There are few names in overlanding that garner as much respect and trust as Eezi-Awn. Their three plus decades in the industry have made them a standard-setter and with the release of their K9 Roof Rack System have once again secured their position in the market. One of the most significant product releases of the last year, we decided we needed to take a closer look at this interesting rack system.
The K9 Roof Rack System is a welcome alternative to the cage-style racks that once defined the typical overland roof rack. It is sleek, understated, and complimentary to the aesthetics of vehicles new and old. It is most importantly, remarkably robust, an attribute we would naturally expect from the engineers at Eezi-Awn.
Constructed primarily of extruded aluminum, the main advantage to the K9 is its low weight. Roof loads place weight higher than ideal, so keeping the weight of the rack itself at a minimum is of critical importance. The 2.2 meter K9 rack on our Overland Journal Land Rover LR4 doesn’t even break the 70 pound mark. The K9 rack on our Expedition Portal Range Rover Sport weighs even less. Low weight achieved, Eezi-Awn then turned their attention to durability.
When it came time to decide on a construction method, Eezi-Awn had to face some difficult decisions. On one hand, they could have succumbed to the pressures of shipping costs and assembled their rack, or rather allowed the end consumer to assemble the rack, with a multitude of holes and fasteners. The downside to this method of final construction is obvious. Eezi-Awn’s opinion is, anything bolted together can potentially reverse the process mid-trip. They also made the tough decision to ship their racks fully assembled and welded together. This provides a rack with reduced complexity and quicker assembly.
If the K9 system is anything beyond light and strong, it is also smartly designed. At only 1 and 3/8-inches tall, it is one of the most aerodynamic racks on the market. The leading edge of the rack even incorporates a wedge-shape to reduce drag and silence wind noise. The main platform slats are positioned length-wise along the rack to again improve aerodynamics and aeroacoustics.
What I found most impressive with the K9’s design is the simple, yet expertly crafted mounting system. The K9 is mounted via proprietary components that produce an interface between rack and vehicle that I have to say is clean and refined. The K9 system gives users a multitude of options to provide as many, or as few, connecting points as desired. Those mounting pieces can also be adjusted to place the rack as high or low as needed and accommodate curved rooflines with a up to 20º range of rotation. Having watched Paul May of Equipt Outfitters install K9 racks on a few different vehicles as of late, the process also goes quicker than I expected, the final result a rack with impressive stability.
Once a K9 rack is installed, it’s time to mount the accessories. The full length slats on the top and bottom of the rack accept a multitude of proprietary and third-party accessories including Yakima and Thule crossbar systems. The available K9 axe and shovel mounts as just one example are as impressive as any such mounts on the market. The degree of engineering that went into those two accessories alone speaks to the Eezi-Awn ethos, and their commitment to detail. The vertical mounts are equally well made and facilitate the mounting of other Eezi-Awn accessories like their new Shade bag-awning system. As a parting note, the K9 Stainless Steel Camp Table is an excellent camp asset and seamlessly integrates into the K9 Roof Rack for ease of transport.
The finish detail is noteworthy and speaks to the quality of the Eezi-Awn brand. All components and accessories are powder-coated in a textured black finish that looks great and promises years of abuse without suffering premature patina.
This brings us to the value proposition, something our Expedition Portal readers have expressed is of chief concern, and rightly so. Most of the popular K9 systems will start at the $1450 mark and go up just slightly from there. This may instigate grumbles from some of you, but quick research shows that similar, and arguably inferior racks from the largest rack makers, are priced at and above this figure. It’s worth pointing out that many other rack systems are vehicle-specific. The K9 rack has a far greater chance of making the leap from one truck to the next with just a few modest modifications.