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Inexpensive roof racks? Eton or others?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for an inexpensive roof rack to carry my skis with. So far, I've been getting by putting the kids' skis in the trunk and my own in the car, but it would be easier to have a rack, at least for my skis. But I'm on a tight budget for this one (spent too much on skis, boots and bindings earlier this year!).

The Thule systems look good, but also expensive. Retail seems to be about $350 for an entire system, including the base system (foot rack, load bars, and fit kit), ski rack, and locks. Ebay might be a bit cheaper, but not a lot from what I can tell.

Are there any other viable options? Typically it's just the kids and I, though sometimes there will be another adult and kids with us. The kids' skis fit in the trunk (for now), so I don't need to hold a lot of skis. Obviously, a rack that can hold several pairs of skis will be more versatile into the future, but also a lot more expensive.

Does anyone have any experience with Eton's magnetic system?


The price is right at $65 plus shipping. It holds 2 pairs of skis, though I suppose you could get two if you needed to hold 4 pairs.

I searched the archives and found only one thread that discussed them. Has anyone out there used the Eton rack?

Are there any other good, inexpensive solutions? FWIW, I have a 2003 VW Passat sedan, with a sunroof.
post #2 of 15
Thule and Yakima are by far the best roof racks available, but by being the best the tend to come with hefty price tags. If you are looking for a descent inexpensive roof rack, Sport Rack makes a few descent ones, that retail for useally around $50-$100. But as we speak, Jay is looking into a Yakima closeout deal, no real details as of right now, but I will keep you informed!

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip on Sport Rack, Matt. Unfortunately, their models won't fit my car, according to their fit guide. So I'll look forward to hearing about the Yakima deal ;-)

Anyone else out there have experience with the Eton racks?
post #4 of 15
What type of car is it, year ,model, # of doors, does it have an existing roof rack?
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
2003 VW Passat sedan, 4dr., sunroof, no existing roof rack.
post #6 of 15
I checked with Yakima, at the current time the best I could do would be around $300 U.S shipping included...
post #7 of 15
bostonheel, get just the foot rack, load bars, and fit kit for now, use a ski bag with bungees. Then get the wind deflector, you'll cut down on a lot of noise and maybe get 1-2mpg back.

The specialty carriers are OK for snow gear, but their value is really for kayaks and bikes.
post #8 of 15
If you wait til the pre season sales kick off, you can probably find Thule for like 30% off. That'd be somewhere around $225 for Aero feet, fit kit, load bars, and 6 pair carrier (my current setup). $250 with the fairing.

Y'know, you've got a pretty nice ride, hook it up right. It seems like a lot of loot, but the cheap stuff looks like, well, cheap stuff. And it'll cause headaches in the long run.

BTW, I tried to save a few shekels by using ebay, and got mildly screwed with some missing small parts, etc. After shipping and the hassle of replacing the missing stuff, I didn't save sh!t.

Realized the benefits of a solid rack system today, threw a bunch of plywood and 2X4's on it at the Depot. Try that with your magnetic toy.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, folks. xdog, when are the sales likely to happen? any particular recommendations on good places to find deals on racks, apart from Cupolo's?

Thanks for the info on the Yakima system, Matt. That's beyond my range, but if Jay finds a good closeout deal, please do let me know.

Can you use a bag with Thule and Yakima racks (not boxes)?
post #10 of 15
Try rack attack, I got a killer deal from them last year.


post #11 of 15
How about EBay? I picked up a used Yakima system for about 40% less than new.
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by bostonheel

Can you use a bag with Thule and Yakima racks (not boxes)?
'been doing it for years now. You do lose security (no dashing into Costco on the way back!) and the bungees do become inelastic at 15F, but you save some fuel on work days and your fingers and patience when you change sports.

I had one of those magnetic things once and gave it away after it discolored the car paint underneath.

As to Ebay, I'd make sure to get a NEW (shop) fit kit and instructions at least- neither the minor little hardware bits nor the instructions themselves are altogether easy to come by.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, folks! I wasn't very clear on what I meant in my last message. What I meant was, can you use bags on your skis with the Thule or Yakima system if you are using the ski rack attachment? I like the suggestion of the bungee cords (thanks, Comprex!), but I'd worry about security. We almost always stop for dinner on the way home from the slopes.

Mammoth, I have checked rackattack.com, and it looks great. what time of year did you find the good deal? there don't seem to be any great sales right now, though their prices seem competitive on a straight retail basis.

bolide, which magnetic rack did you have? was it the Eton one?
post #14 of 15
You can definitely bag 'em in the ski rack, but you have to have a super thin bag, just a sleeve basically. Many do this to protect edges and bindings from the elements.

Sorry, can't speak for the stores in your area, but the shops here in NY metro area typically start their pre season blowouts in Sept./Oct. Usually like 20-40% off all hard goods.
post #15 of 15
bostonheel, that was 15 years ago now; I've no idea, sorry. The magnets were about 4" wide, a rubberized strap secured the skis.
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