Stashing skis on your roof has never been easier with the Kuat Grip 6. | Kuat photo.
Driving a small car in a mountain town is pretty sweet - the better gas mileage and the ability to actually fit into any parking spot are some bonuses - but it does come with a compromise. When you like to carpool to the ski resort, or even bring more than one pair of skis to the mountain, space can quickly become an issue. That’s where Kuat’s new Grip 6 roof rack comes in - the super-wide platform has space for 6 fat skis side-by-side combined with a unique pull-out system that makes loading and unloading a breeze.
That small car I drive is a tiny Volkswagen GTI, and let me say that there’s really not a whole lot of space inside. A rooftop rack or box is a necessity in winter, and for ease of loading I prefer a rack over a box. Kuat’s Grip 6 looks like a standard clamp-style ski rack, except it has a trick up its sleeve. The two bottom bars slide out on rails, allowing you to reach the far end of the rack to add or remove skis and boards. It’s easy to grab those items even when the rack is fully loaded - perfect for when your buddies inevitably load their skis first on the way home but you have to drop them off. The rack is designed to fit six pairs of skis or four snowboards - but also works great to fit four pairs of skis and four sets of poles. The rack also comes in a narrower 4-ski configuration as the Grip 4.
The all-metal construction has proven to be very durable and weather resistant, even in the harsh Wyoming winter conditions I experience every day here. Rack installation and removal is a breeze with Kuat’s intuitive Flip Mount system that doesn't require any special tools - it took me a matter of minutes to get the Grip 6 set up on my car's crossbars. The soft rubber surface that actually holds you skis and boards won’t damage your topsheets or bindings and securely holds everything in place - even when you’re doing donuts in the parking lot. Both the front and back of the rack lock individually with matching keys, and the lock location doesn’t seem to ice up from drips or spray. The key cores can be replaced.
At highway speeds, I’ve never noticed any noise from the rack, even without a roof fairing on my car. Gas mileage hasn’t noticeably changed either. I attribute that to the sleek and low-profile aerodynamic design.
Ski roof racks usually aren’t all that interesting - all that matters is that they work as intended. However, Kuat’s new Grip 6 brings something new to the table in the form of solid construction and a slide-out tray that makes loading and unloading a breeze. It’s great for tall trucks and small cars alike, and will make winter carpooling in the mountains easier than ever before.