ARB, Hardigg, Scepter, Action Packer: Snap-together Roof Rack System (1 Viewer)

Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Messages
989
Location
the west desert
I've received a few pm's about this set up so I thought I would post it up...

I try to go prepared, and when we go out its usually for a bit. I have kind of a history of overloading my "expedition" vehicle.

(1994, 2-weeks, 4 people, 4-states)

photo (7).JPG



(2008)

2008, 08-31,_003.JPG



(2012)

2012, 05-11to18 (178).JPG


For us, long backcountry trips are a family affair, so not much cargo space, which means a lot of gear has to go on top.

Over 20 years of off-roading. Many journeys. I've spent countless hours on the roof rack playing Tetris. And the game would constantly change due to variations in gear/supply requirements associated with climate/terrain, number of passengers, length of time out, types of activities, e.g., backpacking, climbing, fishing, etc... And then there's the weather (see above photo). There is nothing quite like sleeping in a soggy sleeping bag.

Earlier this year a good friend (KSJ85) got a smokin deal a bunch of Hardigg Footlockers from a military auction, and he let me try them out before I shelled out the cash. I was NOT stoked by how much they weigh; around 25 lbs empty. But they seemed tough and waterproof so I gave them a try.

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized everything snapped together tight like all the pieces were made to go together. And it took me a fraction of the time to load and secure everything.

The components:

ARB Standard Rack 87" x 49"
4 - Hardigg Foot Locker 33" x 17" x 17"
7 - Scepter 20 Liter/5 Gallon Water or Fuel cans
or Rubbermaid 8-Gallon Action Packers
8 - 46" Rubber Straps for the footlockers
3 - ratchet straps for the cans/Action Packers.
Bungees to hold the gear stored in the center

Everything fits together super slick:

photo 1 (2).JPG

photo 2 (2).JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Messages
989
Location
the west desert
photo 3 (1).JPG
photo (9) - Copy.JPG


I've been out with this set up several times now and feel like I've put this little system to the test. From my perspective the pros are:

Easy to put together, everything snaps in place
Gear is more secure
Waterproof - no more soggy sleeping bags
10-minute load/secure time (compared to the 30-minutes plus time that it used to take me)

Cons:

Hardigg footlockers are EXPENSIVE
Hardigg footlockers are HEAVY, I'm adding approx 100 lbs to the roof in containers alone
Lifting a loaded footlocker on to the rack can be a pain

None of the cons outweigh the benefits for me though. I'm justifying some of the cost by the fact I wont loose anymore gear, and because we've been using them for regular travel luggage too. And the sheer convenience of not needing 500 bungee cords to strap down a bunch of loose items is worth it for me.

I just went camping alone with my 9 and 11-year-old boys and we got them loaded and unloaded no problem. And as far as center of gravity concerns? Slee heavies help, but it will get a swayin in the rough. Still, it doesn't feel much different than it did before the boxes, and I've wheeled it with this set up on class 4-5 trails, with sections that were at least class 6 or better, and managed to keep it upright:

Needles District Elephant Hill (19).JPG
Needles District Elephant Hill (27).JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
8,727
Location
Ladysmith
I'm impressed that ARB rack doesn't come loose with all that weight on it. Do you have to keep checking the tightness
of the feet? So by approximate guess, how much is up there with 6 fuel/water cans and camping gear? Say without the
Hardigg footlockers.
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
Messages
989
Location
the west desert
The mounts have never worked loose. I've had the rack for going on five years now. The 3 mounts on each side of the rack sit in a plastic coated metal rail or "foot" that runs the length of the rack to help distribute the weight I suppose. I take the rack off every year or so to clean everything and apply a little wax. Each time I take it off I look closely at the gutters for damage or seam separation. I haven't noticed anything more than a little superficial scuffing. Each time I install the rack I torque it down pretty tight.

I am certain I have exceeded the manufacturer's recommended weight capacity for the rack and the Cruiser roof multiple times. Over the years we've done well over a dozen camping trips. At least twice a year we do a multi-day, loaded down, "No Services Available" backcountry trek. Again, even with constant abuse I haven't noticed any structural problems, but maybe the pillars are developing hairline fractures and someday the whole thing will cave in and crush us all. But I doubt it. I am always impressed when I see pictures of these things after they roll. Toyota build a pretty strong cage.

A guess on total weight up top? Worst case scenario, on the trail for a week or more, avoiding civilization, not even trying to be conservative and bringing ridiculous stuff like Dutch ovens (which we've done by the way: )

ARB rack.............................85
15 gallons of water ............120
20 gallons of fuel ...............120
Foot lockers ......................100
Gear.................................200

Total.................................625

Most of the time we pack lighter than this. I have an extra fuel tank so I don't usually need to carry much fuel. I would guess between 300 and 400 pounds.

Clearly this is not for everyone. For those who like to go light, to tip-toe over the rocks, and get a hotel room at night this set-up would be dumb. I would not load like this if it was just me and the wife. But for those like us who bring the kiddos and the dog along, like to keep the gear organized and dry, and get a kick out of going days without touching pavement, this system works really well.
 
Last edited:

scrapdaddy

Standing on the corner
SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 21, 2011
Messages
10,585
Location
Dittmer, Mo.
I've got the Military alum. chests and seem to be around the same size. Question... do you load the lockers first, then lift up to the rack or load after they're up there. They get very heavy with some gear in them. Looks very organized, good job.
 

Cruiserdrew

On the way there
SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 15, 2003
Messages
15,921
Location
Sacramento, CA
That does not seem safe with all that weight up high. I had about 600 pounds on my roof rack for the 3 miles back from Home Depot on a lumber run, and even being VERY slow and careful, it felt unsafe and tippy.

I can see it being ok if you're out camping on fire roads, but real trail time with family would be a concern. Nice containers, but that's a lot of weight.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom