Vacuum-pod car roof rack makes it easy to pop and swap between bikes and skis
Attempting to solve several bike rack issues all at once, Seattle's Stag Rack presents a versatile, multi-sport rack designed to mount on any vehicle in about two minutes. The system relies on vacuum cups and interchangeable mounts to easily switch between carrying bikes or skis so you can spend more time outdoors and less time dressing your vehicle in multiple racks and carriers to get there.
Even if your vehicle is perfectly compatible with multiple rack solutions, you can easily find yourself spending a lot of time and money on different racks for different sports. And that can be compounded if your vehicle is difficult to fit with a rack or carrier.
Stag Rack aims to make it simpler, easier and cheaper to ready yourself for both ski vacations and mountain bike weekends. The company's rack system doesn't depend on roof rails, hitch receivers or specific vehicle geometry. In fact, Stag Rack says it will work with virtually any vehicle.
Each of the four feet secure in place via two 6-in (15-cm) vacuum cups. Small built-in pumps pressure the cups up, sealing them in place, and a pressure indicator lets you know if and when that seal is weakening to a critical level. The whole mounting process takes about two minutes, and Stag Rack says each cup has 200+ lb (91+ kg) of pull strength.
The idea of using vacuum cups as the basis of a simple, flexible gear rack isn't a new one. We saw it way back in 2010 from SeaSucker, a Florida-based company that's since expanded out to various sports racks and vacuum-mounted gear and accessories.
Where Stag Rack takes it to the next level is in its modular, quick-release design that lets you use the same set of cups for multiple sports. Quickly swap out the bike tire/through-axle mounts and drop in the clamp-down ski/snowboard rack and you go from bike rack to ski rack in minutes. The system carries up to two bikes, four snowboards, or four to six sets of skis. Stag Rack will offer various sizes of bike mounts to work with different sizes of bike.
With such a simple, interchangeable system, you might be wondering why it's only good for snowsports gear and bikes. Why not surfboards, kayaks, paddleboards, etc? Stag Rack does plan to add more attachments in the future, so maybe some or all of those will be covered eventually.
The idea of having thousands of dollars worth of bikes or skis held in place by glorified suction cups might just give some people night terrors, but Stag Rack is confident its rack will get your gear there and back. With its eight vacuum cups, the Stag rack system offers 1,600 lb+ (726+ kg) of pull strength, and the company says the cups will handle rain, snow and extreme heat.
One downside we're seeing with Stag Rack is the advertised four- to five-hour seal time. That's short enough to mean the seals could weaken during a single leg of a road trip – I can think of numerous ski and mountain bike trips I've taken over the years that have hit the 4.5-hour mark, with some more than doubling that. So on longer trips, you'll have to be mindful of checking the seal and re-pumping when needed. SeaSucker quotes its seals in days, not hours, which seems much more practical – check it in the morning before you drive off, don't worry about it again until the next morning.
Stag Rack estimates a US$479 retail price for a full bike/snow system with all four feet (eight suction cups), bike and ski/snowboard mounts, and an in-window cable security lock. The company is currently raising funding on Kickstarter, and while the $379 super early birds are all spoken for, you can still secure a place in line for a pledge of $419+. If all goes well, deliveries will begin in March.
Take a closer look at the Stag Rack in the 2.5-minute video below.
Source: Stag Rack