African Outback roof-rack time?

#1
I really do need a roof rack. I'm out of storage already. But I need the lowest profile rack I can get so it will fit in my garage and I want something lightweight.

The AO from Slee seems to fit the bill the best. I thinking of going with a half rack, since it can be shipped directly to my house instead of by freight and will be significantly cheaper. And then maybe a half rail to go with it.

Any thoughts on this model and brand? Plans are to store most of my 2.5 gallon fuel cans up top for trips to get them out of the rear cargo area, as well as a low profile storage box, probably my solar panels and maybe some other things if there's still room left over.
 

LexusAllTerrain

Expedition Leader
#2
As you may know I did research on roof racks and everybody would tell me not to get one because i was going to loose gas miles per gallon, well they were correct, however I need the roof rack and I have used in the past to do some trips, i have installed my nato gas containers and some other things, it has made life alot easier, getting up there it is not a problem for me.
now you are considering the half rack and I have the ARB Half Rack, I almost sold it and actually placed and order for a 3/4 rack because I felt the need for more space, however it was in back order so I just decided to cancell the order and keep the half rack!

Put more thought on how much space you need and you may or may not consider going with the 3/4 roof rack; as for the AO I think they are very low profile and light weight, and they seem to have alot of accsesories for them I like them, however i decided on the ARB just because of looks and reliability!
 

adventureduo

Dave Druck [KI6LBB]
#3
Ask Boston Mangler he has a AO rack.

Personally.. I would go straight for a 3/4 rack. If your already running out of space inside the truck, the rack will eventually get filled too. You dont want to have to buy it twice later down the road. We are running a full length rack and fill it almost every single trip.

Remember firewood, water, fuel etc. all good for up on the rack.
 

ntsqd

Heretic Car Camper
#4
Sensitivity to the mileage loss lead me to design & build this rack. Walking on it was necessary (race viewing platform), as was being able to hold bikes up there. It also mounts a rear facing dust/fog amber and has provision to mount a rear air deflector to blow the dust off the rear window(s). The deflector didn't get made b4 I took it to Baja for the 1k in '02. Once mounted to the '91 I hope to get around to that and the planned string of LED's mounted to the underside for camp lighting.

The perimeter frame is 1-1/8" x .065" wall square tube with 3/4" ply sitting on 1/8" tabs welded to the insides of each opening. Each of the ply pieces is mitered ~4" long on the hypotenuse at all 4 corners to allow tie-down access to the frame. When not loaded it presented a fairly low profile to the wind, and it was deliberately set close enough to the roof to act in semi-safari top fashion.

The rust monster evident in the pic claimed this truck shortly after this pic was taken. I plan to redesign the attachment points and install the rack on the '91 Sub.
 
#5
All good points. Thanks for the info.

The full size rack is definately nice. The flip up sun roof is definately a nifty feature.

However, including half rail, the cost difference of the full size rack ($1065) and half rack ($650) is pretty significant at $400. Also, with the full size rack, I'm not sure how I would get it home from the local freight house.

I still have other mods that I need to do, such as finish my locker install, sliders, rear tire carrier, etc, so there's definately budget limitations. $400 would go a long way to those other mods.

The full size AO is 31" longer than the half size. That's 18 square feet of space on the half size with an additional 11 square feet on the full size rack.
I really don't think I'm going to need the additional space since I don't like carrying that much stuff up high.

I'm hoping with the rack completely empty, it should fit in the garage.

What I would like to do it basically move the black storage box and fuel cans in this picture up on the roof.

http://www.brian894x4.com/images/ExpeditionLCInterior046.jpg

Then probably use the rest of the space for stuff like camp chairs, tent, etc. I really like low center of gravity, so I won't be loading too much up there.
 

Jonathan Hanson

Supporting Sponsor
#6
Brian, my early experience with a half-size African Outback rack has been positive. It seems very well-made and very strong for its weight. The numerous slots for attachments are great. The modular nature is versatile.

I cannot say I think it's as strong as a (much heavier) steel rack such as the Conferr I used for years. In fact I know it's not: After a good deal of careless walking around on top I have very slightly bent the crossbars. But 46 pounds versus 105 makes a big difference in your CG.
 
#7
My brother has an AO and it is sweet. They are super stout. My step dad pulled into a low parking garage with it and and it just compressed the suspension and scrapped the paint. I would get one if I had a cruiser. By the way, you 80 is looking great.
 
#8
I have had a full length ARB which was REALLY heavy, I think about 110 lbs or so and did not like it due to the weight and that it was terrible as far affecting gas milage.

I now have an INTI made in Venezuela which is about 80 or so lbs. It seems to not affect the milage as bad, until I put 4 Hella 4000 up there.

As far as low profile, the 1/2 AO rack would be the ticket, plus it's modular!

You asked how to get the full length rack home from the freight house... put it on the roof!!!!!!!!! :xxrotflma Just my .02...:)
 

adventureduo

Dave Druck [KI6LBB]
#9
Sgt Grunt said:
I now have an INTI made in Venezuela which is about 80 or so lbs. .. I put 4 Hella 4000 up there.
Howd you fit 4000's up there? Got pics? We have a Inti and run 500's.
Sorry for the hi-jack.
 
#10
SOCAL, I built a new light bar / protector to fit the bigger lights... 6" lights just seem funny up there so I went with the 4000's. Plus back in the day of full size pick ups with 44's, I always wanted a big chrome "ROLL BAR" :yikes: with at least one hundred lights on it!!! So that carried over a little bit... Thankfully I grew out of the chrome phase..... :wings:

sorry for the continuance of the hi-jack.....:oops:
 
#12
Brian,

I bought the AO full rack with sun roof hatch and the full side rail. I also got the AO awing for the rack. I bought it just before I made the drive to North Carolina. The rack is awesome! I ran a half rack Conferr for many years and I have to say that the full AO is lighter and stronger than the conferr. Plus like stated above I bent the cross rails on the conferr with the weight of my gear. The AO will adjusted to different heigths so you can control how tall it is from the roof. I have mine so close that you cannot tilt the sunroof up or it will hit the rack. Just have to watch out for that! The rack is also pretty quiet on the interstate. The Conferr much louder.

I researched for a long time on the AO, Hannibal and the ARB. Results in my opinion.
The Hannibol was hard to find. The only place that I could get it was some Rover dealer in NY(shipping was more). The Hannibal does not have the slotted channels for the eye hooks(you will like these on the AO). AO price vs hannibal was around $300 more for the Hannibal(plus shipping price was more from NY instead of CO). The ARB rack is nice but very heavy. I did not want a steel rack because I knew I would be moving back to NC and the thing would rust in no time. With the steel ARB you would always have to worry about scratching the paint and having to touch it up or you would get rust. I know this because my ConFerr rack was rusted from all the marks from the gear.

I had my rack shipped from Slee to Portland for around $175.00(that included the awing which was a huge box). I picked it up at the airport and it fit in the back of my Tacoma.

Hope this helps.

Tim
 
#13
AO full rack

Hi Brian,

I have the AO full rack on my 80, and love its ability to be configured with various accessories and tie-down points that are reconfigurable on the rack due to its channel design. I went with the rack for reduced weight, carrying capacity, and configurability, and I have not been disappointed.

As I have an auxiliary fuel tank and can carry 3 Scepter 20 liter water cans down low, I do not carry much weight up top - top-side is normally limited to my Maggiolina roof top tent and a large Pelican case to carry light-weight gear. While I know others carry fuel and water cans top-side, my preference is to have a lower center of gravity.

I pondered the smaller half-size, yet saved my nickels and dimes until I could swing the full size. Glad I did.

As far as getting it home from the freight hub, consider renting a trailer if you have a hitch set-up, or consider renting a van if you do not.

Cheers,
Cal
 

Boston Mangler

Expedition Leader
#14
Just saw this thread!

I have the full African Outback rack and can honestly say that it is one of the nicest roof racks i have ever seen. Genius design and very well thought out!

Its all aluminum and is about 1/2 the weight as most of the others too!

The big plus for me was how modular it was. The upper rail can easily come off leaving a flat surface to mount a roof tent, and if you have the full rack, you can even put a small roof tent on it with a 1/2 rail and you have the best of both worlds.

The Inti is also a very nice rack, but i personally didnt care for the layout of it and how its designed to basically be used with lights and jerry cans and such.

I would never put lights or fuel on my roof, so that rack didnt make sense for me and what i like to do. Again, its a nice rack, but not for me.

I would buy the AO again for sure, but if your into things looking pretty you might be disappointed because the powder coating SUCKS!

It showed up chipping brand new in the box and is only getting worse. The design, weight and function of it, was so good that i overlook the chipping finish! :D

Also, now that i have an Eezi-Awn 1800 mounted up there, it takes up almost the entire rack, so i now have the worlds most expensive roof rack mount! :D

Thats my .02
 

ntsqd

Heretic Car Camper
#15
Just occured to me that if you can sched buying something large from one of the home boxes that you can borrow or rent one of their pick-ups for cheep. Then just happen to swing by the freight hub.......