We will put it out there, but we reckon you would be hard-pressed to find a ute or SUV that goes off-road or to work that doesn’t have some sort of rack on the roof. Given this, there is a heap of options available. So before you head out and spend your hard-earned coin, we thought we would ask our fitting team for the ins and outs of what they believe.
Our first tip when buying a roof rack, chat to with someone in the know. Yeah, your mate might be sold on why the setup he purchased is the best thing since sliced bread, but an independent retailer is our bet. A great one will take the time to ask what you use it for and what you carry.
What type do you want?
– Roof bars are cheap and light but not the most functional racks you can get. Our team recommends side-by-side racks over lengthways. If you only want to chuck some fishing rods or a ladder up there, they will do the trick.
– Baskets are a more practical, lightweight option that sits on rails. They let you load up on light but bulky gear that takes up space in your vehicle: perfect for putting luggage or sleeping bags out of the way.
– Platform racks are probably the most practical option out there. They are available in different shapes depending on what you want to carry. And a reputable brand will come with optional accessories that let you take everything from a spare tyre to a surfboard.
– Luggage boxes or pods are great for providing weather protection and security but can limit what you can put in them.
It might seem like a good idea to get the roughest and toughest rack you can find but not if it is so heavy you can’t fit any other gear on it. Your roof load limit is the maximum you can carry on the roof. If this is 100kg and the rack weighs 30kg, you only have 70kg left for gear. We recommend weighing what you think you may carry to help you decide what rack works best. It’s also important to remember that your roof rack on-road weight limit is likely to be less than when off-road.
Roof racks are perfect for adding some extra storage space when heading off-road or to job sites. The downside is that you are limited to what you can carry up top by the load limit on your roof. And the wind resistance created can increase running costs, reduce your vehicle performance and make wind noise. We recommend only using your racks when you can’t fit what you are carrying in your vehicle.
If you are heading off on a trip, the way you pack can your racks can make your life easier.
– Always distribute weight evenly. The heaviest items should be in the middle. If your gear in the back end is heavy, you may want to push this a little forward. Try and balance left to right sides as well.
– If you (or a passenger) are likely to need something while driving, don’t put it on the roof. Kids pillows, we are looking at you!
– Unless you have a pod, think about weatherproofing your gear. You can get covers, bags, and boxes that will do the trick. But even taped-down plastic bags work as well.
– Tie-down and double-check before you go. Whether you are using rope, bungee cords, nets, or ratchet straps. Make sure everything is secured well.
Got your gear loaded and ready to go? Check out why our floor liners are so much better than floor mats for work and play.