Jimny Roof Load Weight 😱

The Jimny has a reported 30kg roof load limit, some quote official figures of 40kg. I’m not certain what the official stance is but regardless you need to be abundantly aware of roof weight.

In this article I’ll share my experiences and personal opinions to date.

I changed my view

I’ve recently changed my views on roof weight and the Jimny. Those of you who have read my previous blogs will know that I said you don’t notice less than 60kg on the roof. Well this is true to an extent and under certain conditions.

What I failed to make clear is when off-roading, not just driving well maintained paths into woodlands, you will not want to have this amount of weight up top.

It’s very easy to start hitting some big figures once you start configuring your set up. Roam Overland made reference to this in his final videos before selling his Jimny. Another example closer to home is my fellow Jimny pal, Denis from @last_seen_exploring. He ran his Jimny with a significant roof load of 100kg and after hitting some decent tracks in the UK he noted that it did impact the driving experience, to a point that was described as scary. He has the same suspension and the same tyres as me, only bigger. Here’s his set up at that time.

Here’s what he’s changed it to now that he’s built his own DIY off-road trailer. I can’t wait to see that in action soon.

Obviously zero roof weight is best but that’s not what I’m trying to highlight with this article. The goal is a micro, lightweight overlander/camper/tourer, whatever you want to call it. Complete with all the creature comforts of the bigger overland style vehicles.

For the serious off-roaders.

I can’t see how running a roof tent, full front runner rack and storage boxes makes sense if you’re doing the kind of tracks that guys like @the_little_rig and @da_zooka_ do, give these guys a follow and check out Darren’s new YouTube channel. This was a fairly obvious statement, but I’ll reiterate it anyway for people like me who aren’t experienced off-roaders.

I’m starting to see more Jimny owners opting for a lightweight trailer to deliver the camping experience they want after hitting the trails for the day. This can sometimes be expensive but in my view it’s the best option if you want to do what the Jimny was made for and still enjoy a superb camping experience. One day I’d love to have a basecamp style set up using an off-road trailer.

There’s also swags and ground tents but you’re eating into the storage space keeping large camping equipment in your Jimny. This is why smart storage solutions are essential, optimising every square inch of the vehicle and paying close attention to the payload of your kit. Every kilogram matters.

For the light off-roader and camper.

You should be aiming for less than 60kg roof load if you want to build a capable rig with this style of set up. Yes, the Jimny can handle more and many owners do ride with 70kg+ but I can’t recommend it. Even running my own lightweight setup you will feel it off road, if you’re doing what the Jimny was made for. If you want to load it up with a ton of gear, roof tents, metal bumpers, recovery gear, fridges, sliders, drawers, the list goes on. This is not the car for you.

Even 60kg up top isn’t ideal. I’ve been running 52kg for most of 2020 and it feels good on road and on the easy off-road tracks. However, before you buy anything please be aware that initially, I’m fairly certain that you will feel conscious of the weight, I did. I’m not risk averse so if you are that way inclined (i.e. sensible), it will make you nervous until you settle into the feel of the car.

Recently I increased my roof load to 57kg since upgrading to the Darche Eclipse 180 Rear awning. My goal is to modify my roof tent in 2021 to reduce the weight. The target is -7kg, bringing my total roof load to 50kg.

I’ll post how I did it if I succeed and I’ll release a full breakdown of the mods, equipment, total payload and prices of the optimised set up. A weight nerds dream.

What changes I’ve made to help handle roof load.

Firstly, I changed the stock tyres to a wider 215/75R15. The Toyo Open Country A/T Plus tyres have a stiffer sidewall than the stock tyres and this helps reduce some side to side wobble. BF Goodrich KO2’s have an even stiffer sidewalls but they are a heavier tyre.

I upgraded the stock suspension to a stiffer OME set up. This further increased the stability and feel of the car with roof weight on.

Rightly or wrongly I added 30mm wheel spacers to widen the stance of the vehicle and this has helped stabilise the car better when cornering.

I pay a lot of attention to overall payload focusing on eliminating every piece of unnecessary kit and/or replacing anything with lighter weight options as I discover them. It’s not the cheap way of doing things but at least I can share the results so you can make better informed purchasing decisions in future.

Final thoughts

If you’re like me and don’t do anything challenging off road, instead opt for enjoying the great outdoors and the occasional camping trip, then the roof tent on a Jimny concept does work. Within its limits.

I’m sharing my personal experiences, research from many conversations with other owners as well as tests carried out myself over the months we’ve had our Jimny. Your experience and expectations may vary. I share a lot of content on social media, my website and YouTube so it’s important that I make the reality clear for anyone stumbling across it:

  • Going heavy on roof load will make the Jimny less capable off-road (obviously!).
  • You will get less fuel economy.
  • You will need to drive more carefully at speed, lowering the top speed you would naturally travel at.
  • You will need to increase your breaking distance.
  • You will want to check your rack before, during and after each trip.
  • If you carelessly add roof load without serious consideration it’s a bad idea! Please be safe.

Hope this article helps you, comment below if you have any questions I can try to help with.

8 thoughts on “Jimny Roof Load Weight 😱

  1. Thanks for the update

    Recently got the front runner roof rack and have been looking and the optimal weight of weight control and attachments for storage

    1. Best way yeah 👍 nicely balanced distribution of the weight. Definitely worth putting the planning and effort into it.

  2. I have an order in for a Jimny at the moment and am going through the planning stages for everything. Out of interest, do you ever sleep two people in your roof top tent? I’m concerned that the gutters couldn’t handle the 60kg of equipment and 150kg of two people.

    1. Static weight we’ve slept 2 people no problem similar weights. It’s the load while moving that’s the concern. Less than 60kg is the goal in my opinion.

  3. This is a great summary of what little jimny can do with its roof, especially when we are looking for the roof system to go with our jimny and fit our needs. thank you so much for posting!

    Also there is one thing to share as what we came across in the market here in Australia, ARB makes a full size roof rack (1545mm x 1285mm) for jimny which weights only ~17kg, as well as a 3/4 size roof rack (1255mm x 1285mm) around 14kg. These would be good alternatives vs. heavier frontrunner racks but still good built quality.

    However after I read your article I now decided to go with the roof bar system just for its lighter weight. 🙂

    1. Hi Chang, those arb racks sound good. ~10kg saving on both versions is great! Thanks for the share I’ll try find links and add them to the article.

      Cheers 🍻

  4. Thank you for your continuously informative posts!

    Dreaming of taking my Jimny for long-distance road trip around Europe and Central Asia. What are your thoughts on having rooftop tents for such trips? I am guessing the roads would not be extreme off-road style…

    1. You’re welcome, I enjoy writing them 🙂

      If you keep as much under 60kg roof load as possible then a roof tent for long-term travel is great. We’ve been driving around with the tent on 24/7 for over a year as we have nowhere to store it.

      It’s just proper off-roading where it’s going to cause major safety issues. Those nice hard shell tents are much heavier so I would avoid turn on a Jimny unless you use load bars only and consider the SkyCamp mini. But I’d definitely keep the ladder in the boot instead of up top.

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