Yakima FatCat Evo 6 Review

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First Thoughts on the Yakima FatCat Evo 6

The Yakima FatCat Evo 6: It’s a sweet looking ski /snowboard rack! It gets attached to my car, I open it, place equipment in, close it, and head towards the mountains. It’s a rather simple theory and act. Yet, these Yakima FatCat Evo 6 are important to me in a myriad of ways. First and foremost, they free up room inside of my car where they can easily scratch the interior. More importantly, it transports our valuable ski gear up to the slopes in an efficient and secure manner.

To be honest, they also look kind of cool while we cruise around as a “ski family”. That said, the quality, functionality, ease of attaching, aerodynamics, and all-around usability will be something I focus on. No more shoving wet and sharp skis into the back of my SUV. We are a growing family of mountain sportsman and women, and I need to become more proficient at carrying our gear to our favorite ski resort. Therefore, I’m excited to put this FatCat Evo 6 to the challenge.

What you see is what you get. The bars and the clips on the right secure the rack to my Yakima cross bars.

The parts to the left are if you have an older rack system that has the round or square bars.

Product Highlights

  • Carries up to six pair of skis (up to 136 mm wide at the tip) or four snowboards.
  • Aerodynamic design delivers a quiet ride and streamlined good looks.
  • Universal mounting system works with round, square, factory, and most aerodynamic roof racks.
  • Integrated SkiLift provides clearance for tall bindings
  • DoubleJoint™ hinge expands for easy use with thick skis and boards
  • For easier access to skis and snowboards, the OverHang™ clamp-mounting position shifts the mount further out on your vehicle’s roof rack
  • Large button makes it easy to open with gloves or mittens on
  • Integrated SKS (Same Key System) locks included
  • Compatible with T-slot crossbars

Product Specifics

  • Weight: 12.75 lbs.
  • Dimensions: L 40.50 in x W 3.75 in x H 5.25 in
  • Minimum Crossbar Spread 12.00in
  • Maximum Crossbar Spread 36.00in

Installation Of The Yakima FatCat Evo 6

The Clamp Mounting System is rather easy to connect and install.

There are two clamps on each bar, and the larger black handle (below) screws right on. I tighten it enough, but not all the way to allow me to position the clamp horizontally to the angle of my car. Depending on your car and rack, there is a little play there for it suit your specific need with a swivel. Once in position, tighten the clamp down for a solid connection that does not move.


Below it shows how the clamp is held in while you screw down the top clamp.

Let’s Hit The Slopes

It’s mid September, and here I am installing a ski rack. I did get a chance to put the rack to use as I had to take my girls to get their skis fitted, as well as to get my skis tuned. It won’t be long as the first snow has hit the high mountain peaks, but it will a good two months before I can test the rack and ski in earnest.

The function and ease of use is important. I always ask my girls to hand up the skis while I position them. The buttons are larger which is nice while I keep my gloves on especially when grabbing really cold gear.

Here is a good shot of the double swivel hinge system. See how it lifts up?

The aerodynamics do play a role in the success of this ski rack. I have the Yakima CoreBars on my car all the time, and those are great without any noticeable noise. I put a box up there, a storage rack, and the occasional 4 x 8 piece of plywood. That last one isn’t recommended by Yakima, but it works. Anyway, I will likely keep these Yakima FatCat Evo 6 up there throughout the duration of the ski season, so they do have to be somewhat on the quiet side as the daily driver.

It’s now late November, and most resorts are open, so we took a family trip to Keystone resort. Accordingly, I am able to fit 3 pairs of skis and 1 snowboard up there without much trouble. I also decided to stick the poles in there to keep all the equipment out of the car.

The double hinge is another key feature as it lifts both sides up to allow me to push the skis/boards to the far edge. This keeps the top bar level, and I can snap it shut tight. The integrated lock system is always in play. I want to keep my skis and boards secure while out and about, of course. In addition, I lock it when empty, since the Yakima FatCat Evo 6 can be removed if someone has a bit of time to climb up to remove the clamps.

I am able to position the rack on my roof to have enough play to where I can slide the skis into position without impacting the rear door/tailgate. There’s certainly enough room to allow for the ski bindings. My 10 year old’s snow board bindings can be put on in the up or down position. I’d say play around with that if aerodynamics are important, but know that up is an option.

Final Thoughts on the Yakima FatCat Evo 6

This is a slick looking piece of gear that allows me to adequately and securely taxi my family to and from the resorts here in Colorado. The FatCat Evo 6 is easy to install, and can be adjusted to suit most cars and rack systems. There really is minimal noise when the bars are on, and even on the highway with equipment, I do not experience wind noise. All in all, I am happy with this ski rack system to be gracing my vehicle for 5-6 months out of the year.

MSRP: $349

For more information on the FatCat Evo 6 and other Yakima racks, visit www.rei.com/yakima.

Niels Oomkes: I am a multi-sport endurance athlete, and love to get out into the great outdoors to push the body to its limit. Most of my weekend expeditions, adventures, trips, or vacations are planned around running, biking, snowshoeing, camping, or anything else that will allow me to enjoy nature's exquisite beauty.
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