A Rooftop Carrier For My Camper Van

Roof rack car carrier made of plywood

This carrier has been a difficult project every step of the way.

I had no plans. No model. Nothing copied. Totally original work. I was simulating boat construction technique and designed this as a practice project to familiarize myself with “stitch and glue” construction.

I’m glad I did!

How thick and how smooth do fillet materials need to be? You can only know by doing it. Do you want to experiment on your first boat? I think not! How does fiberglass tape handle? How much epoxy is required to get it to wet out without making it float in a pool of goop? Do you want to experiment with your first boat? I think not! You can read. You can watch videos. These will help. But you really cannot KNOW without doing it yourself. Make the first time be something less critical than a racing boat, huh?

That was my idea with this cartop carrier. I made it of 3/8 inch ply. It could have been 1/8 inch. I used a lot of epoxy and fiberglass. I learned how to use the minimal amount and get it super smooth. I learned how to use too much of everything and get it totally goobered up. I learned how much WORK it all is.

In the end, I did get a good job. Way too heavy, sure, but tough as all get out. Looks good. I can carry skis and propane tanks now. That was the intention. My camper van has value added. Time to build a boat!