Why upTOP?

Why upTOP?

We’re frequently asked "what makes upTOP different than ___ company?", which is often quickly followed by "why should I choose your racks?". Well, we do things differently here, and for a good reason too—let us explain.

History And Evolution

Several years ago, we had purchased three different roof racks for our Tacoma trucks, and they all had shared the same major issues: wind noise, quality, and durability. Wind noise is caused by the way the wind passes over the vehicle while in motion, pushing force down on to the roof. Since they all shared a very similar design, they all had a quite a bit of wind noise. Another major and even more important issue was the durability of the racks. The poor quality of materials used in manufacturing and overall structure left us with more to be desired after just one overland excursion. While the rack itself had already shown major signs of wear, the details and thoughtfulness in design just simply did not function or make sense to us. This is when we realized there was a need for a roof rack that solved all of our wants and needs. After months of designing & testing to create the best roof racks, bed racks and more, upTOP was born.

up close image of a Tacoma overland bed rack
Up close looking at the details of an upTOP Overland TRUSS bed rack. Powder coated stealth black, mounting locations for Rotopax, MaxTrax, Waterport, shovel, and axe.

What We Do Differently

Our team tackled the wind noise issue by completely reimagining the design and improving the aerodynamics. Our split front fairing is much more like a diffuser. The wedge front end allows air to pass both over and under the rack unaltering the aerodynamic profile of the vehicle. What does this do for wind noise? The rack is damn near silent. Most companies use a simple flat piece of aluminum to break up the air, and then charge additionally for a noise reducing edge. It is important to understand this design is inherently flawed because in some cases it requires a piece of aluminum to rest on your paint, allowing it to eventually wear through your clear coat, paint, and down to the bare metal of your vehicle due to vibration when in motion. Our front fairing does not sit on your paint, which avoids this entirely, and helps keep the roof of your vehicle in pristine condition.

While no wind noise was our initial concern, we didn’t settle or stop there. In true upTOP fashion, we had to make it even better. We designed our rack with integrated light bar cut outs that allow the light bar to be installed behind the front fairing for a sleek aesthetic. Offering multiple cutout options as well, ranging from a no cut, Extreme LED X6S, or for Baja Designs light bars. If none of those fit the bill for what you’re looking for, or if you just can’t make up your mind, we also offer a few universal fitments as well. Our competitors only offer a simple dip in the top edge of their fairing for a light, which was just not a good enough solution for us!

Integrated front fairing light bar cutout. No wind noise design
Integrated light bar front fairing cutout that is designed to have no wind noise.

So how did we address quality concerns and develop one of the strongest racks on the market? We started at the foundation, where the rack meets the roof. We optimized the mounting process by creating feet that reinforce the rails. This offers easy installation, allows for even pressure points, and avoids any grinding. In terms of materials, hardware, and overall structure, we opted for a durable and lightweight construction. In terms of finish, most other companies use anodized load bars that will fade to a shade of purple after about 6 months. Instead, we powder coat all of our load bars to stealth black making them UV resistant and offering a tougher finish that stops the elements from eroding our racks. The powder coat also helps to insulate the bar cutting down on noise and vibration. Whether you choose an Alpha or Bravo series roof rack we build them all to last through every season, year after year.

Line up of upTOP vehicles with roof racks on a 4Runner and Tacoma
Color matching, grab handles, and scenePODs are just some of the features we developed at upTOP.

We also developed some of the most innovative features in the industry, helping our upTOP racks stand out from the competition. In terms of styling, we are proud to provide custom color matching to your vehicle which creates a sleek overall aesthetic. Additionally, our grab handles allow you to easily access your gear that’s stored upTOP, while our scenePODs offer a low-profile lighting solution that illuminates 360 degrees around your vehicle. Be sure to check out all of our add-ons and custom accessories here.

Conclusion

Ok let’s talk numbers. We are committed to our upTop community and always do our best to keep our costs down for you guys because we believe everyone should be able to experience an upTOP. Born and built by our dedicated team in Castle Rock, CO, all of our racks are made to order and ship free within the continental United States. We’re proud to manufacture some of the widest, longest, and lowest racks on the market for a range of vehicles including Tacoma, 4Runner, Tundra, FJ, Gladiator, Colorado, F-150, and many more. As we like to say - Adventure Ready, Always!

4runner roof rack on an overland trail

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