posted on December 7th, 2015

Outdoor recreation is one of the top reasons I travel. I’ve rented bikes and other equipment on trips before, but nothing is quite as nice as your own. If you want to bring bikes, skis, and even kayaks along for the ride, these racks will help you get there.

Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack

The number-one selling bike rack on Amazon is the Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Bike Trunk Mount Rack. I used one of these for years, and it’s great for the price (currently $32.37). Not a permanent rack, it simply clips onto your trunk and holds up to two bikes comfortably.

While the rack is quick to clip on and remove, there are some drawbacks. It doesn’t securely lock to your car, so even a lock won’t keep your bikes 100% safe. It also could cause some minor paint damage if not installed properly.

Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack

If you’re serious about taking your bikes with you on the road, it’s worth investing in a hitch-mounted rack. My parents just upgraded, and my mom said, “I don’t know why I used that old [trunk mounted] one for so many years. This is so easy!”

Hitch-mounted racks are more stable and secure, easy to take on and off, and hold more bikes so you can get the entire family around on two wheels once you get to wherever you’re going.

Yakima Products FatCat 6

If you want to hit the slopes but don’t have space for your gear, a rooftop mount may be right for you. The Yakima Products FatCat 6 Limited Edition Ski Rack has locks to keep your equipment safe and comes with a universal mounting kit for most vehicles.

They do, however, require a crossbar on your car, which is common with some car brands like Subaru. If you don’t already have a crossbar, check with your manufacturer for options.

Thule Universal Flat Top 4-Ski Carrier

REI customers rated the Thule Universal Flat Top 4-Ski Carrier the number-one option, and for good reason. The simple design holds four pairs of skis or two snowboards, and locks onto nearly any crossbar.

This rack includes soft rubber arms to prevent scratching, a key-locked rack and mounting system, and hardware that works with both Thule rack systems, round bars, and most factory-installed racks.

Malone DownLoader Kayak Rack

Dick’s Sporting Goods customers rated the Malone DownLoader the top kayak rack. Like the above-mentioned ski and snowboard racks, it attaches to nearly any roof crossbar. The all-in-one kit allows you to store your kayak vertically, and it comes with a J-style kayak carrier and built-in loading rack. Getting a kayak on your roof is not always easy, but this rack makes it a quick process.

Whether you’re shredding down a mountain or paddling around the bay, get out there  this winter with all your gear safely in tow.

Eric is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, travel, and real estate blogger. When he's away from the computer, he's out flying planes, riding bikes, and DJing the occasional dance party.