Roof Racks and Hitch Racks – Form, Function, and Utility

Whether it is summer, winter, fall or spring, there are always people hitting the great outdoors with their seemingly car roof rack endless need for excitement and adrenaline. Skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, surfing, mountain biking… the list goes on and on. But getting to your destination with all your gear can sometimes be a challenge in itself. There are really two main companies in the

Yakima/Whispbar S52 Crossbars,Golf Impreza Outback Roof Rack for Rail Bars  | eBay

equipment rack business. Thule is a Swedish company that has made racks for many years and has proven time and time again that their equipment racks are up to any challenge in any weather. The other company is Yakima, an Oregon based company with a passion for making equipment-haulers as tough as the people who use them. No matter what your passion is, Yakima builds the rack, mount, or carrier to get you and your gear where you need to be to get extreme.

The roof is a great place to mount equipment because it doesn’t block any windows which means your gear isn’t blocking your line of sight. First things first, you’ll need a base rack. Most cars lack any sort of roof rails, so you’ll need a full base rack setup; towers, crossbars, and mounts. SUV’s, wagons, and maybe even some hatchbacks usually have roof rails pre-installed from the factory, which means you don’t need the towers. If this is the case, you will need crossbars that connect the roof rails together. Again, some SUV’s and

wagons come with these and some do not, but don’t fret if your vehicle lacks crossbars because Yakima and Thule make a set that will adapt to your vehicles factory roof rails. If you do have crossbars, then you’re a step ahead and you have one less piece to buy. Now it’s up to you to choose the mount for your equipment: kayak, bike, ski, snowboard, surfboard, or cargo carrier. If you

have a truck, Thule and Yakima also make a great cargo carrying rack kit that attaches to your truck bed and mounts your equipment above the roof line, giving you tons of room to store all your gear! If you are a truck owner and bike enthusiast, Yakima also makes a truck bed mounted bike rack that holds two bikes safely and securely below the roof line of your truck.

If you have a trailer hitch installed on your vehicle, you do have the option of using a hitch mounted rack, which can hold skis, snowboards, and bikes. This option is very useful as it is easy to get your equipment mounted because it is much closer to the ground. Trailer hitch mounts also won’t affect your MPG’s like a roof rack will because it doesn’t produce any additional drag, so your engine doesn’t have to work any harder than normal. The downside to hitch mounted racks is that you usually have to unload your gear before you can unload your trunk. If you don’t have a trailer hitch, but are a biking enthusiast, try a strap rack as an affordable alternative to a hitch bike rack.

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