Protecting the ski during long-distance highway drive

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3 weeks 1 day ago #39823 by Arcturus
I'll be taking my ski on a long drive next month. Most of the driving will be on Interstate highways, at 65 to 70 mph, typically. This is in the "intermountain western US", where local highways are often chipsealed (can result in lots of rock chips and debris flung from tires at high speed). Much of the region also gets intense summer thunderstorms, including those with hail.

The ski will ride on the Goodboy Vee rack system, mounted on a pickup truck bed. Normally when transporting the ski near home on either the trailer or the truck rack, it rides "nekkid." However, I think for the long upcoming round trip, I might cover the ski. It was delivered to me on a car roof with the ski tightly wrapped in bubble pack, well-taped. Am leaning toward doing that.

If you do not already own a fabric ski cover, what do you do for long-distance highway transport?

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3 weeks 16 hours ago #39826 by Epicpaddler
For long distance travel a decent cover is the way to go. I work in Maine in the summer so traveling 10+ hours on some crappy highways with stones or debris kicking up can wreak havoc on the bow of a surfski. I used to have the standard Epic sock cover for my v8pro. It was OK. The neoprene cover protected the nose but the thin material on the rest of it would develop holes where the ski was strapped down. I also don't think it provided much stone chip protection.

I'm currently using some old model Epic cover that came with my ski. It's kind of like a tarp like material. Again, it offers minimal protection from road debris, but's it's better than nothing.

I would like to have a custom cover built from Burnham Boat slings, but the current lead time is 8-9 weeks. I need it next week, so that's not gonna happen.

I don't know how well the bubble wrap would travel for long distances, but I guess if it's wrapped super tight it should not blow off and offer at least a little protection from stone chips. If you think about what a stone does to a hardened glass windshield you can imagine what it will do to a fragile carbon ski.

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3 weeks 8 hours ago #39828 by Arcturus
Oh, yeah, CO is known for its prevalence of cracked and pitted windshields. The insurance companies even offer a special kind of Comprehensive coverage. An agent told me the average WS gets replaced every 3 yrs because of all the rock damage.

I can easily imagine the hole that road debris might put in such thin-shelled boats.

The ski was delivered to me by a father and son who had also bought another ski for the son, on their way back from CA to the midwest. My ski was very well-wrapped and taped. While I hate to use disposable materials for this, it’s the only realistic way at this point. Maybe if I’m very, very careful with the wrap it can be reused for the drive back, too.

Wetsuit neoprene with Cordura panels added at the strapping points...that should do the job. 3mm thickness of neoprene? It would be heavy.

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 3 days ago #39836 by zachhandler
I use a cover on my vega as it came with it fits so nice. I have a cover for my nelo but i never use it. None of my other skis had cover and I have never had any damage on the road other than streaks of bug guts. I have seen skis damaged by covers as a cover flapping in 65 mph wind is abrasive over time. Some covers have mesh to allow stretch and egress of water, but that can also allow in dirt that gets trapped and is abrasive. To each there own on this.
In some way the boat i enjoy the most is a dirt cheap third hand south african fiberglass thing with white gelcoat and some cosmetic imperfections. I just enjoy that boat and never worry about damaging it. And the amazing thing is that i never do damage it. Leads me to think that my worry about damaging my fancy skis is misplaced and not actually adding any magical protection.
I am not a total nihilist. I have seem way too many skis damaged by racks, straps, and poor tie down jobs. I think when it comes to protecting a ski that is a more useful place to focus my effort.

EDIT - i almost drive gravel roads with a ski on the roof!

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
Last edit: 2 weeks 3 days ago by zachhandler. Reason: Clarification

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2 weeks 3 days ago #39840 by Arcturus
I decided not to use bubble wrap due to the need to tape the entire thing to avoid any flapping. Instead, I ordered some opaque white stretch wrap...lots more than I need because of minimum order size.

My ski had been sheathed in bubble wrap, taped, and then at least partly wrapped with stretch wrap. I remember it was a chore to undo the wrapping, but it arrived unscathed from its winter road trip.

Although the stretch wrap doesn’t have cushioning against rocks or big hail, it will protect from dust/sand storms, UV, and yes, bugsplat coatings. We shall see how much of a PITA it is to wrap...

The Goodboy Vee cradles with bungies and straps worked well for the two times we used that system. The straps don’t need to be really tight. (Most drives are with the trailer, minicell blocks, and straps—which also have worked fine, since I don’t crank down on the straps).

The standard warning is to NEVER use ratcheting straps to secure kayaks, only camstraps. The standard warning for rooftopping with sea kayaks is to add bow and stern tiedowns, which I will NOT be doing with a ski.

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