The Complete Guide to Cargo Box for Skis

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Skiing is a wonderful winter activity that is both great exercise and fun to do with family and friends. Unfortunately, unless you live right on a ski slope, you will have to somehow transport your own equipment or pay costly rental fees. While there isn’t actually that much in terms of the number of items you need to bring, skis and ski poles can be challenging to transport due to their size.

With how long skis are, trying to pack them inside your car can be a challenging affair and downright impossible a lot of the time. With that in mind, many people turn towards skis cargo boxes as their solution for transporting ski equipment.

What Is a Skis Cargo Box?

Many of us are familiar with rooftop-mounted cargo boxes. These simple enclosures mount onto the roof rails of vehicles and provide extra storage space for whatever items can fit inside. While there can be small variations in size and shape of cargo boxes, there are two broad categories of cargo boxes, long and short.

Cargo boxes for skis are of the long variety and are capable of accommodating the length of skis. With how thin skis and ski poles are, skis cargo boxes also tend to not be as tall and thus give a more aerodynamic and streamlined shape to your car’s roof.

An alternative that some people look at are roof-mounted ski racks. Instead of enclosing your skis, these racks leave your ski equipment out in the open.

One large benefit of the cargo box is its ability to store other things along with the skis. Additionally, aerodynamics and resulting fuel economy could also suffer if ski racks are used instead of a cargo box for skis.

How Much Can skis Cargo Boxes Hold?

The space of any cargo box is measured in cubic feet. Whenever you look at the product page for a cargo box, the volume will be one of the most prominent numbers shown. Cargo boxes can range anywhere from 11 to 20 cubic feet, depending on variations. skis Cargo boxes are typically on the lower end of the range given that they don’t need to be very tall.

Still, 11 cubic feet of space is comparable to the trunk space of a Honda Civic, meaning that even beyond skis, there should be additional cargo space for you to make use of.

Weight Considerations

In regards to weight, you will typically be more limited by the actual weight limit of your vehicle’s roof rather than the weight limit of the cargo box. Most vehicles will have a roof weight capacity of anywhere from 100 to 165 pounds. This information can be found in your owner’s manual which can give you both a static and dynamic weight capacity.

For the purposes of transporting equipment, the dynamic weight capacity is what you need to look at. Static weight capacity is only relevant when you are mounting something to your roof and aren’t planning to drive.

If you can’t find the relevant information, several manufacturers have online tools to steer you towards compatible skis cargo boxes.

Do keep in mind that any crossbars you install and the cargo box itself count against the weight capacity. So if your car has a weight capacity of 165 pounds, that doesn’t actually mean that you can carry 165 pounds worth of gear in your cargo box. You will have to subtract the weight of the mounting equipment and cargo box to find how much weight you can actually store in the box.

Fortunately, many skis cargo boxes for weigh only between 20 and 40 pounds which should allow you enough cargo weight to work with.

What Should I Look For in a Cargo Box?

While cargo boxes are relatively simple things, there is still some stuff to consider before making your purchase.

Most importantly, you need to know the dimensions of the cargo box itself. You will need to make sure that the length of the cargo box is longer than your ski equipment so that they can actually fit. If you have a hatchback or SUV, there is another measurement you need to look for and that’s ‘hatch clearance’ (also called ‘front clearance’). This measurement is important to know as it will let you know if your trunk will be able to open without hitting the cargo box.

Typically, most manufacturers will list their hatch clearance on the product page. To find out how much space you have, you will need to measure from the center of your front crossbar all the way back to the edge of your open trunk. If the stated hatch clearance is less than what you measured then you’re good to go. If it is more, then you will have to choose a different box.

Additionally, some features to look out for are locks and cargo boxes that can be opened from both the passenger and driver sides. Some will also be advertised as being more aerodynamic and less detrimental towards gas mileage. Unfortunately, those claims are hard to judge and you will have to use your own judgment on whether or not it looks aerodynamic enough.

Skis Cargo Box

How Do You Install a skis Cargo Box for?

First and foremost you will need to have a roof rack. If you do not have a roof rack then you will not have anything to attach your cargo box to.

Once you have that one prerequisite out the way, installing a cargo box for skis is a rather simple task. While it can be done with one person, it is recommended that you get help from another to hoist the box onto your roof.

While each cargo box will have its own installation quirks, the instructions can be distilled down to just two steps. Align your cargo box on your crossbars and then secure your box to the bar by sticking a bracket through the bottom of the box and around the crossbar.

Make sure that your cargo box is mounted straight and that the majority of its length is in between the crossbars and not overhanging. Some cargo boxes for skis come in a narrow shape allowing enough space to have something else placed alongside it, such as a bike. If you own a narrow cargo box for skis, you can mount the box offset to either the driver or passenger side and gain even easier access.

Here you can find two examples of videos installing these cargo boxes. You will notice that on higher-end cargo boxes the mounting system will be more sophisticated and easier to use. Nonetheless, the mounting concept is the same.


While the process is certainly reversible, it isn’t something that most people will like to do frequently. Constantly mounting and dismounting the cargo box will be far from a quick process as cargo boxes are an awkward size and shape to constantly handle. It is recommended that the cargo box stays mounted throughout the ski season. When ski season is over you can remove the cargo box and store it somewhere safe until next year.

What is The Best Cargo Boxes for Skis

There are a lot of different options on the market. Below you can find some of our favorite and top-rated cargo boxes for skis.

#5: Yakima RocketBox Pro 11

The RocketBox Pro 11 is produced by Yakima, one of the most recognized brands when it comes to cargo accessories. This cargo box has 11 cubic feet of space and comes in a fairly narrow shape. This allows you to offset the mounting and place something next to it if you wish. The RocketBox is also capable of being opened from either side, adding to its utility.

Yakima states that its included mounting hardware can fit a wide range of crossbars. It also comes in a sleek aerodynamic shape. Thanks to this design, according to customers, there isn’t a steep drop in gas mileage. Additional reviews have stated that the RocketBox has a durable build quality and does well to keep contents dry, even though it’s technically not waterproof. if you want to learn more about Yakiam skis cargo boxes check out this post.

#4: Goplus Cargo Box

The Goplus cargo box is the largest cargo box on this list with a volume of 14 cubic feet. The extra space will of course give it a bit more utility if you do decide to use your cargo box for more than just ski equipment.

The mounting hardware is capable of fitting a wide range of crossbars and the box is able to be opened from either side. Reviewers have been very pleased with the quality of this product despite its lower than average price. Many have reported that the installation process was very simple.

If black isn’t your color, the Goplus also comes in white as well as gray.

#3: Thule Force XT Sport

Just like Yakima, Thule is another prominent brand in the car cargo industry. The Thule Force XT is the most popular choice on this list and comes in a variety of sizes. The Sport size will be more than enough for ski equipment as it boasts 11 cubic feet of volume. The Force XT features a narrow design as well, freeing up roof space for other mountable objects. Just like other popular options, the Force XT can be opened from both sides.

A big point of praise from reviews of the Force XT is its installation process. Thule has gone with a tool-less installation with specialized brackets, significantly speeding up installation time. Overall reviews have been very happy with the performance of this cargo box and foresee many years of good use out of it.

#2: SportRack Horizon

The SportRack Horizon cargo box for skis is another good budget pick. The 11 cubic foot cargo box, unfortunately, opens only on one side. Reviewers however have been happy with how the SportRack has performed despite its lower price. Durability has been good, road noise has been minimal, and gas mileage has been largely unaffected.

One pain point for the SportRack is its actual installation process which involves a little more effort than others on this list. It however is far from impossible and can be done without too much fuss.

#1. INNO Wedge Plus

The INNO Wedge Plus is for those who want a little more flash when it comes to their cargo. The 13 cubic foot cargo box is made in Japan and comes in a sleek shape and vibrant red finish. The Wedge Plus can also be opened from either side for easier access.

It also comes with a custom-fitted cargo mat that helps with protecting your gear from banging around and reducing overall noise. It’s a pricey option, but reviewers have praised every single aspect of the Wedge Plus, from its installation, to its looks, and to its build quality.

if you wondering how to pack skis in a cargo box? It's easy! Here are 5 simple steps for packing your skis, follow these guidelines and you'll be good to go.

Bestselling Ski Cargo Boxes on Amazon

Bestseller No. 1
Thule 614 Pulse Rack, Medium, Black
Thule 614 Pulse Rack, Medium, Black
Functional rooftop cargo box provides 14 cubic feet of additional packing space; Rugged and durable design keep contents protected
Bestseller No. 2
Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, Large
Thule Force XT Rooftop Cargo Box, Large
A versatile roof-mounted cargo box for everyday use; Provides 16 cubic feet of additional packing space
Bestseller No. 4
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box,Black
SportRack Vista XL Rear Opening Cargo Box,Black
18 cubic foot (510 L) internal cargo capacity; Made from durable UV-resistant ABS material


With all the great skis and snowboards available, finding your perfect fit can be a time-consuming process. We want to make that task easier for you by recommending three of the best ski racks on the market today. If you have less storage space, we recommend our top pick - Thule Force XT rooftop cargo box O amazon. On a budget? SportRack Horizon roof cagro box is an excellent choice. Need more room or to need to carry multiple boards? Check out RocketBox Pro 11 rooftop cargo Carrier!

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author 

Vieira Babeker

Hi! I'm Vieira. I've always been interested in different Auto Accessories

My passion here at is to provide helpful straight forward clear advice and tips for Automotive Accessories.

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