If you are keen on camping trips and concerned how to carry your equipment then a roof rack may be your answer. Roof racks allow you to carry bulky items such as luggage, ladders, kayaks, canoes, camping and fishing gear that will not fit inside the vehicle.

There are many options when considering a roof rack however if your vehicle has factory fitted side rails then, for this rack, all that is needed are cross bars that attach to the side rails. Other variations are racks that have attachments, or straps, that attach to the roof mounts to hold it firmly on the edge of the roof. Cross bars are attached to the mounts, ready for the duty required.

Depending on the design of your vehicle’s roof there are a number of options that need to be considered. A vehicle with rain gutters will require a roof rack designed for the space of the gutter and also the height of the supports to clear the height of the roof. Heights can be as low as 130mm up to 290mm each depending on the height of the roof.

Late model passenger vehicles generally do not have rain gutters, instead, the roof design require specific attachments, or straps, that attach to the roof mount and cross bars. Some are factory fitted tracks that allow the racks to move up and down to vary tesla model 3 roof rack the width between the bars, others have a special slot in the roof to take attachments for the bars, while others are permanently fixed to the roof. All are intended to be able to carry items that are too bulky to store inside the vehicle.

Before you actually buy a roof rack discuss your requirements with a qualified roof rack specialists to be sure the roof rack you buy meets the vehicle’s manufacturer specification and the vehicle’s load rating.

Having described the features of our roof rack range it may be of interest to discuss some aspects of using them during the course of driving around town and the time planning for a vacation. And for this subject Robert Pepper in 4WD Overlander had this to say.

Every vehicle has a roof load limit, which is usually surprising low, and that includes the weight of the rack. It’s worth noting that limits are usually for onroad use, and for offroad use the limits should be much lower, a figure of two thirds seems to be the norm, as typical 4wd terrain significantly increases stress This means choosing a light rack becomes more important. If we take the Pajero and Prado with a 100kg limit, take 2/3 of that to make 66kg and subtract a rack weight of say 30kg, we’ve got only 36kg of payload left. The dual-cab Triton is only 36kg and the Terracan is a mere 34kg.

Another reason for minimising what’s on top is safety and handling. The extra weight will definitely have some influence on handling, increasing body roll around corners.You may not notice the effect of the raised centre of gravity until an emergency stop. Sometimes moving the rack and load forward or backwards can make a difference.

Flat platforms should also be avoided unless suitable holes have been made to allow the force of air passing over the roof and under the load to escape. Canoes and kayaks should be securely tied at the front and to a fixture under the front of the vehicle to stop the item being lifted due to air pressure.

Despite the precautions to be taken a roof rack allows a lot of extra space while the downsides can be accepted providing you plan around them. Distribute the weight evenly and as low as possible, place the heaviest items in the centre of the vehicle. At frequent stops check that the load has not shifted and that all tie down straps have not loosened, It is worth the small investment to buy eye bolts suitable for the channel cross bars and use ratchet straps for better tightening.Enjoy your trip.

 

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