Although it is a box, here's an outside-of-the-box alternative to a roof rack, for certain objects: The Chuck Bucket. It's just a box and upper frame that attaches to your trailer hitch, and is designed to carry eight pairs of skis or four snowboards. A strap (or locking cable) secures them to the frame, preventing them from bouncing around in transit.
The Utah-based developers, who are ski enthusiasts, say the arrangement won't damage your skis: "More damage is done to your tips in the parking lot or tram line," they write, while adding that any salt spray that winds up on the skis in transit is similar to what you'd find with a roof rack.
The Bucket will hold 150 pounds, and one nice touch is that they've designed the entire thing to tilt backwards, so that there's room to open the hatch:
One downside, at least for my car, is that this would completely obscure the backup camera.
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While the design is hardly graceful, the Chuck Bucket's promised utility has found its market: It was successfully Kickstarted earlier this year, with $64,691 in pledges on a $26,400 goal.
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