1 hour mountain boarding lesson followed by a 2 hour free ride session at Ride the Hill in Surrey for my birthday back in July.
We weren’t sure how much we would use a topper for our California or if we even needed one so I decided to have a go at making one, below is a guide to what I have done and a template if you want to have a go at making one for yourself.
We ordered 20 Meters of black waterproof nylon fabric from eBay, you could get away with 10-12 Meters but I wanted some extra for mistakes and also to make some bags.
I took some measurements and came up with the template below, this is the final size you need. You need to add about 15mm all round for the stitching joints and the hems.
Below is a photo of it all stitched together and just placed on the roof without tie downs
The tie downs are created with a loop of webbing sewn to each corner, 2 evenly spaced webs at the sides, I also put tabs in the centre at the front and back that have never been used.
Onto these tabs I tied into a small loop of 3mm elasticated bungee material .
You’ll also need some nylon washers and a threadded knob, I got mine from RS components, part number 178-792, five 5mm knobs part number 448-8549.
I Just slide the fixings along the rail and lightly tighten them.
To secure the topper on the awning side I have used a log piece of elastic threaded through both loops of webbing on the awning side thats just stretched over.
We only use the topper if its forecast to be heavy rain or rain with a strong wind and have not missed being able to see out of the windows, in the 4 years of owning a California we have only used it a hand full of times and it spends most of its life rolled up stowed away under the drivers seat.
Total cost about £35, If you need and more information please ask.
After visiting a VW California meet couple of weekend ago, several people asked how I load my kayak onto the roof of the California.
I’m not the tallest of people so and probably wouldn’t be able to reach a Kari-Tek system with our something to stand on and like to keep things simple, so i use a small work platform.
After putting on the roof rack and the straps on, I lift the kayak up and stand it on its nose or tail on the work platform, I then step up onto the platform and then lift the kayak onto the roof from there.
The work platform also often doubles up as a spare seat, Cobb BBQ cooking platform, table or drying rack.
Don’t forget you can raise the roof with up to 50kg of weight on the roof.
Our first trip away this year in the van, for a long weekend of paddling on the River Dart with Friends from Whitewater Action Medway. This was Bo’s first over night trip away from home so it’s been a bit of a learning curve for us and her, luckily the club were staying in a bunkhouse and we were fortunate enough to be able to park the van in the car park and share the bunkhouse facilities.
Friday and Saturday were very wet, due to this the river levels were really good so I took the opportunity to go squirt boating on the Dart Webburn seam.
Sunday we woke to a frost, when its cold like this I reach over and turn the night heater on to warm things up before I get out of my sleeping bag, once the temperature had climbed to more comfortable level got up and dressed to take Bo out for a quick walk. Once back in the van Bo quickly found an novel way to enjoy the lovely warm air coming out of the Cali’s night heater while I fixed breakfast.