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Old 05-05-2016, 09:07 AM #1
Swacer Swacer is offline
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Utility Storage on Roof Rack

Question for you all.

I'm in the early stages of planning a 2 week cross country trip (another post will be made on that in the coming months), and I am looking at a Gobi stealth rack (any aftermarket full length rack will apply here), to carry some of our stuff.

For the early portions of the trip, I had 2 options in mind:

1. Dogs up in middle seats, 2 weeks worth the clothes and such in the back. Which I figure will get tight after a while...and the any remaining items up on the roof.
2. Dogs have access to middle and back, 2 weeks worth the stuff now goes to the roof. Everyone is then more comfortable and dogs can move around.

The issue becomes, for our suitcases/clothes, and other items such a portable grill and things we pick up along the way, how do you store & protect it on the roof?

Furthermore, for several nights, we plan to sleep in the back of the 4R with our 2 dogs, and as such, 2 weeks worth the stuff needs to be displaced to the roof rack.

What do most of you use to protect your belongings while they are in the roof rack from weather or theft? The only thing that comes to mind is a regular old roof cargo carrier, but do you still use those, or is there a plastic/metal box that is usually used on a full size rack for these purposes? I looked at the TrailDuty site, and the only Gobi box offered is a small tool box.

I apologize, but we weren't the most outdoorsy type people, and as such we are using the 4Runner as a chance to "diversify" and try new things haha. As such, need to be taught a few things.

Insight would certainly be appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:09 AM #2
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Will your stuff stay on top only at night when you're sleeping or also during the day while driving?

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Old 05-05-2016, 09:15 AM #3
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Originally Posted by Da8ron View Post
Will your stuff stay on top only at night when you're sleeping or also during the day while driving?

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Both options are viable right now. Depending on the difficulty and $$, I will then decide. With a full length rack, would be silly not to utilize it and have more space inside the cabin, wouldn't you agree?

What are your suggestions in each case?
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:20 AM #4
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I would consider a small trailer, but if those are your only two options, I recommend finding the biggest rooftop cargo carrier you can find, and pack as light as possible. There will be nights where you absolutely do not want to move things to and from the interior to make room for sleeping. Not to mention rain and security. I assume the dogs are small Have fun, and good luck!
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:23 AM #5
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Originally Posted by KingTaco View Post
I would consider a small trailer, but if those are your only two options, I recommend finding the biggest rooftop cargo carrier you can find, and pack as light as possible. There will be nights where you absolutely do not want to move things to and from the interior to make room for sleeping. Not to mention rain and security. I assume the dogs are small Have fun, and good luck!
So you're recommend getting a roof top box (normal kind) and just mount it inside the full length roof rack?

Dogs are medium, 2 wheaten terriers, 1 girl (35lbs) and 1 boy (45lbs)
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:36 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swacer View Post
So you're recommend getting a roof top box (normal kind) and just mount it inside the full length roof rack?

Dogs are medium, 2 wheaten terriers, 1 girl (35lbs) and 1 boy (45lbs)
I suppose it depends on what your long term needs are. I have a full length rack , but that's because it's purpose is hauling bikes and kayaks. If your needs are primarily for carrying gear that needs to be secured and protected from the elements and it won't be used all the time, it seems you could save some money and just go with the large cargo box on crossbars. Then you could remove it whenever you didn't need it. May not look as cool as the flat rack; I don't know how much that will factor in to your decision haha
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:39 AM #7
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Instead of a hardsided cargo box, consider a soft bag like this? Mine is a Thule, but there's a lot of good options out there. Benefits over the hard box are less cost, less weight, and easier to remove (and thus improve mph) when you don't need it.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:41 AM #8
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I drove cross country last year in my T4R with my 80lb lab, 2 cats (in a large dog crate), luggage, and all the items that you don't trust movers to handle.
I had a thule roof top carrier full of luggage, tent, sleeping bag. The good roof boxes stay dry even in heavy rain on the highway, and are easy to access.
I would recommend not sleeping 2 people and 2 dogs in the back. You'll have to move all your stuff onto roof, and will be uncomfortable.
Get yourself a 4 person tent and you'll have plenty of space for cots, sleeping bags, dog beds, and you won't have to move your gear everyday.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:49 AM #9
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I have done this several ways back in the day. I won't tell you what to do but, unless you have a small trailer, there will be challenges.

To keep it truly waterproof you need a dry bag or a hard shell unit. I have a dry bag roof top carrier that will hold a weeks worth of clothes for four people. The challenge is it is not secure. A hard shell carrier is secure but going that route you might as well just use the stock rack.

Getting stuff up there and back down for a weekend is one thing. Accessing it on a daily basis for two weeks (clothes, food, etc) would well and truly suck.

There is a reason people store all their stuff in a vehicle (security, dry storage, not having to move it from the top) and sleep in roof top tents or regular tents. Again, a weekend is one thing. Two weeks is a different animal. Speaking of animals, what are you going to do at 1:00 am when your dogs need to poo in a driving rainstorm? Best case is they are soaking wet when they come back and the limited space inside the vehicle will now smell like dog and be wet for a long while. You almost HAVE to have some outside shelter like an awning or pop up shelter if you are not using a tent.

I used a maximum time of three days if I was going to sleep in the back and that was just me and wife... no animals. If it were longer than three days we packed a tent. If we took our dog it was automatically going to be tent camping.

When we did stay in the back we used a series of boxes that we would move from the rear to the front seat in order to make room in the back to sleep every night. This was food, cooler and a few clothes and toiletries. There is only room for two people in the back and nothing else. The other stuff was in the dry bag on the roof.

Now? I stay in hotels lol. Much easier. Sleeping in the back (with two dogs!) in a different place every night for two weeks and moving crap from the bottom to top and back again will be a challenge and not enjoyable. I would be surprised if you and your wife would still be speaking to each other after spending two weeks in the back of a 4Runner.

Last edited by 1engineer; 05-05-2016 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:54 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1engineer View Post
I have done this several ways back in the day. I won't tell you what to do but, unless you have a small trailer, there will be challenges.

To keep it truly waterproof you need a dry bag or a hard shell unit. I have a dry bag roof top carrier that will hold a weeks worth of clothes for four people. The challenge is it is not secure. A hard shell carrier is secure but going that route you might as well just use the stock rack.

Getting stuff up there and back down for a weekend is one thing. Accessing it on a daily basis for two weeks (clothes, food, etc) would well and truly suck.

There is a reason people store all their stuff in a vehicle (security, dry storage, not having to move it from the top) and sleep in roof top tents or regular tents. Again, a weekend is one thing. Two weeks is a different animal. Speaking of animals, what are you going to do at 1:00 am when your dogs need to poo in a driving rainstorm? Best case is they are soaking wet when they come back and the limited space inside the vehicle will now smell like dog and be wet for a long while. You almost HAVE to have some outside shelter like an awning or pop up shelter if you are not using a tent.

I used a maximum time of three days if I was going to sleep in the back and that was just me and wife... no animals. If it were longer than three days we packed a tent. If we took our dog it was automatically going to be tent camping.

When we did stay in the back we used a series of boxes that we would move from the rear to the front seat in order to make room in the back to sleep every night. This was food, cooler and a few clothes and toiletries. There is only room for two people in the back and nothing else. The other stuff was in the dry bag on the roof.

Now? I stay in hotels lol. Much easier. Sleeping in the back (with two dogs!) in a different place every night for two weeks and moving crap from the bottom to top and back again will be a challenge and not enjoyable.
You bring up many good points, and I think I should clarify 1 point.

When I say we will be sleeping in the 4R, I mean this will happen maybe TWICE the entire trip. The rest of the trip, we will be staying in Hotels as we move across the country. The 2 times will most likely be once we get out to the New Mexico/Arizona area so we can enjoy the view. My apologies for that not being clear.

That may change what you're saying a little.

Also, when you say Dry Bag, are you talking about the kind of bag that KidV linked to above? how is the security with a bag? I am concerned it is much more vulnerable than a hard shell (when the 4R is parked at a hotel overnight).
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:10 AM #11
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We have 2 large greyhounds which take up a good portion of the interior space but have found the Stowaway works great for our week/10 day trips down the blue ridge parkway. We don't camp out (hotels, motels, holiday inn) so it suits our need for hauling from place to place:

https://www.stowaway2.com/hitch-cargo-carriers

The obvious benefit is that its easily accessible for the Mrs. who's not a big fan of the reach and roof climb. (and in a pinch, you still have the roof space if you happen to come across something big along your travels that you want to take home!)

Locks up and can hold a good amount of stuff. Of course, if you plan on trail blazing/rock climbing, that's certainly not going to work. That departure angle isn't a winner.
It can be taken off by one person (I unbolt the box from the rack and then remove the rack from the hitch) but with 2 peeps you can of course, just slide off the entire setup off the hitch mount.

Every trip we've gone on, someone always compliments us about my "nice ass", "like your junk in the trunk".
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:12 AM #12
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Quote:
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You bring up many good points, and I think I should clarify 1 point.

When I say we will be sleeping in the 4R, I mean this will happen maybe TWICE the entire trip. The rest of the trip, we will be staying in Hotels as we move across the country. The 2 times will most likely be once we get out to the New Mexico/Arizona area so we can enjoy the view. My apologies for that not being clear.

That may change what you're saying a little.

Also, when you say Dry Bag, are you talking about the kind of bag that KidV linked to above? how is the security with a bag? I am concerned it is much more vulnerable than a hard shell (when the 4R is parked at a hotel overnight).
I use this bag http://www.amazon.com/Sherpak-Kanga-...nga+roof+pouch and I have had it for 15 years or so. Works great but a hard shell is much more secure. With either choice you don't meed a new roof rack. Those are for the guys who are going out for a week in the woods or desert and used to store spare tires, fuel, tools, firewood, etc that can mess up the interior. Pelican boxes to store pots and pans, dry goods and clothing can be lashed much easier to a flat rack than your existing rack.
One or two nights spread out over two weeks is tolerable but you did not say that in your OP.

I also have a few other dry bags like this http://www.amazon.com/Watershed-Miss...ack+waterproof from my rafting days. They work well as a dry storage for clothes.

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Old 05-05-2016, 10:16 AM #13
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I use a yakima skybox. Perfect for what you are describing
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:28 AM #14
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Others have already made some great points so I'll just comment on the hard shell box. I've had one for about 15 years and have had no issue installing or removing it by myself. The height of a 4R would make it a bit more cumbersome but if you can lift and control 50# overhead it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Through the years mine has been hugely useful. It's been through heavy thunderstorms and severe wet winter weather and has always stayed completely dry. Be away that dust gets in though. If you decide to go that route I wouldn't recommend using the factory crossbars. They're really low profile on the 4R and my wife's RAV4 has rub marks on the roof from using it on the original crossbars. With the Yakima crossbars the clearance is much better.

Security is a great feature. When we stay at hotels I'll clean the car of any valuable items, like bikes, laptops, and camera bags, but not worry at all about the box.

One huge downside is the same with any rigid container: storing it when not in use. I also have a dry bag for a 2' x 5' hitch-mount cargo carrier and that folds down into a small(ish) package whereas the hard box is always the same size. My last two garages had exposed studs and rafters so the box was easy to store up in the deadspace on the rafters. Now my garage is finished in and I'm stuck using valuable garage space.
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Old 05-05-2016, 10:31 AM #15
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I use a yakima skybox. Perfect for what you are describing
Thank you, I will certainly look into those.
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