Stuff We Like: Aerodynamic Roof Racks

Rooftop racks, gear boxes and ski mounts so quiet you'll forget they're there
thule box
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Last year, Thule and Yakima both introduced roof rack bars that slice through the wind like a sushi knife through a slab of tuna–effortlessly. The new bars cut down on drag when you’re driving—up to 70 percent over a standard roof rack. That means virtually no noise coming from the overhead drowning out your conversations or your tunes.

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The new wind-slicing racks are streamlined and classy, and the extra cash you’ll spend for the sleek design will ultimately save you dough–Thule’s AeroBlade and Yakima’s Whispbar both improve gas mileage.

Aeroblades and Whispbars are both available in multiple styles and lengths for cars with and without factory racks. Both ring in around $350 for the bars and feet.

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Set up your new bars and then load ‘em with accessories to get your gear to the slopes. Our new favorite ski/snowboard mount: Yakima’s WB300. It’s streamlined and low profile without compromising the clearance you need if you’re carrying snowboards. Plus, it’s easy to operate—just push a button and it pops open. A proprietary hinge system adjusts to accommodate everything from traditional skis to fat planks and snowboards. And, the whole thing installs in minutes on the t-slot Whispbar rack or any factory crossbars. The WB300 Holds six pairs of skis or four snowboards. $249,

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Prefer a rooftop box for your gear? Thule’s Hyper Box has a patented airplane-like nose, an extra smooth bottom and a low profile lid to reduce drag and noise. It’s the most aerodynamic box on the market,  but that's only half of the good news. Hatchback owners (we’re talking to you Subarubies) or skiers with a spoiler: more mounting points on the box’s bottom lets you mount it forward so you can still open the trunk. Plus, the box is angled up at the tail for extra clearance. You’ll have 17 cubic feet of space to load, with an integrated light that automatically turns on when the box is opened to assist your rummaging around. Available December 2012, $950,