DIY 4WD Roof Rack Shovel Holder
We’ve just finished off our latest little upgrade on the Trackz Adventure Prado. For a while I’ve wanted to set up a shovel on the roof rack. There’s reasons why it’s done like this. It’s always just there, it doesn’t take up any room inside your vehicle (assuming it even fits in the first place) and it’s easy to get to.
The problem that we came across is that each good option out there is made for a specific brand of rack – and we don’t have any of those. I needed another option that was going to be light, stable and above all able to be used on our vehicle, but also any other 4WD out there, regardless of what type of rack you’ve chosen.
What I came up with is this. It’s a simple little system that’s light, strong and really easy to use.
It’s a very simple set up. The first thing that’s needed is the Quick Fist grips. That’s the big rubber bits that actually hang onto the shovel. They might not look like they are too strong, but these are a good bit of gear. They hold up to 12 kg, are very flexible, and you can pull the shovel straight out of the grips instead of having to feed it out of and into loops like other shovel holders.
Second, we needed a way to secure this to our roof rack. After a lot of searching for a decent clamp that would fit a 32mm round tube, I came across these magical little clamps at Jaycar. They clamped onto the round tube of our rack really well, and they are pretty damned secure.
The only drawback that I’ve found is that the shovel that I chose doesn’t get gripped as well as I’d like. That’s 100% my fault. I was trying to save weight, so I bought one with a fibreglass handle. That’s great in itself giving the shovel a good deal of strength with less weight then a standard wooden handle, but the coating of the handle doesn’t have much grip at all. While it doesn’t slide out, it can move around a little which will cause problems down the track. I sat back and had a think about, and came up with a quick, easy and cheap fix for this. I got some large heat shrink and shrunk two pieces onto the shovels handle where it will sit in the shovel holder. Not only does that give a whole lot of extra grip being rubber on plastic instead of fibreglass gel coat. It also adds a couple of extra mm to the handles diameter, giving the grip more to hang on to.
All up the entire set up cost me around $70 – and that’s including the shovel! I think it’s a job done well, and shows that you don’t need to spend big on these when what I’ve got here will do the job just as well and maybe even make your life a bit easier.