When we travel we often have so much stuff and not enough space or need to take large bulky items along. That is where the roof rack comes into play, it allows you a good deal of additional packing space and with vehicles such as bakkies, the option even exists to fit two roof racks. One of which can be configured to hold additional water, fuel, gas bottles, a camping table and numerous other items.
A few caveats, however;
- Make sure the rack is correctly fitted by a professional fitment centre.
- Ensure that any manufacturer specifications are adhered to .Especially the load carrying capacity of the roof.
- Then you need to load the rack sensibly.
It is good practice to either place a tarpaulin on the load area before loading your kit or even to purchase a suitable sealable bag for your rack.The tarpaulin should be large enough to wrap completely around the load in such a way that the items are kept water and dust proof. When loading be aware of the need to minimise wind resistance and load the rack with the larger items at the rear and the smaller items at the front- this wedge will aid airflow.Wrap the tarpaulin or plastic sheet around the load and secure the load tightly, ensure that there are no ends of the tarpaulin or plastic that will flap in the wind.
Then secure the whole load be it in a tarpaulin, plastic sheet or bag ensuring that both the load and the rack are secure.One could use ratchet straps, rubber bungee style cables, some come with 8 cables ( octopus style ) off a central ring, be careful with bungees as should they come loose they could fly back at you. It may be an overkill but wear eye protection when working with bungees. A combination of bungees, ratchet straps and a cargo net always works well.
The load should not be able to slide or move in any direction at all. Pull all fasteners to check that they are correctly tensioned.Once you have set off on your trip pull over after a short while just to check the load and fasteners, then do this every time you stop to for a comfort break which should be every two or so hours. Should you be travelling in rough off-road terrain it is advisable that you check the load regularly! Racks that fit onto roof bars will also need to be checked in terms of the carrying capacity of the roof bars and the same would apply to roof boxes which are becoming popular. When off-road remember that your height has been compromised when travelling under trees or overhangs and lastly remember that it is good practice to pack heavy items lower down so as not to compromise the vehicle’s centre of gravity.