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  #1  
Old 24 Oct 2009
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Roof Bars or Roof Rack for Roof Tent

Is there much difference between Roof Bars and a Roof Rack for a Roof Tent.

I've got an Isuzu Bighorn (Trooper) and have been looking at prices of 2nd hand roof bars and racks to find the cheapest option that is up to the job.

The Roof Bars do seem to be cheaper, but I would like to hear any views on whether they are OK to use, and how many bars we would need, etc - or whether the Roof Rack is simply the better option.
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  #2  
Old 24 Oct 2009
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Could do either. Our Ezi Awn sat on roof bars mounted on to a roof rack rails. Key point is the strength / difference of the mounting points between bars and rack. If they both mount in the same way, then there is probably very little difference although the rack may have more mounting points, even if they are the same that could spread the load. Part of it is not just the weight of the tent but the wind pressure at speed. If you are mounting off bars, one factor will be whether they are directly mounting on to gutter rails, in which case you may need three bars, versus if the bars mount on to roof rails, in which case they are already spreading the mounting point so you probably only need the two bars. We only had two bars on one of the largest Ezi Awns but it went onto the roof rack rails which in turn was bolted to a roll cage.

The only other factor is whether having a rack makes it easier to use. Whilst our Ezi awn would fold out over the bonnet with a ladder down onto the bull bar, we would usually go up the back of the LR on to the roof rack as it was just easier for taking boots off etc. Just what ever works for you.
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  #3  
Old 31 Oct 2009
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We started with roof bars but didnt fit enough only 2 resaulting in the tent cracking then fitted a hanibal rack which alows us to bolt bit on like solarpanels antennas and light items up top so we feel the flexability is better with a full rack. Also spreads the weight better.

If you do go the bar route then put more than you need to help spread the load. ie 3 for a tent not 2.
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  #4  
Old 31 Oct 2009
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what tent do you have?

If you have a folder and require a bit more up top room then a rack will allow additional "light" items to be stored as Andy has pointed out. If you have a Maggiolina or hard shell RTT then 3 heavy duty bars will suffice. I recommend Thule HD 3mm bars, used these on my RTT.

If you dont need the additional room a roof rack gives you then I wouldn't bother with one because you are adding un-neccessary weight in a place you dont want it. They are also far more expensive than a good set of 2nd hand bars.

good luck with your choice.

G
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  #5  
Old 19 Nov 2009
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Good replies,

For just a good size roof tent, use 3 roof bars.
But also some thing to remember, I originally had 2 roof bars,
Then I added a 3rd.
What I found was the curvature of the roof, front to back, (roof rails) was almost 12mm.
I had to build up the front roof bar, so all 3 bars were level, and each taking an appropriate loading.

This was on my LC, 120 series, so all vehicles will, or might be different.

Just an observation.

'vette
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  #6  
Old 21 Nov 2009
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Decided to go with the Roof Bar option for the weight saving, and also hoping that I would be eagle-eyed enough to spot a bargain or 2 on eBay!

I quickly found the Aero Bars & Foot Pack from a guy around the corner, but it was from a different car so need a Fitting Kit elsewhere... we didnt have a Roof Tent, so no great urgency.... or so we thought!

Spotted a Maggiolina Airlander for £380 but was 170 miles away and has just been listed on the Internet - agreed to buy it unseen after chatting to the guy for a few minutes and said that we would pick it up this weekend.

Now we needed the fitting kit! - Tried for nearly an hour to find one locally - nearest one was almost an hour away as Halfords dont stock the 1091 in store. It was an extra £10 plus petrol, but had no choice but to head out and get it - couldnt rely on it arriving for the weekend via Mail Order.

Earlier todya we arrived at the guys house and it was raining! - even worse was the fact that the brackets from the Roof Tent do not fit around the Thule Aero Bars . Fortunately the seller was *extremely* helpful and he spent quite some time carefully drilling the roof bars so that the brackets would fit through. Soon the tent was transferred and secured.

It took about an hour in the rain and the seller was brilliant, we wouldnt have been able to get it home without his help - Thank-you Malcolm.

All we need to do now is source another roof bar (or 2) for that extra support!

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  #7  
Old 4 Dec 2009
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glad you got it sorted. the Airlander sounds like a bargain. well done.

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