How to Roof Rack Anything

For single access to all of our fitness, gear, gamble, and change of location stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today. My least darling thing about driving to the beach for a weekend or the ski hill on a powder day is my fear of ailing tied down gearing on the ceiling of cars wriggling loosen and launching into my windshield. To make indisputable you don ’ t end up exchanging indemnity information with a chap driver, here are some pointers and a breakdown of how to properly affix everything from SUPs to bikes to the peak of your car .

The Basics

Straps or Rope?

Ahh, the age-old debate. While r-2 has its pros ( it ’ s more durable and forces you to tie knots that could come in handy elsewhere ), when I ’ megabyte not using roof bars or a give rack I ’ ve always used straps to fix my gear to the top of my car. The little alloy warp is square and tightens well. Plus, you don ’ t have to worry if your knot cognition is less than Eagle Scout–level. Riverside ’ s 15-Foot Heavy Duty Utility Straps ( $ 16 ) do the trick .

Consider the Wind and Your Speed

Andrew Pasquella, overlanding expert and director of selling for Front Runner Outfitters, once said it best : “ You have to respect the laws of physics. ” The larger or more unwieldy the object, the more you have to keep in mind the massive sum of force the tune is going to exert on it as it sits atop a car going 65 miles per hour. An swallow lie flat could become a giant fly if it gets adequate lift from the wind rushing underneath it, and that wing could take off if your tie-downs are subpar.

Be Gentle

You want to keep the wind in mind, but you need to respect the fact that yarding down on ropes and straps could damage your gear. I cracked the rails of my favorite surfboard during a trip to Costa Rica after tying the rope besides tightly and have dented at least three boats. When in doubt, perform the stimulate test to see how a lot any you have tied down moves. If it feels like there ’ s excessively a lot play, slowly tighten the straps until your gear barricade jiggle .

Manage Excess Strap

You don ’ t want ten feet of strap blow in the breeze behind your cable car as you cruise down the highway. Wrap or tie the overindulgence back to your rack, or tuck the tail end into the car and close the doorway on it .

Don’t Have Roof Bars? Get Roof Bars.

sometimes for shorter drives, two foam pads and straps will suffice to keep your gear in target. But if you ’ re going any significant outdistance, roof bars afford much more security and have the versatility to accommodate a image of boards and boats .
(Sarah Jackson)

The Specifics


What you ’ ll need : Two browning automatic rifle covers, two straps
Place your surfboard with the deck down on something easy to protect the deck from grinding on the bars or ceiling. My favorite is Dakine ’ s Aero Rack Pads ( $ 35 ), which wrap around the roof single-foot ’ randomness crossbars to give your board a soft cushion for the journey—though I ’ ve besides gotten by with cutting a pool noodle open and wrapping it around the bars. You can place the surfboard with the intrude pointing either forward or back, but most surfers prefer to point the nose backward with the deck down because the fins can then catch the straps to help the board stay put. Loop the straps across the width of the board—one close to the front and the early close to the back—and then snake them under the bars on both sides, making certain to feed them between the roof bars ’ stanchions ( as in the photograph below ) so the straps don ’ t slip off the ends of the bars. then bring the ends of the straps astir and over the board again, feed the loose ends through the buckles, and tighten them, not forgetting to perform the shake test. The straps should run flat along the penetrate of your board.

(Sarah Jackson)

Stand-Up Paddleboard

What you ’ ll need : Two banish covers, two straps
Strapping on an SUP works the lapp manner as tying down a surfboard, but take extra manage to make certain everything ’ south mean, since, as I mentioned, an SUP ’ second larger area will produce more rustle and drag. If you want something more specialize than regular bars, the Yakima SUPDawg Attachment ( $ 269 ) is an amazing all-in-one organization that takes the guess out of attaching your paddleboard. Simply loosen the integrated flog on each barricade, slide your SUP onto the rack, feed the straps over the board and back through the integrate buckles, and tighten .


What you ’ ll need : Two bar covers, two straps
not much different here. I personally prefer to mount my boats cockpit-down and bow-forward. then I use the same procedure as racking up SUPs and surfboards, making sure the straps run flat along the hull of the gravy boat .

Skis and Snowboards

What you ’ ll need : A roof box or ski mount

Read more: Brake Technology

Do not tie skis or snowboards to the roof—they ’ ra thin and liable to slip out. Either make room inside your cable car or use a rack accessory. A roof box that attaches to crossbars is simplest, since you can toss ski in there and latch it close, plus it offers protection from the elements. I use the Thule Pulse Alpine Roof Box ( $ 430 ), which can fit four pairs of ski no problem and has a low profile for minimal drag. If you opt for a rack attachment, Yakima ’ s FreshTrack 4 Ski/Snowboard Mount ( $ 169 ) is square. Just open the top bar, place your boards on the penetrate ( ski stacked in pairs with the bases touching ), and close the top, pressing down until you hear it chink exclude. Keep their rocker and bank in judgment, and clamp the FreshTrack over the flattest parts to prevent squish .


What you ’ ll indigence : A bike-mount fastening
Don ’ t try tying a bicycle to the roof of your car either ; you need a give motorcycle mount. I prefer the Yakima FrontLoader Upright Bike Mount ( $ 199 ) because it lets you keep the front bicycle on ( some mounts require you take the wheel off and attach the fork to a smaller crossbar ). Place the motorcycle in the trays facing forward, and use the elementary ratcheting strap to lock down the rise roulette wheel. Flip the two presence bars up around the front steering wheel to finish locking the bicycle in place .

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Category : Cycling
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