Yakima FatCat 6 Review


If you like to travel with a few ski or board options on a weekend trip or love to carpool with friends or have a family that skis together, then you should check out the Yakima FatCat 6 ski rack.

Yakima FatCat 6 Capacity

The Yakima FatCat 6, as its’ name suggests, can carry up to 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards. To put this to the test, we loaded up the rack with 2 pairs of backcountry cross country skis, 2 pairs of All-Mountain skis, and 2 pairs of powder skis, with approximately 100-110 mm underfoot width. The FatCat 6 was able to accommodate the load with ease thanks to the DualJoint hinge system; the skis felt secure within the rack and the rack itself can be locked closed even when accommodating a large load. If you have super fat skis, then you will likely only be able to fit up to 4 or 5 skis. Unlike any other rack on the market, the FatCat 6 also features an integrated ski lift that helps to raise the binding up off of the roof of your car for taller bindings.

Part-way up locking position

The FatCat 6 features 3 different lock closure positions, which allow you to close the ski rack all the way down if a smaller load, part-way if carrying 3-4 skis, or at the top tier with a max capacity load. No matter the location, a simple turn of the key and the FatCat 6 locks your gear in place, while also locking the rack to your car. Like many newer Yakima products, you can utilize the “SKS” or same key system and eliminate having 4 keys for all of your Yakima products and simplify to just one key. SKS is a major bonus in my book, as a large key ring is annoying when you are on the move.

Yakima FatCat 6 Set Up

For starters, the Yakima FatCat 6 can be used on factory, round, or square crossbars. We tested the FatCat 6 on Thule and Yakima crossbars, as well as our Subaru factory bar. The hardware worked on all three, which is a major plus.

Getting the rack set up the first time was a bit harder than shown in the Yakima “How To” video, featured here, as there is some putting together of the SnapLock mounting hardware that is not shown in the video (refer to the typed out instructions that come with the rack!). Once you have it set the first time, subsequent on/off mounting is a cinch (less than 5 minutes) once dialed in.

Another bonus, no tools or special hex tools required. This was a major complaint with my previous ski rack, as I could never seem to track down the special tool when needed. I also felt that a thief could easily steal the rack off the car if they too owned the tool, which is easy to find online or even a drill bit matches from your local hardware store.  The mounting hardware strap on the Yakima FatCat 6 may appear as if it would be easy to saw through and remove the rack from your car.  Fortunately, the strap is stainless steal and features a rubber coating to stick to your bars better and prevents marking on the crossbars as well.

Sleek Design

The Yakima FatCat 6 is much more aerodynamic than its’ predecessor. I did not notice or appreciate a difference in road noise when comparing my cross bars alone vs with the FatCat 6 on top. Carrying 2-4 skis I still didn’t note a difference, however with a full load I could notice it a bit more, but still not awful or anywhere comparable to a cargo box. In addition to sound, I didn’t note a significant change in miles per gallon, despite having the rack on my Subaru for the past 2 months.

The price tag is a bit higher than lower end models, at $239 for the complete set up. However, if you want a ski rack to perform, come with easy installation, provide security, and look good in the process, then you should check out the Yakima FatCat 6. If you like the features of the FatCat 6 but want more room up top for let’s say a bike rack, then check out the Yakima FatCat 4: same great features with scaled down size and carrying capacity. For more information, please visit Yakima online or at your local retailer.

Shannon: Shannon, our fabulous female tester, takes gear testing to a new level for women. When not at work or school, she is most likely training for a marathon, climbing one of Colorado’s tallest peaks, riding her road bike, or skiing down a mountain slope. Like many women, Shannon gets cold easily, therefore, we try to test the best all weather gear to help her stay warm and dry during all day outdoor pursuits. In the warmer months, Shannon enjoys exploring the Colorado backcountry with her friends and dogs and attempts to escape for as many trail runs as her schedule allows. Shannon is a great women’s tester because she gives readers true insight into how a product may perform for an active woman.
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