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Tom K. Sun May 15, 2011 11:46 am

We have a '91 Vanagon (pop top) and are preparing for our first cross-country trip. A little extra storage space on top would be nice, but we do not want to hamper the ease of popping the top each night. Any ideas on how to make the best use of that roof-top area directly above the driver and passenger seat? Anything pre-fab for fitting nicely into that sunken well?

Thanks!

Tom

HeftySmurf Sun May 15, 2011 11:52 am

A guy makes heavy duty pop top assist shocks, makes poping the top with stuff up there a breeze!
I think it is Jackbombay, there are a couple different levels, easy to install too.

purplepeopleeater Sun May 15, 2011 11:54 am

x2 bombay poptop struts, and cargo net for the luggage area.

danfromsyr Sun May 15, 2011 11:59 am

I used to sell a smaller (5cu ft) cargo bag that fit perfectly in the roof cargo rack, but I haven't had any extras for a little while now (the Mfg discontinued them)

but I found a 5 or 7 cu ft bag fots very nciely.. but make sure you check any roof cargo soft bags closely. the vast majority are 15cu ft and way way to big to fit nicely in there.

some have used hardsided plastic boxes or fuel storage.

best of luck on your trip..

RHMoore Sun May 15, 2011 12:03 pm

You can get a Rola bag for $54.12 on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Rola-59102-Expandable-Hitch-Cargo/dp/B000E7WLJW
(Rola 59102 Expandable Hitch Tray Cargo Bag)


It fit perfectly and worked well for me. You can search TheSamba for Rola and get Kamzcab86's comments as well. I liked that it was waterproof and collapses in case you don't need the full volume.

jackbombay Sun May 15, 2011 3:54 pm

Thanks for recommending my kits guys 8)

My sig has a link to my for sale add here for any questions you may have.

tschroeder0 Sun May 15, 2011 4:16 pm

Yep, x 10 on the heavy duty Jack Bombay's Get the heavy duty for sure you can't go wrong with more power.

It's very hard to find good useable storeage in the overhead area. I paid a crapload for a "bagawest" made by a guy in Canada, but they are hard to find and very expensive.

I would add a rocket box and then the shocks and you have a lot of useable area that doesn't interfere with normal operation.

The other thing to remember is you can add one of the rainfly's offered by Jonce or all the vendors and the when the top is up you can store stuff in the overhead without it getting wet, or seen easily.

Also if you are just getting into it really scrutinize what you need to bring most of us bring way too much and it just adds weight and takesup space for nothing.

have fun!

bibbylauer Sun May 15, 2011 4:23 pm

For simplicity, I've always found that dry bags used for rafting work well up there with some bungie cords. For example, Sierra Trading Post has some of 'em at: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/d/4690_Drybags-and-Totes-and-Misc.html

I believe that some others have also pointed out that certain gun & bow cases fit and can provide waterproof storage.

mwsnow Sun May 15, 2011 5:15 pm

I have used Pelican (http://www.pelican.com) waterproof cases all over the world. They are very rugged. Expensive, but worth it. If you find them used you can get new o-ring seals directly from the manufacturer. There is one on my local Craigslist now for $100. GoWesty sells a Pelican or knock-off that fits the Westfalia luggage rack.

On the lower end of the price scale, I saw a guy at Syncro De Mayo a couple of years ago with a thrift-shop American Tourister or Samsonite suitcase full of dry firewood.

Ahwahnee Sun May 15, 2011 5:52 pm

For a cheap solution... at Target or Wal*Mart you can get a plastic container thatfills the space pretty good (brand Sterlite or others). I use a bunch of bungees to hold it down and keep the lid on.

bjrogers86auto Mon May 16, 2011 3:00 am

We use a Thule soft bag and a ratchet strap. We travelled from coast to coast with it up there with never an issue.

I usually had the folding chairs (4) tarp, poles and a few other stuffables.

I tried the plastic boxes but found they stick up too high and limit what you can carry.

The HD shocks are on this year and the roof box will be added before the first big trip. The downside to the roof box is access due to the fact I'm not 11 feet tall!

Brian.

Timwhy Mon May 16, 2011 3:40 am

bjrogers86auto wrote: The downside to the roof box is access due to the fact I'm not 11 feet tall!

Brian.

Good thing you're not 11' tall, then how would you drive your Westy?

Is it raining yet?

whafalia Mon May 16, 2011 7:26 am

I use a $15 duffel bag I got at an asian mart on mission street, fills about 3/4 of the space and holds grill, bus depot awning, camp chairs, and sports gear. It gets heavy, so pretty much the stuff that gets used when the top is up and we can reach it through the tent bit by bit. The last 1/4 is filled with an inflatable dinghy. I wouldn't want to try to lift a loaded bag that filled the trough such as the lovely gowesty gear bag.

The new bit to us, and I've been waiting for an applicable thread to show off, is the Lashlock. http://www.amazon.com/Northwest-River-Supply-Lash-...amp;sr=8-2


I ground about 3 hairs off the ball at the end of the cable to fit through the brackets of the top. 14 feet weaves nicely across the gear and is secure enough that I had no worries about my stuff when away from the van and once clamped down remained very tight and secure on all roads. Drove in the rain without issue and the stuff I put there can take a little water anyway.

jackbombay Mon May 16, 2011 7:43 am

bjrogers86auto wrote: The downside to the roof box is access due to the fact I'm not 11 feet tall!

Brian.

Put the box on the passenger side right at the back of the roof and then you can stand on the rear passenger tire to access the box, and putting the box as far back as you can makes a big difference in how much effort is needed to pop the top because you are not lifting the weight of the box as far.

bjrogers86auto Mon May 16, 2011 3:14 pm

The rain is actually getting to me today. 26 days in a row...fun.

I haven't tried the roof box yet but I did throw my yak up there the other day BETWEEN rain showers after I had the shocks installed. I had one boat to one side and it went up with a bit of effort. The boat is about 60lbs. Two will likely be better to even it out. The boat is just a bit too high to manage from the ground. I need a helper for the roofbox...it's a heavy weight empty.

I will still likely use the Thule bag up front. It's easy to get at from the passenger door and most of the stuff is extra junk I bring along.

My little trailer still kicks butt for ease of use and access. The new and improved tranny should work fine hauling it.

If the rain doesn't stop the kayaks are ALL I'll need!

Brian.

climberjohn Tue May 17, 2011 3:14 am

RHMoore wrote: You can get a Rola bag for $54.12 on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Rola-59102-Expandable-Hitch-Cargo/dp/B000E7WLJW
(Rola 59102 Expandable Hitch Tray Cargo Bag)

It fit perfectly and worked well for me. You can search TheSamba for Rola and get Kamzcab86's comments as well. I liked that it was waterproof and collapses in case you don't need the full volume.

I second this.
The Rola bag is an excellent choice for our vans. It has solid reviews here from some trusted members. For the price, quality and waterproofness, it's hard to beat.

-CJ

kamzcab86 Tue May 17, 2011 3:03 pm

climberjohn wrote:
I second this.
The Rola bag is an excellent choice for our vans. It has solid reviews here from some trusted members. For the price, quality and waterproofness, it's hard to beat.

-CJ

I third it. :D Straps are a bit long for my liking; next trip, those things are getting a trim job... or replaced with something else altogether.

And it's expandable for those trips in which you come back with more than what you left with. 8) :lol:

bjrogers86auto Tue May 17, 2011 3:06 pm

Has the Rola bag stayed dry? My Thule gets wet in a hard rain. It would be nice to be able to keep it dry...

Brian.

j_dirge Tue May 17, 2011 3:41 pm

bjrogers86auto wrote: Has the Rola bag stayed dry? My Thule gets wet in a hard rain. It would be nice to be able to keep it dry...

Brian.
It probably won't stay dry in much rain at all.. or where snow is left to sit.
Seams were not taped on mine. (not that I expected they would be for the price)
Rola is not of the highest quality.
Zippers are a little weight and the nylon buckles are not super duty.. but for the price, a Rola bag just can not be beat.

I learned back in bicycle touring days to use trash bags to keep items dry inside whatever bag.. (Then recycle the trashbags for use as.. well.. trashbags.. and swap in new ones as needed)

Or..
Only pack stuff that can get wet in the case of these car topper style cargo bags.
I now have several dry bags, as well.. which can not be beat in terms of keeping items dry. Sierratradingpost.com has good prices on them.. Get a couple of varying sizes.

bjrogers86auto Tue May 17, 2011 4:25 pm

Thanks for the info. I have a few dry bags for kayaking but my lawn chairs don't seem to fit! hehe.

Mostly I have a tarp and poles along with kids beach toys up there. The fold up chairs get a tad soggy but dry quickly by the fire....drifted off to camping land there for a moment.

Thanks again,
Brian.



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