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Ski Rack vs. Cargo Carrier

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I recently bought a ski rack for my Subaru for this season. The December issue of Skiing magazine, in their "The Years Best Gear" article, says this of ski racks: "In case you haven't heard, ski racks have gone the way of Rick Astley. Sure, they make it easier to get into garages, but I'll take the time to find an outdoor parking spot and keep my skis free of gravel and road salt." They then proceed to recommend an $800 cargo carrier.

Is their recommendation as poor as their choice of metaphors (Rick Astley is actually quite popular these days)?

What are the real pros and cons of ski racks and cargo carriers? I chose the ski rack because I thought it would hold the skis more securely and prevent them from banging against each other. Has anyone actually experienced gravel and salt problems from ski racks?
post #2 of 15
The cargo boxes are nice, no doubt about it. They allow you to carry more skis than the racks but racks have not gotten any less popular. Yes the boxes will keep your skis in better shape but there's that little issue of the big box on the top of your car. I have racks on my car and for running around with a ski or two that's what I use. When going on a longer trip I switch out and put the cargo box on. In part because I carry a lot of skis with me on longer trips and in part because of the road conditions. If you have racks don't worry too much
post #3 of 15
I have been looking into getting something.

Although generally the racks are cheaper, I don't like the idea of leaving my gear exposed to the road when I am driving. They are at risk of theft, salt damage and chips from shit on the road.

The nice thing about the cargo containers is that they conceal what you have, and protect it. Problem being that they are bigger and bulkier.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Blaster View Post
...They are at risk of theft...
Many, including mine, lock and attach in such a way that it's impossible to remove the rack from the car while locked.
post #5 of 15
for the long portion of your trip, put your skis in a soft bag (well cinched so it doesn't flap around a ton) and lock it in your rack. For shorter trips, just toss the skis in. Best of both worlds, only downside is the soggy salty ski bag you have to deal with!
post #6 of 15
I bought a box last winter for the first time, always used racks before. I *really* like the box. It can hold lots more stuff, and do it much easier. One example, I met a friend up at Whistler last year who had already been there for 2 days. I picked him up to go check into the place where we were going to stay, he had his snowboard and boots and all his clothes in one of those snowboard luggage bags. There wasn't room in the car 'cause there were 4 of us in the car. I just opened the box, threw the whole snowboard bag in on top of a couple pairs of skis, and away we go.

As for theft, sure racks lock, but I don't think they're the sturdiest or strongest locks in the world. I like the added security of people not being able to see if anything's even in the box or not.

Also comes in very handy for things like car camping, or any time you want to carry 4 people in the car plus a lot of stuff, more than would fit in the back of my outback.

Finally, being enclosed and protected from the elements is much better for your bindings, edges and bases. I always used binding covers when I used a rack, but though that a bag was too much hassle. So this is better for my skis.
post #7 of 15
Both will get the job done. However, as it has been covered, the ski rack will get the job done while sacrificing your skis. After just one trip from NYC to VT, my skis aged 10years. Edges were pitted, plated components showed corrosion. Basically everything that was metal was very affected....thats after just one trip. Some (park) kids could not care less about all that, since they trash their skis in one day...but I am a bit concerned about the "health" of the springs in the bindings, which I happened to take a look at as well and they too showed corrosion. As such if you don't have the mullah for a spendy carrier, either put the skis in the car or at least buy skis bags and put the skis in them before racking them (make sure nothing flaps and touches the car paint otherwise it will wear down to the bare metal in just a few miles). Some salt may still get in, but its way better than leaving them open to the elements.

I don't know if in the golden years of skiing things were different, they probably were since I don't think there was the tonnage of salt that is now deposited on roads even before the first flakes begin to fall, but nowadays your skis will suffer immensely if left open to the road.

I have two skis racks, one still new in box, and I don't use either anymore. BTW anyone want to buy a ski rack
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Blaster View Post
Although generally the racks are cheaper, I don't like the idea of leaving my gear exposed to the road when I am driving. They are at risk of theft, salt damage and chips from shit on the road.

Solution #3:

Bungee ski bags to bare load bars.

- Skis are protected from salt and chips,
- money is saved over ski box
- more compactification than ski box
- more versatility for skis/boards than racks

Theft: throw the bags over the seats in the car when no one is actually riding inside.
post #9 of 15
There is another element called rain they can do a real job on your skis. If you're thinking going long trips, get a box.
post #10 of 15
My family has a Honda Odyssey minivan. Last time we went up to Whistler in the spring, we invited some friends along, and filled the car to max capacity (8 people). Six of those people had snowsports gear that they brought along - five pairs of skis and one snowboard, plus boots and poles and day bags.

If we had a ski rack, we wouldn't have to be able to fit as many people inside as we did. I was very glad for the Yakima roof box, because it allowed us to toss all the snowsports gear in - boots and all without worry. Just pad the inside with a beach towel, and cover the skis with another beach towel/blanket before tossing boot bags etc on top of them to avoid knocking about.

Sure it's a hassle for parking, but it's a worthy hassle.
post #11 of 15
Solution #4.. Internal rack.

post #12 of 15
Most of my trips are solo or two people so I can put the skis inside in the cargo area (Trooper) with one rear seat folded down. With three + passengers I press on with a rack for the few trips I will take this year but will keep the skis in bags that will most likely flap around and tear on the way home. When I get home I always thoroughly rinse and dry my skis before putting them up for the night. IN a perfect world I would get a box,but it needs to be a very large one for at least 4 pair at 195 cms. I'm trolling craigs and the thrift stores hoping to score a box that I can afford someday.
post #13 of 15
I bought a ski rack and used it once....NYC to Vt. After I saw the condition of my edges....pitting and rust.....I'll never use a rack again. I didn't even consider the binding springs....makes sense though.
Now I have a pickup with a covered bed ...problem solved. If I were you I'd return the racks and just put the skis in the car or find a better way of protecting them...just my 2 cents!!
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
but will keep the skis in bags that will most likely flap around and tear on the way home..
Trash-bag-thickness ones will tear and flap. Useless.

OTOH Ski bags one would check onto flights work great (and keep rain off). With a bike lock they're even theft-resistant.

I have a few single /XC double ones I could post to the Freebie forum if you like. On your own for bungees.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Most of my trips are solo or two people so I can put the skis inside in the cargo area (Trooper) with one rear seat folded down. With three + passengers I press on with a rack for the few trips I will take this year but will keep the skis in bags that will most likely flap around and tear on the way home. When I get home I always thoroughly rinse and dry my skis before putting them up for the night. IN a perfect world I would get a box,but it needs to be a very large one for at least 4 pair at 195 cms. I'm trolling craigs and the thrift stores hoping to score a box that I can afford someday.
My Yakima Rocketbox 16 fit my friend's old straight skis at 200cm, and I could probably fit all 4 pairs in there. It's a very squarish box, not really aerodynamic, but it has so much space.

Also, it's an older model so I bet you could probably find it used.

EDIT: Speaking of which... http://raleigh.craigslist.org/spo/914365739.html
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