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2020 159 HR
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89 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Initially, we thought we'd not do a roof rack until we decide to add solar (haven't needed to yet, thanks to 300Ah of Lithium, modest power needs, and a tendency to travel in a way that doesn't involve long stays in one place). But then we thought hey, an awning would be nice, so roof rails would be great. And one thing led to another, and now I have 11ft of Unistrut (mounted on Unaka brackets) running down the length of each side of my 159, and three Unistrut crossbars. And now that we have a rack, we all of a sudden have all sorts of thoughts about using it (SUPs, a roof box for things that we need only occasionally but want to have with us like spare camp chairs and such, I'm sure we'll come up with more). So now the question is how to access the roof rack for loading/unloading.

The standard way to do this seems to be either a fixed ladder (back or side) combined with a beefy rack you can walk around on (so you can get stuff up there, then get up yourself to put it where it's supposed to go), or a telescoping ladder you put up next to whatever part of the roof you need to access.

I don't like the former, because beefy racks are heavy (and I don't fancy getting more top heavy on curvy mountain roads) and cause a lot of drag. I don't like the latter, because I don't like the idea of climbing up/down an unsecured ladder while carrying big bulky stuff like SUPs. But I've got these neat rails up there, so I'm thinking there's gotta be a way to take a light aluminum ladder, attach some sort of bracket system to the top, and then be able to basically move it to whichever part of the Unistrut rail and "clamp" it on so it's nice and solid and won't move/tip even if I'm standing near the top and moving around big bulky stuff.

I did a bunch of googling as well as browsing at my local hardware and construction stores, but I've not found anything that seems like a good fit for this. I guess worst case, I can always get something welded up - but I'm hoping someone has already solved this problem and might be able to recommend either available hardware/brackets/what have you that can be adapted to this purposes, or has designed/built/tested a custom solution they wouldn't mind sharing.
 

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Super Moderator
2018 136" HR
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606 Posts
I thought about making a ladder with this:

Also thought about using this either install it on the van panel directly with reinforcement inside the wall panel or make a unistrut ladder and bolt this on the unistrut.

But I have a rear boat hatch on top of the bed so end up not needing a ladder to access the roof.
 
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