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Old 11-20-2018, 10:10 AM   #1
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Optimizing Interstate roof storage

There have been a number of historical threads about roof storage, including these more heavily-traffic'd topics:

Airstream Interstate roof storage (2016; OP question about storing a dog pen up there (!))

AI roof structure (need to put stuff up there) (2017; specialized ham radio antenna)

Adding roof rack to Interstate EXT with existing awning (2016; how to add roof rack with top-mounted awning)

There have also been threads that deal less directly with roof storage, especially in the context of popular items such as kayaks, for instance.

What I'm posting about now is something of an inverse question. Rather than asking "How can I store item X on my roof?", I'm asking "Realistically, what SHOULD we, or COULD we, store on our roofs?"

Another poster (IIRC Lotus) recently found these clamps shown in the photo mix below. These are particularly important for T1N Interstate owners because they fit our stainless steel OEM roof rack. I do not believe that these were available (or they were so obscure that we could not find them) a few years ago when we affixed our solar panels to that OEM roof rack. LB_3 had to have our existing clamps fabricated, at least in part. And because of the expense and hassle of fabrication, we did not make extras for any other potential uses.

Having mass-produced clamps available at a low price opens up a world of untapped real estate for me. Especially on the trailing edge of the roof, I've got a nice swath of space which currently only holds my favorite aluminum step stool which is attached to one side of the roof rack with a rubber bungee and padded underneath with a small sheet of closed-cell foam - not efficient, not elegant, not an optimized use of that space. It's easy for me to access that area because I can stand on our hitch carrier - I don't even necessarily need a ladder. I'm wasting opportunity by not developing this area further.

With that in mind, what would YOU put up there, if this was your rig?

Also, I'm asking in the T1N context, but sooner or later we are going to see NCV3 owners adding Aluminess and whatnot to their roofs (Alex? Wachuko? ), so this type of question does potentially have a more global application.

Edit: The referenced clamps are $13.95 per PAIR, not each. I just ordered them for future use... somehow.

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Old 11-21-2018, 07:57 AM   #2
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I forgot to post the dimensions of the rear target area. Obviously it's an open space, so there's wiggle room, but conservatively, the usable space is about 12" x 12" x 36".

In doing research, where did I find this contender below? Not by looking at automotive products, not by looking at RV products, not by looking at truck products or van products. By looking in the ATV world. This bag is 10.5" x 11.5" x 36". Almost like it was made for that space.

It also has an internal tube metal frame, so it could be securely attached and I could also work up a security device to deter a quick theft scenario. Although I'd be much less worried about a roof bag than a Yeti cooler. It comes in black, so I would not have to deal with that camo. The bag itself only weighs about 10 pounds, so would not add too much weight to the roof.

Anyway, I'm considering it - it's on my Black Friday radar. Could hold less expensive non-heavy "get dirty" gear such as inflatable kayak seats, paddles, BBQ equipment, boots, tarps, etc. (right now, LB_3 stores his big rubber woodsman's boots inside the under-mounted spare tire!).

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Old 11-21-2018, 09:06 AM   #3
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I wouldn’t store anything on the roof of my Interstate, because of how the bulk up there would affect mileage and because of how easy it is to scratch that paint and develop rust spots.

Just my two cents.

Maggie
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:44 AM   #4
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I've already done that without issue to the roof. I coated our roof with an elastomeric (Bus Kote) and padded the underside of key items with closed-cell foam (e.g., my large aluminum stepstool). I'm not worried about roof damage. I've seen none in almost two years of such use.

I'm not worried about wind resistance in a secure clamping scenario, given how this item will tuck behind our vaulted solar panel array which deflects air in that area. If anything, it might make the rig a microscopic bit more aerodynamic, by smoothing the sharp void space behind those panels (analogous to those rear panels that pop out on the backs of 18-wheelers when they get over a certain speed).

Strapping cargo bags to the roofs of motor vehicles is not a new thing by any means. The main thing potentially different in my scenario is the method.
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:58 AM   #5
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Ahh, BusKote on the roof would make a difference.

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Old 11-21-2018, 10:59 AM   #6
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Carry In - Carry out Garbage, collapsible ladder (since you can use the Yeti to reach the top), extra clothing/blankets, coveralls, dirty clothes when on extended trip, extra clothes for extended trip and season change
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Old 11-21-2018, 01:28 PM   #7
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A DIY fool and her money are soon parted, especially during Thanksgiving week, LOL.

After reviewing the available inventories of that product and finding those inventories to be small at least at the lowest offered prices (i.e., seven left in stock from my target vendor), I ordered it. Should be here Monday.

Initially I was thinking something simpler like an ordinary duffel bag, but it sure would be nice to keep the contents dry (e.g., rubber boots). The reviews on that product (ATV Tek ASEBLK Black Hunting and Fishing Expedition Cargo Bag) are good in that regard.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:52 PM   #8
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Those clamps (yes, found them and used for my single solar panel) are pretty slick. BUT I’m not sure I’d use them for all that much weight/stress.
In my case the solar panel was mounted quite low, with part of the leading edge protected by the Fan housing cover.

But for lighter items, it should be pretty nice.

Getting stuff up and down from up there without a good ladder/footing would be challenging. heck- even with a ladder if bulky can be challenging. But of course I’m sure you know all about that, after your solar install. (Much, much bulkier than mine).

I personally probably won’t put anything else up there (except perhaps antenna). But batteries underslung may be in the future. Probably just a couple of AGM, since I don’t want to go the the expense of Li (with all the other changes required).

Something that is light (and I don’t currently have) is the ‘stinky slinky’ storage tube. That could be rather a pain to get back into place on the roof. (The original location is taken up by the leveling jacks on mine).

Perhaps some others storage tube for long stuff? Fishing rods, skis, antennas for use when parked etc?

mark
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Old 11-22-2018, 06:16 AM   #9
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The roof will take the weight of the bag, which I don't foresee exceeding about 25 pounds total. The clamps will provide a means for me to stabilize it. I could have achieved that same outcome some other way (I did for our inflatable kayak), but the clamps will help make it efficient and a bit more elegant and secure than bungee cords or velcro.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:15 PM   #10
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Work in progress, bag positioned on roof, without clamping system as yet to be added.

FIRST THOUGHT: It reminded me of a cat whose hair stands on end so that he can appear like a slightly-larger cat to potential attackers. Maybe if I appear like a slightly-larger Interstate, I can be perceived as a bit more invincible to reckless bum-hats on the freeway.

SECOND THOUGHT: I prefer this finished look to the rear end. Right now, standing at the back of our Interstate allows one to look up at the underside of the solar panels. This is dreadfully immodest, like looking up a lady's skirt. The bag hides the underside from view.

Remember, I can stand on that covered Yeti and reach into this without having to get a ladder or dismount it from the roof. It's a stretch, but I can do it, certainly for non-weighty items like boots and dirty clothes and life jackets and tarps and beach towels.

Attachment and security system pending. (And I need to straighten my magnetic WBCCI numbers obviously... wax job last weekend...).

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Old 11-26-2018, 02:35 PM   #11
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Looks Nice and fits in
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Old Yesterday, 06:40 PM   #12
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Now, before you crucify me, understand that the Telesteps 1400E is actually tethered to the hitch platform, and the hitch platform has non-skid stair treads on it. And the top of the ladder can be bungee'd to the roof rack as well, for added stability. It's actually safer to use in this application than it is free-leaning on open concrete.

I am SO PLEASED with how this ATV cargo bag project turned out. It was a pain to get it attached properly (see blog post), but very worth it.

ADDITIONAL ROOF STORAGE FOR THE AIRSTREAM INTERSTATE

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Old Yesterday, 06:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Now, before you crucify me, understand that the Telesteps 1400E is actually tethered to the hitch platform, and the hitch platform has non-skid stair treads on it. And the top of the ladder can be bungee'd to the roof rack as well, for added stability. It's actually safer to use in this application than it is free-leaning on open concrete.

I am SO PLEASED with how this ATV cargo bag project turned out. It was a pain to get it attached properly (see blog post), but very worth it.
INTERBLOG - Glad you mentioned tether, though if anyone gives you hard time, it pretty obvious in pic. I can see the bottom tethered. Nice job on bag. I am tempted to do same but I can only have the 4th solar panel or bag, but not both. Still have not bought 4th panel, so well see which one end up winning the space by spring.
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