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Darin Boville
17-Mar-2016, 12:32
I'm planning my yearly cross-country drive--and thinking about inviting my mother to go one way (Pacific Ocean to northern Ohio, 14 days)! I'll be tight on cargo space.

Putting aside the wisdom of the drive itself, I need ideas on how I might tie my tripods to the roof rack. I need easy access and need to keep the tripods on the roof.

I have Gitzo medium sized, carbon fiber set with Gitzo head and a heavier Manfrotto 3035 with Majestic head. I should put them in a bag of some sort, but what?

I'll be stopping and shooting spontaneously. If it takes forever just to get the tripod unpacked/repacked I may not shoot as much.

I know people here have done this. Any ideas?


--Darin

Kevin Crisp
17-Mar-2016, 12:39
I'd never put my CF Gitzo on the roof. I would put the camera bag and tripod into the back seat last so I can get to them. If you must, then one of those rigid car top carriers, though I haven't seen one yet that is quick to access.

djdister
17-Mar-2016, 12:41
Well, there is the National Lampoon Vacation approach...

148390

Drew Wiley
17-Mar-2016, 12:52
I once made a tripod carrier out of ABS drain pipe and caps, more to hide the presence of camera gear than anything else. But it was convenient.

Jac@stafford.net
17-Mar-2016, 12:58
Good for you, Darin. I'm envious.

I use bungie cords to fasten the tripod to the roof rack. A case is good should a part fall out. Mine isn't weather proof. No worries. Some day I will find a PVC pipe large enough to accept the whole thing. You have probably seen tradesmen's trucks with such things.

Randy Moe
17-Mar-2016, 13:05
Never have camera gear anywhere in sight during road trip. Too many friends and family have lost ALL their gear to theft.

Vacation theft is covered on Homeowners. Moving theft is not.

And remember as you travel you will see the same cars, trucks and people over and over. Then they pounce...

Drew Wiley
17-Mar-2016, 13:15
Trade trucks are what get broken into all the time. A big tube might be interpreted as containing fishing gear or oars or maybe a bat suit. Hopefully you won't run
into some klepto Batman or hang glider. It's hard to strike the right balance between appearing impoverished when traveling and attracting unwanted attention
the other direction. Guess I'm lucky that I've never had gear stolen on a road trip. I certainly know people who have been looted.

Denny
17-Mar-2016, 13:22
If you decide to use bungie cords, be sure they go through some loops on the tripod bag, don't rely on them just holding things tight enough. DAMHIKT.

Mark Woods
17-Mar-2016, 13:23
Thule roof rack:

http://www.thule.com/en-us/us/products/carriers-and-racks/roof-racks

Alan Gales
17-Mar-2016, 13:28
I've got a Hi-Lift jack bolted to my front bumper of my Jeep. It's taken a beating over the years cosmetically but still works well. 'There is no way I'd tie one of my beautiful Ries tripods to a roof rack. If you do decide to do this then make sure to have your tripod in a protective bag or PVC pipe.

Kirk Gittings
17-Mar-2016, 13:37
I once made a tripod carrier out of ABS drain pipe and caps, more to hide the presence of camera gear than anything else. But it was convenient.

Same here.

Jac@stafford.net
17-Mar-2016, 13:41
There are locking PVC pipe caps and locks for roof racks.

John Layton
17-Mar-2016, 13:53
What I might add to the above, to the extent that there may be smallish screws which could back out from road-induced vibrations (no prob with Gitzo but am not familiar with your Majestic) is that you might back these out and coat the threads with blue Locktite (blue is not as "permanent" as red) prior to re-tightening.

Mark Sampson
17-Mar-2016, 14:56
Get a Thule rack, and the appropriate size aero roof box. They lock closed and are not difficult to access. And useful for other things besides photo trips... I'm sure you have too much invested, overall, to kluge up some dust-bowl setup.

Fred L
17-Mar-2016, 16:32
I suggest a Yakima or Thule skybox for the tripod and other items that can stand some heat. I keep light stands, cf Gitzo, steel toes etc in the box year round. Trunk has the cameras and stuff.

Depending on which box, cld be some expense but it'll be easier to access the tripod than if your sticks were bungeed etc to the racks. Also more theft proof.

Sport Rack also makes boxes which are cheaper and probably just as good for your purposes.

scheinfluger_77
17-Mar-2016, 17:06
I've got a Hi-Lift jack bolted to my front bumper of my Jeep. ...

Hah! I had one of those bolted to the front bumper of my little red jeep, MMaaaaaaaaannnnnny years ago.

Jeff Keller
17-Mar-2016, 17:15
See if you can find a loose fitting bag that you can strap to the back of your front seat. Depending on your seat, you might be able to run a long strap vertically around your seat back and use that to anchor your bag(s) to. The seat belt may run through a ring, at shoulder level, that could also provide an attachment point. If you adjust your seat with the tripod attached to it, be careful what happens to your tripod.

jeff

Darin Boville
17-Mar-2016, 17:48
Ahhh, the PVC tube idea is interesting. Never would have thought of that.

I should have been clearer--there will be no room in the cabin area (Mom in the passenger seat, teenage kid in the back. I will already be using a Yakima roof rack (locks are a POS, by the way. Lot's of funny-now-but-not-then stories there. But a large PVC tube (or tubes) with caps...Hmmmm. That solves all kinds of problems (small parts falling off and getting lost, water, dust, wind) all at once....

Thanks!

--Darin

Leszek Vogt
17-Mar-2016, 18:50
As an option, have the tripod in a bag > http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/848981-REG/FEISOL_TBL_92_Tripod_Bag_Black.html

You can probably find a bag that states xxxxxx emulating the worse tripod that's out there.

Anyway, just make certain to take it off the rack...whenever you are staying somewhere for the night....and keep it in your line of sight when you stop to eat during the day.

Les

Jac@stafford.net
17-Mar-2016, 20:07
As an option, have the tripod in a bag > http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/848981-REG/FEISOL_TBL_92_Tripod_Bag_Black.html

Les, that is the bag I use and I do not consider it really weather-proof at 75 miles-per-hour in the rain. However, it is useful should parts shake out of the tripod.

Drew Bedo
18-Mar-2016, 04:27
In 2008 I made a tripod tube from Sch-40 PVC pipe. It protected a heavy wooden tripod from baggage handlers while traveling by air. Something like that would work for roof-top storage. a longer tube could hold several tripods safely.

Security will be an issue however the gear is stowed.

Drew Bedo
18-Mar-2016, 04:30
You might also consider a very small U-Haul trailer or a receiver hitch basket.

Either rig will add cost to your trip, but the stowage problem will go away.

MrFujicaman
18-Mar-2016, 07:24
What I might add to the above, to the extent that there may be smallish screws which could back out from road-induced vibrations (no prob with Gitzo but am not familiar with your Majestic) is that you might back these out and coat the threads with blue Locktite (blue is not as "permanent" as red) prior to re-tightening.

Even Loctite blue can make it very hard to back a screw out. I'd go with Loctite green.

Jac@stafford.net
18-Mar-2016, 07:54
Even Loctite blue can make it very hard to back a screw out. I'd go with Loctite green.

Loctite Green is peculiar stuff intended to interlock cylinders. It was a favorite trick to fix the front exhaust lifter of Seventies Harley-Davidsons.

Back to the PVC pipe security. Google lockable pvc pipe caps. They cement to the pipe, and there is no way on earth to unglue them. Then Google lockable roof rack mounts.
.

Drew Bedo
18-Mar-2016, 08:15
As lomg as we are suggesting ways to spend Darin's money:

If there are things that will not be meeded on the trip, things that are merely being transported to the East: Why not ship some things ahead by UPS (or other carrier) to the destination? This could free up room for secure stowage of the camera gear.

MrFujicaman
18-Mar-2016, 08:32
Hey Darin,

Jac had the best idea so far. I checked Home Depot and they list 2 aluminium cap kits for 6" and 8" PVC pipe that have lockable lids. The 6" size is internet #205168346 (must be ordered-not stocked in the stores) and the 8" size is internet # 205946356. They sell for about $67-69 dollars

Find the right size pipe and you're in business.

Doremus Scudder
18-Mar-2016, 09:40
The locking lids look interesting.

Cheaper would be non-locking and then store the whole tube locked in the car or with you in your hotel room when you're not driving. I might even take it into the roadside diner when eating lunch. It's always a toss-up for me to lock or not. Anything with a lock on it looks valuable and can just get broken into. I usually leave my Packasport rooftop carrier unlocked when the contents are worth less than the replacement cost of the carrier itself...

Doremus

neil poulsen
18-Mar-2016, 10:17
Sears sells an "X-Cargo" roof carrier in at least a couple of different sizes. They're secured to the car by gutter clamps, have locks on them, etc. They'll protect the contents from the weather and keep them out of sight. We've had one for years that we can bring out of storage when needed.

But if it's camera gear, I always keep a watchful eye on my vehicle. I keep my gear in backpacks, so if the vehicle's going to be out of sight, the gear goes with me.

Thinking about it, perhaps you could get a rider on your homeowner (or renter) policy just for the trip that would cover your gear. (Just in case.)

Rick A
18-Mar-2016, 13:39
If you end up using PVC tubing to carry your tripods, get large enough tubes to line them with scrap carpet to pad the gear inside.

Drew Wiley
18-Mar-2016, 13:55
I love those fancy branded gear bags, with the nice bold logo on them: BREAK IN THIS TRUCK FIRST. I love them so much that I leave them home.

Struan Gray
18-Mar-2016, 16:13
Um. Doesn't every American car have a gun rack?

John Olsen
18-Mar-2016, 16:29
Remember that you've got to keep the weight down. Anything that's on or in your vehicle has to be carried into the motel EVERY night and reloaded the next morning. Definitely take only one tripod and the less expensive one, at that. My old Forerunner was broken into so many times that I stopped counting - I just limited myself to what I could schlepp so that I only lost dirty laundry and small change. Good luck, it sounds like a wonderful trip.

David Lobato
18-Mar-2016, 16:50
Roof storage seems like a lot of trouble for a one trip use. And reaching up to a car's roof is not a convenient way to get to it.

Try the aforementioned PVC pipe, but inside the car. Then it would be easy to slide it out, and put back in, under all the other stuff you have loaded. And it's obviously more secure inside. I may do this myself on my next long trip.

I lost a tripod that I transported loose in the back of a truck once. Since then I keep photo gear inside the vehicle. It's disappointing to say the least when you get your camera out and discover the tripod is missing :(

Darin Boville
18-Mar-2016, 17:30
Thanks for all the suggestions. I guess I've been lucky--I crossed the country nine or ten time now (not always having as much time to do it in)--twenty-one crossings if you count them as one-ways--and I've never had any sort of problem with crime. I'll have to carry the tripod on the outside due to the space needs of my passengers. And, well, if I lose a tripod or two to theft then that will be that. But what I *really* don't want is the thing falling out onto the road while moving. Very much not good for the guy behind me.

For you guys who have done the ABS/PVC thing--does it cause any problems with wind noise? I'm driving an FJ Cruiser with Yakima bars installed. There are three bars. Might want to mount the tube left to right vs forward/rear. That would certainly improve access. Mount it toward the back, too.

I'll get some pipe and try it out this weekend if I can.

Thanks again,

--Darin

Jac@stafford.net
18-Mar-2016, 18:55
For you guys who have done the ABS/PVC thing--does it cause any problems with wind noise

Mine is a 2011 RAV4 with moon-roof and the cargo must be put far enough to the rear to keep the howling down, so yes, wind noise can be an issue.
.

LabRat
19-Mar-2016, 07:05
An old Honda wagon I had still had a surfboard rack on top… What was strange was sometimes it sounded like gremlins were slapping the roof with the palms of their little hands, when I finally figured that at a certain speed the (even empty) roof rack would create a turbulence that made the slapping sound… (You should have seen the looks on people's faces when the slapping started while they were riding in that car!!!)

What, theres no room in some corner (standing or laying) for a tripod, or under a seat, etc!?!!!! (Cheech & Chong would find a place to stash it!!! And other things!!!) Or take the tripod and leave someone behind… :-)

Steve K

Drew Bedo
19-Mar-2016, 07:09
Struan: Of course noise will be an issue.

Anything that goes on the roof will be a source of wind noise at highway speeds.

When I was a child (mid '50s-mid '60s) we had a Ford station wagon. On family vacations my dad would strap on an awkward luggage rack, just like Clark Griswald. On it would go a caravan-camel load of our stuff, all wrapped up in a heavy canvass tarpaulin and wrapped in miles of cloths line. The noise was terrific, especially as my folks believed that air conditioning a car was an opulent luxury bordering on sin . . . .so the windows were always rolled all the way down.

There is more to this story, but I'm saving it for my therapist.

Drew Bedo
19-Mar-2016, 07:38
Um. Doesn't every American car have a gun rack?

No. But a gun rack would work, if the Op had a pick-up truck, but I understand that his vehicle is a sedan. Anyway, many her drive foreign cars now.

Sal Santamaura
19-Mar-2016, 09:04
...For you guys who have done the ABS/PVC thing--does it cause any problems with wind noise? I'm driving an FJ Cruiser with Yakima bars installed. There are three bars...Darin, you've got an FJ with three bars and you're worried about wind noise from adding a pipe? How would you tell the difference? :D


No. But a gun rack would work, if the Op had a pick-up truck, but I understand that his vehicle is a sedan...An FJ Cruiser is far from being a sedan. :)

Fred L
19-Mar-2016, 09:09
for those who uses straps to tie things down, give the webbing a couple of twists and that will kill the buffeting/ slapping sound. and keep the strap tail end to a minimum lest your ears suffer haha

Alan Gales
19-Mar-2016, 09:33
Um. Doesn't every American car have a gun rack?

A lot of hunters here add gun racks to their pick-up trucks. Some non hunters add them for coat racks.

I've never seen a gun rack in a car. Is that an option on Volvo's and Saabs? :)

Randy Moe
19-Mar-2016, 09:40
Um. Doesn't every American car have a gun rack?

Not being political, but I thought Sweden had compulsory military service and upon completion the conscript had to keep his/her rifle.

I see that conscription ended 2010, but may come back.

tgtaylor
19-Mar-2016, 09:46
For the past 20 years my long road trips (30+ days) and long hikes (60+ miles) have centered around photography. I plan my road trips to correspond with the ideal picture-taking conditions which for me means early winter – especially the week after Christmas to early February – when the lighting and atmospheric conditions are optimum and motels and campgrounds are cheap and deserted.

But the days are short then so I'm coffied-up and on the road as soon as the sun clears the horizon. To maximize the image potential I travel with my Pentax 67II mounted on a Gitzo 1348 CF tripod with the last lens I used mounted. When something catches my eye all I have to do is to stop, hop out with the camera, extend the legs, compose, focus and trip the cable release. There's no need to worry about what exposure to use with the lighting because that camera always delivers a well-exposed negative. Just set it to aperture priority at f11 if you want. For me, though, I often want to include a sharply focused foreground that I find interesting and will adjust the focusing and aperture accordingly. For those opportunities that demand a larger negative and, hence more time, a LF kit is in the trunk along with the 6x7 lens collection, backpack, camping gear, etc. A 4x5 or 8x10 field will work off that tripod along with the 6x7 so only one tripod is necessary.

Traveling like that with the camera one quickly learns that a sudden turn to the left will send the camera flying against the passenger door and to the right against you or, in my case, the 5-speed gear shift. To prevent any unsightly scratches/dings on the camera I wrap it in a domke lens wrap. But having mom positioned between the camera and door/gear shift solves that problem!

Thomas

Darin Boville
19-Mar-2016, 12:12
Darin, you've got an FJ with three bars and you're worried about wind noise from adding a pipe? How would you tell the difference? :D

An FJ Cruiser is far from being a sedan. :)

Ahhh, the Yakima wind faring (turned backwards so it doesn't say "Yakima" in giant letters) is the key. Without that the noise is astonishing.

And, yes, the FJ Cruiser is NOT a sedan. :) Here's a pict of it in 2009 near Monument Valley. Note: The fabric bags suck. After one or two cross-country trips they begin to deteriorate badly.

148514

But you can see the bars. Now imagine a hard box taking up the front two. I *could* put a ABS/PVC tube left to right along the back bar. The box will shield most of it from the wind, but the box is not the width of the car so I might still get noise. We will see.

--Darin

Jac@stafford.net
19-Mar-2016, 12:58
I resent that the FJ has been discontinued. I had to settle with a RAV4, but at least it has a V6.

Leszek Vogt
19-Mar-2016, 13:22
Darin, you must have an outfit or two nearby that make waterproof bags for the local yuppies and their bikes....I'm pretty sure they could construct something for your tripod + locking/tying straps. It may be more costly than PVC pipe.

Whatever it is, you could attach it in the rear of the baggage and without having to listen to the "music" that could emit from it.

Regular bag could be scotch-guarded just for the trip.

Les

Drew Bedo
19-Mar-2016, 14:29
Ok, I now understand that the vehicle is a small-ish SUV. Looks like a tough little beast. That should make the receiver-hitch basket or box a viable alternative to additional gear on the roof. In any case, a plastic pipe container will be water-proof (and nearly bullet-proof). Everything you need to make one can be found at any big-box home improvement store.

Jac@stafford.net
19-Mar-2016, 14:53
Receiver-hitch baskets are great because the bulk is in the slipstream of the vehicle. They are a b*tch when we have to open the rear hatch. As usual, it is a compromise.
.

Sal Santamaura
19-Mar-2016, 16:31
Ok, I now understand that the vehicle is a small-ish SUV. Looks like a tough little beast...I wouldn't describe the FJ as smallish. It's not massive, but a RAV4 it ain't. It sure is tough, though. :)

Darin Boville
19-Mar-2016, 22:12
I resent that the FJ has been discontinued. I had to settle with a RAV4, but at least it has a V6.

Mine is a 2007, 159k, and runs and looks almost new. First year they were made. I might give it to my kid in two or three years and buy something else, but there is *nothing* on the market right now that I could imagine buying to replace it. Might have to start looking for a very low miles, mint condition 2014 FJ, the last year they were made. I'm thinking in Yellow.

--Darin

Struan Gray
20-Mar-2016, 00:35
Just my little joke folks :-)

Although gun racks do make excellent storage for all sorts of useful things.

Randy: Sweden dropped conscription a while back. Decommissioned the cold war out-in-the-countryside armouries too, as organised crime kept breaking in and stealing the guns. Middle class hunters and target shooters have no real problems. Rambo wannabees get slapped down by the regs.

My only useful contribution: if going the PVC pipe route (which is what I would do), leave lots of room for padding, and consider finding room in the car for the tripod head - i.e. just put the legs up on the roof. Round here, you can get useful fixing kits to mount pipes on roof racks. It's a common thing to do.

Alan Gales
20-Mar-2016, 14:49
Just my little joke folks :-)

Although gun racks do make excellent storage for all sorts of useful things.

Randy: Sweden dropped conscription a while back. Decommissioned the cold war out-in-the-countryside armouries too, as organised crime kept breaking in and stealing the guns. Middle class hunters and target shooters have no real problems. Rambo wannabees get slapped down by the regs.

My only useful contribution: if going the PVC pipe route (which is what I would do), leave lots of room for padding, and consider finding room in the car for the tripod head - i.e. just put the legs up on the roof. Round here, you can get useful fixing kits to mount pipes on roof racks. It's a common thing to do.

I knew you were joking. I was just playing along with you! ;)

lecarp
20-Mar-2016, 17:24
Problem solved!

148583

seezee
21-Mar-2016, 11:45
Most of the Gitzo carbon fibre tripods, with the exception of their "Ocean" line, are not weatherproof. If it rains, you're sunk. Use a cargo pod or make a waterproof tube as suggested above, and don't leave it on the roof rack when unattended.

Fred L
21-Mar-2016, 14:22
Is that a tricked out Sportsmobile ? Wanted to get one but importing into Canada was either going to be a Herculean task or illegal. Never got far enough along to know which ;) They did look like a great camper truck/photomobile.

Drew Bedo
22-Mar-2016, 06:12
When Imade a PVC tripod shipping tube in the 1990s, I was able to get a cut-off piece of 8" diameter Schedule-40 pipe for a hand-shake and cash at a pipe yard. The cost of PVC end caps was prohibitive for me back then, let alone the locking screw-in fittings.A friend made end plugs from stacked circles of plywood. Heavyduty hardware store handles were screwed to these end plugs. This project was done on a shoe-string over weeks—maybe months, I don't remember now.

Today I might pay for the end caps. Another touch would be to use a couple of dog collars (for big dogs) to attach a handle or shoulder strap.

It was heavy, but the intent was to protect a heavy tripod from baggage handlers and automated equipment while traveling by air. It did draw attention as unusual, but didn't scream "STEAL ME!" as would a Pelican case or some other swanky looking item might.

The whole shebang could strap onto a golf bag cart with my camera bag to roll around at the destination.

Drew Bedo
22-Mar-2016, 06:30
An option that no-one has brought up might be something made for Golf equipment. There are some hard shell cases for golf bags that are made for traveling. With the right packing, the tripos and much of your photo gear could go in one and make a durable, weather resistant package with wheels and handles. A few years ago I went to a show devoted to Samuri swords, and saw one vender walk in with thousands of dollars worth of antique swards carried one handed in a golf bag shipping case.

This would save you the DIY effort, and the kluge-look described above.

Worth a thought.

Darin Boville
22-Mar-2016, 14:07
Drew,

Bingo. I googled the gold cases and they looked great. Then, inspired, I googled--get this--"hard tripod cases"--and found a good candidate:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030290-REG/skb_1skb_r3709w_roto_molded_tripod_case_with.html

It has many of the features I'm after:

--Not DIY. Not ugly.
--Looks sturdy
--Handles allow me to strap it to roof rack without worry about sliding out from under the straps.
--End cap (vs opening like a suitcase) will allow me to keep it strapped on the car and just slide the tripod out when I need it.
--Cap looks to have a secure nylon strap attachment mechanism plus lots of sliding required before the cap would fall off. Some of the others would just drop off it the cap became unsecured.
--Expense is not much more than the DIY solution.

Cons
--Not clear if I can lock it in any way.
--Doesn't come in a Smurf Blue color to match my FJ.

Won't know about wind noise until I try it.

Any other candidates?

--Darin


An option that no-one has brought up might be something made for Golf equipment. There are some hard shell cases for golf bags that are made for traveling. With the right packing, the tripos and much of your photo gear could go in one and make a durable, weather resistant package with wheels and handles. A few years ago I went to a show devoted to Samuri swords, and saw one vender walk in with thousands of dollars worth of antique swards carried one handed in a golf bag shipping case.

This would save you the DIY effort, and the kluge-look described above.

Worth a thought.

Darin Boville
22-Mar-2016, 14:14
Just measured the Manfrotto with the Majestic head. 40-inches. I guess I'll need the slightly longer version:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030291-REG/skb_1skb_r4209w_roto_molded_tripod_case_with.html

Rood rack bars are 58 inches so I have plenty of room.

--Darin

Jac@stafford.net
22-Mar-2016, 14:24
Just measured the Manfrotto with the Majestic head. 40-inches. I guess I'll need the slightly longer version:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030291-REG/skb_1skb_r4209w_roto_molded_tripod_case_with.html

Thanks for the good work, Darin. I am concerned about the padding required inside, or am I over-worrying the situation?
.

Kirk Gittings
22-Mar-2016, 14:32
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Conduit-Carrier-Kit-8-/222037467585

Weatherproof, lockable and cheap. You could put your bazooka in ne too :)