LOCK AND LOAD

THANKS TO

WORDS JAMES SECHER

GINGER THE HILUX GETS UP-ARMOURED COURTESY OF NEW SIDE RAILS AND SIDE STEPS FROM EFS. PLUS, A LOCKNLOAD PLATFORM LANDS UP TOP.

GINGER THE Hilux got some much-needed side protection this week, via a new set of EFS side rails with matching side steps. Plus there are now extra storage options up top, with the addition of a Yakima LockNLoad platform.

Following a few off-road trips that resulted in bush pinstripes, as well as an altercation with a barbed-wire fence, I decided some brush bars would be a welcome accessory. When I first fitted the EFS Stockman bullbar, EFS didnít have matching side rails or side steps available.

The EFS Adventure Series side rails were released in November this year and are just as solid and well-thought-out as the Stockman bullbar. Made from 2mm-thick steel, Black Endura coat finish and with a 63mm tube body, the side rails complement the bullbar and attach through a very neat single-point mounting and not the common clamp design seen on most other bars.

PRICES

EFS Adventure Side Step:$799 (each)

EFS Adventure Side Rail:$498.99 (each)

Yakima LockNLoad Crossbar:$571 (pair)

Yakima LockNLoad Platform:$1218

The Hiluxís standard side steps had seen better days when I first bought the vehicle, and they arenít looking any better after some rocky off-road adventures, so I fitted a new set of EFS Adventure Series side steps with the side rails. Made from the same 2mm steel, 63mm tube as the bar and side rails, the side steps are a lot stronger than the Hiluxís original aluminium steps and match the entire EFS front and side protection set-up. The checker-plate top stands out a bit against the black rails, so I will eventually powdercoat these black to tone down the bling.

To increase load-carrying ability and versatility, Iíve added a set of Yakima LockNLoad roof racks and a LockNLoad platform on top of the Hilux. Iíve been a big fan of the Yakima range for years, as the fit, finish and innovation of its gear is at an extremely high level. Plus, the integrated bottle openers really ticked the box for me.


The robust LockNLoad platform is made from corrosion-resistant, powder-coated aluminium and features an additional e-coating: a process best described as a cross between plating and painting, for added strength. Unlike other racks Iíve fitted in the past with roof channel mounting points, fitment was relatively quick and easy, and itís obvious Yakima put a lot of thought into the quality of its product and the fitment process.

The east-west orientation of the slats suits the way I prefer to tie down items, and every slat incorporates a 21mm accessory slot. The perimeter also features a top slot on all sides, for mounting accessories such as a high-lift jack, an awning and a shovel.

Aside from the build quality, one of the main reasons for choosing the Yakima LockNLoad platform was the amount of accessories available and the ease in which they are incorporated. Iím still working out exactly what I want to permanently carry up top, but it would be good to have a set of MaxTrax there full-time instead of randomly throwing them in the tray when leaving for a trip. A spade mount, a quick release awning bracket and an eyebolt kit for easy tie-down points also makes sense, leaving a decent amount of room up top for soft and light cargo like swags, chairs, tents and sporting equipment.

The Yakima platform is rated to 100kg, but you should check your vehicleís roof load capacity, normally found in the manual (this will include the weight of your rack set-up in the total). Initial road tests show no added aero noise, but this may change when adding some permanent accessories.

The LoackNLoad is definitely not on the cheaper end of the scale when it comes to racks, but you get what you pay for. Iím looking forward to adding more accessories from the Yakima range to the platform and will be reviewing them individually in upcoming issues.

THANKS TO

www.efs4wd.com.au

www.tjm.com.au

www.yakima.com.au

www.4x4modsaustralia.com.au

http://apac4x4.com.au

www.sherpa4x4.com.au