main specs to look at to ensure you’re happy with your roof rack the first time.
Many snowboard and ski roof racks come with locking mechanisms. Not only does it secure your skis and snowboards in for bumpy road trips, it helps prevent theft of your expensive equipment while you’re on vacation. Some only lock on one side, while others have two locks for either side. While they both work, two separate locks can be more accessible from either side of the car. If it all opens in one piece, it may be harder to reach the far side of the ski rack. With double locks, you can reach half of the skis on one side and half on the other. Plus, if one lock breaks, you still have another functional lock.
How Many Pairs Of Skis and Snowboards Its Holds
Most snowboard/ski racks (whether they’re roof racks or hitch-mounted ski & snowboard racks) hold between 2-6 of skis, or half as many snowboards. Usually, you can also mix and match based on need. If you have a family of 5 and each person has their own skis, make sure you double-check the total number of skis the rack will hold so one person doesn’t get left out. If you’re mixing skis and snowboards, or if you have several different sizes and heights for your skis and snowboards, you may want to check how adjustable the roof rack is and how well it accommodates differently sized boards at the same time.
Ease of Installation
It doesn’t matter how great the roof rack is if you can’t figure out how to get it onto your car. Part of the ease of installation means checking that the roof rack fits your vehicle properly (taking a tape measure to your car or SUV may be a good idea), but that’s not everything. Assuming everything is designed to fit your car properly, there are still other factors. Some ski and snowboard roof racks come with tools, some require you to use your own tools, and some don’t require tools at all. On that note, some come with instruction manuals while others may not. Look to see if tool and manual information is included in the online specs so that you are only doing as much installation as you’re comfortable with.
Benefits of Using Ski & Snowboard Roof Racks
Purchasing a snowboard and ski roof rack is an investment in your overall skiing or snowboarding experience. If you only go on an occasional trip with just yourself, it may be fine to toss your skis into the trunk of your car, but that won’t work for everybody. Skiing and snowboarding equipment take up a lot of space, and may not fit in smaller cars or make it harder to fit the rest of your things. On top of that, you run the risk of having heavy bags fall on them and potentially damage or misshape them en route to your destination. On top of the vehicle, you can ensure they are safe and secure.
Having your skis and snowboards on the roof also means easier access once you’re ready to actually ski. Most people won’t want to unload their entire SUV in order to get to the skis in the back, aside from the risk of them being damaged on the way. With a roof rack, you can easily access your skis and snowboards from the outside and not worry about the rest of your things in the car.
Having a roof rack also helps ensure that you have enough room in your car for the rest of your equipment. There’s nothing quite like the disappointment of realizing you forgot your ski helmet or snowboard helmet in the garage because you set it down to play luggage Tetris in your trunk and ever picked it back up.
Some roof racks can even be used for other sporting equipment. If you have kayaks or canoes, try looking for a rack that can fit them. Some of these racks can even double as bike racks.
Precautions of Using Snowboard & Ski Roof Racks
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at snowboard and ski roof racks.
Many roof racks will advertise a universal fit, meaning that they fit on the roof of any car, SUV, or truck. However, they often still come with exact measurements of the roof width and bar sizes with which they are compatible. Don’t assume “universal” means your vehicle; while it’s probably going to fit if you drive a “normal” vehicle, always double check.
The Rack Will Have To Come Back Off
While installing your new roof rack should hopefully be a smooth process, if you find the instructions very confusing or have a lot of difficulty, remember that you have to take it off as well. Every trip will involve installing and uninstalling the roof rack, so try not to over-invest in a system that’s unnecessarily complicated.
Ski and snowboard roof racks generally have to be stored during the off-season, and they’re definitely not small. If storage space during the warmer months is a concern, make sure you opt for a foldable rack that can be adjusted to a nice compact size for easy storage. If storage space when the roof rack isn’t on your vehicle is not a concern, roof racks that are all in one piece tend to be sturdier since there are fewer joints and moving parts.
Racks Don’t Carry Ski Poles
Some people may make the mistake of trying to hook their ski poles up to a rack with their skis, but don’t be caught doing this. Racks aren’t intended to hold your poles, so you’ll need to pack those in the trunk with your normal luggage.
On a similar note, you’ll have to check if the rack has space for your ski bindings and snowboard bindings. Some will let you load everything up without any problem, but some will require you to remove your bindings first.
Of all these great options I got to look at, the Apex SKI-4 Ski and Snowboard Roof Rack is definitely the best snowboard and ski roof rack of the bunch. It’s not the biggest or fanciest of the roof racks in our list, but it’s an excellent option at a great price. It holds 4 pairs of skis or two snowboards, has soft rubber grips to avoid scratching your equipment, and fits a wide variety or vehicle makes and models. Its simple, lightweight design will help with a smooth installation process, and won’t be a big burden to take off since it only weights 15 pounds.
I hope these snowboard and ski roof rack reviews have been helpful for you!