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The main benefit of getting a ski rack over a roof box is price.
Outside of that, it’s generally agreed across forums and purchasers of the two themselves, that a roofbox is more handy. But it does come at an increase cost of usually 300-600 dollars.
You can get a ski rack for 100-200 and if you look around on craigslist or offerup you might score one for even less.
But you could get used cargo boxes on those platforms as well.
So the real question comes down to, how much are you going to spend? And, will you ever need storage for anything else? Let’s do a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each to give you the quick answers.
Pros of a Ski Rack
Cons of a Ski Rack
- Costs slightly less
- Smaller form factor
- Easier to store when not being used
- Or leave it on all year, it won’t impact your MPG as much as a roof box
- Very limited purpose
- Exposes your Skis to the elements
- If you’re somewhere with heavily salted roads you could expose them to it. (salt can be corrosive, especially for metal and bindings)
Pros of a Roof Box
Cons of a Roof Box
- Broad Purpose
- Keep everything safe from the elements
- Keep wet clothing and items out of your car after a day of skiing or boarding.
- Top competitors offer really well-made products
- Costs more(but you can find good deals on used one)
- Impacts your MPG
- Takes up a lot of room if you’re not using it
- Takes a bit more time to access items than a rack would
Let's take a look at one of each
Rhino Rack Ski Carrier
Of course all ski racks are going to have a more limited capacity for storage and in this case, it can fit up to two pairs of skis. This is the ten inch version and they go all they up to 27 inches.
YAKIMA - SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo Space for Cars, Wagons and SUVs
This attaches to your pre-existing roof rack. If you don’t have one of those, you’d have to go out and buy them separately which adds more cost. It can add up, so on a budget the ski carriers make sense.
There are a lot of discussions on the web about this topic, and the general advice is to go with a roof box.
But, it’s not the perfect solution for everyone. Hopefully, this helped you sum up the pros and cons of each!
Good luck and be sure before your purchase to make sure the roof rack or skis is compatible with your vehicle. There are usually downloadable sizing guides available from manufacturers.
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.