Hauling Gear Into Your Pop-Up Camper? Install A Roof Rack First!

Have you had any problems hauling big gear into your pop-up camper or your car? The easiest solution to the problem campers like us frequently face is a pop-up camper roof rack.

If you’re a fan (okay, or a reader) of my blog, you know very well that I’m an avid camper and I’ve been doing it for decades now. Oftentimes, I’d stumble upon trails leading to pristine lakes and rivers and I just can’t contain my desire to tread through the peaceful waters with a kayak.

Sometimes, when I take my family to campgrounds on nearby lakes, I get so disappointed by the lack of boat or kayak rentals of the facility. How will you not be disappointed when there’s a perfectly good lake standing in front of you, and you can’t even make use of it?​

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Pop Up Camper Roof Rack 1

Hauling gear into the pop-up camper? You’ll need a sturdy roof rack for that matter

My incapacity to bring my own kayak boat isn’t the only problem for me. Cycling through trails and off-the-beaten paths are also more convenient than hiking, prompting me to bring my old mountain bike. But the question is: how can I transport them? Will they fit on my pop-up camper?

That’s when it hit me. I have to bring my own boat and bike to camping apparently through my trailer tent. So I did that, I brought my two small kayaks and a mountain bike, and I stuffed them on my camper. Oh, what hassle! It’s hard to fit all of them, and they’re too bouncy.

So my pro camper friend told me that the only solution for carrying big gear like boats, bikes, skis, and other cargoes would be a pop-up camper roof rack and of course, separate bike racks and kayak cradles for mounting the gear.


What Is A Pop-Up Camper Roof Rack?

Pop Up Camper Roof Rack 2

Here’s a pop-up camper with bike yokes attached to the roof rack. Photo from robertssales.com

Essentially, a pop-up camper roof rack is a set of heavy-duty steel crossbars attached on the top of the camper’s roof for transporting skis, bikes, kayaks, and other cargo within a recommended weight.


A Few Things To Consider When Installing A Roof Rack

Installing a roof rack over your pop up camper will take time and effort. Also, you need to consider a few things first before purchasing.

1. The installation would include drilling holes and attaching screws through the roof of the camper. The whole configuration would be permanent, so if you’re afraid of ruining you pop-up camper or you realized at a later time that you don’t want it anymore, you might want to think it over.

2. You should seek the help of a professional installer or someone who knows the stuff when you finally made up your mind about purchasing a roof rack. A friend of mine installed his rack on his own and ended up ruining the wirings of his pop up camper because he touched a wrong wire.

3. Verify the width of your pop up camper to know what rack size is best.

4. There are roof racks that have fixed crossbars and some that have adjustable bars. Most campers prefer the adjustable bars because it can fit various roof widths, so it won’t be a problem if you want to transfer the roof rack to your car or SUV.

5. There are limitations for the carrying capacity of roof racks, and you also have to factor in the maximum load the roof can support. Some roof racks can handle just 3 to 4 bikes or a few kayaks while some hold more.

6. If your pop up camper is an old model, they’re most likely the lighter types which have minor roof load capacity. I suggest you put the lightest bikes on the bumper rack and the heavier ones on the wheel parts to even out the weight and put less stress on the camper’s roof. Arranging the gear in that manner will make a big difference, trust me.

7. Let’s say you want to haul 5 or 6 bikes. Apparently, the roof can’t support that much weight and will likely cause the camper to collapse. The best thing to do is to add a hitch-mount car bike rack on the camper’s front part and put 2 to 3 of the bikes there.


Types of Pop-Up Camper Roof Racks

Essentially, there are two types of roof racks for pop-up campers, racks for roofs with rails and for roofs lacking rails.

1. Roof racks for raised or flattened roof rails

I do hope your pop-up camper has roof rails though I haven’t seen one with a raised roof rail, perhaps newer models have. If your camper’s roof have rails, you won’t need to drill holes because some roof racks provide interface hardwares and other mounting options for this kind of roof.

2. Roof racks for roofs without rails

Most pop-up camper roof racks are meant for trailers without rails. This will require drilling of holes and permanent racks.

There are many pop-up camper roof rack choices out there, leaving you overwhelmed and confused as to what to choose.

Below are two of my suggested tried and tested pop-up camper roof racks.​


Tried and Tested Roof Racks​

1. SportRack Camp Trailer Rack System

pop up camper roof rack

Via Amazon.com

The SportRack Camp Trailer Rack System comes with two square adjustable crossbars, hooks, locks, and all mounting hardware that are ready for installation.

The heavy-duty telescopic bars are long enough (adjusts from 79" to 88”) to fit any camp trailer roofs and hold up to 200 lbs or 90 kg. Also, the mounting legs are also adjustable.

What I love about this rack system is it gives you the option to mount the legs directly on the camper’s roof or through an interface hardware.

If your camper has roof tracks, the system’s track mount hardware will allow you to slide the leg on the end of the track easily. All you need to do is to drill holes for mounting the leg directly on top of the camper if your camper has no interface. Very convenient!​

Here’s a detailed video of the entire rack system.​

Pros

  • Adjustable crossbars and legs
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Allows other mounting options
  • Easy to instal
  • Good loading capacity

Cons

  • Horrible instruction manual ( thus, I included a detailed video of the rack system)
  • The steel is too heavy (causes roof constraints)

2. Yakima Round Crossbars

pop up camper roof rack

via Amazon.com

This product is a go-to for campers looking for roof racks for their tent trailers. Note that your camper’s roof should have side rails for this particular rack.

So the Yakima Round Crossbars are made from made from vinyl coated galvanized steel which is very durable, it stayed with me for six years. The crossbars are non-adjustable so they sell 48", 66", 78" and 86" widths. Measure your camper’s roof and choose the one the width size that is right for your camper. However, the q-towers, end caps, and locks used for attaching the crossbars are sold separately.

What I like about this product is that the key-locked adjustable q-towers hold the crossbars to the roof’s side rails firmly in place and the round crossbars are lightweight but extremely durable. Also, the rack has a 165 lbs capacity.

Pros

  • Lightweight steel
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Non-adjustable crossbars
  • A side rail is a prerequisite to using this rack (no other mounting option)
  • Less load capacity

Final Thought

Apparently, since we only have two types of roof racks for pop-up campers, you should choose one that best fits your roof type and also take into consideration the things we mentioned earlier for you to contemplate on when installing a roof rack.

May you finally get that long-awaited roof rack installed and get the best out of your every camping experience!​

Hey there, did you enjoy this article? Have you learned something? Do you have any comments or violent reactions? Share your thoughts below! If this article did help you with your questions regarding pop-up camper roof racks, why don’t you share it? Let’s help other campers out there too!

Cindy Herrera
 

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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