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Source for a good cargo barrier/wall/divider/net?

903 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  BillG
I knew we were going to fill the van to capacity this past weekend for a big camping trip, and didn’t want the kids getting buried in gear, so I put in a piece of plywood that usually lives in the back of my old land cruiser. It fit great and I just wedged it against the back of the 2nd row seats and piled the gear in. There was a chair bag under the left side to level it out better.

Does anyone have a good source for a divider that’s easier to stow?! I’ve seen some cargo net style ones, as well as the metal dog barriers. Generally we’d have the 3rd row stowed and fill the back so being able to mount it behind the 2nd row is ideal.
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Cargo netting would probably be much, much more secure than a sheet of plywood. As long as the attachment points hold fast, netting like that typically has a break strength around 900 lbs. of force. With factors of safety (under-estimating the official rating), it probably wouldn't break at less than 1500 lbs. of force. That said, if you're looking at spending that kind of money, I'd probably look into a roof box, hitch box (and hitch, if you don't have one), or even a tow-behind trailer.
And a 50 lb suitcase, in a 60 MPH frontal car crash into a solid object where the vehicle stopped in 3 feet (my guess from the front end crumpling), would exert over an average of 2000 lbs of force on whatever it was pressing against during the crash.

Obviously, this would be a very extreme example, but if you're talking about securing objects during a crash, it's going to be hard to next to impossible to do this in a way that covers all potential crashes.

That said, a lot of solutions are better than nothing at all. And crashes like this are rare. At a minimum you want something that can secure the cargo under, say, 1 g of force, which may happen during emergency breaking events.
First, I love the science-based approach to this. Second, I think the most critical design element isn't to stop all motion (i.e. secure loads), as much as preventing load shift from a stored position into a position of injury and/or death plus preventing them from turning mild accident into major one. I've made more than a few trips to the lumber store and had long boards extending into the front passenger compartment. A high-speed stop, even without an accident, could send an unsecured board through the front window and even into a vehicle (or pedestrian) in front of the van. In my case, I live about 1.5 miles away from the lumber store and can keep my speeds low and safe. In a highway/road trip/camping situation, the "smalls" on top of the pile could easily go flying forward. In the case of my above comment, I was saying that the net is probably superior to the plywood. Effectively, the plywood is supported on one edge. In the "something is better than nothing" approach, it will certainly stop low-mass unsecured items from flying forward past the board. Anything heavier could result in broken plywood, causing head/neck injuries for rear passengers and potentially creating an entrapment hazard. I think the risk is exceedingly low. However, a purpose-made commercial/industrial grade product, specifically designed for the purpose, has to be far superior.
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