We needed a roof rack for our canoe before heading north this summer. The Marten River trip was clearly an experience which we don't want to repeat. Without going into too many details, the short version is "slippery roof surface". The pads that clamp on to the canoe have no grip on the Jeep roof. Rain and/or dust combined with the wind on the highway will shift the canoe - End of this story.
So, we were looking for a rack that can hold a canoe, spare tires and two 20 liter gas canister for our excursions. That is a combined weight of about 150 kg.
A rack with a basket is not an option for the following two reasons
1. A basket makes the high roof even higher by 6 or more inches. Lifting a canoe, spare tire or gas tank to a height over 6 feet and 6 inches is a challenge even for my stature.
2. The basket rims don't seem to have the same rigidness as the other rack components. Strapping a canoe to them defeats the purpose of a sturdy rack.
After reading comments about the wind noise of racks, the Kargo Master Congo Pro had practically no serious complaints and the load rating is well above our foreseeable future.
IMPORTANT: If you have a soft top on the Jeep Unlimited, it will not fit.
When we picked up the boxes from Just Jeeps, we learned that it is a very snug fit inside the 4 door Jeep. The rails are actually a one-piece metal tube and only fit diagonally into the Jeep. Bringing our little trailer would have been a better solution.
Installation is simple:
Does not require drilling.
Uses some very odd sized hex screws. I had to sand down a key to size.
There are plenty of Youtube instruction, so no need to repeat them here.
When ordering accessories such as cross bars, the Kargo Master Congo Pro has all 2 inch tubes, the Congo has smaller tubes. The cross bar connectors are specific to the model.
Follow the instructions and do not tighten any screws until the whole rack is assembled.
Wind noise from the rack without attachments are minimal but noticeable. Once the canoe was strapped to the rack, it got noisy. But that's a given and accepted.
The front bar of the rack is also the mount point for the off-road lamps and the limb lifter cable. Documented in All the Lights we need. The front bar stays on during winter after one of the screws ceased and does not come out anymore. A common problem with the threads inside the Jeep frame. It works for us, the off-road lights are being used in winter as well. We keep a close watch on dings and scratches to prevent any rost from building. Semi-Gloss Tremclad paint fixes any blemishes and are practically invisible.
Update May 2019
|Update August 2018|
It all worked out, we could fit all the stuff onto the Rack Platform. And more important, securely keep the load in one place.
For the Maritimes Trip we had two bicycles, one gas canister, spare tire for the trailer, the hitch mount bicycle carrier, the Generator, the High Lift Jack and whatever else I don't remember anymore.
The Kargo Master Rack and Platform worked exactly as expected.
Taking off the Platform is awkward due to size and weight. Removing the beams from the front and rear rack is also no simple task. Again, not an issue for us, we prefer the benefits of high load capacity and the ability to stand on the Platform.
Time to get ready for the trip out West. Last year we wrapped the gas canisters in a yellow, heavy duty plastic bag, a padding between the rack and the canister and everything strapped down with rope. It worked, but not very user friendly. We still don't know which was more annoying, the fact that we needed gas or getting the canister from the rack.
Now it's time to make some improvements. We already got some HDPE plastic panel for other projects. HDPE is also know as Puck Board. It is often used as hockey rink boards. So much about strength and durability. The HDPE plastic doesn't break, can be cut with normal tools and the canister will slide on and off much easier.
We found Dun-Rite Plastics & Custom Fabrication in Mississauga. They were extremely helpful with our small project and we definitely will consider them for future projects.
The facts are clear, Puck Board doesn't rust, is light in weight, is extremely strong and has low friction. So it compares very well with metal sheets.
Wishlist update: We just stopped beside a Jeep with the CargoMaster and the Kat-Walk installed. Now it's on the 'Want-one' list.
We hope you enjoyed our "Jeep Upgrade" stories.
First published on June 23, 2017
Last update on May 16, 2019