HandiRack Inflatable Roof Rack
An inflatable roof rack, now thats a clever idea... or is it?
The HandiRack is perfect for those people that don't own a car, borrow a parents/
girlfriends/boyfriends car, hire cars, or travel abroad a lot, you can fit it to just about any car which has a hard roof.
The HandiRack states that it can hold up to 80kg which is pretty impressive and should be more than capable of carrying your fishing kayak on the odd occassion when you don't have a standard roof rack available to you.
Included in the box are two inflatable HandiRacks, a pair of cargo straps, a hand pump and instructions, in fact everything you need to strap your kayak on the roof of your chosen vehicle.
The pair of HandiRacks are both rolled up neatly and fastened by a velcro tab to stop them unrolling, and are packed neatly in a light canvas bag which will hold the pump and a pair of straps keeping the whole package very neat and tidy.
Fitting to your car couldn't be much easier, simply roll out the first HandiRack and lay flat about 10cm from the top of your windscreen, open your car door and pass the strap through the car to the opposite side, close the door and go around to the other side of your car, with the door open pull the strap up and through the cam lock, ensuring that the strap passes through the large metal loop first, pull up the slack and then go back to the otherside of the car and check that the HandiRack hasn't slipped out of position, there is no bunching of the protective flaps at either end of the HandiRack and it is central across the width of the car. Then have a proper tighten up. Shut both car doors.
Place the larger hand pump nozzle into the front HandiRack tube and start pumping, continue to inflate until the first tube is inflated firmly, remove the pump nozzle and press the cap over the tube nozzle and press into the rack. Then inflate the second tube in the same manner.
Move onto the second HandiRack, roll out and place behind the first with approximately a 70cm gap between the two racks, follow the same steps as for the forward HandiRack ensuring that it is parallel to the front rack.
Once happy tie up the loose ends of the straps as you would with your kayak straps.
Now its time to load the kayak.
You can slide the kayak onto the HandiRack but as its made of a canvas material rather than a hard plastic as a conventional rack I would suggest asking somebody to give you a hand, this will reduce any wear and tear.
The luggage straps supplied are quite stretchy in comparison to my normal kayak straps, I'm not sure whether this was an intentional part of the design, but once I was over the shock of the straps requiring several adjustments I was able to get the kayak loaded nice and tightly. The straps are secured to the rack via one of the pairs of
D-Rings, there are five across the width of the HandiRack.
When tightening the rear strap I did notice that when strapping down very tightly the roof of the car did dip, I slackened this strap off a little to reduce the flexing.
Well thats the Mini X strapped on, I was ready for a trip and testing the HandiRack on the road.
Driving off up the road everything felt good the Mini X wasn't bouncing around, even when I went over the speed bumps towards the end of my street. On the open road I was soon travelling along at around 50mph where the straps began to hum quite loudly, I pulled over to see what I could adjust and realised the issue. The shape of the Mini X means that the straps don't hug the hull giving them room to vibrate, nothing I could do about it, I'd also allowed one of the straps to twist a bit which wouldn't have helped combat the strap vibration.
I set off again and pushed the car a little more getting the car up to 65mph, there was no noise from the straps now and no signs of the Mini X nose lifting at the front which I thought would happen with an inflated rack, I have to say there was less movement of the hull than with a conventional rack. I was very pleased. As I slowed back down to around 50mph there was no humming of the straps, my pulling them about must have sorted out the issue or they had found their sweet spot.
Back home I checked over the HandiRack, checking to see if there had been any slippage on the roof, there wasn't. The kayak was still very secure and I was one very impressed kayak fisherman.
The HandiRack is a very well made piece of equipment and should last for several years if kept clean and looked after. The HandiRack isn't a replacement for a conventional roof rack, but it is a very well designed roof rack for those times when your stuck without a rack. This is a great piece of kit to take on holiday and use with a hire car, the whole kit only weighs 2.25kg. It takes no longer to fit than a conventional rack, so the wife and kids won't get bored whilst waiting for you to load the hire kayak!
A couple of things to bear in mind and take care with. Ensure that the roof of the car is clean and clear of any dirt, dust or especially sand as you may end up with a scratched roof. Don't allow any sharp objects to be strapped down close to the inflated tubes, they may puncture and lastly, the fitting straps go through the cabin of your car, ensure that they are not in your way or any passengers way, especially children in car seats who can sit quite high in the rear of a car.
If you buy one as a spare for a second car you won't be disappointed, there have been several trips to Ikea where I wish I had put the HandiRack in the boot of the wife's car, its going to be permanent fixture from now on.