We decided to go for the Front Runner Slimline 3/4 rack. The reason we did not go for the full sized rack is when the tent is mounted we don’t plan on adding any additional items to increase the roof load. The 3/4 rack fits the tent perfectly.
Fitting the tent to the rack we opted for the quick release tent mounts and in hindsight we would have simply gone for the normal front runner tent brackets. The quick release brackets add 30mm more to the height of the tent. This might not sound a lot but it does make a difference to the end result.
Quick Release Bracket Pros
- They save you time tightening 4 bolts up.
- Erm, can’t think of any others.
Quick Release Bracket Cons
- The gap created between the tent and the rack makes a very loud whistling noise once you reach 20 mph.
- They’re quite difficult to use in practice. As you’re trying to lift the tent above your head and lining up with the slots. This proved to be harder than we expected.
- Without the tent mounted the brackets locking mechanisms rattle like crazy in the wind. This could be easily remedied by using some shock cord or bungees to fasten them down.
- The tent rattles when we go up hill. Perhaps this is fixable too but it’s not how we’ve fitted them as it’s rock solid when I try to move it by hand.
The loud whistling is the deal breaker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fussy and you may find your experiences different.
I’m confident that the lower profile normal tent mounts will be far better. They ought to still give us more headroom clearance off the rear of the vehicle compared to the Thule bar set up. We only need a few cm more to avoid me bashing my head. Every bit helps ?
The rack itself is superb. I can see why they’re so popular and the modular options and easy fitting system is quality! Very happy with it overall.
Comparing the weight of the Thule and Front Runner setup
I’ve weighed the parts individually to get a more accurate result.
- 3 Thule Square Bars and Feet = 10kg
- Front runner Slimline 3/4 Rack = 22kg
- Add a wind deflector to help reduce drag further. Although I’m keen to keep the weight as low as possible.
- Remove 2 slats from the inside of the rack if you only ever mount a tent like we do.