Roof Rack

    Roof Rack Guide

    If you’re looking to understand and learn what is a car roof rack and why you need one, please read this extensive car roof rack guide. It is a truly in-depth guide that will answer all the basic and technical questions you may have.

    Instead, this guide is firstly, a collection where you can find all the roof racks we have for sale at Off Road Tents (scroll to the bottom or use the jump links), but also a comprehensive guide on different type of roof racks, on the best brands in the world, as well to help you choose one or another.

    By the end of this read you will know which type of rack you prefer, what’s a better choice for you, and most importantly which brand you should pick depending on your needs. 

    First, we will begin by breaking it up into the different types of racks: cross bars, platform racks, basket racks. Then, we will break them down into the racks for different types of vehicles, such as trucks, suvs, and cars. Then, we’ll move onto brands, and finally we’ll recommend some great options based on some of the most popular overlanding vehicles, such as the Tacoma, the 4Runner and the Gladiator.

    Quick Links 
    (Click on each section to “jump” ahead)

     

    Choosing Your Roof Rack 

    In this section we’ll go over the first factors to consider before you choose your roof rack, later we’ll go over the types of racks, and there we will do recommendations. Right now it’s about understanding ow to choose one.

     

    Type Of Vehicle

    Of you own a small sedan or small car, then it’s unlikely there are platform roof racks for your car. If there are any (it happens sometimes), then they’re likely quite light and with a special mounting mechanism. Nonetheless, most likely a small car means cross bars.

    A larger vehicle, such as a truck or an SUV, has tons of options to choose from. We go over them below. If you own one of these larger vehicles, by the end of this read you’ll know what to buy and from what brand. That said, depending on your vehicle you either have plenty of options or limited ones.

     

    Type Of Roof 

    We go over all the roof types on our car roof rack guide. You can read more on them there. Still, it’s a good idea to remind you that if you have a bare roof, your options are limited, but if you have a roof with factory mounting points to bolt a rack to, then you have lots of options. Once again, the type of roof gives you choices.

     

    Needs

    Yes, needs. We like to talk about them, because it’s quite different to use a rack for carrying some bags or boxes, than it is to carry a water tank and a roof top tent. The first one doesn’t need to have a strong weight capacity, the second one is crucial for it to have the largest weight capacity you can find, just to be safe. 

    Therefore, think on your needs. Are you truly an overlander? Do you go off roading? Or will you use the racks for the occasional family fishing trip? In the first two cases, better to get the best rack with the sturdiest mounting features, in the third case cross bars can do the trick.

     

    Budget 

    Finally, budget, because some racks are more affordable (cross bars), some brands are more expensive, and if your budget is limited, we have affordable racks that are very good. If your budget is unlimited and you want the best of the best, we also have those. Price isn’t necessarily translated onto quality or being the best, we’ll make sure to go over different brands, some that you’ll notice aren’t the most expensive yet they’re to our eyes amongst the best, such as Prinsu or Sherpa.

    We also have some racks that are more expensive due to the materials and craftsmanship which are fantastic, like Gobi. Price isn’t necessarily quality, but your budget will define what you can get. In our opinion, the higher the price translates to flexibility: can your rack carry more things or has more accessories. You pay more to get more options. But quality wise, even affordable racks that we carry are solid. We would never recommend you a bad quality rack.

     

    Roof Rack Weight Capacity

    roof rack weight capacity

    We have an in-depth article on this you can read here, however, we still want to explain this, so you understand it.

    There are two types of weight ratings or weight capacities, the dynamic weight capacity, which is when your car is in motion, and the static weight capacity which is when you are parked.

    Generally, you want your dynamic weight rating or capacity (DWC) to be more than the weight of the cargo you are carrying. Therefore, if you plan on carrying 150 lbs of weight over the racks, they must have a DWC of at least 150 lbs.

    The static weight capacity (SWC) tends to be at least three times as much as the DWC, meaning if the DWC is 150 lbs, the SWC tends to be around 450 lbs, sometimes a lot more depending on the type of rack and materials. For example, we sell platform roof racks with over 1000 lbs SWC.

    Therefore, weight capacity is a factor to consider if you’re going to be carrying very heavy items all the time.

     

    Types Of Roof Racks

    There are essentially three types of roof racks: crossbars, platform racks and basket racks. Now, if you want to learn more about each type of rack, the mounting options, the materials and such, we recommend you reading our car roof rack guide.

    Now, here we’ll keep on talking about the roof rack types and guide you through them.

     

    Roof Rack Cross Bars

    roof rack cross bars

    Cross bars are essentially one, two, three or even four bars that go from left to right (horizontally) over the roof of your car. They can be installed over the roof in many ways, which will depend on your roof. For example, if your roof is completely bare, there are mounting options such as bare roof crossbars with a sort of hook mechanism that clamps into the inside of your car through the side of the door, or you can sometimes drill onto the roof and fix the feet of the crossbars.

    Advantages Of Cross Bars?

    • They will be the most affordable roof rack system in the market. Sure, there are designs including three crossbars or complex mounting feet that cost more, but the traditional pair is very affordable.
    • They can be installed and uninstalled in literally 10 minutes, that includes those you drill onto the car roof. The drilling will take longer, but once installed, you can leave only the feet and remove the two bars in a matter of a few minutes. 
    • They are the most lightweight rack system you can get. 
    • Great for transporting boards, canoes, or longer cargo, as they are sturdy, can be separated quite easily to create a longer cargo footprint, and they tend to be quite low profile and easier to reach. 
    • Often times they are universal, what works on one vehicle works on plenty other vehicles. Even if not all you need is to buy a different set of feet, and the bars are transferrable. Other times you get to keep the feet and just get a longer or shorter bar depending on what car they’re going on to. 
    • Cross bars sit quite low over the roof of any vehicle. The fact they don’t add much height and are quite inconspicuous makes them perfect to park under any garage and run unnoticed.

    At Off Road Tents we carry different brands of crossbars, the best known are Thule, Rhino Rack and Front Runner. However, you can click on the button right below this text to read the specific guide dedicate exclusively to all the cross bars we have for sale. 

     

    Platform Roof Racks

    Platform roof racks are easy to define or picture, they’re literally a platform that sits over your roof. Again, they come in different sizes with different mounting options. The way a platform roof rack can be attached to your vehicle’s roof is the same as cross bars: with a track, with a grab on system that attaches to existing roof rails, by drilling to the bare roof, bolting to the existing roof’s mounting points, with gutter mounts or even over cross bars! You read that right, some platform racks, such as the Pioneer Platform from Rhino-Rack can go over crossbars.

    That said, they do come in three sizes:

    • Half platform
    • ¾ Platform
    • Full platform

     

    Half Rack

    The half platform is mostly used on Jeep cars which can have the soft top or the freedom panels. Therefore, you get the half platform to allow you to open or use the other features. These half platforms aren’t suitable for longer cargo or roof top tents but do the trick with other smaller items.

     

    ¾ Roof Rack

    The ¾ roof racks are more common than you think. These are great as they’re lighter and most of the time allow you to open your sunroof! They tend to be long enough for roof top tents or even kayaks, with the only downside that not being full, they do have a smaller footprint and can carry less things, and if you install a light bar at the front, it won’t be as great as on a full platform rack.

     

    Full Platform Roof Rack

    Finally, the full platform roof rack and our preferred style at Off Road Tents. These cover the entire roof of your vehicle, some have a sunroof insert which can be removed, others allow you to remove slats off the rack to use the sunroof, yet they’re long enough to carry anything and everything.

     

    Advantages Of Platform Roof Racks

    • They tend to be the strongest, and best suited roof racks to carry more weight. Generally, a platform roof rack will be installed either to the existing roof’s mounting points or to the gutter, having a dynamic weight rating that usually goes above 500 lbs, some even over 1000 lbs. 
    • Larger roof footprint means more space to carry items, more tying points to secure your cargo, more roof rack accessories to add to them. 
    • The safest rack systems possible. They tend to be sturdier, since they have a safer and stronger mounting system, generally bolted onto the existing factory mounting points.

     

    Disadvantages Of Platform Racks

    • They are more expensive.
    • They weigh more, impacting the fuel consumption of your vehicle.
    • Platform racks tend to sit taller than crossbars.
    • They’re not universal: one platform per vehicle.

    Below we explore different brands and styles of platform roof racks, so keep on reading to find them. Otherwise, you can also click the button below to find an in-depth guide on platform roof racks. 

     

    Roof Rack Basket 

    The last type of roof rack are roof rack baskets. They are literally what they’re named: a basket. Some people tend to say that a basket roof rack is any rack with raised side rails, so we’ll begin there.

     

    Side Rail Baskets 

    Most platform roof racks from most brands give you the choice of separately purchasing raised side rails or safari rails. These are adaptable and help your platform by adding more mounting points, tying points or even security for the cargo. It’s a good choice as they are flexible since you can take them off.

    However, that’s not all. There are brands such as Baja Rack or Gobi which manufacture platform racks with fixed raised side rails, essentially being a basket roof rack.

     

    Basket Racks

    The traditional roof rack basket looks like the one pictured in this section, essentially a smaller basket that can either be installed directly to the roof of your vehicle, or removable to go over your crossbars just like the Thule rack basket. If removable, then they’re generally made of plastic, quite light, and great to simply carry backpacks or lighter cargo. Throw them into the basket and over it with straps or even a net and keep every bag safe.

    Advantages Of Basket Racks

    • Most of the time removable, whether that’s the whole basket or just the side rails
    • Most of the time affordable, if it’s a plastic basket or just adding the side rails
    • Safe to carry bags or bulkier cargo

    Disadvantages Of Basket Racks 

    • They sit quite high, higher than any other rack type, hence becoming an issue when parking in garage or underground parking lots.
    • They make it harder to carry kayaks, canoes, boards or even ladders or lumber, unless you purchase other add-ons. Same applies to roof top tents, which are quite hard if not impossible to mount onto basket racks unless there is some customization done.

     

    What Roof Rack Fits My Vehicle?

    Time to look at what type of roof rack you should choose for your vehicle. We’ll break this section into sub sections, analyzing different types of vehicles, with a quick recommendation on why picking one type of rack over another. Then, if you keep reading, you’ll find the brands we recommend! You’re also welcome to skip all this by clicking on the “Jump To Products” button to find all the roof racks we have for sale.

     

    Roof Racks For Bare Roofs

    Let’s begin by stating that a bare roof of a vehicle is one completely bare, no gutter, no side rails, no tracks, and no channels going from front to back. Literally a bare smooth roof.

    A larger vehicle, such as truck, SUV or van, gives you the option of carrying more weight, since they’re built for that. A smaller car, such as a sedan or hatch back is a bit of a different concept. If you own a larger vehicle with a bare roof and you want to install a roof rack, then you can safely install a platform roof rack or even fixed mount cross bars. How? You can install a track and mount the rack over it, or drill onto the vehicle’s roof. The second part sounds sketchy, but if done properly it’s not.

    If you own a car or smaller vehicle or have even a large vehicle with a bare roof and want to avoid risks of drilling, and you don’t plan on carrying heavy cargo such as roof top tents or lumber, then you can safely buy the bare roof cross bars. These clamp onto the roof through the side of the door. They’re easy to install, great to carry lighter weights, easy to remove, and affordable. They aren’t suitable for larger weights, let alone a tent. Therefore, if this is you, these are a good choice.

     

    Roof Rack For Trucks

    roof rack for trucks

    Trucks are great, they’re built to carry larger weights, they’re tough and strong, and as such most of them if not all come with either raised side rails, gutters or factory mounting points on the roof. The choice for racks is great.

    Keep in mind that if you own a truck, most of the weight of the vehicle lies at the front, where the cab is. If you add a roof rack and heavy cargo over it, such as a tent, and no weight in the bed, then breaking and maneuvering will be harder and trickier. Be smart.

    We also recommend getting truck bed racks in case you prefer to even out the weight on your truck. You can check all the truck bed racks we have for sale here.

    Now let’s look at options and combinations:

    • If you have a full height bed rack carrying most of the weight and only need a cab rack for when you mount boards or longer cargo, or to support the overhang of a roof top tent, crossbars are enough. 
    • If you own either a full height or mid height bed rack and still want to carry larger weights over the cab, get a platform roof rack, it’ll work all the time.
    • If you have no bed rack, because you carry large items in the bed, and want to carry larger weights over the cab too, get a platform roof rack.
    • If you don’t use a bed rack due to what you carry in the bed, and need to carry lighter items over the cab, even boards or kayaks, but won’t be needing that much weight capacity, a good pair of cross bars is enough.

    In the end you can still get the best roof rack on any situation if you like. What really matters is that you choose according to your budget, what you like our vehicle to look like, and what’s safe. Remember, if you own a truck be safe with the weight over the cab.

     

    Roof Cargo Racks For Suvs

    SUVs have a trickier definition as they can go from a smaller style SUV such as the Honda CRV, to much larger vehicles such as the GX460. You get the point.

    Our recommendation when choosing a roof rack for any SUV, small or large, is what you plan to use the roof rack for. Are you looking to go overlanding? Are you seriously going to be carrying big items or heavier weights? Then it’s a no brainer and get a platform roof rack. 

    Will you be using the racks to carry some boards or fishing equipment over the weekend? Then perhaps a solid par of cross bars is enough. 

    You want to consider the size of your SUV, learn what the roof’s recommended weight limit, and don’t stress it. What a 4Runner can handle, is not the same of what a Honda CRV can. Be realistic and get the roof rack that better suits your vehicle and needs.

     

    Roof Rack Car

    If what you own is a small car, and by that we mean a sedan or a hatchback, it’s safer to get light cross bars, period. Yes, there are some brands making platform roof racks even for a Porsche 924, but the truth is that smaller vehicles don’t have the suspension systems, the tires, or the payload to be carrying heavy racks and cargo.

    Also, the aerodynamics, if you install a large platform rack, it’ll take a large space over your roof, completely disrupting your car’s aerodynamics, making a lot of noise, having a huge impact over your fuel consumption.

    Therefore, the only answer is to get cross bars. Which ones? Depends on the roof type, so either bare roof, track or grab-on.

     

     

    Roof Rack Brands For Sale 

    By this point you might know what type of rack you want depending on your vehicle, roof type, and needs. However, you might not really know which are the best brands. I assume you’ve heard of Thule or Yakima, but there’s a lot more, and better depending on your needs. This section is to guide you through them!

     

    Prinsu Roof Rack

    prinsu roof rack on a rav4

    Prinsu is an American brand based off Idaho, they make some of the best roof racks in the world, all USA made, lightweight, low profile, modular and ideal for overlanding. They have an impressive load rating that exceeds the 1000 lbs, being one of the strongest in the market. They have a numerous amount of rack accessories to mount lights, shovels, awnings, roof top tents and much more.

    Prinsu took the US market by a storm just a few years ago, the design of their racks was so easy to install that it made it a dream for everyone. Buy the rack and install it yourself in less than an hour. Most of them are drill free, therefore you don’t have to play around with power tools and it’s simple to get the job done. The modular design allows you to add or remove slats to your liking, to the point where you can even have a full 4Runner roof rack, remove the slats at the front and open your sunroof without any issue. 

    Like most platform roof rack brands, they have quite a few models, with the Tacoma and the 4Runner being the best sellers. However, it doesn’t stop there, Prinsu offers you roof racks for Subaru, Chevrolet, Ford and many more. If you ask us if we’d recommend a Prinsu rack, the answer is yes, in a heartbeat.

     

    Thule Roof Rack

    thule roof rack

    Thule is perhaps the best known brand worldwide for roof racks, bike racks and other outdoor gear. They specialize mostly on crossbars and bed racks. The Swedish company is a synonym of quality, reliability and innovation. Getting a set of Thule cross bars is a safe investment. 

    The best thing that we like about Thule is the fact that their cross bars can be pretty much used on any vehicle. If you have a large 4x4 such as a 4Runner, they have plenty of options. If you own a smaller SUV such as Honda CRV, they have options, and if you own a sedan such as Corolla, they also have options.

    Sure, you need to understand what type of mounting feet their crossbars have depending on your vehicle and roof, but regardless, with them you have options. On top of that, the amount of after market rack accessories is unparalleled, they have cargo carriers, bike racks, gear, and anything you can think of. The best thing is that their rack accessories can very, very easily be mounted to any crossbar. Is ergonomics.

     

    Front Runner Roof Rack

    front runner roof rack

    Front Runner is a South African roof rack and overlanding gear manufacturer that has been going strong and innovating since the early 90s. They manufacture all their racks in house after making sure they can pass the quality control of the tough trails of South Africa. Off Road Tents has had the pleasure to visit their factory more than once, and we can only say their quality control and manufacturing process is outstanding. 

    They have a platform roof rack for pretty much every vehicle in the world you can think of. Yes, even some sedans. They also have bed racks and crossbars. The toughness of the materials is the reason why they offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty, and why they can withstand absolutely anything you throw out them. Our opinion? They’re perhaps the highest quality roof racks in the world.

    They’re not as low profile as Prinsu or other brands, but they are tough, rugged, and strong. They also have hundreds of rack accessories to choose from and install with ease and are literally perfect for overlanding and off roading.

     

    Gobi Roof Rack

    gobi roof rack

    Gobi is an American brand manufacturing fully welded roof racks and roof baskets. Their platforms are mounted to the vehicle mounting points of the roof, sometimes drilling on the roof, but they guarantee one of the strongest weight ratings, exceeding 800 lbs. They aren’t modular, but some of their racks have removable sunroof inserts, and they also make rack ladders.

    If there’s a definition of an American off road roof rack, Gobi it is. They are heavier than other brands, and sometimes to install a roof top tent or other gear you need to buy some extra accessories also made by Gobi. However, quality wise they’re up there amongst the premium brands at the peak.

    Normally, they’re made on order so there are longer lead times. That said, they are worth the wait. The fact they’re made at a slower process it’s because the quality control is phenomenal. There’s not a single detail that isn’t covered. Plus, some of them allow you to add roof rails on the sides to elevate them and turn them into a basket if needed.

     

    Rhino Roof Rack

    rhino roof rack

    Rhino Rack is an Australian roof rack brand that specializes mostly in crossbars, but they also make excellent platform racks. They’re, alongside Yakima, Thule’s biggest competitor worldwide, and despite not being as popular, their racks are just as good and they even have more alternatives thanks to the Pioneer Platforms.

    You can even add the platforms over their crossbars in case you need to carry larger cargo. Just as other cross bar manufacturers, they have options for trucks, larger vehicles and even the smallest sedans. They have mounting options of any type.

    The best thing they have is the patented Backbone system, which is made mostly for Jeeps. This is a mounting system that goes directly onto the skeleton of the vehicle, creating literally the safest and strongest mounting option in the world. Need strength? The backbone is for you.

     

    Time to take a look at our specific recommendations per vehicle. Clearly, we cannot go over every single vehicle in the world, therefore we’ll focus on some of the most popular overlanding vehicles, giving 2 options per vehicle. Based on the information we’ve given you so far, you should know we offer more than two choices and all the brands we carry are top of the line. Feel free to browse the entire collection of racks to determine which one is the one for you!

     

    4Runner Roof Rack 

    Prinsu 4Runner 5th Gen Rack 

    prinsu 5th gen 4runner roof rack

    Price, quality and craftsmanship, this Prinsu 4Runner 5th Gen full roof rack is one of the best options, if not the best, that you can get. It’s an unbelievable full rack, with no drilling required to install it, made in USA and with an impressive weight capacity that goes over 1,000 lbs. If you plan to mount a roof top tent, kayaks, lumber, ladders, anything, it will get the job done.

    The price is excellent for the rack you’re getting, making it literally the best selling roof rack at Off Road Tents. On top of that, this Prinsu rack is modular, meaning you can remove the slats (cross bars) from the rack to your liking, perhaps to free up the sunroof, or simply because you want less weight on the rack, or add more if you want to have a larger weight capacity.

    Being such a low profile rack makes it ideal to reduce the fuel consumption when compared to its competitors. The aerodynamics are the best in the market, and you can even add an led light bar right at the front, where it has a cut out for the light bar itself. Given it’s a Prinsu rack, you get many accessories to choose from to add to it, customize it and upgrade it for more serious overlanding, camping, or to make your day-to-day commute a better one. This is the first rack we can recommend if you own a 4Runner. 

    Advantages:

    • 1000 lbs load rating
    • Affordable price
    • Made in USA
    • Low profile

    Disadvantages:

    • The side rails aren’t as thick as on other competitors

     

    Front Runner Slimline II 4Runner 5th Gen Rack

    front runner 4runner roof rack

    Front Runner, as mentioned above, manufactures the highest quality roof racks in the world. This one is different from the Prinsu rack, given it’s more expensive, sits higher, yet it’s made with really tough and strong materials. The Slimline II doesn’t require any drilling, so it’s fairly easy to install. It’s modular, so you can remove and add slats to your liking. Plus, it boasts an impressive 660 lbs load rating, being conservative. The truth is it can handle a lot more.

    Front Runner also has hundreds of rack accessories to choose from, such as water tanks, LED light bars, awning mounts, roof top tent mounts and a lot more. When it comes to innovation in adding and transporting accessories, Front Runner has been leading the way for years.

    This roof rack sits taller than other models, which can cause some additional wind noise or resistance. However, it does have some advantages, such as the fact that you can install larger LED light bars, even between the rack and the roof, and the feet to the sides of the rack are quite thick, strong, and sturdy, which is ideal when doing some serious off roading. If you want a premium roof rack, this is it.

    Advantages:

    • 660 lbs load rating on the conservative side
    • Toughest construction in the industry
    • Hundreds of rack accessories to equip it with
    • Limited Lifetime Warranty

    Disadvantages:

    • Sits taller than other racks
    • Slightly more expensive due to premium materials

     

    Tacoma Roof Rack

    Prinsu Tacoma Cab Rack

    prinsu tacoma roof rack

    If you are looking for a Tacoma roof rack, from any generation, Prinsu has got you covered. When it comes specifically to the 3rd gen Tacoma, the Prinsu double cab roof rack is a great choice. It’s the second best selling roof rack at Off Road Tents, and the main reason behind it is the affordable price. It’s hard to bit such a great price when you also take into consideration the quality.

    Made in USA, this cab rack has a weight rating of 1,000 lbs, and like all Prinsu roof racks it’s completely modular so you can add or remove slats to your liking. It’s a very low-profile rack, there is little to none wind resistance, and the aerodynamics are excellent. Adding just 2” to the roof of your Taco, it also allows you to park in your garage or on underground car parks. 

    It installs directly onto the factory OEM points of the Tacoma’s roof, so all you need to do is bolt it with no drilling required. Want to open the sunroof? Just remove the slats and you’re good to go. Finally, weighing only 38.5 lbs, it’s a really lightweight roof rack that barely adds any weight to your Tacoma, having a minimal impact on weight capacity and fuel consumption. 

    Advantages:

    • Made in USA
    • 1,000 lbs load rating
    • Lightweight roof rack
    • Adds only 2” to the roof of your Taco 

    Disadvantages:

    • Side rails or feet could be thicker for tougher off road use

     

    UpTop Tacoma Roof Rack 

    uptop tacoma roof rack

    UpTop Overland is one of the biggest names in the roof rack industry, and there’s a reason why: quality. Made in USA and sold at an affordable price, The UpTop Bravo Tacoma double cab roof rack should be on the top of your list of roof racks. This rack doesn’t require any drilling to be installed, measures 50” x 65” long and adds a height of 2.5” and weighs only 50 lbs. 

    The side rails are called grooveArmor sides, which are thicker than most of the competition, handling off road abuse a bit better. The feet, which mount over the OEM mounting points of the roof are made of steel, high quality and strong steel to ensure this rack not only lasts for years, but it’s safe under any off-road circumstance.

    The wind deflector on the UpTop Tacoma rack is one of the best and smartest in the market. Instead on just deflecting the wind upwards, it actually cuts it in half deflecting both up and down, reducing noise to the minimum as well as having a lower impact on fuel. Oh, and it works with the OEM antenna. 

    Advantages:

    • Made in USA
    • Excellent price
    • Thick tough side panels
    • High quality premium materials

    Disadvantages:

    • Slightly heavier than other competitors

     

    Gladiator Roof Rack

    Gobi Stealth Gladiator Roof Rack

    gobi gladiator roof rack

    We had to include the Gobi Stealth because we simply love it. With an 800 lbs static load rating, mounted directly onto secure mounting points in the Gladiator’s roof with no need of drilling, you’re getting one of the best racks for any Jeep. Oh, and it’s made in USA, just to ensure quality.

    It’s compatible with the Gladiator’s moon roof, it doesn’t obstruct the functionality either. Being fully welded, this roof rack has little screws, nuts, and bolts, so it won’t rattle and barely make any noise when driving or going off the beaten track. It also has raised side rails which are excellent to be used as mounting points or tying points. The mesh floor guarantees the same thing: additional tying points to secure your cargo. 

    Finally, it really is one of the safest roof racks for any Gladiator. The mounting points are not a joke, they are better than other brands, require no drilling, hence keeping your Gladiator just like new, and it increases the cargo space by a lot. 

    Advantages:

    • Made in USA
    • 800 lbs load rating
    • Multiple tying and mounting points
    • Safest rack mounting system 

    Disadvantages:

    • Not as affordable
    • Not very aerodynamic

     

    Sherpa Gladiator Roof Rack

    sherpa gladiator roof rack

    Sherpa is another USA based brand manufacturing their roof racks out of Colorado, and they make one heck of a job with them. The Sunlight is made with thicker and denser alloys compared to any other American brand, meaning that the side panels on which the rack is mounted are built literally for off road abuse. Also, they come with feet protected by rubber, so that where you mount the rack is safer and better for the roof, not scratching it. 

    The weight rating isn’t as great on this one, with 300 lbs static, reason being it doesn’t require any drilling and it attaches to the gutters of the Gladiator, which aren’t as strong as the roof’s mounting points of another vehicle. However, 300 lbs is enough to carry any cargo and add useful overlanding accessories.

    When it comes to the aerodynamics, this is a very low profiled rack, with barely any wind resistance or noise. It’s modular, letting you remove slats to your liking, in case you want to open the panels. A fantastic option for any Gladiator owner.

    Advantages:

    • Made in USA
    • Thickest side panels
    • Premium materials
    • Good aerodynamics
    • Easy to install 

    Disadvantages:

    • Not the highest load rating

     

    Other Rack Uses

    This section is dedicated to other uses for your roof racks. Here you will find accessories and options of how you can upgrade or use your rack for other things than just adding bags or cargo.

     

    Roof Rack Tent

    There are many things you can use a rack for, carrying a roof top tent is one of them. Before you choose one, we recommend you take a good look at the roof rack’s dynamic weight capacity, it must be the same or preferably more than the weight of the roof top tent.

    That said, the best roof racks for roof top tents are platform roof racks. Cross bars can work too, but not all of them. Basket racks can only work if you add other parts to them so they can carry tents. 

    That said, our preferred roof racks for roof top tents are platform racks. We will not go into extreme detail here on which brands are the best, we already showed you some of the more popular brands, and we can throw in there Eezi-Awn, Westcott, Backwoods, and Leitner. If you want to mount a roof top tent, any of the brands found on this collection will work!

     

    Roof Rack Bike Rack 

    kuat piston bike roof rack

    Using your roof rack to carry your bikes is a great idea. Sure, perhaps a hitch bike rack is easier to handle, mount the bikes or take them down. However, not everyone has a hitch, or might use it for other reasons, and if you already have a rack, why not use it to safely carry your bikes?

    The Kuat SR roof rack bike rack is the best option out there. Made in an all-metal construction, it can be mounted over essentially any roof rack and hold one bike, fixed, secure, and always in place.

    Kuat’s design is excellent, meaning the SR can also be used as a hitch rack by just getting an adapter, so in a way you’re getting a two in one. It has an integrated 12mm cable lock for additional safety of your bike, as well as a tool free wheel chock system to secure the wheel of your bicycle quickly and easily. 

    Finally, price wise is quite reasonable. Sure, there are other rack brands making perhaps more affordable bike racks, but Kuat specializes on bike racks, so we highly recommend you go with Kuat! 

     

     

    Roof Rack Storage 

    roof rack storage

    Of course roof racks are used mainly for storage, they’re a safe alternative to transport cargo without taking space inside your vehicle. However, when it comes to storage as a means for just storing for a longer period of time, they’re not really suitable. However, there’s a solution: cargo boxes or cargo carriers. 

    Cargo carriers are the best roof rack storage choice. We carry two brands that manufacture cargo carriers: Thule and Rhino Rack. The Thule Force XT in any of the sizes, but perhaps in the XXL is our favorite option. The reason being, it can be installed in a matter of 1 minute over any Thule cross bar or bed rack, it’s lockable, has a 165 lbs weight capacity to carry anything you need, and the volume of 22 cubic feet is large enough for larger items. 

    Yes, the main purpose is to store items and keep them away from the elements. You might not want to leave everything up there for ages, it’s better to take care of your things, but the fact that it’s lockable and keeps everything dry and safe, allows you to store items for longer than just going from A to B. Plus, it’s Thule quality! 

     

    As to Rhino Rack, the MasterFit Cargo Box is our preferred choice. It fits on any Rhino-Rack crossbar or even roof rack, and the price is really, really affordable. It’s smaller than the Thule Force XT XXL, yet it still comes in two sizes, both being quite big for any need. It’s perhaps a safer and better choice for smaller vehicles that don’t have such a large roof footprint. 

    With a 165 lbs load rating, you know even the heaviest cargo can go up there. As imagined, it’s lockable, and has two securing straps for additional support. It’s quite aerodynamic as it’s longer than taller, meaning it doesn’t make that much noise, but keep in mind there will always be wind resistance. Quality is great, so if you want an affordable option, this is it!

     

    Roof Rack FAQs

    Where to buy Thule roof racks?

    Thule roof racks are sold on most local roof rack dealers. You can also buy them online directly at Off Road Tents. As a matter of fact, purchasing the Thule roof racks online at Off Road Tents guarantees you stock, as well as talking to an expert that can guide you through which mounting feet and cross bars are better for your needs as well as your vehicle. Being an online retailer, Off Road Tents can source any Thule rack part for any vehicle.

     

    How to adjust Thule racks?

    It depends on which rack you have, as well as the type of mounting feet you have, or bed rack. However, it’s not hard or complicated at all. All Thule racks come with the necessary gear and tools you need to adjust them. For example, if what you want is to move the two cross bars closer together, it’s as simple as loosening the feet and sliding them to one side or another, if they’re on a bare roof or on a track or gutter. If they are fixed on the roof, the only adjustments can come in height or length. Regardless, it’s an easy and simple process.

     

    How will a roof rack affect your car?

    Depending on what type of roof rack you have, cross bars, platform roof rack or basket rack, then the effect on your car is different. For example, a taller roof rack will have more wind resistance than a lower profile rack, hence impacting your fuel consumption more, as well as making more noise due to the wind itself colliding against the rack.

    If you have a longer roof rack, such as a platform, it’s possible it will be a heavier rack, hence also affecting fuel consumption as well as making your vehicle slower. However, it also adds cargo carrying capacity to your car, letting you carry more items and in a safer manner.

     

    Can any roof rack fit my car?

    No, not all roof racks are universal. As a matter of fact, most roof racks fit only one vehicle. You must be sure that when you are purchasing a roof rack, and that applies to both cross bars and platform racks, you are getting one that fits your vehicles’ type and year. Often, even the year of the car affects what roof rack can go over it. You see, as designs change, the roof of the car can change too, or the mounting options for it, or the weight capacity, therefore rack manufacturers must adjust the dimensions, weight and mounting systems of their racks.

     

    Is there a roof rack superstore?

    Off Road Tents is a roof rack superstore. As a matter of fact, Off Road Tents carries the best roof rack brands in the world such as Thule, Rhino-Rack, Prinsu, Sherpa, Front Runner and many more. From platform racks to basket racks, crossbars, bed racks and even bike racks, you will be able to find any roof rack you need for pretty much any vehicle from any year. It’s as easy as browsing around or calling and an expert will guide you to find the rack you need and getting it delivered to your doorstep. That’s a roof rack superstore.

     

    Can you install a roof rack without rails?

    Yes, you can, if your car’s roof doesn’t have roof rails, you can still install roof racks with different mounting feet. The first option is using a bare roof rack, which essentially clamps onto your roof through the side of the door. It’s an easy way to install a rack, yet not the strongest or safest for heavier gear. 

    Another option is if your car’s roof has a track, you can simply bolt the rack onto the track. Alternatively, if the car has gutters to the side of the roof, you can get a gutter mounted roof rack. Then, you can also install the rack by bolting it onto the existing factory mounting points on the roof if the car has them. 

    If the car doesn’t have mounting points, you can still drill onto the roof to install it. This happens with some roof racks, and if done properly and with care, it’s safe and a great option.

     

    Is it OK to leave roof rack on a car?

    Yes, it is. Most roof racks can be either lockable to attach them with key to the feet (like cross bars), or they are bolted onto the roof, which is as safe as it gets. It’s always a good practice to check that your racks aren’t loose, or they are properly locked or properly bolted and not trembling or moving around. However, if installed properly, roof racks are ok to leave on a car.

     

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