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The HandiRack Inflatable Roof Rack

Updated on August 17, 2009

The HandiRack inflatable roof rack is, as the name suggests, a car roof rack that, unlike most roof racks, is not solid, but inflatable. This may seem like a bit of a novelty item to many people, but it has proven popular, and it can be a good thing to keep handy, even if you also have a set of normal solid roof bars on your car. This article takes a look at the Handirack in more detail, as well as the reasons to choose an inflatable roof rack, and some things that you should be aware of if you choose to use one.

What Exactly Is The HandiRack Inflatable Roof Rack?

HandiRack is manufactured by Malone, a specialist producer of car racks and other accessories, and they were the first manufacturer in the world to create an inflatable roof rack (today there are others available too, such as that from Nimbus). It was originally used by outdoor enthusiasts in Australia, and is built to stand up to rugged use. It consists of two inflatable tubes that are held in place by sturdy straps. A pump is supplied for easy inflation, and the rack is deflated when not in use.

Using The Handirack

The HandiRack can be used with two door and four door cars, and attaches to the car roof via the use of sturdy straps, which are passed under the car doors. It is easily inflated using the Handipump, which comes with the rack. Some people might think that the fact that it's inflatable means that it's fragile and won't bear heavy loads, but that's not actually the case – the HandiRack has a very robust triple layer skin, and will carry canoes, kayaks, camping equipment, sports equipment and many other types of load weighing up to 80 kilos in safety and ease. 

Advantages Of Using An Inflatable Roof Rack

  • Cost – inflatable roof racks are typically cheaper than their solid counterparts.
  • Flexibility – these racks can easily be moved between cars – there's no need to have separate racks for multiple vehicles.
  • Convenience – with an inflatable car roof rack, you can carry it around much more easily than you could a normal rack, and the HandiRack can be deflated and packed up when not in use. You can just store it in the boot of your car un case it's required – no need to have it mounted on the roof all of the time.
  • Ease of Use – the HandiRack is very easy to fit – you just attach it to the roof with the supplied straps, which pass inside the doors.
  • Unlike normal roof racks, the soft surface provides cushioning, which means that it's also unlikely to damage the paintwork on your car, or the equipment that you're carrying.

Inflatable Car Roof Rack Cautions

The HandiRack is easy to use and very safe when used properly. You need to ensure that you follow the instructions carefully when fitting it, don't load goods weighing more than 80kg (or less for some cars – check your manufacturer's instructions for details about the load that your car can carry), and ensure that the straps are fully tightened when your load is in place. If you are taking a long journey, it is a good idea to stop periodically, and check the tightness of the straps, just as you normally would, and also check that each tube in the roof rack is still inflated to the correct pressure, as the air may expand in warm weather, and contract in cold weather. You should also not travel at more than 70 miles an hour when carrying a load on the car roof, and the roof rack shouldn't be left in place permanently – it's designed for temporary use, and should be deflated and packed away when not actively in use. HandiRack's website also recommends that the inflatable roof rack should not be used on cabriolets and convertibles (these roofs aren't strong enough to take the weight of a heavy load), and it's also unsuitable for cars with curtain airbags. Other than these exceptions though, the HandiRack can be used with just about any type of car.

Where To Buy The Malone HandiRack

The HandiRack is available from many outlets that sell car accessories, camping equipment and water sports equipment. Alternatively, it's widely available online, and if you shop online you're likely to find some great bargains.


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