Your 4wd looks pretty big parked on your driveway, but when you start loading it for a camping trip it probably won’t be long before you start cursing its limited storage space. By the time you’ve packed in a tent, sleeping bags, spare clothes, food, cooking gear and all the other stuff you need for a comfortable excursion, there won’t be much room left in the back – and let’s not even get started on how hard it can be to find the stuff you need in a tightly packed load space.
A trailer is a simple way to get more storage space, but while trailers are great they have some disadvantages of their own. For a start, there’s some skill involved in driving off road with one. In fact unless you have a fully rotating, military-style towing eye, you can get into a lot of trouble trying that. A trailer also adds complexity to your electrics and brakes, which means more to go wrong.
Luckily there’s a simpler solution – a roof rack. A good roof rack will give you as much extra storage space as a small trailer but keep it all inside the vehicle’s footprint. It doesn’t need any specialist driving skills either, as long as you take care with the centre of gravity. At off road speeds you won’t notice a roof rack is there most of the time.
There are some other advantages to a roof rack, too. For a start, it’s the best way to carry large, awkward loads. You’re probably not going to get a folding table in the back of your vehicle, and you definitely won’t squeeze in a kayak. These might even be too big for a standard trailer. With a roof rack, no problem – just get them up there, lash them down and you’re ready to go.
The benefits of a roof rack go beyond storage space, too. The rack itself is usually designed to attach to your vehicle using existing mounting points or rain gutters, so there’s rarely any drilling needed. Once it’s fitted, it makes a great base for other accessories. Want some high-level driving lights that can see past the dust cloud in front of you? Mount them on the front of your roof rack. Fancy fitting an awning? You can bolt that to the side. Want to turn your rack into a full-on cage? With a quality rack you can get side panels that attach to the base.
Of course you do need a quality rack. You can pick one up for a few dollars in most car accessory shops, and it will probably be fine for picking up a new bookcase from IKEA, but do you want to rely on it when you’re off road? Probably not. The roof of a 4wd going over rough ground can be a pretty stressful place, and you need well-made accessories to handle that.
We stock an amazing range of racks from Front Runner. This South African company knows all about harsh terrain, and they build their gear to cope with the toughest challenges the African bush can throw their way. Front Runner racks are built from aircraft-grade aluminium and stainless steel; they’re sturdy, versatile and easy to fit. If you want to quickly expand your load space, this is the way to do it!