If you need to pack extra gear in your 4WD, a roof rack is almost a necessity especially if you’re a family on the road. The problem is the gear stored up there is largely out of sight and out of mind. If you want to keep an eye on your gear stored on the roof to ensure it is safe and secure as you travel, you will want to get a Cargo Watchdog.
How many times have you heard about someone losing items stored on their roof rack? It actually happens more often than you would imagine. We have certainly come across it on a few occasions. The fact is, the stuff that is stored on the roof rack is completely out of sight when you’re driving your vehicle. You would never have any idea if the load has shifted or if the tie-downs have come loose. It can be quite dangerous.
This week, I was contacted by Chris Paver from Cargo Watchdog. He manufacturers a curious product that may well solve the problems with not seeing the stuff stored on roof racks.
Cargo Watchdog is a small convex mirror that attaches to the bonnet of your car using three large suction cups. You position the mirror in such a way that you can see the roof rack and the gear on it through the mirror.
At first, I wasn’t completely sure such a device would be of much value. Then again, I don’t travel with a roof rack. On the other hand, my father in law does travel with a roof rack and, when I mentioned it to him, he was quite enthusiastic about the product. So I got Chris to send me one to try out.
The Cargo Watchdog website lists the following as the product’s key features:
✓ Never before seen view of precious cargo on the roof of the vehicle while in motion
✓ Peace of mind knowing everything is secure while in transport
✓ Allows faster response times by providing vision of loose material / cargo
✓ The tripod suction system gives extra strength and reliability for longer travels.
✓ Suction system gives added suction for freeway driving
✓ Aerodynamic mirror guard helps to stabilise the mirror during transit
First impressions after opening the box are that this is a high-quality product. It is very well made and feels quite sturdy. The ‘Railblazer’ locking system holds the mirror into the base unit that uses three large suction pads to secure the mirror to the bonnet of the car. I attached it to the bonnet of my father in law’s 60 series Landcruiser and found it held in place extremely well. Even after a drive into a pretty strong headwind, the Cargo Watchdog remained steady and in place. You wouldn’t have to worry about it coming loose while on the road.
As Chris explained to me, “as a carpenter I’ve always tried my very best to get the best quality out of myself. As a person who offers a service I’ve taken the same mindset in to creating this product”.
Chris advised me the best position for the mirror is towards the front of the bonnet where it gives the best vision of what’s on the roof rack. The old 60 has a rather large monitor for the rearview camera system mounted on the dashboard which blocked my vision of this area of the bonnet. I installed it a little further towards the windscreen and still found I still had good visibility of the roof rack. Adjusting the angle of the mirror is easy. You just push the corners of the mirror to move it within the holder to achieve the perfect view.
Once installed I put some gear on the roof rack and went for a test drive. To my amazement, I actually found myself glancing at the mirror just as I would any of the other mirrors on the car. It really is quite intuitive to use without being a distraction.
The low profile also means it doesn’t obstruct your view of the road ahead so there’s no legal issues using the Cargo Watchdog.
If you want to park your car but don’t want to leave the mirror out for anyone to pinch, the ‘Railblazer’ lock holding the mirror to the mounting allows you to easily remove the mirror itself leaving the base in situ. Since the base is tailored made for the mirror, it is pretty much useless to anyone else.
To remove the Cargo Watchdog completely, you simply unlock the suction cups in a similar way to removing a windscreen mounted phone holder. Once you separate the mirror from the base, the suction cups can fold back onto the base making storage easy.
In my opinion, the Cargo Watchdog is a very clever solution to a potentially dangerous problem. Whether you are a caravanner, a 4WDer or even a tradie, if you have a roof rack and you use it to store stuff, this is a product you should definitely consider. The fact Cargo Watchdog is an Australian owned small business adds to the appeal.
Cargo Watchdog sells for just $79.95 including free shipping. I reckon that’s a pretty good deal.
For more information and to purchase one for yourself visit www.cargowatchdog.com.au