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7 Tips For Packing A Platform Roof Rack

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September 26 8 minute read

Whether you’re heading off on a seaside holiday or you’re planning a big trip through the outback, chances are, stowing some gear on a platform roof rack is on the cards.

Platform Roof Rack

Choose a Quality Platform Roof Rack

Losing your roof rack on the highway or halfway up the Canning Stock Route is a nightmare best avoided. Start with a quality platform roof rack like the ROLA Titan Tray. We’ve previously reviewed the Titan Tray which you can read here.

The Titan Tray is a high strength choice, yet it’s relatively light. This balance is vital and means the roof rack itself doesn’t consume too much of the roof load rating or overall payload of your 4×4.

Aim To Keep The Roof Load Light

Every vehicle has a different load rating as do roof racks. Aim to keep the roof load as light as possible and always keep below the roof and rack ratings. If you are a travelling family or have no choice other than loading gear up top simply be mindful of the extra weight. You can look up the Camel Trophy Land Rovers to see what is still possible with a full roof rack!

Platform Roof Rack

If you are travelling off-road, be aware that you are top-heavy. You may need to pick easier lines through obstacles and drive more conservatively. Dropping tyre pressures will help absorb some of the bumps over corrugations which can help reduce the impact on both the roof and rack..

Pack Heavy Items Forward

Due to the rear overhang of many vehicles and the weight of fridges, drawers and spare wheels, most 4x4s are well and truly back heavy. To more evenly distribute the overall weight over the front and rear axles, it’s a good idea to pack heavier items further forward on the platform roof rack.

One of the heaviest items you might mount up top is a second spare wheel. Here we’ve used the ROLA Spare Wheel Holder. The pad eyes slot into the T channel so they can be easily positioned. The three straps are easily length adjustable to suit varying tyre sizes and ratches down securely. It’s a simple, light and secure system.

Platform Roof Rack
Platform Roof Rack
platform roof rack 1

Up the front, we’ve also mounted a jerry can of extra water, our MAXTRAX and gas cylinder. The bulk of the weight on the Titan Tray is well and truly between the axles.

Position Gear With Accessibility In Mind

After a big day of travel, there’s nothing worse than clambering over a dusty vehicle to retrieve the gear you need.

Our four MAXTRAX Xtremes are ratchet strapped in place with the ROLA Recovery Holder, ready to go at the passenger side. The long handle shovel screws in place with the Shovel Holder. This bolts into the T channels in the side of the rack, which helps position it so it doesn’t occupy valuable rack space.

Platform Roof Rack
platform roof rack 2

The 4kg gas cylinder is positioned on the side for nightly access and is cranked in place using the Gas Bottle Holder. These are adjustable on both sides to suit most brands of the popular 4kg size.

Platform Roof Rack

Here we’ve positioned the second spare tyre centrally; it’s an item we always carry on rough trips but rarely need. We have water tanks in our Cruiser so the spare water, mounted in a ROLA Jerry Can Holder, is tucked behind the tyre in another position that’s a little harder to access.

Platform Roof Rack

Load Light Gear At The Back

Duffle bags or dedicated roof rack bags are a great way to store bulky light gear. If you are loading sleeping gear, make sure it’s dust and waterproof.

Platform Roof Rack

It’s easy to stand on the rear step of our LandCruiser, so we’ve positioned the duffle in these images to make it easy to tie down.

Keep The Load Low

Keeping the load low will help with fuel economy, and it helps to lower the centre of gravity and with low hanging branches too!

Aim to buy quality jerry cans that won’t leak laying lengthways. This one is Mil-Spec from the brand Sceptre and has never leaked on us.

Swags are pretty hard to beat in the bush, but they are bulky! In the duffle, we have packed two full-size swags with the mattresses replaced with comfy but compact self-inflating ones. It’s a bit slower at camp, but it saves lots of space. The duffle also has sleeping gear for two.

Consider The Weight Of Accessories

Platform roof racks are a great place to mount more fixed accessories too, just be sure to account for the weight of these when packing. ROLA make a quality Light Bar Bracket and Awning Bracket.

Platform Roof Rack

Learn More

Visit ROLA to learn more about the Titan Tray, the new low mount and their range of accessories.

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Mike Collister has spent his life outdoors. He has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.