Kuat Grip 6 Reviewed

Transporting skis and boards to the trailhead or resort and home again is a necessary, but not always straightforward part of the sport. Not every car comes with the space for skis, so the roof is a great sot to store them. After a full winter with Kuat’s Grip 6 on the roof of her subaru, editor Greta Close breaks down the rack.

Load ’em in, lock ’em up, get on the road. The pre/post-ski load and unload doesn’t get much easier than this. Sleek and straightforward, Kuat’s Grip 6 rooftop ski rack installs easily, (which is saying something for this not-so-handy skier). Attached via thick, durable, adjustable straps that lock in place using Kuat’s Flip Mount System, and which can then be tightened/loosened with an Allen wrench, this rack is compatible with multiple crossbars and seamlessly transfers from one car to the next.

The ski attachment itself features a metal outer shell with a metallic powdercoat, offering additional strength and protection. While chips in the coating occurred in a few spots over the course of the season, it had no immediate effect on the function of the rack. Lift the handle and the shell opens, hinging on the opposite side. When open, the rubber teeth—which safely grip your skis when closed, helping to secure them damage-free no matter how tightly they’re locked in—are revealed. Additionally the bottom arm extends out, allowing skis to be mounted without leaning over the car, then slides easily back in where skis are closed in. Depending on the number of skis, or boards you’re carrying (the Grip 6 can carry up to six pairs of skis, and a claimed 4 boards), there are varying lengths to the latching mechanism, meaning that whether you have one or five pairs loaded, the resistance to lock them down only grows minimally. At 5’7”, 130 pounds, I noticed the increased difficulty of latching the upper bar with 4-6 pairs but found my taller ski friends didn’t struggle as much.

Once the upper bar is latched, it’s up to you how secure you want your skis or boards. For drives to and from the resort or trailhead, I preferred to just use the slider which moves from a locked to an unlocked position (and vice versa). This is the first level of protection, preventing the handle from unlatching on the drive. If you’re looking for additional security, there is also a key insert where you can further lock down the bars, which I found great on road trips. Both the slider and key worked reliably smoothly, and the spare key put my mind at ease should I misplace the first pair.

After years of using a roof box, the transition to a roof rack was a ready change of pace. It allowed me increased capacity and improved gas mileage. Luckily skis and snowboards are made for all kinds of winter weather, so exposure on the roof wasn’t a concern for me. However, had I been testing this rack in my home state of Vermont, rather than on the roads of B.C., the generous use of salt on winter roads would have been worth considering. If six skis aren’t for you, Kuat also makes the Grip 4, with a four-ski capacity, $429.

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