Outdoor Enthusiasts: Hauling Your Gear
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, hauling your gear is something that you need to grapple with unless you are content with what you can do from your home or storage point. There are several types of rack systems to transport bikes, kayaks, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and ski equipment.
There are OEM products and aftermarket products. The two most popular and reliable are Thule and Yakima as well as different types of systems. There are trunk, hitch and roof systems and each has pros and cons.
Trunk systems can be used for transporting bikes. The advantages is that they are not permanent, have a relatively low cost and are easy to reach. Disadvantages include blocked trunk access, signals, lights or license and shifting during travel.
Class 1 Hitch Racks which can carry up to 2000 lbs are available for almost any vehicle. If your car is not fitted for a hitch, you will have to add that before you explore options for transporting your gear. In general, hitch racks have the same pros and cons as trunk systems.
Roof racks are considered the best option. They are more versatile and stable, do not block visibility or limit trunk access. The disadvantages are that they are permanent which affects the aesthetics of your vehicle. Aerodynamics are also negatively impacted which reduces fuel efficiency. It may not be easy to lift your equipment overhead and install it properly on the roof of your vehicle. Roof systems are also the most expensive. You need side rails, crossbars and specific attachments for each different type of equipment. Base systems at about $200, but could easily exceed $1000 range depending on the number of attachments needed.
Before investigating systems, you will want to check your manual for mixable allowable roof weight and your maximum payload weight which includes both people and gear. Check with your local dealership to find out what equipment they carry or recommended. You can then compare them to other commercial products. Some dealers have established product relationships with Thule or Yakima.
Some additional tips you may wish to remember:
• Twist straps to eliminate vibration noise
• Bungee cord bike tires to eliminate swinging
• Make certain that everything is securely fastened so you do not see your bike or surfboard bounce down the highway
• Remember you have gear on the car before pulling into your garage
Contact our Parts Department for more information on which racks and options are available for your vehicle.