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Car Racking Systems: An introduction

Car racking systems are solutions attached to and used on vehicles to transport a range of goods easily and without compromising on space in the vehicle. These goods may include sporting, recreational, luggage or tradesmen equipment and supplies.

Car racking systems come in many forms – roof racks, bicycle carriers, cargo carrier baskets, boxes and bags, cycle carriers as well as various accessories such as kayak carriers, tie-downs and board protectors.

Typical brand names found in this market space are Holdfast, THULE, ProRack WhispBar, Rhino-Rack, BuzzRack and Gear4Gear. Holdfast and Gear4Gear are both South African brands. Based in cape Town, Holdfast have been around for 20 years.

Gear4Gear is a Port Elizabeth based company that focuses on making products (Gear) to help protect – in storage and transport – all your other Gear (such as kayaks, bicycles or luggage). It is Gear 4 your Gear.

Many of the Gear4Gear products are designed to complement and enhance traditional car rack solutions manufactured by the other brands mentioned.

Gear4Gear’s aims to attract the paddling, cycling and outdoor enthusiast with products that range from universal soft roof racks, roof-top bags, tie-downs, board protectors and fishing-rod carriers to kayak backrests, kayak storage solutions and anchor kits.

Holdfast Car Racking

Holdfast offers a large range of vehicle roof racks for most of the popular vehicles that sell in South Africa. The solutions are all vehicle specific with a combination of 2 to 3 components that comprise the solution. Namely a set of bars of a specific length, matching the width of the vehicle, a foot pack and – for gutterless cars – a unique clamping kit designed to fit the vehicles specific roof profile around the door openings.

Some cars come with factory fitted roof rails, in which case Holdfast offered a bar with rail foot pack combination (no unique clamping kit was required). These rails were raised, so the one foot pack pretty much catered for all these rail solutions.

Then vehicle manufacturers began making integrated roof rails. Consequently, this necessitated once again unique clamping kit solutions and Holdfast had no offering for these vehicles.

As the number of cars with this style of roof design grew – it was estimated that Holdfast were missing out on approximately 30% of the car roof racking market.

So they have recently launched the new integrated rail solutions for the following models:

  • Audi A4 Avant 2008-15
  • BMW X1
  • Hyundai iX35 2009-15
  • Kia Sportage 2009-15
  • Mitsubishi ASX 2012-
  • and the all new Toyota Fortuner 2016-

More solutions will be added in the near future.

The launch of the new integrated foot pack coincided with Holdfast also launching their new wing roof bar.

The aerodynamic design reduces noise and drag. This results in better fuel efficiency and brings it up to date with rival brands such as THULE and WhispBar.

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Gear4Gear Car Racking

Gear4Gear have a couple of Universal Roof Rack solutions designed to fit nearly any 4 door car. So, if you change car, you should still be able to use your universal rack and one rack can potentially be used on any vehicle in your household or company.

You can keep the roof rack in the boot and only attach when needed, rather than having a permanent rack that is infrequently used. This way, you reduce drag while driving, as well as avoiding vulnerable to theft of racks.

Gear4Gear has two versions available. The Econo is ideal for surfboards, SUP’s (Stand Up Paddle boards), fishing rods and other light loads. The Standard version has aluminium tubes embedded in the foam structure therefore providing added support and rigidity. This ensures the roof of the vehicle does not dent when carrying heavier loads such as kayaks.

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You can find all of our Car Racking Solutions on our website right here.

Lookout for our follow-up blog where we will get into the various specific bike rack solutions available.


Nautical Sports is a Car Racking fitment centre offering roof racks, bike racks and other racking solutions from Holdfast, Buzzrack and Gear4Gear. Using reliable and pocket-friendly courier services, Nautical Sports sells all over South Africa from our Walmer, Port Elizabeth base.

You can visit our well-stocked retail shop in Walmer, Port Elizabeth and let our competent and friendly staff ensure you get the right solution to help you get all your Gear safely to your destination.

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