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Premium Member
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy Folks,

We are excited to be releasing our version of the roof rack. We truly believe our product has some unique features and design that sets it apart from others on the market. More on that in a moment, first I want to start with a quick Bio on who we are. So here goes, I will try and keep it quick and get on to the exciting news about this roof rack.

Van Cafe...who are we, and why does it matter? I know some of you have heard of us – we have been working in the VW Vanagon space for 20 years. In that time, we have created a business with some impressive infrastructure. Meaning we are continually designing, developing, innovating and improving. A team of 28 of us work on the full life cycle of a product in a 23,000 square foot facility in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our design team makes sure our products are well thought out and functional. Our purchasing and procurement team works tirelessly to get quality materials and components at the right price. Our manufacturing team are experts in the craft and focuses on quality and efficiency. Our warehouse team is focused on timeliness, , with care and accuracy. Some members of our customer service team have been with us for 15 years. I’m biased, but these teams are what make our company. The reason I shared this is to let you know, we know what we are doing! We are excited to be expanding into these new vehicle platforms and we look forward to giving the community a purchasing option that comes from a professional operation. Ok...blah..blah...blah.. Let's talk about roof racks.

We are working on a new website with better functionality that will launch the first of the year, but in the meantime, we decided to create a microsite for the Roof Top Deck. It is basic and was put together kind of quickly. It has a fair amount of information and pictures. It also has a chat option and a contact us button. Please ask questions if need be. It helps us grow. Remember, you don't know what you don't know. We are proud learners. Here is the link to the website but please read on here. Here is the current website link. Van Cafe Roof Top Deck Website

Ok, let's talk about the roof rack. I like bullet points when it comes to this stuff. I want to convey a lot of info so figured that would be easiest. For those that don't want to read my thousands of words, check out the picture gallery here, Photo gallery It likely tells the same story. This one photo is quite telling of the components and versatility.

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Engineering

The basic design. What materials did we use and why?
  • Aluminum- We chose to make this entire system out of Aluminum for multiple reasons. It won’t rust, most components are powder coated or anodized as well. It is light weight and strong. A complete rack weighs less than 150 lbs. We are experienced in welding and manufacturing with it. It is in our wheel house and we have been making aluminum products for over 10 years.
  • Mounting- This is a no drill system that attaches to the vehicles factory mounting fixtures. We engineered and designed these components out of aluminum. They are all either powder coated or anodized black depending on the component. We use multiple mounts depending on the length of your van.
  • Perimeter- This is what we call the basic outer square. We choose to use square 1.5 in aluminum extrusion, ie: 80/20. This has a T slot on all four sides. This material offers maximum versatility for the perimeter. When you look at the pictures, it will start to tell the story of why this was chosen. We also designed the system to stay as close to the roof as possible. Remember the roof is crowned from side to side so the spacing along the left and right side require a little bit more clearance to accommodate the cross planks. The perimeter comes in multiple pieces with a max length of 71 depending on your vehicle. The sides rails are all joined at the mounting fixtures with custom t-nuts that created a strong and tight connection. This can be seen in photos on the website. The 4 corners are joined with our manufactured aluminum corners. There is an inner and outer bracket that fully boxes in each corner for an incredibly strong attachment. It also finishes off the corners with a nice 45* angle vs a squared off 90* connection. We think it looks great. Here is a picture of it on a Promaster.
  • Hood Automotive tire Automotive design Bumper Motor vehicle

  • Planks- This is the component that offer structure and a platform to your Roof Top Deck. These are laser cut out of 1/8” aluminum sheet. We then add 10 bends to each plank to create stiffness and function to each plank. The planks all have a series of holes in them which are designed and intended for attachment points. These planks offer 8” inches of decking, each and can be mounted anywhere along the perimeter. Multiple planks can be assembled with as tight or as wide a gap between planks as needed.
  • Wood Automotive exterior Composite material Gas Bumper

  • Filler panels and Deck Boards- These are laser cut out of 1/8 inch aluminum flat sheet. The Filler panel is designed to fill the trapezoid area at the front and rear of the rack that is created by the 45* corners. The Deck Boards are designed and intended to be used to create surface area around the main deck that is created by roof vents or other components. They are also used to help connect the planks to get a full platform. They also have a pattern of mounting holes to mount tie downs and accessories.
  • Building Rectangle Wood Composite material Engineering

  • It is modular, what does this mean and why is it important? It has other value points but we think these three are most important.
  • It ships for a reasonable price. Our rack is assembled from a kit that is delivered to you. Delivered by UPS in manageable size boxes. This saves you money on shipping. It also increases the likelihood that the product will arrive without damage. It also makes it easier to hide when you buy it as a present for your partner.
  • Order and build it the way you want. We don't have a custom order process to accommodate your build. The reason is that the product was designed with versatility in mind. We can likely accommodate any scenario with any components or accessories that are existing on your van. That said, Pop tops are challenging. Check out this solar panel install. It fits beautifully flush mount with an 80/20 crossbar.

  • Solar power Solar panel Light Blue Solar energy

  • You can add on to it. While the current website is configured for half racks, you can start with a half rack (we will help you order that) and then down the road you could make it a full rack. We are also in the process of designing accessories for the rack including awning mounts, upper basket railing, side skirts and other components.
  • Availability and fulfillment- As we know, especially these days, things take time. We have a good inventory on all rack components and they ship within 48 hours.

Thanks so much for reading and following along. We are in the process of building a side ladder, an upper railing/basket, a side skirt, awning brackets and many other accessories. Please let us know if you have any questions. Here is the website link again Van Cafe Roof Top Deck website

Premium Member
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Van Cafe
I was confused by your drop down window for selecting the wheelbase.
-short wheelbase
-long wheelbase
-long extended wheelbase
nothing for a 136" ?

I think technically the low roof models have a longer roof than the high roof models, do they get a longer rack?

here's the combination available
View attachment 79989
We can confirm the length for you and get you what you need. Shoot me a private message and we will get you taken care of.

Premium Member
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks @Van Cafe

If I understand correctly for a couple of decades your main focus has been “Westy Related” & now you will be branching out to support the DIY “Van Conversion” hobby.

If I got that correct, I think that is wonderful & the DIY van industry can always use another good corporate supplier/supporter.

Other than Propex & Roof Racks; What other items are you offering for sale for PM DIYers?

Looking forward to seeing your new website in 2022.

@RV8R Yes, that is an accurate summary. I do have a special place in my heart for Westy's and I will always have one in the stable. The truth is my true passion is innovation and manufacturing. Our desire is to focus our efforts on parts that we design and manufacture. I love the idea of these new platform for comfort, reliability and opportunity and the SIZE!
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