You know you’ve done it… schlepped your skis into the back of a pickup truck or into the trunk of your buddy’s Honda Civic with the seats folded down. You’ve used your posse’s twin-tips as an armrest all the way up to the slopes and on the way home, you’ve dripped melted snow and rusty edge juice onto your upholstery. Yeah, you know you’ve done it.

All that mess can easily be avoided by simply purchasing a Yakima FatCat ski rack for the top of your car, thus keeping the skis outside where they belong. With all the ski racks on the market, just what makes the Yakima FatCat 4 so special?

Yakima FatCat 4 Ski Rack Review

About the Yakima FatCat 4 Ski Rack

These days, Yakima is all about simplicity and clean lines. Over the past 4 years, I’ve watched Yakima quietly re-design all their products with a new design language that is now signature Yakima. We’ve needed a sleeker ski rack option and one that is legitimately capable of carrying several sets of fat skis and the FatCat 4 and 6 are just that.

With an ovalized design and easy-to-use levers, the FatCat 4 is the ski rack of ski racks.

  • Holds 4 pairs of skis (3 super-fatties) or 2 snowboards
  • Oversized push button is easy to open
  • Ability to lock using optional SKS lock cores
  • Integrated binding lift for large snowboard bindings
  • Mounting brackets for round, square or factory bars (nice feature!)
  • Aerodynamic profile
  • MSRP: $190

Yakima FatCat 4 Ski Rack Review

For starters, installation was straightforward and easy. The clamps will work perfectly with any style of crossbar–even the mondo Nissan XTerra round crossbars. On top of being able to work with any crossbar, the mounts also rotate to allow a truly flat installation on cars with rounded rooflines, like the Volkswagen Beetle.

After installation, it was easy to see what other ski racks have been lacking all these years–style! The FatCat simply looks sexy and the pewter powdercoat looks stylish on top of any vehicle.

The rack opens up easily by pressing the oversized, red buttons. These work great with gloves on and allow you to secure your skis via the optional SKS lock cores (which I whole-heartedly recommend). Actually, I used the rack without locks for a few weeks and the internal locking mechanism had a tendency to twist and “lock” itself. I had to carry around a small nail to re-center the lock and release the rack. Just get the locks and you won’t have to deal with that.

A test to see if the FatCat 4 can actually carry 4 pair of fat skis confirmed that yes it can. The picture below shows 4 pair of fairly large Bluehouse District 187’s (134 tip / 103 waist / 122 tail). There’s just enough room for these skis.  If you have a bunch of super-fatties, you’ll be limited to 3 pair, but most should be able to git 4 pair just fine.

Yakima FatCat 4 Ski Rack Review

For those who prefer to snowboard rather than ski, the FatCat is built to carry two boards base-to-base. A common problem with boards is that the bindings will hit the car’s roof. While this is fine with your buddy’s 1990 Chevy Caprice, it’s not OK with your Dad’s new BMW X5. So, the rack sports a built-in lift to tilt the rack up in the air to provide additional binding clearance.

The rack holds skis with a vice-like grip for worry-free hauling. Wind noise is minimal when not in use and much better than other racks on the market today.

Good FatCat

  • Universal mounting bracket makes installation a snap on any rack
  • Low-profile means solid looks and low wind noise
  • Large buttons are easy to operate

Bad FatCat

  • Install optional SKS locks or it just might “lock” itself

The Bottom Line on the Yakima FatCat 4 Ski Rack

Definitely the most stylish ski rack on the market, it’s quiet and super easy to install. To be safe, I’d likely opt for the FatCat 6 if it were up to me, but the FatCat 4 is perfect for those not needing to carry a fleet of skis.

Buy Now: Find Yakima FatCat Ski Racks at Backcountry.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

1 Comment

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