Roof Racks: Bring More Stuff on Your Next Trip

20 Jul

Traversing vast lands or spending a night in the Aussie outback, requires bringing a whole lot of equipment, sometimes even more than you think. No matter how long your trip or your stay in the wild is when travelling with a vehicle one thing is for sure, you’ll need enough space to fit everything in. When this isn’t the case though one quite simple yet useful solution is always on the horizon – a roof rack. Roof racks make use of the top of your vehicle to provide additional space for your luggage and equipment. The best thing about them is that they are available in different versions so no matter what type of vehicle you have you’ll be able to install one on. With a roof rack you can also open up more space in the back of your vehicle so your friends can have a more comfortable ride.

roof basket

Types

Basket

Rather than just two bars going across or along the sides of the roof a basket has a platform that covers the majority of your car’s roof. A car roof basket is usually fairly light with edges that go around the side and interlace in between. Normally a roof basket comes in with 1 m x 1 m in diameter.

Fixed Point

The most straightforward roof rack in terms of installation is a fixed point roof rack which only requires a custom set of fasteners that come with them. With fixed point racks you get a clean look since they rely on a factory threaded fasten down points integrated into the vehicle’s body.

Tracks

These types of roof racks lie on the outer edges of the roof. Tracks have a channel in which the attachment for a cross bar system is placed. These are also quite simple to install but do not offer as safe of a platform as a car roof basket or a cage.

Full-Length Cage

This type of solution is quite similar to a 4×4 roof basket when it comes to its design. Full-length cages are a heavy-duty version of a roof basket which you can get without the sides or rear and front.

Raised Rail

Raised rail roof racks are placed mainly on SUVs, mini vans or even wagons. They are a more stylish version of the above-mentioned factory fixed point racks. Raised rail racks allow you to choose your cross bar placement.

Flush Rail

This type of rack was first introduced in the European market. A flush rail rack is a type of cross bar system that connects to the roof with the help of an inner/ outer groove. Like raised rail racks they too offer versatility when it comes to the cross bar placement.

roof rack cargo basket

What To Consider

Material

The majority of roof racks are made of either aluminium or steel with the option for plastic parts. While you might find neoprene, polyester/ foam or inflatable racks too they are not able to carry anything major, usually lighter gear is what you can put on them. Steel racks are more popular than aluminium ones since they are more affordable. Steel is a lot heavier than aluminium which makes a roof rack more rugged but with one big downside, rust.

Aluminium roof racks are less susceptible to rust and corrosion than steel racks even if the latter is powder coated. If you’re looking to get a small rack you can go with a steel one but if the size of the rack easily makes it heavier than 30 kg then go with aluminium. When it comes to the weight of a rack you’ll need to consider its capacity too.

Capacity

The weight of the rack and the amount your want it to carry is what you should take into account together with your vehicles towing capacity too. Factor in not only the roof rack’s load capacity but its own weight as well. If you vehicle can safely support a fully loaded roof rack you’re good to go.

Accessories

A roof rack is capable of doing so much more as long as you equip it with some accessories. You can put an awning to provide you with some shade in the hot summer days or an LED light to aid you in your nightly adventures. Solar panels, high lift jack mounts and shovel holders are some of the bunch too amongst many other accessories.

roof cargo basket

Installation Tips

When fitting your roof rack make sure you have the right torque settings which can vary from vehicle to vehicle. In case your roof rack is a permanent solution make sure to grease the fittings. Since, this way the roof rack will be constantly exposed to the elements which can cause corrosion. Greasing the attachment points with copper grease will prevent this. If a roof rack comes with instructions do take a look at them before you install it as you may encounter a piece of information that will aid you further down the line.

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