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How Much Can You Carry on Your Roof Rack?

We caught up with ARB's Product Manager of Fabricated Products Mark Deprinse, about the best way to work out how much you can carry on the roof of your vehicle. The answer is simple…

Mark explains, “The first thing to consider is the roof capacity of the vehicle. This is the vehicle manufacturer's stated roof weight capacity. For example, the Toyota Hilux has a stated roof capacity of 85 kilograms. ARB’s Base rack and mounting kit for that vehicle weigh 20kg. That means you can load up to 65 kilograms on that particular rack on that vehicle. The new 300 Series Toyota Landcruiser has a stated roof load capacity of 100kgs. The Base rack and mounting kit is 30kgs leaving a roof capacity of 70kgs.

Most importantly, you need to find out what the vehicle’s roof capacity is regardless of the type of rack you are fitting and then work back from there. That means then subtracting the weight of the roof racks or platform weight and the weight of the fitting kits from the manufacturer's stated roof capacity. The number you are left with is what you can safely carry on the vehicle's roof” Mark explains.

ARB Hema Maps

Image credit: ARB

Asked about roof bars Mark says, “roof bars are less in weight, allowing you to have the potential to carry more weight but always keep in mind the vehicle manufacturer's stated roof weight capacity. Roof bars generally have the same load capacity as platform racks with the load rating spread across two or more bars. When we talk of roof capacity, we are talking dynamic or moving capacity, not static or parked. Whatever system you choose, always defer to the manufacturer's stated roof capacity, which will be its dynamic capacity.”

Mark wraps up our chat with the following: “roof accessories that help you carry your load have evolved and must be considered in the overall conversation. Mounting kits for kayaks, cyclists and trade accessories all need to be factored into determining the load carried by your vehicle. As a starting point, try to transport light items (sleeping bags, chairs etc) on your vehicle's roof and have them as low as possible. Make sure they are secured firmly as well. The higher your roof load, the higher it makes your vehicle's centre of gravity, which affects handling and has the propensity to tip the vehicle in extreme situations. In touring capacity, low and light is the rooftop go-to rule. The changes to roof racks being made from aluminium and having a much lower profile have helped in roof carrying capacity.” 

Working out your roof capacity:

  • Find out what the manufacturer's stated roof weight capacity is for your vehicle's roof (manufacturer’s website or owner’s manual).
  • Subtract your roof rack or roof bars and mounting kit weight
  • Equals your net payload of what you can put on your roof

Next steps

At Hema Maps, we strive to provide the most comprehensive and accurate maps and guides for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Australia's natural wonders.

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  • John Szalla: March 20, 2024

    That’s a very useful guide to roof loading. Where did you get the LC300 roof capacity figure (100 kg)? It doesn’t appear in the 300 series spec sheet. The figure for the 200 series is 200 kg, and it’s there in “print” from Toyota.

  • jeff cumming : May 17, 2023

    roof top platform info was very helpful

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