When buying an access rack to carry your gear on your car, you must start with a car or truck rack system. Some cars come with factory roof racks that bars will mount to and fit across. Others need to install mounts to hold the crossbars in place. It’s good to check what the weight capacity is on the factory racks before moving along in the process of purchasing roof racks. If you think you will be carrying a couple boats as well as a rocket box full of gear or any other heavy item, you may consider getting customized mounts and cross bars. Otherwise, the factory racks are most likely fine.
Mounting Clips: If you do not have factory roof racks, you will need to purchase mounting clips. To begin, go to the site of any of the access rack manufacturers (listed at bottom of article) and enter the make, model, and year of your vehicle. It will then tell you which clips to purchase. It’s important when installing them that you follow the directions to ensure that the racks will stay on your car even in high speed, high wind, or bumpy conditions.
Cross bars: The main thing with crossbars is that you need to make sure they are wide enough a) for your vehicle and b) for the load you want to carry. If you plan to carry boats, bikes, and a rocket box, you might want wider racks. The downside to wide racks is that many people will hit their heads on them getting in and out of your car.
Car Rack Accessories: Once you have figured out what type of mounting system you want, you can start working on the car rack accessories. There is one for almost every sport. There are racks for bikes, mounts for skis, kayaks, surfboards, canoes, and just about any other piece of equipment. So, first consider what you need your racks for. Are you hauling your bike or boat? Do you want to keep the interior of your car dry by lugging your skis home from the mountain on the roof? Or do you just need extra room to store gear and luggage outside of the trunk? A few examples of rack accessories:
-Bike racks (rear or roof; tray or fork)
-Boat racks (there are mounts that act as a tray to hold your boat, and others that you use to tie your boat to.
Once you figure out the purpose of the rack, you need to decide the details of how you need it to function. Some car storage units are boxes that cover the gear completely and protect from the elements, whereas others simple give you a mechanism to lock your gear down to the roof. Some models offer roof or rear mounting options as well. It’s also important to get a rack with a good lock – there’s nothing worse than coming out to the car to find your gear missing.
Brands: Finally, you’ll have to decide on the brand. Each is different in the details and price, and you might determine that one company places importance on the options you prefer. The main thing is that you want your gear to be safe. There is truly not one brand that is better than the others. Look at their options and see which one will work best for your vehicle and your needs.
One of the best perks of car racks are that they make your loading and unloading time shorter, leaving you more time to get outside and get after it (and then relax at home when you’re finished).
Below are a few options to help get you started, but when in doubt, visit a retailer that sells the best gear for your favorite sport. They will be able to further direct you on how to best store the goods.