Building a fly rod roof rack is a critical feature. I’ve been keeping rigged rods on the interior and placing them on the roof when sleeping. If I’m sleeping in an urban environment, I have to either break them down or sleep near them, risking damage if I roll onto one. They are also at risk as my dog uses the bed often on road trips. She gets to sleep while I handle the road.
I don’t like visible rod holders like the ones that sit on exterior roof racks. I want mine on the interior where they are not visible. I do want rigid tubes so they don’t tangle and I don’t catch myself on loose hooks when I’m moving around the van. I decided to use pvc tubes with an exterior door cut into the fiberglass to access the rods.
Rod Tube Supplies
- 1-1/4 inch PVC
- 1-1/4 inch PVC Caps
- Black Spray Paint
- Heat Gun
- Key lock cylinder
First thing I did was measure the tubes and the overall width I’d need for the door. I put some reels side by side to make sure the spacing was adequate. It’s a bit tight and should have extended the shelf a bit for large reels but it works for most of my freshwater rods. The front and rear shelves both work well to help support the system as whole.
I cut the door opening on rear fiberglass roof section. That was a bit nerve wracking as I’ve never worked with fiberglass. A jig saw cut through it easily. The rear shelf makes a perfect reel seat and with the door cut, I was able to get accurate length measurements.
I used the cutout piece and some hinges to create a door. I still need to create a solid gasket so it seats properly and seals up. I also added the key lock which was pretty easy and definitely helps secure everything.
Eventually I will touch-up the paint so the hardware isn’t visible. I think putting the hinges on the interior would have worked as well.
Next I added some interior framing to the shelf for stability and to close off the compartment. I used 5/8 AC plywood for the face. I’ll be using the same material to face all of the cabinets and will paint it white or gray. I drilled out holes to hold the tubes.
I spray painted the PVC black. It was a little on the cold side for spray painting and it didn’t dry as evenly as hoped but was not horrible either. I set the tubes in place and used some pipe hangar straps as a temporary support solution.
I also used hose clamps to stabilize the end connection. After the tubes were in place, I started hitting them with a heat gun. This part was pretty tedious. I did one at a time and was careful not to overheat and kink the tubes but 2 of them did take a less than perfect bend. They are still functional though. The goal was just enough to get bend and make them flush with the ceiling.
Overall, I am stoked about the rod system. I’ve never seen another one like it and it should keep 5 rods rigged and secure. I still need to finish the door with a waterproof gasket and add some padding to the shelf but it’s ready for action otherwise.
I’ll add an update on the functionality and a few more pictures when this is finished.