Which roof rack for elevating roofs?

With a few exceptions, it is just as easy to fit a poptop roof with a rack as a fixed one - a device which enables you to carry long, narrow, cabin-engulfing gear on the roof of the van. Reimo, SCA, Bilbo’s and Cambee Popatop roofs can all be upgraded with rails and crossbars, which come with a variety of costs, features and carrying capacities.

SW Camper Rack

£395 supplied and fitted

These well-made aluminium extruded and anodised bars with all-stainless steel fittings are the runaway favourite in the roof rack realm. A universal type bar that run most of the length of the roof, their stiff construction means they distribute weight very evenly when loaded.

How much can they carry?

SW say that, though it’s down to the vehicle owner what they put on the roof rack, they don’t recommend exceeding a load of 25-30kg. But carrying capacity is not, they inform us, actually determined by the roof rack and fixings, rather by the individual elevating roof fixings on the vehicle, which can vary dramatically - Reimo rate their roof to 35kg and SCA to a whopping 70kg. So, what are we to make of SW’s advice? In our experience, their rails are of such solid construction that as long as you are driving sensibly when loaded, there should be no reason not to load to your roof to its limit.

Kari-Tek

£800 supplied and fitted (type dependant)

Kari-Tek have made a name for their unique easy-load rail system, which allows you to load your roof rack while it hangs down over the side of the van before hoisting it up and over again. Though pitched primarily at the kayaking community, this also makes a useful addition for those who surf or would like to load other light but bulky items on the roof without having to do battle with the wind.

Depending on the type specified, the Kari-Tek racks are easily the most expensive on this list and will also raise roof height the most, so are best reserved for the serious watersports enthusiast.

BANWY SCA bars

£365 supplied and fitted

Finally, with a little plundering from SCA and Kari-Tek, a very low profile solution comes from parts supplier Banwy, who stock an SCA approved track with a pair of Kari-Tek’s stand alone crossbars.

Ideal if you think you might want to add the full Kari-Tec setup at a later date.

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