As overland travel becomes more popular as a lifestyle, many travelers are realizing the potential of a capable van as an option for long-distance travel. True, a van in almost any configuration will not be as capable off-road as a dedicated 4WD pick-up or SUV, but you can quite easily drive a van around the world; we have more than a few friends who have done just that in people carriers such as the Toyota Hiace (as we sit writing this on the shore of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala we are the outsider in a laager of Ram 3500 Pro Masters! Definition of laager – South Africa : camp especially : an encampment protected by a circle of wagons or armored vehicles).
A van offers ample living and packing space and a long, flat roof perfect for carrying a multitude of gear, from kayaks and jerry cans to spare wheels, spare parts, and everything in between.
Frontrunner, in collaboration with parent company Dometic, have seen the need in the market and have launched a robust and highly customizable roof rack that is sure to become a staple for van-based overlanders.
The Slimpro Van Rack features an adjustable slat system, which accommodates just about any type of factory-fitted and roof-mounted equipment such as air conditioning units, skylights, and air vents. Traditionally roof racks have been rigid in design, “one size fits all.” The Slimpro rack appears to be an adaption of the load bar concept within a larger rack frame. This simply means that you only use the space you need and are not left frustrated with a rack that does not suit your specific needs and cannot simply be adapted as those needs change. A load bar system is preferable for the mounting of roof tents, for instance, and reduces roof weight while offering a lower cost, adaptable alternative to the rigid, traditional roof rack layout.
The rack is also compatible with most van sizes, thanks to the adjustability of the rack’s foot rail. This adjustable foot rail allows the rack to fit multiple van lengths, while the highly adjustable slat system offers rigidity and strength.
Frontrunner has been in the roof rack business for decades, and the new Slimpro rack follows in the footsteps of Front Runner’s time-tested Slimline II Roof Rack; the new rack system is lightweight and low-profile, and Frontrunner claims that despite the sleek and unobtrusive aesthetics there is no compromise in carrying capacity.
The Slimpro Van Rack is compatible with the following vehicles and available for different length and height options:
- Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (2007-Current)
- Ford Transit (2013 – Current)
- Ram Pro Master (2014 – Current)
- Citroen Jumper (2014 – Current)
- Fiat Ducato (2014 – Current)
- Peugeot Boxer (2014 – Current)
First impressions of the Slimpro rack are good; we look forward to seeing a unit in the flesh but can already surmise that this is a product that can serve not only or exclusively for overland travel but can easily be adapted for commercial or practical use when the vehicle is not being used as an escape machine. The integrated load bar system certainly allows a degree of flexibility of use, which is quite unique to the product and represents a significant value proposition.
The Slimpro Van Rack is available to purchase now directly from the Front Runner online shop, through the Experience Center in Agoura Hills, CA, or through a local Front Runner official dealer.
MSRP $1,105 – $2,135
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