Nissan Patrol: A Guide to Roof Racks

Want a competent and capable off-roader? One that makes easy work of any terrain? And can outpace dozens of sportscars on the tarmac? Then look no further than a petrol-powered Nissan Patrol. The nameplate has existed for over 7 decades and won scores of races, awards, and accolades through the years. The most recent being the 2021 Drive Car Upper Large SUV award.

Buyers like the cavernous interior space, the auto-levelling and independent rear and front suspension, electronic locking rear diff and LSD, and the sheer grunt of the hard-revving 5.6-litre V8 that roars out 298kW. And all this for a modest price tag compared to the competition.  

The popularity of the Patrol means that buyers are also spoilt for choice when it comes to aftermarket additions. With not much missing even in the stock variant of the entry-level Y62 (buyers get a lot of safety and 4×4 tech as standard), minor touches, like a roof rack Nissan Patrol, will prove their worth on longer trips and when carrying larger or more gear. Even with the huge boot and the back row folded (1413 litres of available space), there’s some unused prime realty with the long roofline. Good if you need to get those spare tyres, bigger sporting goods, camping and cooking gear, and recovery essentials out of the way.  

Types of Roof Racks for Your Patrol:  

Roof racks for the Nissan Patrol differ in design and how they fit the roof. In this respect, there are two basic types – platforms and cages. Platform or flat racks can be fitted via factory roof rails and rain gutter channels, or in rarer cases, crossbars sitting a little higher up. They usually run the length of the roof and offer a large flat loading space ideal for large and bulky items like bikes, kayaks, and surfboards, or gear that you need quick access to, for instance, longer recovery tracks or a hi-lift jack. Platform racks secure loads with multiple bars placed either along the length or horizontally, and additions like mesh floors add some peace of mind. They’re often the preferred choice for longer trips, and are also versatile in camping outings, with the outer rails easily accommodating larger awnings or roof-top tents.  

improved storage with nissan patrol roof racks

Roof cages or baskets are the more traditional choice, with rails on all sides. They’re ideal for carrying smaller items, like jerry cans, camping gear, or extra luggage. This can be secured to multiple tying points, with the rails adding needed support. They generally sit higher up, even when mounted to factory rain gutter channels, so produce a bit more wind noise. In addition, you’ll need to be extra careful when approaching overpasses or parking lot roofs that sit lower than usual.  

Both types can make use of the full length and width of the Patrol’s roofline. Alternatively, there are smaller variants that can be used on their own, or in combination, to better organise all your gear.  

Loading Capacity, Materials, and More 

Older versions of the Patrol (particularly the GU variants from 1997 to 2010) had higher roof weight limits, approaching or exceeding 150 kilos. This has been downgraded in the Y62 to 100 kilos, but still enough for a rack covering the whole roof and sensibly loaded with the right stuff. Exceeding the load limit may damage the mounts and you risk the rack flying off. Otherwise, the roof can carry more but is downgraded for safety reasons.  

Related to the max roof loading capacity are the materials the racks come in. A bigger steel rack may reek with outright strength but takes a too big chunk out of the total loading limit. With 60 to 70 kilos allotted to the weight of the steel rack alone, there’s not much leeway in loading any heavier gear. That’s why a better choice is aluminium racks. They come in at roughly half the weight of steel racks of the same size but don’t lack durability or strength. And with better corrosion resistance and powder coatings, considering all the rain we’re getting as of late, they’ll also last longer and look much better after heavier use. A compromise here that ensures the rack stays put is the steel mounting brackets and rain gutter channel rubbers that dampen vibrations in typical off-road settings. 

With so many aftermarket options, you can save a bit of cash than going with OEM racks straight out of Nissan dealerships. The only bullet to bite is checking that the racks are approved and compatible with the Patrol in terms of mounting. Go for locally produced roof racks to ensure the quality, build, and attention to detail are there.  

What You Get with a Roof Rack

The obvious benefits are fitting items, gear and equipment that are just too bulky or too big to go inside. Tying these things down on the roof is not only safer, and comfier for anyone in the second or third row, but there’s also better weight distribution, and increased visibility. Items won’t be rattling around, something that will happen at higher highway speeds or when traversing tougher ground. And drivers will have better all-around visibility that’s not obstructed.  

Another thing to consider is versatility. Yes, racks will load additional gear. But they are also irreplaceable for fitting any off-roading accessories, like light bars. Or when sliding out awnings at the campsite for a dose of needed shade.  

Choose a platform or cage rack of the right length, of decent build, and one that can carry all the gear you intend to bring with you.