Choosing the best roof rack for your Sprinter van is yet another one of those agonizing decisions one makes with a DIY campervan build. We were no different, scouring the websites of various companies that make roof racks.
We got our 2021 Sprinter 4×4 van with factory roof rails, so we knew we wanted a Sprinter roof rack that didn’t require any drilling. We also knew we wanted one that was both lightweight and hardy, and of course, made of aluminum.
A roof rack for our Sprinter van is a necessary accessory for our solar panels and windsurfing gear.
There are lots of options on the market – so how to choose? In this article, we’ll give you some of the best Sprinter van roof racks out there and tell you what we chose and why.
What is a Sprinter Van Roof Rack?
The basic premise of a Sprinter van roof rack system is that it’s a metal rack used to store various items. Roof racks come in different designs for unique purposes. For example, you can buy roof racks to store watercraft like canoes or kayaks. Similarly, you can get a generic equipment roof rack for luggage and other accessories.
Many van lifers use the roof rack to secure solar panels or create a “roof deck” for lounging and enjoying the view.
Since Sprinter vans are popular for campervan conversions, you can find quite a few roof rack models to suit your needs. These pieces are also relatively easy to install. Some require a hoist or forklift and others are modular, shipped in a box right to your house.
Top Sprinter Roof Rack Options
Best for Roof Deck
Since Sprinters are so popular for van conversions, you can buy roof racks to fit virtually any vehicle model. We’ve compiled a list of the top seven roof rack companies offering this equipment. Let’s break down what they have to offer.
Aluminess Sprinter Roof Rack (What We Chose)
Aluminess is a company that specializes in gear for a wide array of van conversion vehicles. They’ve been around for 12 years and are well known for making quality aluminum products for campervans, trucks and SUVs. If you’re not converting a Sprinter, you can buy roof racks for Ram Promasters, Chevy Vans, Ford Transits and Nissans. The company also offers racks for Sprinters built between 2007 up to current models, so if you have an older rig, you can still find what you need.
Modular vs Custom
Aluminess Roof Racks
You can get either a custom Sprinter roof rack – where you add measurements for roof vents and AC units – or a modular roof rack. The modular rack works around 2 standard vent locations in the 144WB Sprinter and 3 vent locations in the 170WB. This rack also works with the factory AC unit for a 144WB van.
With the modular rack, you can add on a Vent Cover Kit for a solid floor on top of your van. You can even add roof rack lights and a wiring harness to your order.
We chose a custom roof rack because our roof vent is not in the standard position – it’s on the right-hand side of the van to give us more room to store gear on the left.
Aluminess Sprinter Van Roof Rack Systems
Aluminess offers five unique roof rack systems for Sprinter vans with multiple flooring options. You’ll get more options with high-roof vans than with low-roof. Here’s a rundown of each type.
- Double Loop Rack – This is the most common option, and it gives you a rack shaped like a basket so you have tons of places to tie down gear.
- Touring Style – This roof rack offers a drop-down front pipe for light bars and tailored to match a sloped roof
- Double Loop Open Front – There’s no front bar, allowing you to slide equipment in more easily.
- Double Loop Open Back – This option is ideal if you’re bringing canoes, kayaks, or surfboards along since you can load them from the back.
As far as flooring options, you can choose from:
- Slatted Floor – The slats have some space between them to make tying down gear easier. These are 3″ wide slats placed 2.4″ apart
- Perforated Aluminum – Perforated aluminum is great if you want a place to put lawn chairs or a tripod. It creates more of a Sprinter van rooftop deck. Tying down cargo is trickier but you can do it by lashing it down to the double loops
You can also purchase additional accessories like crossbars, boat rollers, and solar panel mounts.
Aluminess Roof Rack
For our Aluminess Sprinter roof rack, we chose an
Here was the cost of our roof rack:
- Rack: $2,800
- Custom Vent Cutout: $100
- Installation: $80
We chose to bring our Sprinter van down to the factory in San Diego for an install, which was totally worth the cost. Otherwise, we would have had to locate a forklift on our own.
So far, we are very pleased with the
If you’re doing your own Sprinter van conversion, you may have come across the Flatline Van Company. FVC is one of the top camper van DIY suppliers, so it offers a wide assortment of Sprinter van roof racks as well.
Flatline Van Company is especially known for its Low Pro Sprinter roof rack, which is one of the lightest and most low-profile we’ve found. If a lightweight Sprinter van is a must for you, you might want to go with a Low Pro.
Flatline has three types of Sprinter van roof racks for sale:
Standard Roof Rack – The Flatline Standard Roof Rack has the same versatility of the Low Pro with adjustable crossbars, yet features a more rugged look and wider footprint. This rack comes with a plastic wind faring up front to deflect wind and keep your Sprinter more fuel-efficient. The side rails are a bit taller than the Low Pro, making it easier to lash down gear. Plus, its wider footprint allows for greater flexibility in terms of solar panels and adding a rooftop tent.
Low Pro Roof Rack – The name “low pro” refers to a low profile design that keeps your Sprinter van lightweight and reduces wind resistance. You can adjust the crossbars as you see fit to accommodate roof vents, AC units and solar panels. This rack is super aerodynamic and sleek and is Flatline’s “workhorse” of a Sprinter van roof rack.
Safari Roof Rack – If you want a full-service rack that you can stand on, the Safari is the best option. This rack resembles the
Backwoods Adventure Mods is a popular spot for outfitting Mercedes Sprinters, Ford Transits and Dodge Promasters. This company has a few different roof racks to choose for a Sprinter van, the Driftr model being one of the most affordable we’ve found so far. Make sure you check to make sure the rack fits your Sprinter year, as some of them fit only 2014+ Sprinters.
Here are a few racks to look at with Backwoods Adventure Mods:
The Driftr Sprinter Van Rack – The Driftr aluminum Sprinter roof rack is low-profile, easy to install and lightweight. This modular roof rack is perfect for mounting solar panels, cargo boxes or anything else you need on top of your Sprinter van. These racks are only compatible with the high roof Sprinter vans. If you want the rack shipped right to your door, you’ll need to pay a $100 residential delivery fee.
Slim Roof Rack – The Slim roof rack maintains a low profile but has flooring made out of perforated aluminum, which also means it can be a Sprinter van rooftop deck. You can configure the rack as you desire for solar panels, gear and AC units. An optional light bar is available as a $480 add-on. Only compatible with 2014-2020 Sprinter van models, and won’t work on a Winnebago Revel.
XL Roof Rack – Want a beefy roof rack that can handle lots of gear on top of your Sprinter van? This XL rack might be what you’re looking for. The XL rack has one of the sturdiest decks on the market and comes equipped with a light bar. This modular roof rack ships in 3 to 4 pieces, making it easy for the DIYer to install.
Tourig is a professional conversion company based in Golden, Colorado. They also produce and sell a number of pieces of gear to DIYers, such as modular galleys and roof racks. The racks are built in high-tech aluminum alloy, which makes them extra light. They feature in-built fairing and movable crossbars. This means that they are compatible with vans with existing AC units, solar panels, awnings and more.
The Tourig Airliner roof rack is low profile, which poses minimal wind resistance. You won’t even notice it’s there when you’re on the road. Assembling and installing it requires a few tools and just a little time. You can leave for an adventure on the same day.
If your van doesn’t have roof rails, you can pop out the pre-installed roof plugs and mount the roof rails (sold separately), which can then take the rack.
The Tourig roof rack is available in two versions – one for the 144in and one for the 170in wheelbase. They fit Sprinters produced from 2007 onwards. The 144in WB weighs 62 pounds and measures 126in by 54in by 6.75in. The 170in WB weighs 74 pounds and measures 165in by 54in by 6.75in.
Tourig also make a ladder that’s compatible with their roof racks, so you can easily access it when you need to.
Frequently Purchased Together:
RoamBuilt is a company that offers a wide array of external camper van parts. In addition to Sprinter van roof racks, you can get ladders, lighting systems, skid plates, bumpers, and more. The brand offers four unique rack options, so let’s take a closer look.
Deck Rack – This model doesn’t have a sidebar, so it’s more of a floor than anything else. It’s made of perforated aluminum, so it’s lightweight and won’t rust in the field. You can also buy it with vent cut-outs to accommodate other accessories on your roof. This Sprinter roof rack isn’t best for tying down gear but works well for solar panels.
Cargo Rack – This rack is the quintessential Sprinter van roof rack system. It comes with sidebars and crossbars so that you can tie down all kinds of equipment easily. It also has a perforated aluminum floor, so you can sit or stand on the rack without any issues.
Half Rack – Sometimes, you only need a rack on half of your van. For those occasions, you can choose the half-rack model. This system is a shorter version of the cargo rack model, complete with flooring and sidebars.
Safari Rack – This unit is something of a mix between the deck rack and the cargo rack. The floor is solid perforated aluminum, but three sides come with sidebars. The front is open, making it easier to load equipment. Alternatively, you can install a light bar for better visibility at night.
Owl Vans only has three unique roof racks, but each is pretty impressive, so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Each model is compatible with Sprinter vans from 2007 to today, and they’re all made of powder-coated metal.
Here’s a rundown of what you can find on their site:
Baja Style Roof Rack – If you like the Baja look for your Sprinter van, you’ll appreciate this roof rack system. It comes with a built-in light bar and flat sidebars. The rack is made of powder-coated stainless steel, and you can install it in less than one hour. Owl Vans will either ship the rack to you via FedEx or install it for a fee.
Touring Roof Rack – This option is similar to the other two, but it has a low-profile design and a built-in 24,000-lumen light bar. This model is designed to fit with awnings and side racks for gear like surfboards and other water accessories. This Sprinter van roof rack offers a modular design to accommodate your various roof vents, AC units and solar panels.
As with other roof rack companies, Freedom VanGo offers a wide selection of customization products to help you transform your Sprinter van. When it comes to roof racks, you have a few unique options, such as:
Mercedes Sprinter Adjustable Roof Rack – This adjustable roof rack for Sprinter vans is meant to be a DIY system. You can choose a raw aluminum or powder-coated finish with the racks, which ship from Florida all over the U.S. The adjustable roof rack comes with mounting brackets, crossbars and all the hardware needed to add the rack to your van. You can buy additional panels to create perforated aluminum slats across your rack for easy standing and walking.
Stoked Adventure Outfitters is another company popular with DIY van builders. They offer four different styles of Sprinter van roof racks as well as a custom option. All roof racks are powder-coated aluminum and include brackets for solar panels and lighting.
Baja Roof Rack – This hardy Sprinter roof rack includes a large light bar across the front for when you’re hunting down backwoods campsites in the dark. The Baja rack accommodates any round lights; you can customize these however you see fit. This rack weighs 145 pounds for a 144 WB Sprinter van, and you can get it installed at Stoked for $300.
Moab Rack – The Moab rack is lighter weight than the Baja coming in at 125 pounds. This standard cargo rack gives you lots of deck space for hanging out or installing gear. The Moab rack has a sleeker look than the Baja and doesn’t come with space for a light bar. You’ll get punch plate decking, openings for two MaxAir vents, awning spaces and mounting plates.
Kona Rack – The Kona rack is just 110 pounds and is the lowest profile of them all. This symmetrical rack still gives you lots of deck space, but you won’t be able to attach an awning due to its lack of a top rail.
Yukon Rack – If you want a light bar but don’t care for the extra rugged look of the Baja roof rack, the Yukon might be right for you. This Sprinter van roof rack offers a slimmer front end for light bars along with a top rail for attaching an awning and gear.
How to Choose a Sprinter Roof Rack
With so many high-quality roof racks available, it’s hard to determine which one will work best for your needs. So, to help you make an informed decision, let’s break down the different elements to pay attention to during your search.
Sprinter van roof rack systems are often made of aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is lighter and cheaper, but it can bend more easily and isn’t as durable. If you’re hauling heavy-duty equipment or large items, you should choose steel. Otherwise, aluminum should work well for most situations.
As with anything you install on your Sprinter van, weight matters. While these racks won’t slow your van down, they can decrease your fuel efficiency. As we mentioned, aluminum racks are lighter, so we recommend going that route if you’re concerned about the weight.
Another reason to pay attention to the weight of your roof rack is that heavier pieces can be harder to carry up and install.
The lightest rack we’ve seen is Flatline Van Company’s Low Pro Roof racks. Most other racks we’ve seen weigh anywhere between 110-150 pounds.
Slats vs. Perforated Aluminum
Before installing a roof rack, it’s crucial to know how you will use it. If you just want something for gear storage. slats or crossbars will work best. However, if you’re going to sit or stand on your roof, you should go with perforated aluminum sheets. These sheets allow you to put a folding chair or tripod on the top without the risk of it tipping over.
If you’re getting slats, consider the space between them. If it’s too far, it’ll be harder to walk on the rack. If they’re too close, you can’t tie your equipment down as easily. Some racks that come with slats also offer perforated deck pieces you can add to the rack to create steps or walkways.
Light Bar Compatible?
Some roof rack systems come with built-in light bars. A light bar is an excellent choice to increase your visibility while driving. Typically, you’ll need this piece if you’re going off-road, as campsites and parking lots are often well-lit.
You can also get racks that are compatible with different light bars. This way, you can add or remove the bar as necessary. There are quite a few lighting options, so be sure to check those out, too, before making a final decision.
You can buy tons of accessories to make your roof rack more versatile and accommodating. However, not all racks are compatible with these accessories, so you might have to plan accordingly.
Again, knowing how you want to use your rack will come in handy. Write a list of must-have accessories and make your decision from there.
Modular or Not
Modular Sprinter van roof racks come in pieces and typically consist of 3 or 4 parts. These racks often have movable crossbars so you can plan your rack around obstacles such as AC units, vent vans and solar panels. However, modular roof racks don’t seem quite as durable or hardy to us as welded one-piece racks such as our
Which Sprinter Van Roof Rack Will You Get?
We hope this list of roof racks helps you narrow down your pick. Another option if you like to weld is to create your own roof rack. We’ve read about people doing this in Sprinter van forums.
Whatever you choose, remember to take into account modular vs. one-piece, what your rack is made out of, weight, and whether or not you want to attach a light bar and awning.
Good luck on your Sprinter van build!
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