If you are a camping enthusiast, then you know the importance of having enough space to carry all your gear comfortably. You want to be prepared for every situation, and that requires planning and the having the right equipment available.
Your Ford F150 has a well-earned reputation as a rugged and reliable vehicle. With its powerful engine and towing capacity, it is the perfect choice for your camping trips. But to really make it shine, it needs a suitable roof rack to provide additional storage that allows you to carry bulkier items that may not fit within the vehicle.
With several options available, you may not be sure which is the right choice for you, so keep reading for some tips on how to choose the best F150 roof rack for your camping gear.
Before you can choose the right roof rack, you will need to determine your specific needs. You should consider how many people will be going on the trip and for how long. This will help you decide the type and quantity of gear you will need to bring, including sleeping bags, tents, cooking equipment, and other essential items.
Once you know what you need to bring, decide which items will be transported on the roof. This will influence the type of rack you will choose, as long, narrow items such as canoes will need to be carried differently than bicycles and other gear.
Keep in mind that roof racks have weight limitations, so you will have to determine the combined weight of your gear and choose a roof rack that can safely handle the load. Going over the weight limit can cause instability and potentially damage your vehicle.
Finally, you should consider the type of weather conditions you are likely to encounter. Rough terrain combined with adverse weather will require a roof rack of more durable construction with reliable attachment mechanisms to ensure that your gear stays in place.
There are several factors that may affect your choice of roof rack. Here are the main ones that you will want to consider:
Crossbar roof racks consist of horizontal bars spanning the width of the vehicle’s roof, allowing you to mount several different types of accessories, such as bike racks, kayak mounts, or cargo boxes. This versatility makes the crossbar roof rack a popular choice.
Bed-mounted racks, as the name suggests, attach to the bed of the F150. They are easy to load and access, making them a practical choice for those who often transport large gear such as canoes or kayaks. Plus, bed racks generally offer more payload allowing you to carry heavier items such as rooftop tents.
A roof tray rack is an ideal choice for transporting bulkier items that may not fit in the typical cargo box. They are a secure, open solution for transporting gear like tents and sleeping bags, as well as oddly shaped equipment.
When deciding on which roof rack is right for you, ensure that the one you choose is specifically designed to fit the F150 model year that you own. While some roof racks are universal, others are vehicle specific. Choose the right one for a proper fit and ease of installation.
A factor that affects the ease of installation is whether the rack requires specific tools or is designed for tools-free installation. Some will attach quickly and easily, while others will take more time and effort
The durability and performance of your roof rack will depend on the quality of materials used in its construction. Materials like steel and aluminum will offer strength and resistance to wear. Aluminum is the lighter choice, and doesn't rust. Steel is more cost effective, but heavier and resist corrosion only as long as their protective coating holds up.
Something that is easy to overlook, particularly if this is your first time buying a roof rack, is the importance of aerodynamics and wind noise reduction. An aerodynamic rack will help reduce wind drag, improving your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Be sure to also look for features that reduce wind noise during travel, as this can be distracting during long trips.
Security is critical when transporting valuable camping gear. A roof rack with integrated locking systems or padlock compatibility can protect your gear from theft.
Safeguard your investment by checking the warranty offered by the rack’s manufacturer. You may also need to call upon their customer service department if you encounter difficulties of some sort, so keep their contact information handy.
Since the various types of roof rack are built with different purposes in mind, it’s only natural that they each have their pros and cons. Here’s a breakdown:Crossbar Roof Racks
|Versatile and compatible with various accessories||May contribute to wind noise, particularly at high speed|
|Easy to load and unload gear||Some accessories may require separate purchases|
|Improves the vehicle’s carrying capacity|
|Excellent for transporting long, narrow items||Limited options when trying to fit with tonneau cover
|Easy access to gear||
Low and mid-height bed racks may limit visibility when accessories are installed
|Increased payload compared to roof racks|
|More mounting options due to open and flat design||Potential for more wind noise|
|Well-suited for bulky and odd-shaped gear||Some accessories that clamp around bars will require additional accessories to mount to a platform
Here are some popular roof racks to consider:
The Vortex series crossbar kits are an excellent choice to help you carry extra gear. Made of strong but light aluminum, they are shaped to reduce wind noise and are compatible with most roof rack accessories. Maximum load is vehicle dependent and they are suitable for off-road use.
Designed in Australia, they are built with longevity in mind. Installation takes approximately 1 hour, and tools are required.
With extreme load carrying capacity, this single piece aluminum rack features a sliding load bar and optional integrated gear pods. It is fully upgradeable with a growing number of accessories, and its quad-rail load beam offers limitless mounting options with an off-road dynamic weight capacity of 400 lbs.
The above guidelines should give you a good starting point for choosing your roof rack, but here are some other tips to help you make your decision:
Your choice of roof rack should be in line with the type and quantity of camping gear you regularly carry.
If you are a frequent camper, consider investing in a higher-quality rack, as you will want something that is durable enough to endure regular use.
Choose a rack that is easy to install and remove so that you aren’t spending more time fussing with it than enjoying your camping trip.
A versatile rack can be used for other needs, such as carrying sporting equipment for your kids, or carrying luggage.
You need to balance the need for quality with the demands of your budget. While it is tempting to go for a lower-cost alternative, remember that frequent camping will require higher quality equipment.
Choosing the right rack will help ensure that your camping adventures go smoothly by allowing you to bring everything you need to enjoy your camping trip in safety and comfort. Knowing the options available to you and considering your specific needs will allow you to make an informed decision.