Picture this, you’re planning that big trip away to the outback and you’re working out what to take with you when it suddenly dawns on you…you haven’t got enough room.
What do you do? Look over everything you’ve got and strip back to the bare essentials?
Earlier in the year we purchased a newish Toyota Prado 150 series which we set up in preparation for our recent outback trip.
Our problem wasn’t that we had planned to take everything plus the kitchen sink, but that this trip we had decided to take our OzTent.
Now we love our OzTent but the only negative is that it is just over 2m long and this was never going to fit inside the car.
So we approached the guys at OCAM 4×4 Accessories, a Victorian based company, after seeing an advertisement on Facebook, of all places, and asked them about roof racks.
OCAM 4×4 Accessories, as its name suggests, sells 4×4 accessories to fit a diverse range of vehicles and, in this case, quite a few different styles of roof racks.
After viewing the range online and reading about each different one we chose the aluminium Tradesman roof rack. This model doesn’t have the cross bars at the front and the back of the rack and would allow the OzTent to sit flush on the base of the rack.
OCAM says this commercial grade roof rack is capable of carrying well in excess of your vehicle’s load limit. So I recommend if you are going to load up your rack then find out what your vehicle’s load limit is so you can safely load all your gear without overloading it.
The Tradesman rack is finished in black powder coat and has added support beams along its length which the company says make it one of the strongest roof racks in Australia. It also has amplimesh on the bottom to help support whatever you might put up there.
OCAM recommends professional fitting but if you think you can do the install the rack comes with all fittings required to fit the rack to your roof mounts, and some instructions that will help you along your way.
Roof racks are almost an essential 4X4 item these days and often form the basis for adding other accessories like awnings, recovery gear and even a spare wheel. In our case we took a second spare wheel so it went on top with the OzTent and a space case for light but bulky items that we couldn’t fit inside the car.
One of the biggest issues associated with roof racks is that you often see them overloaded and this can have adverse effects on the handling of your vehicle. So remember people keep it sensible and don’t you be the one that gets caught out with either a broken rack or worse still, by having an accident that could put you and your family in hospital.
You can see OCAM 4×4 Accessories range here and if you’re interested in something that they sell, and you’re not near Campbellfield in Victoria, they will even post it your way.
So, what do we think of our Tradesman roof rack? It looks good on our Prado and it carried all of our gear that just wouldn’t fit inside our car. During our trip of nearly 4,000km we drove over a variety of terrain and the mounts remained firm and supportive.
It was ideal for longer loads like our OzTent and carried about 70kg with the spare tyre, the OzTent and a space case with odds and ends in it.
As with anything made out of aluminium and potentially exposed to the bone shuddering corrugations of outback roads, I’d keep an eye on the rack and ensure everything stays tight and remember, don’t overload it and it should last you a long time.
The Tradesman roof rack also comes in steel so if you’re that way inclined then you can ask the folks at OCAM 4×4 Accessories about one of these to fit your vehicle.
Now we’re looking forward to loading it up again and heading off on our next trip.