Lightening My Load with Tracklander
After visiting a weighbridge, it was time to join Weight Watchers.
It was 2018 and while heading up the Hume Freeway at the beginning of an adventure, I decided to check out my weight at a roadside weigh station. Now the Prado doesn’t have the highest GVM at 2090kg and was carrying a fair bit as I was going to be on the road for the next four months, but I was surprised at the figures being displayed. The Prado needed to shed some weight.
It’s been a few months since arriving home and having analysed the setup I’ve come up with some ways to slim down. One of the solutions was to replace the steel rooftop tent rack that had a starting weight of 50kg, with an aluminium rack. After coming up with a shortlist of brands, I contacted Quick Pitch in Perth for some advice and they pointed me to Tracklander, a brand they deal with regularly and are impressed with their products.
Tracklander have been in the game since 1975, in the days when steel was the go and roof racks designed for 4wd use were few and far between. Having changed from steel roof racks to aluminium, Tracklander is a market leading brand. The biggest benefit for me is that Tracklander roof racks are lightweight but still strong and durable. With a starting weight of 17kg, I have already lost a massive 33kg.
The Tracklander standard full length flat top roof rack and the leg kit to suit my Prado was decided upon. I went with the flat top roof rack as it had the largest footprint available. Most trips I don’t carry a lot on the roof rack, but on longer trips having space available to carry fuel, firewood etc is important. The roof rack also needed to carry the Alu-Cab Shadow Awn and Quick Pitch Ensuite.
The roof rack has the ability to flex with the Prado with Tracklander’s unique “Flex-Tech” design, while the leg mounts provide extra support, strength and protection for the roof. If I ever update the Prado, all that is required is a new set of legs to suit the vehicle and the roof rack can easily be transferred.
The dimensions of the roof rack are 2100mm L x 1200mm W x 50mm H and has an extremely low profile, something that will hopefully assist in reducing my fuel economy. The bolt on wind deflector will also help.
Having the flat top roof rack also gives me unlimited tie-down points using the mesh base. I’m impressed that the mesh is welded at every contact point along the base, something my previous roof rack lacked.
When it came to mounting kits, Tracklander has everything you can think off. The mounting brackets for the Lightforce Striker spotlights were a challenge to install, but once I figured out how it could be done, the actual install was simple. The mounting kit for my Tred recovery tracks was also something I loved, providing me with a way to carry four Treds with the added option to fit a padlock to prevent theft.
Even though I don’t often carry jerry cans, when I do, I prefer them to be safe and secure. The double jerry can holder from Tracklander is the perfect fit for the Proquip metal jerry cans and I like that they can be padlocked too. When it came to shade clamps for my Quick Pitch Ensuite, I had to make a minor modification to raise the bag as it hung a little low and kept getting caught in the doors. Quick Pitch sent me their brackets to suit the Alu-Cab Shadow Awn.
Before installing the roof rack onto they Prado, I mounted all the brackets, my Roadshower and the Tred and jerry can holders. The reason is that the profile of the roof rack is so low, it would be difficult to access underneath to bolt anything on. I did have to swap out the Tracklander recovery track mounts as my new Tred Pros nestle lower than the originals so didn’t fit. I ended up using the Tred 4×4 mounts and they were very easy to install also. The Tracklander recovery track mounts will be utilised with the original Treds on the camper trailer.
With the Tracklander roof rack now sitting nicely on the Prado, I’m very impressed with the look and the feel. Everything is held in place securely and it was easy to install the awning and ensuite. The powder coating is robust and survived the pre-install fun, with no scratches to be seen. It took four of us to get the rack onto the roof, due to the awkwardness and height of the Prado but with the mounting legs lined up and tightened the final bolt on was simple.
So, with the Tracklander Roof Rack and all the Tracklander accessories installed, the total weight of my new set up is 38.5 kg with the breakdown as follows:
- Roof Rack – 17kg
- Leg Kit – 7kg
- Shade Clamps – 1.5kg
- Double Jerry Can Holder – 9kg
- Front Mount Spotlight Brackets – 4kg
I’m looking forward to heading off on the next adventure, the roof rack will certainly receive a great introduction to remote travel with rough corrugations and eroded sand dunes. Keep an eye out for updates and images on my social media pages and a long-term review will be published later in the year.
Tracklander is a sponsor, but in no way have they influenced this article. You can check out all their gear right here and there are dealers throughout Australia.