Designed in Norway, Dropracks is bringing its crank-lowering roof rack system to North America to help you load and unload your gear.
It’s a roof rack that comes to you instead of the other way around. Dropracks has launched an innovative approach to automotive roof storage that is intended to make it easier to transport bikes, boats, snowboards, and other adventure gear that you’d rather keep outside your ride.
Most roof-mount racks will have you reaching up or climbing onto your car, truck, or SUV to load your gear. A group of engineering and business students — and avid adventurers — at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology set out to make that task easier.
Their solution was the Dropracks rack, where the loading platform comes down to meet you. The system has been on sale in Norway since 2019 and is coming to North America in early 2023.
Hand Crank Handles Heavy Lifting
A hand-crank mechanism does the work of raising and lowering the rack, empty or loaded. Release the solid-sounding travel locks, and the Dropracks loading platform slides over. Then crank it down to give you a loading platform that sits flat at around chest or waist height — depending on vehicle height and your height. Loading at this height, instead of over your head or from a ladder or perched on your vehicle, makes loading safer and easier, especially after a long day on the trail or the water.
Dropracks has a built-in clutch on the crank, letting you stop the rack at any point in its travel. It won’t move if there isn’t someone turning the handle. So you can adjust your cargo without lowering it all the way and stop partway down if you need to change tasks in a hurry.
The Dropracks C-channel installation system will work with standard roof rack towers like those from Thule, Yakima, and Rhino Rack. There are also clamps available to work with factory roof bars. If you don’t already have a rack, you’ll need to get mounts, towers, or clamps to give you something to attach to.
On the top of the rack, Dropracks has a standard T-Slot channel on each side. The common-size mounting channels should accept most accessory cargo storage solutions like a kayak or canoe rack, snowboard or ski carriers, bike racks, and even cargo boxes. Dropracks says you can also install accessories like awnings and exterior lights to enhance your outdoor experience.
Comes in Sport & XL Sizes
There are two rack sizes available: the Dropracks Sport and the Dropracks XL.
The first is meant for passenger cars, while the XL is meant for vans, trucks, and SUVs. The biggest difference is in the width of the rack. Both come in at around 33.5 inches between the T-slots, but the Sport is 55 inches wide and the XL 63 inches.
The XL also offers a slightly lower drop height of 31 inches (versus 27.5) to help bring the load down closer to the ground when it’s being used on a taller vehicle.
A Dropracks XL weighs in at 64 pounds and can handle lifting and lowering a load of up to 176 pounds. The smaller Sport weighs the same and can handle up to 165 pounds.
If you’re planning on using a roof tent, the rack has a 650-pound static load capacity, so Dropracks says it’s up to the task. The maximum driving/dynamic capacity is 220 pounds, so you can put a couple more things up there once the rack is in place if you need more carrying capacity. Don’t exceed your factory roof or roof bar rating, however.
Dropracks plans to start sales in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year and is taking orders online for the product. The Dropracks Sport will cost $2,150, and the XL $2,350.