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Old 04-16-2016, 08:09 PM   #1
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Airstream Interstate roof storage

I am looking for a place to store a dog pen in my 2015 Interstate. The pen is made up of 9 36"x40" panels. The stack of panels is about 10" thick. There is no way it is going inside. I took a look at the top of my Interstate and there seems to be nice space to the rear of the air conditioner to install a rack. Has anyone configured the Interstate roof for light storage?

If I store something on the roof, I suppose I will have to mount a ladder on one of the rear doors. Are there any issues with the ladder?

Can a 200 lb person stand on the roof?

Thanks.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:33 PM   #2
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I mounted a Thule excursion cargo box behind the air-conditioner good for storing chairs, grill.
I try to keep the maximum load to less than 100 pounds.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:34 PM   #3
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I would think a hitch mounted rack would be easier.

Ladder wouldn't be a problem and the roof would hold you, but falling off the roof would hurt. It is very slippery when wet.
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:35 PM   #4
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A high-roof Sprinter is rated for a 300-pound roof load. That's total, not per item. This is due in part to the effect that a roof-mounted load has on the vehicle's center of gravity and potential for rollover. Between the air conditioner, awning, solar panel, and other Airstream-installed bits and pieces, you're probably pretty close to your 300-pound roof load limit already.

Service technicians routinely go up on the roof of a Sprinter-based Class B to service items mounted there, but that's for brief periods while the vehicle is not in motion. They tend to stay close to the side edges to prevent oil-canning (flexing) of the roof which can contribute to leaks at roof penetrations and seams as well as to permanent dents.

I would strongly recommend that you look into the use of a hitch-mounted cargo tray or cargo box for carrying your disassembled dog pen. Not only do you have a much higher load capacity on the hitch than on the roof— a capacity that is not already used up by installed equipment— but it's also much easier to reach.

Alternately you could probably install your rear-door-mounted ladder on the driver-side rear door as close to the hinges as you can manage, and secure the dog pen panels directly to the ladder. But then you'd have to make sure you never open that door with a load secured to the ladder lest you strain the door hinges.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:33 PM   #5
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I know nothing about roof storage, but needing more space for "stuff" I have tried two different hitch storage cargo boxes. GearSpace34 and StowAway2. Both were satisfactory but I like the second one better because it swings away on a pivot giving needed access to both rear doors. When I set up in the camp site I unlatch the cargo box and swing it out 90 degrees. This gives me full access into the rear doors plus if I needed to get out of the back doors while camping, I could.
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Old 04-17-2016, 07:42 PM   #6
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I've been looking at both those models. Like you, I'd like easy access the rear doors but 34 vs 16 cubic ft difference looks like a significant advantage to the Gearspace34. How limited is the access with the bigger cargo box? Also, how is the build quality between the two brands?
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:48 PM   #7
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I'm not sure if this will be helpful to the OP, but here goes.

We, too, had a large heavy dog crate which we actually took with us on a 6,000 mile road trip in our Toyota mini-van prior to buying our Interstate (sure was fun hauling that thing up to the 23rd floor of a Manhattan hotel!). Knowing that this would not be an option with the Interstate, I bought an Alcott Explorer pup tent for $35, and spent months habituating our dog to it. This would not work with dogs who are rough or escape artists, but our dog primarily uses her enclosures for security and self-soothing purposes, so she was a good candidate.

The key in our case was the months of habituation - she got used to it, to the point where she didn't react any differently to the tent than she does to her large structural crate. To her, they are basically the same thing now. To me, of course they night and day. The Alcott folds down to about half the size of my yoga mat.

I would not attempt to load anything the size of what you describe on the roof due to the degree of danger involved - it's harder than it looks (and I've worked on our roof quite a bit, so I speak from experience). If not a hitch carrier, then perhaps a micro-trailer?
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BurntAsphalt View Post
I've been looking at both those models. Like you, I'd like easy access the rear doors but 34 vs 16 cubic ft difference looks like a significant advantage to the Gearspace34. How limited is the access with the bigger cargo box? Also, how is the build quality between the two brands?
Both brands are very well built---well engineered. The StowAway2 gives immediate and full access to the rear doors. The GearSpace will slide out a short distance letting the doors open, but it is not easy and access is limited. But if access is not important it is a great unit and quite large.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:08 AM   #9
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General thread FYI -

A specialty fabber called Backcountry Box found me on Insta, and I'm trying to open a dialog with them as to whether they could fabricate a good custom hitch box.

Their niche is rugged microtrailers for backcountry use, and they look like they have good potential for making the kinds of devices that Class B owners could really use, whether tiny trailer or an aluminum product that would work as an alternative to the leaky and breakable plastic device that is the StowAway.

Anyway, if they look potentially interesting to you as well, I encourage you to drop them a line indicating that you might want to buy a carrying device if they were to offer the right product. The more people who might be interested, the more targeted their response might be.
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Old 04-19-2016, 02:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the information

I definitely missed the obvious. It is clear that a hitch mounted cargo carrier will hold all the items that I have stuffed behind the lounge in my 2015 Grand Tour XT. That will leave plenty of room to stand up a dog pen and more.

Thanks to all the contributors.

BTW, I think I will get the 12.5 cu.ft. StowAway2 swing-out carrier. It appears to be the most rugged one I can find (unless Backcountry Box starts making aluminum boxes for the StowAway2 hitch frame ).
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:07 PM   #11
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I... (unless Backcountry Box starts making aluminum boxes for the StowAway2 hitch frame )...
...which they just might, because that's probably what I'm going to have them quote for me, unless hubster can ID a better swing-away hitch. Because it has to be swing-away.

I did hear back from them and they seem eager to provide an estimate on whatever we design. We just need to get our specs together.
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:58 AM   #12
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Hitch cargo carriers and backup sensors

What are the issues with mounting the hitch based cargo carrier in front of the Interstate rear bumper that contains the backup obstacle warning sensors?
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:16 PM   #13
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What are the issues with mounting the hitch based cargo carrier in front of the Interstate rear bumper that contains the backup obstacle warning sensors?
It may block the sensors. A drop hitch, mounted upside down to provide lift, should raise the box enough to clear the sensors. I leave it as an exercise for those who actually have the sensors to figure out how much lift is required. On the plus side, some lift should also help to preserve your departure angle for maneuvering up or down a slope.

But be warned that the box will also block the license plate regardless, so you may want to relocate the plate to the box if you're going to use it routinely.
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Old 04-20-2016, 02:26 PM   #14
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...
I did hear back from them and they seem eager to provide an estimate on whatever we design. We just need to get our specs together.
I heard back too. If you want to discuss details, let me know. I will be buying a stowaway2 hitch carrier in the next month unless something more interesting comes along.
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