Review: (EO)2 Fastener - Final Review
In my initial review of the (EO)2 Fastener (found by clicking here) I talked about how excited I was to find the mounting system and all of the possibilities I had thought about for using the bottom and top rails. By mounting a set of bottom rails to our Subaru, 4Runner, and Land Cruiser, I could easily move equipment from one vehicle to another or keep it stored, out of the way, on a set of rails in the garage. So after testing the system out over the last few months, which included a few road trips, am I still in love with the system or is the 'honeymoon phase' over?
(EO)2 Fastener was kind enough to loan a 32" bottom rail, SnapPak backpack, and SnapTopCarrier Case for our testing. They also supplied us with a mounting kit that can accommodate both Thule and Yakima cross-bars. These worked great for mounting the bottom rail to the roof basket on our 4Runner, with the help of some wraps of a bicycle inner-tube to make up the difference in diameter for our 1" cross bars. (EO)2 does not supply a means of mounting the bottom rail to OEM cross bars so I improvised with the installation on our Subaru Outback. I wrapped the cross bars with metal pipe-hanger straps and then slid the supplied carriage bolts through the ends. The setup worked well, and never budged during our travels.
I know some of you are thinking, "Why not just strap your gear to the roof?" I can tell you that having to mess with straps gets really old, especially when you have to loosen a strap to get access to gear stored in the cases. Think about how much time you fiddle with ratchet straps each day. Now multiply that for the numbers of days you tend to take off for each trip and then again for the number of trips you take each year. You can see how this really adds up. Now, lets look at how our gear is store when it is not being used. Shelves are filled with gear, but those shelves don't really fit every size of tote you use, so you end up with stuff on the floor. What if you could just click your equipment to the wall in your garage/basement? What if you could click your equipment to the ceiling in your garage/basement?
|All loaded up to teach cooking classes at Overland Expo|
|Exploring near Bluff, UT|
Even after two months of testing, I am still very pleased with the mounting system's performance. It has lived up to it's claim of being a versatile way of securing your gear. I never encountered any issues with the top or bottom rails in our travels. The (EO)2 SnapTopCarrier Case stayed in place during our travels and I was confident enough in the case's rail lock to leave it on the car when we left the car unattended. If I were to leave the vehicle unattended for long periods of time, I would replace the bottom rail mounting wing nuts with a tamper-resistant nut.
|(EO)2 SnapTopCarrier Case holding a D300s/80-200mm f2.8 and D700/28-70mm f2.8|
|The top of my D300s peaking above the lip of the (EO)2 SnapTopCarrier Case|
So what would I change? I think I would try to figure out a way to replace our 4Runner and Subaru's factory cross-bars with two, or three, bottom mounting rails. Doing so would reduce the complexity of the setup and lower the overall profile of the roof load. Also, I don't think I am sold on the SnapTopCarrier Case. Smaller than a Pelican 1520, the SnapTopCarrier Case is only big enough to hold my two camera bodies and two lenses, but not much more. I think I would bypass the (EO)2 Fastener case and purchase a Pelican 1520, or iM2450 Storm Case, and a SnapTop Rail. Plus, I would still have enough money left over to buy a TrekPak insert!
I stand by my initial thoughts about the (EO)2 Fastener mounting system. The only real problem I see is trying to save up my money to outfit our vehicles with bottom rails. I still believe the mounting system would be a big help when configuring the vehicles for trips. Not only can I configure the roof with fuel can holders and hard-cases, full of camping gear, but I can see this being handy for my yearly winter photography excursions into Yellowstone National Park. I can leave a pelican case full of camera equipment on the roof of my car as we travel (keeping the cameras/lenses acclimated!!) and then easily detach the case if I need to bring things indoors.
I would recommend the (EO)2 Fastener mounting system to anyone looking for a quick and easy way to configure, reconfigure, and store equipment. Best of all, the (EO)2 Fastener products are made here in the United States and the company's owner has been one of the best people I have worked with on a review. These guys really have a heart for innovation, saw a need, and made an amazing product.
Look for our (EO)2 Fastener SnapPak Backpack review in the coming weeks.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was loaned the equipment used in this review from (EO)2 Fastener in consideration for review publication.