California truck accessories company Leitner Designs has established itself as an innovator of smart, simple storage solutions that make us wonder, Why isn’t everyone doing that? Its latest contribution to the cargo hauling space, the all-new ACS Roof is a fully integrated automotive cargo carry system that flips the idea of a rugged, weatherproof rooftop cargo box on its side. By doing so, it provides a rooftop gear locker that owners can flip open to grab tools, extra layers or whatever they need, no need to climb up on the vehicle to open or unload it.
Leitner Designs got its start as a design and manufacturing firm working for other companies, but in 2014, founder Bernhard Leitner moved the company into designing and manufacturing its own hardware. It developed the Active Cargo System (ACS), a skeletal over-bed rack for pickup trucks that uses the space inside the frame sides for carrying purpose-fit accessories, including several sizes of storage box called GearPods, a first aid kit and a water/shower canister called the HydroPod. So you get lifted crossbars for carrying a rooftop tent, kayaks or other large cargo while keeping smaller tools and gear readily accessible from outside the truck.
Now Leitner has pulled the ACS system off the pickup bed and hoisted it atop the vehicle roof, opening ACS capability up to a new market of buyers who don’t have a pickup bed. To do so, it developed a purpose-built rooftop ecosystem that starts with the aluminum ACS Roof, the company’s first platform rack.
The robust Roof rack features two T track channels on the top of all crossbars, and the new 48-in-long (122-cm) rotomolded GearPod Roof lockers mount directly to the channels using locking quick-mount clamps. Located on the inside of each GearPod, the clamps are out of the elements and away from the determined hands of thieves. The keys that lock the clamps to the rack are the same that open the exterior GearPod access hatch knobs.
By creating a flip-up hatch, Leitner makes it easy to access gear from the ground without necessitating a ladder or other means of climbing up on the vehicle and without having to remove any straps or mounting hardware. The integrated locks eliminate dealing with individual padlocks, and the whole system appears to work as seamlessly as a lockable overhead cabinet in a camper van.
So far, Leitner offers the single 90-L GearPod size, and each one is sealed with automotive-grade weatherproofing to keep water and dust out. Integrated struts make for smooth, easy opening, and low-profile end handles are there for lifting each pod up onto and down off the roof. Each pod weighs 29 lb (13 kg) empty.
Another advantage of the side hatch is that it frees the box top for additional loading without interfering with access. Each GearPod can hold up to 100 lb (45 kg) on its top, and Leitner has designed them to work with mounting hardware for Maxtrax boards and Rotopax canisters. It’s marked mounting locations on the pod tops, and owners can simply drill and attach the hardware. Leitner says the bolt, nut and box material will create a waterproof seal.
As for the ACS Roof rack itself, Leitner says that it’s beefed up the exterior of the frame to provide structural integrity, unlike other racks that rely on the crossbars, meaning that users can move and remove crossbars as desired without undermining the strength of the rack. The ends of each crossbar clamp to grooves running the length of the outer frame bars using two Leitner-branded Torx bolts.
Leitner introduced the ACS Roof and accompanying rooftop GearPods at the 2023 Overland Expo Mountain West show in late August and has been ramping up its marketing in recent days. The rack prices in at $1,300, and each GearPod retails for $699. At launch, the ACS Roof rack is available for the Toyota 4Runner (’10 to ’23), Toyota Tacoma (’05 to ’23), and Ford F-250. 350 and 450 (’17 to ’24). Those who like the look of the GearPods but already have their own platform rack from a different manufacturer can use the mounting plates included with each pod for more universal mounting options.
Leitner hasn’t forgotten about its loyal pickup customers, either, offering an $850 platform rack that mounts directly to the ACS pickup bed rack and a $1,350 version that mounts lower down over the bed or tonneau cover. The company will soon add accompanying EVA foam carry bags that nest neatly two-to-a-GearPod, making storage and transport even more seamless. We imagine it will add additional ACS Roof-mountable accessories in the future.
Bernhard Leitner explains and demonstrates the new Roof system in the video below.
LEITNER ACS ROOF & GearPOD ROOF Premium Platform Rack with Integrated Storage Boxes
Source: Leitner Designs