A BIG change to the van has happened with thanks to Front Runner. We are now lucky enough to be working with them to share with you their products. When they reached out to us we couldent resist and had to take up the opportunity. By now you will have noticed in the most recent Instagram posts we have removed the old rack and installed the new Front Runner Slimline II roof rack along with accessories.
Out with the old, in with the new
The old rack we had fitted was purchased from eBay back in December 2017 for the sum of…..£30. YES that is correct, only 30 great British pounds. For that price we had a rack that was home to a solar panel, roof box, and for a period of time towards the end of its MTBVanLife time two kayaks. With numerous trips up north to the Lake District and across to Wales, she served us well, but she even travelled with us around Europe all for £30. You cant by much for that nowadays can you? We were considering stripping the rack off the van to re-paint and bring it back up to a presentable standard. Then one day, I opened my phone to a message from Front Runner, and so began the new journey. You can see the old rack HERE.
Front Runner are a massive company and huge in America, however they have just recently launched to the UK market. We feel privileged to be able to share there products with you. Now fitted to the van we have the very impressive and modular Slimline II Rack which is what it says on the tin. Its a very slim rack, and compared to our old one, just perfect for not only aesthetics but usefulness as well. It now has transformed the van, from looking like it should be pulling up to a works site, to something that to our eyes is a road trip machine ready to conquer new adventures. Boy does it look good!
Fitment and accessories
With the muscle power of myself and Sam, we dedicated an evening after work to stripping the van of the old rack, and installing the new one by Front Runner. To begin with I think we both thought we had bitten off more that we can chew to strip, install, and complete in one evening. This mainly boiled down to having the solar and roof box to move over too. We set to work and removed everything from the old rack, and then the rack itself. The van lay bare without anything on top, but she was in for a real treat for what was about to come. The following day we set to work on un-boxing the new products, and the rack particular. Everything for the new rack now lay separated in an organised mess across the garden floor. Thanks to the very helpful instructions Front Runner provide, we were easily able to assemble the rack without any real issues. Essentially, the frame gets built, the runners slide in, and you place the end bar on and corners. It could not be any simpler for something that is so strong and stealthy.
It was only myself and Sam who were present at the time we needed to marry this up to the van, but its safe to say the rack is definitely lighter than its predecessor. The old one was hard enough to get on, but installation of Front Runners rack was completely doable with two people. I myself am certainly not the strongest or tallest person, but we managed. If we can do it, you most certainty can. We saved the accessories for another day as light was against us during this ‘After Work’ project. All the accessories however are so so easy to fit. We cannot stress this enough, as the main selling feature to this product is is modular system all fitted together with Allen keys.
The large amount of accessories on offer range from something as simple and practical as an awning mount, so the absurd like a cauldron. People will buy almost anything within reason, be we did have a chuckle when we saw that one. We opted for a range of accessories, and items we knew would serve us a purpose and be useful to us on the road.
Rack Mounted Accessories
- LED Flood Light Bar – Super cool, super bright and perfect for those spots you arrive at late, and cannot see where to pitch up. Top tip, try not to use this if there are other people close by, as you’ll be waking them up when you switch on the sun!
- Awning Brackets – The removal of our Direct4x4 awning and fitment to the Front Runner rack was made so easy with these mounts
- Monsoon Bag/Tie Downs/Stratchits – If you go for the monsoon bag and want to fit to your roof, then you will need both the tie down loops and stratchits. This will be used for fastening. While way smaller than our old roof box, this bag is perfect for all the outdoors equipment we use
- Jerry Can/Holder – This Jerry can was bought for emergency water, however be careful as this one is not suitable for drinking water. They do however make one that is, so make sure to choose that when buying
- Thru Axle Bike Carrier – While we can easily fit two people and two bikes in the van, when travelling with a third passenger, we now use this carrier which makes use of the bikes ‘Thru Axle’. This avoids having to use the valuable space down the centre of the van
- Bottle Opener – Because why not? Everyone looks forward to an ice cold beer when they get back to the van after a long hard day
- Telescopic Ladder/Support Brackets – This was a must have to be able to get on top of the van for loading kayaks, bikes, and easy access to the monsoon bag. Before this we where having to pull ourselves up by the back doors and making ourselves look like fools when we slipped
- Axe Holder – We now carry an axe with us on out journeys for chopping wood for fires. The axe does look super pro on the side of the van, and can be secured with a small cable lock. However I would just be cautious about leaving this out over night, as you are essentially leaving a weapon for anyone to grab hold of. We bring this in with us and place on our internal mount when not in regular use
- Off Road First Aid Kit – Doing what we do, this was a no brainer. Blood is just the nature of the sport unfortunately and cuts and bruises are inevitable
- Rack Pad Set – Finally this pad set is to pad out the kayaks while they are on the roof. More aimed at surf boards I think as we have wrecked the foam by moulding it to the shape of our kayaks, but it is performing its job
If you want something you can trust, looks good, performs well and can always update with new accessories, then this is perfect for you! We have fallen in love with this rack, and there is no comparison to the one it has replaced! We have already had so many people asking us where we got this from and who makes it. We are proud to be able to speak so highly of the brand and its products. You might be doubting they make one for your vehicle, but they actually manufacturer for many brands of car, van and trucks. If you have any questions and want to know more, drop us a message here or on Instagram. Of you can head over to their website www.frontrunneroutfitters.com