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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the past few weeks I've scoured this forum (and others) looking for the best way to fix roof-bars to my van, a self-converted '99 Caravelle with a leisure drive type (side opening) pop-top. I have a 16' Canadian Canoe (weight about 35 kilo) which I want to take on holiday/weekends etc.

There are a number of posts and lots of varying info/opinions on the forum and I had finally consigned myself to drilling holes in the pop-top and permanently fixing roof-rails when I came across this http://www.handiworld.com/handirack-1.html

Googled the hell out of it and only got good reports, including a video from the Gadget Show which rated it. Even put a post on here in case anyone had used one. Got plenty of views but no replies.

My concerns rested mainly around whether it would be big enough to go over the roof and strap down tight. I should mention that I have two sliding side doors on my van.

Anyway took the plunge and bought one. It arrived yesterday and fits like it was made to measure. Quality appears to be first class and other than the material feeling mildly abrasive (I'll will be getting a couple of sections of roller towel or similar to go between the rack and the roof) I don't have any concerns. The boat hasn't gone on yet - we'll go for a little paddle tomorrow - and I'll update after that.

So far it looks like £55 well spent.

Cheers
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This post is later than I'd intended but putting the canoe on the the roof rack and transporting it all went very well.

Initially fitting the rack and pumping it up took a little while but it being first time I was fiddling and checking a lot. I reckon it's a 10 minute operation at most once I've done it 2 or 3 times.

My boat is wide and the rack is just wide enough to take it. I initially had not intended to use the luggage straps supplied with the Handirack but thought I'd give them a try and they worked so well I shall n ot use anything else. I was able to really strap the boat down tight. and because as I ratrcheted straps down front and rear it was the air-filled roof-rack which compressed rather than the boat being bent over a rigid piece of metal, it may even be an improvment over a conventional rack. The pump is the fiddliest part of the operation but due mainly to the height of the van and my short stature.

Once back from the paddle it took 25 minutes from drawing up outside the house to having the boat off and stowed and the roofrack removed rolled and bagged. That's not bad I reckon and there's probably a little time to shave off of that once it becomes more routine. The rack packs to about the size of a sleeping bag so is easily stored in the van.

Downsides: The position of the front strap put it very close to my head as I drove. I'm only 5'7" and I was in contact with it at the back of my head. I do have seat swivels so the height of my seats is raised but if you are tall it may be an issue. Apparently given it's design water may migrate in if you are driving in heavy rain. Obviously can't comment on this yet but I think I may waterproof spray the parts of the rack which will be exposed - taking care not to spray the part of the straps which ratchet up as thids will make them slippery.

I bought on line from the manufacturer having e mailed them first to ask if it would fit. They could not guarentee it but given the protection consumers now have from the Distance Selling Regulations (no quibble money back guarenttee if unused) I bought knowing I could offer it up and send it back if it didn't fit or I wasn't happy with it.

£55 has sorted me with regard a roof rack and I haven't had to mess with the integrity of the roof. I'm very pleased with this gadget and if you have the facility to strap through your van via doors or windows you may want to consider it.

Cheers
 
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