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Old 09-20-2010, 04:32 PM   #1
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To rack a now or not?

My Sportsmobile is in the process in IN. Our anxiety level is high.

Now our current decision is to add a PH top rack and ladder now or wait. Obviously the purpose of the rack is to carry stuff we wouldn't or can't carry inside the van. I envision having an Air Kayak, fishing gear bag with waders and other fishing stuff, maybe carrying an additional 5 gallons of water...stuff like that.

So first of all, do I even need a rack. Then which one, Thule, Yakama, Alluminess...

Your comments will be helpful. Thanks. FYI, I'm 65 and my wife is 63. We have a fantastic dog traveling with us also.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:01 PM   #2
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Is your SMB a Ford or a Sprinter? If it's a Ford, consider the XL storage box and/or the storage boxes available for the Aluminess bumpers as alternatives to rooftop storage. When my father bought his second RV, he deliberately got one with no roof storage and plenty of under-body storage so that he would never have to carry heavy things like air kayaks and 5 gallon water containers up to the roof again.

I had Sportsmobile add Thule tracks for as much of the length of the PH top as possible and purchased a total of four crossbars. I wanted the rack primarily for my surfboards and the solar panel. I devised some brackets for the solar panel that lets me attach it to the crossbars either lengthwise for when I also have boards up there or widthwise for if I want to add a basket onto the other two crossbars in the future. I haven't fully figured out how I am going to get things up and down from the roof. I am still a few days away from getting my van and I am sure I'll figure something out.

Steve in L.A.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:09 PM   #3
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Re: To rack a now or not?

I belong to the no-rack camp. The only thing up there is the solar panel. I do have the ladder and use it to go up and clean or take a photo, but other than that I like to stay off the roof. So far I haven't found the need for roof top storage.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Its about the same thing with us. I have my satellite dish and two Thule bars with nothing attached. I have them up there just in case I find something to big to put inside and I can tie them off on the roof.

Woody
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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Re: To rack a now or not?

I'm getting a GMC 3500 EB. My inclination is to wait then determine if I need one and if so what. Like everything else with this process I vacillate. Should I or not!
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #6
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Go for it, get it now and enjoy it.

Ron
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:22 AM   #7
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Re: To rack a now or not?

I would get the Thule tracks installed, then you can wait to see if you need anything. It would be some upfront cost, but you will have the the roof mounting taken care of.

-greg
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: To rack a now or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInLA
Is your SMB a Ford or a Sprinter? If it's a Ford, consider the XL storage box and/or the storage boxes available for the Aluminess bumpers as alternatives to rooftop storage.
Aluminess' site shows the bumpers as now available for Sprinters, and thus the boxes as well. In an email today, Alan said he has not seen them, but that he can install them on Sprinters.
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Re: To rack a now or not?

We got the Thule rails at SMB then the racks at Gander Mtn. and later the kayak cradle from Campmoor. I would get the rails installed now then accessorize as you go. We stewed over the ladder also but glad they installed it, one thing though, you could get killed falling from that height.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:34 PM   #10
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Re: To rack a now or not?

The side ladder (only way to go) is easy to install, so not a lot of reason to get one now if you decide you want to get up there later. I'm in the ladder with no roof rack club- I too use the ladder for photos.

The reason for the side part of the side ladder is you can use the back for one of the large Aluminess boxes and save yourself from putting cargo on the top- you won't be a young buck forever after all and standing height storage is more valuable in my opinion... I have just the Baja tray and use it for everything already.

You can always add the roof rack, but you can't take it off, and you might wind up driving around with it empty 90% of the time (which is my impression of most vans with roof racks). An empty rack is just a fuel suck even if it looks cool. In other words if you don't have something you have to put up there that you're already planning to take everywhere, I'd skip it.

Any way you slice it, it will be cool however. Relax, it'll be great.
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