Japan Rental Car Ski Rack Hack

Posted on Feb 20, 2020
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Posted on Feb 20, 2020

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Reading time: 2 min
Haidee and I don't own a car in Japan. This is mainly an ecological and convenience choice - we only need cars on weekends or holidays (and we can get screaming deals on rentals via the Japanese Rakuten site). This might seem surprising considering we regularly carry not only skis, but also Canadian canoes on vehicles. Thus, I've gone through many iterations of methods of attaching one-rack-fits-all racks to rental cars, without damaging said cars. Here's our tip for skis on rental cars. NOTE: We've never sought permission to do this on any rental cars we've rented - do this at your own risk, and don't blame us if you get in trouble.

So you want to carry skis on your rental car on your Hokkaido ski trip. But you’ve got your rental from a cheapie-rental place that doesn’t offer ski racks. Or, the rental company offers racks, but you can’t stomach the extra 1,500yen or more a day you’ll be charged for them.

Step 1: Buy a cheap and dirty set of foam racks from Amazon before you travel to Hokkaido/Japan. They’re bulky, but weigh next to nothing. Stuff ’em in your ski bag.

Step 2: Get a handful of 18-inch (45cm) Voile or similar straps. You’ll need two per ski set.

Step 3: Fly to Hokkaido, pick up rental car, put skis inside car.

Step 4: To avoid consternation, we recommend attaching your foam rack and skis to the car away from car rental location.

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