Van roof rack introduction

One of the best ways to increase the carrying capacity of a van is by installing a van roof rack. The installation of a van roof rack is especially common for the mid size van range such as the Ford Transit and VW Transporter.

The inside cabin space on medium tier vans is sometimes not quite long enough to accomodate heavy trade use (such as ladders or pipes) as well as other common uses for pleasure trips (carrying items such as as bicycles, kayaks and so on).


  • Manufacturer - Heavy Duty Steel Platform
  • Roof rack tray 2.2M X 1.8M 220CM X 180CM
  • Vivaro Nissan Mercedes Ford Transit Traffic Master Transporter
  • Side Clamps for strong support, clamps to existing Roof Bars

  • Manufacturer - Rhino
  • 3.5m Long x 1.6m Wide
  • Fully welded, heavy duty system with rear roller
  • Includes all brackets and fixings, easy to follow fitting instructions
  • Rhino Modular Roof Rack is one of the most iconic commercial roof racks ever created

  • Manufacturer - SDV
  • Takes 2400 x 1200 (8' x 4') sheet as a minimum
  • Single ladder roller as standard
  • Wind deflector for noise reduction an option
  • Heavy duty mesh runner upgrade available

  • Manufacturer- Thule
  • 3127.64 x 104.14 x 15.24 cm; 13.15 Kilograms
  • Stylish and functional low-profile design, with tapered side walls for easier loading and unloading.
  • Lockable with Thule One Key System
  • Suits small vans such as VW Caddy

The best van roof racks are usually manufactured from ridged steel and are mounted through holes in the roof of a van. The carrying weight capacity is therefore usually determined by the vehicle specification rather than the rack itself.

Some vans come factory fitted with roof racks, whilst others will need to use an aftermarket rack.

They can also be used for commercial purposes. For example, building contractors carry wood sheets, ladders, and other construction material on van roof racks. They need fewer accessories than bars to carry the same load.

What qualities make the best van roof rack?

The following qualities make for the best van roof rack:

  • The crossbars should be spaced to share the load evenly
  • Van roof racks should have space for additional accessories like additional rear roller, ladder, additional bars etc.
  • Van roof racks should come with complete fitting instructions and should be easy to install
  • Van roof racks should be aerodynamic to reduce noise and to have minimal impact on fuel efficiency.
  • Van roof racks should be lightweight but strong.

Since both roof bars and roof racks are the past of the same system, their manufacturers are the same. Let’s list the best available in the UK market.

Heavy Duty Steel Van Roof Tray Platform

This is a high quality powder coated heavy ducty van roof rack platform. Ideal for all popular vans like Citroen, Ford, VW, Nissan, Renault, and Merc. This is a common accessory fitted to modified VW Transporters and Ford Transits.

High quality black van roof rack. VW Crafter

Rhino offers a full range of commercial roof systems with traditional steel as well as lightweight aluminum roof racks that can carry a substantial load.

large heavy duty van roof rack. Ford Transit roof rack

Designed to fit perfectly on every variant and wheelbase of specific van models, these racks offer a complete range of optional supporting accessories like rear door ladders, rollers, load stops, ladder clamps, and pipe carriers.

Demon Rhino Modular Heavy Duty Roof Rack

The Rhino Modular Roof Rack is one of the most iconic commercial roof racks ever created. Make sure you selecct the correct one for your model of van as they are van specific.

The Modular rack is among the easiest to fit commercial roof racks available, with all fixings and detailed instructions included. With no drilling or special tools required, the system fits to the original mounting points on the roof of your van.

best vw transporter roof rack

These fully welded black modular roof racks are extra heavy-duty and hence very popular in commercial use. Roofing contractors and builders use them for carrying multiple 8 x 4  sheets, ladders, and construction material.

The rear end is fitted with heavy-duty stainless steel rollers that facilitate loading and unloading of heavy stuff with ease while the front wind deflector minimises the wind noise.

Multiple tie-down points are spaced regularly to ensure secure fastening while the raised side rails provide extra safety. The powder coat and salt spray makes them corrosion resistant and give a premium finish.

Available for numerous van models, these sturdy racks are crash tested and TUV approved.

SDV original

This heavy-duty steel rack is available in 6 different styles and customized for a host of van models. SDV is known for making van roof racks for both commercial as well as personal use.

Large Transporter roof rack

The former is a favorite amongst builders. The hot-dip galvanized material is corrosion resistant and equipped with smooth ladder rollers. Be it camping material, bikes, or sheets, SDV racks are quiet at home carrying them all.

You can choose your van model on the site and pick from several available styles of roof racks.

Thule 859002 Canyon XT

This Swedish brand offers simple and sturdy van roof racks for many vehicles and their variants based on roof height and wheelbase. The Thule Canyon is ideal for smaller vans such as the VW Caddy and Berlingo

Thule small van roof rack VW Caddy

The company also provides additional accessories like extra bars for roof boxes. This model includes wind fairing to help airflow over your cargo. you can also upgrade to make the cargo area 51 cm longer by adding the Thule Canyon Extension XT 8591XT.

It has a functional low-profile design which helps maintain fuel efficiency, with tapered side walls for easier loading and unloading.

Lockable with Thule One Key System

Van guard’s ULTI

The robust ULTI racks are designed for carrying wide loads (8×4 capacity) and are equipped with a full-length rear roller and side channels. Loading and unloading items up on the rack become a smooth endeavor.

Made from lightweight and noncorrosive aluminum, it is a heavy-duty smart rack. Its click and lock mechanism makes the installation easy and fast, using a minimum number of fixings. 

Its weight and aerodynamic shape keep it silent and take away your worry about fuel efficiency. The end cones, spacers, and connectors are made of hard-wearing durable plastic that offers UV protection and fade-resistance to the rack.

Vanguard offers its ULTI racks for almost every van model and variant.

Do you leave your roof rack on?

Quality racks do not corrode or fade in the sun, rain, or snow hence there shouldn’t be any problem in leaving them on. All you have to do is wash them regularly to prevent damage from road salt and junk.

This is a convenient proposition for regular campers. However, if you don’t carry stuff on your van roof on all your trips, it’s better to remove them till use because the van looks better and sleek.

Besides, the fuel efficiency is better and wind noise is less without the rack. Also, the local laws at some places prohibit leaving the rack on the standing vehicle. You need to check them.


Are roof rack mounts universal?

Not all roof rack mounts are universal. Vans come in different widths, roof heights, and wheelbases which impacts the roof rack area. For a heavy-duty firm fit, it is important that the roof rack is designed for a specific model.

However, for regular use, there are universal roof racks whose length could be adjusted with siding grips. The vendor usually supplies two to three different sizes of brackets that could cover a wide range of vans.

Are roof racks noisy?

When wind passes through or over the roof rack, it makes a peculiar whistling sound known as Aeolian sound.

The noise changes with the kind of load fastened with the rack. This noise can be minimized by giving an aerodynamic design to the rack which deflects the wind. It cannot be completely removed though.

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