Ski Rack Buying Guide

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Ski Rack Buying Guide

Ski gear is not exactly known for being lightweight and compact. A pair of skis alone is typically as long as the height of an individual. While this helps skiers navigate the slopes at extreme speeds, a pair of skis does not fit well inside the average vehicle. Even sport utility vehicles have trouble holding the gear because their elongated shape makes them difficult to store anywhere inside the car.

Many buyers opt for a ski rack attached to either the roof or the hitch of the car. Storing the skis outside frees up more room inside the car for passengers and pieces of luggage. Sporting goods stores sell ski racks, but they are also available online through sites such as eBay. Studying the different types of ski racks available helps buyers choose ones that both their vehicles and their lifestyles can accommodate.

Selecting a Ski Rack

Anyone who skis frequently knows how difficult  it is to transport gear back and forth in a car. Due to all the other items needed in cold weather, the car is usually filled to the brim with suitcases, jackets, and even snowboards. This leaves little room for sets of oblong skis to fit in the narrow confines of the rear cargo area.

Buyers have two options when it comes to storing skis outside a car. The first and more popular is the ski rack on the roof, which comes in different styles. The second is a hitch rack made for bicycles that use an attachment for skis.

Roof Ski Racks

One can choose from three types of roof ski racks, namely, the rack, the box, and the soft top. Each type offers different levels of protection. The vehicle's roof is where the rack attaches to the car. Buyers must also consider the car type when purchasing a ski rack. Buying a box, for example, adds a lot of extra height to an already tall SUV or minivan.

Ski Rack

The ski rack roof adapter fits into the roof rack already installed on the car. It uses a pair of interlocking arms to keep multiple skis and snowboards on the roof. Storing and removing items from the rack is easy as long at the car is low to the ground.

The ski rack is one of the less expensive options available. However, it is also the one that offers less protection. This leaves skis exposed to the weather during travel. While snow does not do much to harm skis, a big danger is the road salt used to treat roads in winter. When cars drive over the road salt, it creates a salty dust. Anyone who owns a vehicle and regularly drives on salted roads during winter already knows how dangerous the salt is for the car's paint. It presents the same problem for skis placed on the roof. Furthermore, the salt also dries out the wax coating used on skis. If using a ski rack, the owner must take care to wax the skis before using them again.

Roof Cargo Box

The roof cargo box provides complete protection for skis and all other type of ski gear stored on the roof. At its name suggests, it is a cargo box made out of plastic or metal. It attaches directly to the roof rack and then opens up to allow owners to store materials inside.

One disadvantage of a cargo box for skis is that it needs to be large and, therefore, cannot fit properly on top of smaller cars. On vans and SUVs, it presents another problem. The roof area of vans and SUVs is very high, which makes getting into the cargo box difficult for short people. It also adds a good deal of height to the vehicle, potentially getting knocked off when entering the garage or passing beneath overhangs.

However, a cargo box provides more protection for the gear from the elements. Furthermore, a lock allows owners to keep their items safe. Ski racks and soft tops do not have this feature.

Soft Top

The final option when it comes to installing a ski rack on the roof is the soft top. This is a canvas bag that attaches to the roof rack. Items like skis, snowboards, and snow boots go inside the bag, so they leave extra room inside the car.

The benefits of using a soft top include protection against the elements. However, while soft tops are typically water resistant, they are not waterproof. Owners must take care to dry off equipment stored in a soft top. The soft top is also lower than the cargo box, and drivers do not have to worry about low clearance.

In addition to the lack of waterproofing, another disadvantage of a soft top is that it is not as secure as a cargo box. Anyone with a knife can cut through the fabric and get to what is inside the bag.

Hitch Mounts

Consumers who do not have a roof rack use a hitch mount as a ski rack. Most hitch mounts are designed for bicycles, but an adapter allows skis to be stored as well. There are several things one must pay attention towards when buying hitch mounts.

Hitch Classes

Hitches come under different classes, starting with Class I, which is able to tow small objects such as a motorcycle or jet ski. The larger hitches have been known to be able to tow even motorhomes.


Weight Limit (kg)

Tongue Weight Limit (kg)

Car Type

Class I




Class II




Class III




Class IV




Most hitches sold in stores are Class II and higher. This is because the tongue part of the Class I hitch cannot typically support heavy loads. Bike hitches are actually mounted to the tongue of hitch. Therefore, while a Class I hitch tows up to 900 kg its tongue only supports 90 kg. This makes it too light to support a hitch mount.

Consumers must purchase the external bicycle hitch mount as well as the adapter for transporting skis. Although one must purchase two separate items, it is less expensive than other options. Furthermore, because the ski rack is attached to the rear of the car, it does not add extra height to the vehicle.

The downside is that the hitch rack gets in the way of opening the rear door or the boot. To access these compartments, one must remove the skis. It also blocks access to the spare tyre compartment in the rear of the vehicle.

How to Buy a Ski Rack on eBay

You have several options when it comes to purchasing ski racks on eBay. The website has both new and used models of different types of ski racks. Begin your search by deciding if you want a hitch mount or a roof rack. Entering a search term such as 'roof rack' into the search bar returns listings for the roof mounting racks available on the website. Typing 'hitch mount', on the other hand, provides results for the hitch mounts available.

Because eBay has a large selection of products, you may feel the need to narrow your search by adding modifiers. For example, entering 'Subaru roof rack' into the search bar returns listings for racks specific to the brand.

As with any online purchase, be sure to look into the background of the seller before you make a commitment.


Ski racks make travelling to a winter destination much more enjoyable. Instead of cramming into a vehicle filled with skis, every passenger in a vehicle has more room by storing their skis outside. However, not all ski racks work the same across all vehicles. The typical ski rack fits on a flat-top vehicle that already has a roof rack. Cargo boxes fit on any extended roof, while soft top models fit on smaller roofs without adding too much height. Both a cargo box and a soft top offer more protection from the elements than a ski rack. Those who do not have a roof rack use a hitch mount at the rear of the vehicle to put away skis. eBay sells different kinds of ski racks in new and used conditions. Taking the time to explore the website can help consumers find great deals on the ski racks that are right for their vehicles.

ski rack|roof rack|cargo box|hitch mount|soft top

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