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The Dropracks roof loading system - an overview


Dropracks is unique in the roof racks world because it not only brings the loading platform off the roof, but it also drops all the way down to about waist level, and provides a horizontal loading platform. How cool is this!

It allows easy and safe loading for whatever you want to carry - kayaks, bikes, a roof box, perhaps even a roof top tent - things which would otherwise be much more challenging to load, depending of course on the height of your vehicle and the height and strength of the loading team.

Dropracks are generally only available for vehicles with raised roof rails, flush mounted roof rails, T-track slots, and gutters; in due course it will be available for most vehicles with fixpoints. To find out whether you can fit Dropracks to your vehicle you need to search for Roof bars for your vehicle and then scroll to the bottom of the list of roof bar options.

Dropracks are available in two sizes, Sport and XL, priced from £1,200, with an extra charge for the parts required to connect it to the vehicle roof.

What's Dropracks?

Dropracks, designed and developed in Trondheim by an enthusiastic team of Norwegian engineers, is the sort of truly innovative but also truly useful product that only very occasionally comes to market in the car racks sector. It's a brilliant piece of kit, a roof rack that's lowered, under complete control, from a vehicle roof to approximately waist height, leaving a horizontal loading platform.

Dropracks allows you to load the car roof at waist or chest height, with reduced strain on your back. It's much safer for you, and the car's bodywork, and sometimes it makes the almost impossible not only possible but easy!

We've seen a number of sliding and tilting racks and accessories, over the years, that hang off the roof at about 45° to make it easier to load kayaks, or ladders, but the angle makes them useless for loading bikes onto bike carriers, or loading a roof box, or loading or preparing a roof top tent. Dropracks is innovative in so many ways.

Typical uses

  • Carrying kayaks: It's not just getting kayaks onto the roof of tall vehicles that's a challenge; strapping them down properly always takes longer than it should when access is difficult. Let Dropracks solve the whole problem!
  • Carrying bikes: The difficulty depends on your height, strength, vehicle height, and the type of bike carrier; the effort is much greater if the bike carrier isn't close to the edge of the roof, in other words if you're carrying more than 2 bikes. Let Dropracks solve the whole problem!
  • Roof tents: Getting them on and off the roof of any pickup, 4x4 or mid-sized van is hard work; you probably need a set of folding steps to pack them tightly, fix the travel clips, and replace the travel cover. Again, Dropracks not only makes it possible, but easy.
  • Trades people use Dropracks for loading anything which won't easily fit inside the vehicle - safely, quickly, and easily.

How it works

After releasing the load lock catches and sliding the load away from the car roof, you use a crank system to lower the rack. An automatic brake, developed together with the Japanese company TOK, a world leader in rotary dampers and braking systems, will stop the load from moving unless the crank is being turned. When you are ready to move the load back to the roof, crank the handle again - there's a longer setting which provides more leverage, if required. As before, the failsafe braking system holds the load, wherever it is on its journey back to the roof. And, when the Dropracks has been slid back to the locked position, it's rock solid, no vibration at all. It really is the business!

Have a look at the video below, where Pål, the Engineering and Design Manager, shows you how it works. You surely cannot fail to be impressed!

The parts you need for a Dropracks system

There are two Dropracks versions, the Dropracks Sport , and the Dropracks XL. The XL is most suitable for pickups and mid-sized vans, but may also be appropriate for larger 4x4s and SUVs. If you have a larger 4x4 or SUV (taller, wider) it's up to you to decide which size will be best for you; we'll provide more guidance as we gain experience of selling the product and getting customer feedback.

You need a system to join the Dropracks to the roof of your vehicle. To find out whether you can fit Dropracks to your vehicle you need to search for Roof bars for your vehicle and then scroll to the bottom of the list of roof bar options.

Dropracks are only suitable for vehicles which have a sufficient roof loading weight. They are also only suitable for vehicles with raised roof rails, flush mounted roof rails, T-track roof fittings, gutters, or fixpoint fittings. Vehicles with fixpoint centres that are more or less than 85cm will need adapted parts - options for these vehicles will be listed when available.

The Dropracks Sport - specifications

  • Loading capacity: 75kg
  • Product weight: 27kg
  • Length (width across vehicle): 140cm
  • Loading surface: 130cm
  • Lowering distance: 70cm
  • Standard distance between front and rear units, centre to centre: 85cm
  • At 85cm the maximum distance from the front of the front bar to the rear of the rear bar is 103cm; each bar is 18cm wide

The Dropracks XL - specifications

  • Loading capacity: 80kg
  • Product weight: 30kg
  • Length (width across vehicle): 160cm
  • Loading surface: 150cm
  • Lowering distance: 80cm
  • Standard distance between front and rear units, centre to centre: 85cm
  • At 85cm the maximum distance from the front of the front bar to the rear of the rear bar is 103cm; each bar is 18cm wide

About Dropracks

Dropracks is a registered brand name, owned and developed by the Norwegian company HPG AS, a company that was formed by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Dropracks has been tested and approved by the German TÜV SÜD, also by Volkswagen, and is manufactured by the German company Hettich, one of the world's largest manufacturers of sliding fittings and hinges (mostly used in furniture and kitchen fittings) with over 6,700 employees; they are precision manufacturers.

Dropracks Overview
Dropracks used with a roof tent

The aim of this note is to persuade you that kayaks should always be tied to the carrying vehicle at both bow and stern.

Always tie down at both bow and stern

Untied kayaks have, in our experience, the greatest potential for a roof bar or kayak carrier failure. The massive forces that untied kayaks can generate have even been known to snap roof bar fixing bolts with the result that a complete assembly of roof bars and kayaks has ended up on the road. We know that this has happened with almost every brand of roof bar, and regardless of whether the kayaks are on a special carrier or just strapped to the bars.

You need to fix bow and stern lines, probably using the front and rear screw-in towing eyes to get strong and accessible fixing points on the vehicle. Kayak shops should be able to provide suitable 'paracord' for this purpose. Alternatively, we have sets of straps available that are perfect for the job and are really easy to use. Yakima make some excellent Bow/Stern tie down straps and Thule makes the QuickDraw 838 which we have listed together with every kayak carrier we sell.

Please note that kayaks should be strapped to the roof bars, or to kayak carriers, using straps that are suitable for the purpose, e.g. 25mm polypropylene straps with strong buckles. Bungee cords must never be used.

Please also note that all roof bar instructions point out the dangers of carrying unsecured long items, as of course do all kayak carrier instructions.

If you tie down your kayaks properly you almost certainly won't experience a product failure. If you don't you may or may not get away with it. If there is a disaster and the kayaks end up on the road, separated from the vehicle, then you were not using tie downs and you have subjected the roof bars to forces for which they were not designed. The costs of sorting this out are yours, not ours, and you may also have difficulties with your insurers.

We're sorry to be so firm about this, but "things coming off the tops of cars" is the stuff of nightmares, and we want to do all we can to prevent accidents of this sort from happening.

Delivery charges and arrangements:

We charge a contribution towards delivery costs, depending on what you order, where you live, and how quickly you want the goods.

These are our standard charges; there are usually surcharges for all offshore destinations and some remote postcodes - for details please see our delivery information page.

Delivery of this item

Roof boxes
Express Delivery £ 19.50 1 to 2 working days
Standard Delivery £ 14.50 3 to 4 working days

Delivery of other items

Small items & Spare parts
Express delivery £ 6.95 1 to 2 working days
Standard delivery £ 4.95 3 to 4 working days
Standard sized items (Roof bars, bike carriers and most other items)
Express Delivery £ 9.50 1 to 2 working days
Standard Delivery £ 6.50 3 to 4 working days
Long wide roof boxes, Dropracks and Roof tents
Express Delivery £ 19.50 2 working days

Delivery times

Delivery times are calculated in working days (Monday to Friday, excluding Bank holidays).

Cut-off times for Express Delivery orders
Express Delivery orders placed before before the cut-off times shown below will usually be desptached on the date of order. Express Delivery orders placed after these cut-off times will be despatched the next working day.

Small and Standard Sized Items Order by 4pm for same day despatch
Roof Boxes, Dropracks and Roof Tents Order by 1pm for same day despatch

Delivery FAQs

When will my order arrive?
There are no deliveries on Saturdays, Sundays or Bank Holidays, except for postable items where Royal Mail has a Saturday delivery. Express Delivery orders placed on a Friday (before 1pm) should be delivered on the Monday or Tuesday, Express Delivery orders placed on a Saturday or Sunday should be delivered on the Tuesday or Wednesday. The arrangements for Very Heavy Items are different and are shown above.

What about Next Working Day delivery?
We have offered a reliable Next Working Day service for well over 20 years but, due to the pressure on the couriers caused by the coronavirus crisis and the huge increase in online shopping, we can no longer be confident about the delivery date, which is why we now call the service ‘Express delivery’. Most Express delivery orders will arrive on the next or second working day, but some will arrive on the second or third working day, or be split between these days. So-called “split deliveries” happen when the couriers do not have enough trailer space for everything that should be moved around the UK, so they will load what they can and leave the rest for the next trailer.

Is my delivery day guaranteed?
No retailer or courier company can ever "guarantee" a Next Working Day delivery. As well as split deliveries, all courier companies occasionally have the same transport problems as can happen to everyone else, including snow blocked roads, closed roads, traffic jams, mechanical breakdown, an inability to find the delivery address, or to gain access to it if, for example, it's in a block of flats. We work with some of the best couriers in the business, and overall they provide an outstanding service.

Do I need to be at home?
We are very flexible with our deliveries and will aim to deliver to an address which suits you – this does not need to be your home address. Goods can usually be left without signature - we prefer this with roof boxes. There's a "Special Delivery Instructions" box in the checkout area where we'll ask you to choose a typical instruction and then amend it to suit your particular requirements.

Payment options:

We take the following cards, and also PayPal. Please note that the entry on your card statement will be from "The Roof Box Company".

PayPal accepted

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 Carrying boats, kayaks or boards 
 Delivery charges and Payment options