Roof Racks, P38



Lightweight Racks
Genuine Expedition Rack
Aftermarket Expedition Racks
Roof Top Tents
Home Made Expedition Rack Setup

Lightweight Racks
The Range Rover P38 has built-in channels for rack support in the roof. Adapters are available to fit standard light duty Thule and Yakima rack systems to these hidden supports, allowing a variety of options for carrying skis, bicycles as well as general luggage items in lightweight luggage baskets or fiberglass rocket boxes.  A selection of options is shown below.




(Photo courtesy of Atlantic British)

Yakima crossbars fitted to the center and rear roof mounts (the vehicle has forward, center and rear anchor points in the roof).
(Photo courtesy of Atlantic British)

Official Land Rover Thule crossbar kit fitted to 4.0/4.6 -- a tidy and inexpensive installation costing about $199.
(Photo courtesy of Atlantic British)

Genuine crossbars mounted on front and rear positions. This is the most smooth and streamlined crossbar installation available. Cost is about $399.


Left: Genuine sports bar rack with two fore & aft roof mounting strips and movable cross bars. Cost is about $760.  (Photo courtesy of Atlantic British)

Yakima Closeup

Kevin Kelly's Yakima rack on his 1998 4.6HSE, set up to transport  4 bikes up to Lake Tahoe

Another genuine official accessory  is the sports bar rack pictured above that consists of two roof mounting strips running the length of the roof (attached at all three mounting points) with two aerodynamic cross bars that can slide along the entire length of the mounting strips according to your wishes. This is a very good looking and streamlined rackthat is probably the best available for light duty work.

P38 Genuine Expedition Rack

Rack Front ViewThe Range Rover P38 has built-in channels for rack support in the roof. A heavy duty full-length expedition rack, featured on the 4.6HSEs in the 1997 Land Rover Trek,  includes a nifty rear ladder and bumper step (see photo here and at the top of this page). It is now available from Land Rover dealers and parts suppliers in the US, or from the manufacturer, Safety Devices. Cost in the US is about $1300. (Photo at top of page courtesy of Gordon Kallio)

I purchased my copy of this excellent rack from The Rover Connection, in Salt Lake City, who supply the full range of Land Rover Genuine Accessories. After installing the rack, I found it produced a large amount of wind noise. I fabricated an air  deflector from sheet aluminum which I then painted black. Mounted between the driving lights on the front of the rack, this drastically reduces the noise to a barely noticeable level. Like most expedition style racks, the floor bars are very sturdy but spaced too far apart to hold small objects. rackrearI therefore made a floor of heavy welded steel mesh (approx 0.160 inch gauge, 2 inch spacing) for the rear 3 feet of the rack behind my CB antenna and sunroof opening. This is easily strong enough to stand on. I mounted my shovel and axe permanently on the rack, kust inside the outer rails; they are barely visible from the outside.

The Rover Connection also supplied the rear ladder for my rack. They were most helpful in trying to obtain mounting instructions from LRNA, but apparently there are none. You just put the ladder on where the curvature of its mounting points best fits the upper tailgate. It does require drilling through the sheet metal of the upper tailgate, which in turn requires removing the trim panels from the tailgate interior.  To finish the job, I mounted a strip of non-skid surface on the rear bumper beneath the ladder, to act as the lower step. (I obtained this from a marine supply store).

The net result is a very strong and practical setup, with a safe way of accessing whatever you stow on the roof. For additional photos of this setup see the page on carrying vehicle recovery equipment and the CB Radio page.

Aftermarket Expedition Racks
wilderness rackLess expensive alternatives to the genuine expedition rack include the lighter weight safari style "Wilderness" rack system which has a 5 by 5 foot load basket. The rack is strongly built of 3/4" square steel tubing, zinc coated and powder painted. The basket sits on top of crossbars that mount to the Range Rover's built-in mounting points, and has adjustable tubular steel flooring. You can also obtain brackets to hold a high-lift jack, spare tire, pull pal, ax and shovel. You can also mount skis and/or bikes with adapters that fit Thule and Yakima  mounts. Cost all up is in the region of $700. (Photo at right courtesy of Atlantic British)

hannibal rackPerhaps the best looking and most versatile setup I have seen is the Hannibal expedition rack system which is now available with custom mounts for the Range Rover 4.0/4.6 roof anchor points (see photo at left of Hannibal rack on a 4.0 with roof top tent in stowed position. Photo at right shows full view of rack on a Classic RR. Photos courtesy of Atlantic British). hannibal rackThese racks are made of 6063 architectural aluminum, with fully-welded frame and basket, stainless steel mounting clamps, and shock-absorbing rubber pads to minimize wear and wind noise. The use of welded aluminum keeps the weight down while providing a strong structure. The rack has wide floor slats are designed to minimize wind resistance and noise, while providing a good stable platform to stand on and a front "porch" for the matching Hannibal roof top tent. This design is available with a brushed siver aluminum or powder-coated black finish. Accessory mounting clamps for jerry cans, shovels, etc are available.

Roof Top Tents
tentI first observed rooftop tents in action when my firiend Marvin Mattson used his home-made one on the roof of his Land Rover 109 on some of our off-road expeditions. Since then, commericial manufacturers have taken up the idea. Hannibal makes a rooftop tent and awning -- designed for the the Hannibal expedition rack system (above). This design keeps you up off the ground away from snakes etc, and sets up in seconds rather than the minutes required to set up ordinary tents. You remove the travel cover, flip over the floor panel and the tent pops up. 12mm marine ply base board and a 70mm foam mattress. An aluminum ladder gives you easy access from the front or rear. The awning (5 or 7 feet available)  goes on the side of their rack, and takes less than 60 seconds to open  by swinging out the aluminum arms that swivel off the rack. A side panel is also available if desired, and even a shower skirt/changing room addition. (Photo courtesy of Atlantic British). For more details on these racks and rooftop tents, see the Classic Range Rover roof rack page.

Home-made Setup for Lightweight Expedition Roof Rack

New RackMy 4.0 came with the then-official accessory Thule crossbars (see above) when I first got it, so I adapted it for my initial expedition needs. When mounted in the middle and rear positions, I found the crossbars are just the right distance apart to enable a Yakima luggage basket to fit between them. This overcame the problem of many racks which do not have a proper floor, making the carrying of smaller or irregular shaped objects very difficult. The Yakima basket is designed to mount on top of the roof rack rails, but I wanted a lower profile so I  mounted the basket low, slung between the rails using standard Yakima and Thule adapters.
Rooftop View
Permanently mounted and ready for emergencies were my  shovel, pick, axe and pry bar, with room left over for a shower or  a spare fuel tank when needed, and even a few bundles of firewood. (The photo looks toward the rear with the axe on the left, the pick straight ahead, and the shovel handle just visible to the right).  The system worked well -- the only problem encountered was that when carrying heavy loads the bottom of the load basket would sometimes bounce against the roof. In later years, to accommodate occasional  needs for more storage area on the roof, I replaced this system with a genuine  expedition rack (see above).




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Page revised February 10, 2012