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Well I have 2 trips in the log book with the new beefed-up version of our old Aerotow Trailer. It’s now running a 3500# axle with brakes and Toyota Wheels mounted with LT265/75R16 E Tires, same as is on the 1999 3rd Gen 4Runner tow vehicle.

It does GREAT! And it holds all our camping gear like a champ! But I did make one other modification that has made a huge difference as well.

Roof Rack

Off-Road Trailer for camping and overloading
Our Off-Road Trailer for camping and Overlanding

Before our Joshua Tree trip over spring break, I mounted a Yakima Load Warrior Cargo Basket that I got from a friend. I mounted it using standard Yakima 58 inch round bars and Q-Towers. It was really nice to have the rack up there for things that didn’t fit well inside the trailer. But that Q-Tower setup wasn’t working. I wanted something with firmly attached rails that I can slide the rack back and forth on as weight balancing needs dictate. I also wanted something that would be sturdy enough to mount bikes to.

DIY Roof Rack Rails

I went round and round on what I thought I should do to get the roof rack securely mounted to the trailer lid using the Q-Towers I had, but finally decided they weren’t the right thing. The best thing would be the exact same thing I had on the truck. My first plan was to just get a set of roof rails from the salvage yard off a 3rd Gen 4Runner. But after experimenting I discovered I’d need more height off the deck to clear the arch in the trailer lid.

Then I was at a restaurant staring at the electrical service panel and the Super Strut rails it was mounted to…

So I went to Home Depot and the plan came together.

Superstrut / Unistrut Roof Rack Rails
Superstrut / Unistrut Roof Rack Rails for our Off-Road Trailer.

Superstrut Roof Rail Parts List

If you want to get this stuff for your trailer, take this list to Home Depot, or just order it online.

Hardware

Yakima Rack Parts

ALTERNATE Yakima Rack Parts

So the Control Towers are discontinued so you can also use the following towers instead:

Results

Central Nevada Camping with our off-rad Trailer
Our first trip with the new roof rack setup was to Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada.

We loaded the trailer up with the gear and bikes and headed out to the Shoshone Range in Central Nevada. The rack was ROCK SOLID! It was really nice to have bikes on top rather than hanging off the end. We’ll likely have to use both the roof bike rack and the rear bike rack with all our bikes, but for this trip it was just fine.

The lid holds open well with the additional mass of the rack, but I do intend to make a couple of additional mods to make it all more sturdy including:

  • Replace the hinges with something far more robust.
  • Replace the lift struts with stiffer models.
  • Rig up some kind of way to keep the lid from closing or hyper extending because of wind.

Thanks for checking out the post and please let me know if you have any questions at all.

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Happy Trails,

-Mike

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