We install a Rhino-Rack roof rack and Yakima awning onto the roof of my Mitsubishi Delica L400 campervan to protect us from Pacific Northwest wetness.
Roof Rack & Awning
After the interior build, a roof rack was next on my list of priorities. Not only does it enable me to carry my sea kayak, canoe, bicycle, skies, and a gear box for wet packrafting gear, I also intent to mount an awning, solar cells and likely propane and jerry cans for extra fuel.
However, finding a rack manufacture who will commit to fitting to an old JDM Delica was a bit of a journey. The usual suspects Yakima and Thule don’t include the Delica in their “Fit my vehicle” guides. Thule used to offer a rack system for Delica, but a customer service representative told me they were obsoleted long ago.
Happily, Rhino-Rack’s “Fit my vehicle” website helped me kit out a set of parts for my 1995 Mitsubishi Delica L400 High Roof. And it even came with installation instructions specific to the Delica, including advice on how to remove the plastic rain gutters, which I dutifully did. Rhino-Rack is a popular Australian roof rack company, but you can buy directly from their website or from Amazon here in the USA.
I need to drive under an 87 inch high trellis to park my van. The top of my roof rack is 86 inches. So nothing can go on top of my roof rack until I move the van from its parking spot.
This means I’ll need to side-mount my awning (which I don’t want to have to install/remove for each trip). Unfortunately, this also rules out the latest 270 degree swinging awnings.
So I chose the 8 foot Yakima SlimShady and mounted it to the side of the roof rack using a Yakima Mounting Bracket. The Yakima SlimShade is also available in a 6.5 foot version if you think the 8 footer is a bit overkill.
My first use of the Yakima awning was on a camping trip to the rain forests of Olympic National Park. If found that the outer edge of the awning needed to be lowered to about 4-1/2 feet off the ground to keep rainwater draining off the awning. Unfortunately, this only makes it possible to walk upright under only about half the awning.
Quick-Deploy Mini-Awning for Side Slider Door
One of the down-sides of a side-mount awning, is that it leaves a gap between the awning and the roof of the van through which rain can still fall into the van slider door opening. I had already planned to build a small “quick deploy” awning that could be set up in under 1 minute. This would be used in times when I didn’t want to take the time to set up the full-size awning, and so this “quick deploy” awning option still seemed like a good idea.
I purchased some D40 ripstop nylon, cut it into a 33 X 72 inch panel and sewed sleeves in both ends to receive sections of old tent poles from a decommissioned backpacking tent. I then attached short sections of aluminum tubes (16mm ID) to the roof rack with 3 inch hose clamps to receive the ends of these tent poles (15mm OD), thus suspending the mini-awning over the van’s side slider door opening.
More on Delica Campervan Conversion
See more posts on my Mitsubishi Delica camper van conversion
Delica L400 Campervan Conversion
My reasoning for choosing the Mitsubishi Delica L400 for my campervan conversion.
Details the layout and build of the campervan interior, including seating, sleeping platform, general storage, secure storage for photography equipment and swing-arm mounted table.
We make custom bug nets to cover the camper van’s pop-out side windows for both insect and rain protection, with easy magnetic attachment to the van.
Campervan Ventilation & Heater
This post covers development of a custom ventilation fan and use of hcalory portable diesel heater to keep the van well ventilated and dry, thus protecting it from moisture, mold and mildew.
We make a custom rubber floor mat to protect our van’s floor from the Pacific Northwest’s rain, mud and snow.
We finally get to test out the camper van conversion on its first camping trip in Olympic National Park to photograph the rainforest and wildlife.