4runner roof racks

The Best 4Runner Roof Rack

Toyota’s 4Runner has been around for quite a while. The Japanese automaker introduced this body-on-frame SUV way back in 1984. The 4Runner roof rack is designed for practicality, toughness, and adventure.

But for most people, the only adventure their 4Runners and other SUVs see is that grueling trip down the freeway, through the tunnels, and over the bridges. A brief stop at the MacDonald’s drive-thru, arriving at a vast paint-striped asphalt plain that sits at the foothills of a majestic place called “Work.”

However, the 4Runner roof rack can reveal its rugged, off-road personality when work can be set aside.

Our Pick!

Arksen Universal Roof Rack

The 64-inch Arksen universal roof rack is a top choice for 4runner roof racks. It is practical, functional, and does what it needs to. Its sturdy steel frame offers much versatility in cargo types, with its carrying capacity of 150 pounds.

  • Best Overall 4Runner Roof Rack Arksen Universal Roof Rack
  • This rack is designed to fit most vehicles with a crossbar spread between 24-1/2″ to 43-1/4″. The rack is made of heavy-duty steel with a black powder finish to provide superior corrosion resistance. The rack has four mounting brackets for easy installation, and the adjustable footpads ensure a secure fit. The rack can accommodate up to 150 lbs of cargo to transport. The Arksen Universal Roof Rack is a great way to expand your storage options and make the most of your vehicle’s roof space at a reasonable price.
  • Best Budget 4Runner Roof Rack – Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack
  • At $123, the Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack is the best budget 4Runner roof rack because it is strong, reliable, and designed to fit perfectly on your 4Runner. The Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack is constructed from high-grade steel, which offers superior strength and durability compared to other roof racks.
  • Most Rugged 4Runner Roof Rack – Tyger Auto Roof Rack
  • The Tyger Auto Roof Rack is the most rugged 4runner roof rack because it is made from heavy-duty, powder-coated steel that can withstand the elements. The rack is designed to fit snugly on top of your 4runner, and the crossbars have a weight capacity of up to 150 lbs. The rack is designed with a sleek, aerodynamic look that will make your 4runner look stylish while providing the most rugged and reliable roof rack available.
  • Best Compact 4Runner Roof Rack – N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack
  • The N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack is the most rugged 4runner roof rack due to its durability and strength. It is made from heavy-duty steel tubing and is powder-coated in a textured black finish that is corrosion and rust-resistant. The T102MRF is designed to fit 4runner models from 2010-2021 and is engineered to be a direct fit. It has a maximum weight capacity of 150 lbs and can carry multiple items simultaneously.
  • Best Heavy-Duty 4Runner Roof Rack – 7BLACKSMITHS Universal Roof Rack

A Brief Look at the Different 4Runner Generations

The Toyota 4Runner has been a prevalent choice of offroad vehicle for many, many years. As time passed, Toyota updated the vehicle’s features and specs to refer to it in generations rather than year models.

First Generation (1984 – 1989)

The first generation of 4Runners has very little resemblance to today’s vehicles. These looked more like trucks, rugged in appearance, and primarily used as utility vehicles. They offered little luxuries and were made with practicality rather than comfort.

Second Generation (1990- 1995)

The 2nd gen 4Runners offered much more power than the first generation. The engine has been upgraded to a 150hp V6, and its appearance resembles what we have in mind when we think of the modern-day 4Runner.

Third Generation (1996 – 2002)

With a more solid build and increased horsepower, the 3rd gen 4Runners is considered the start of the modern Toyota 4Runners, and most roof racks are made to fit this generation forward.

Fourth Generation (2003 – 2009)

This V8 4Runner is considered by many as the less successful generation. It was initially released at the beginning of the Great Recession, leading to new owners having trouble coping with the increased fuel prices, which was a hard pill to swallow. This generation resembles a safari vehicle, which wasn’t that much of a hit with consumers.

Fifth Generation (2010 – Present)

The 5th gen 4Runner comes off-road ready, with everything you need for a rugged experience. This vehicle looks spectacular and impressive and has been a popular choice of SUVs for many years.

The Arksen Universal Roof Rack Is the Overall Top Choice

The 64-inch Arksen universal roof rack is overall my top choice when it comes to 4runner roof racks. The reason is that it fulfills all the necessary and practical functions expected of a roof rack, while its construction is of high quality and its pricing is palatable.

1. Arksen Universal Roof Rack

Arksen universal roof rack for Toyota  4runner

Load Capacity:
150-Pounds

Material:
Alloy Steel

Item Dimensions:
64 x 39 x 6 Inches

Folding:
No


The Arksen universal roof rack has a basket-style construction. This style is popular as the basket rails work as an encasing around the cargo, offering more stability and security. The basket is made from steel, which is perfect for transporting heavy cargo. Its capacity is 150 pounds, which is average for most roof racks. The steel frame is coated with a black powder coating, helping to prevent corrosion due to exposure to environmental factors. However, it rusts after long-term exposure, so I suggest spraying it with a rust-prevention spray as part of your maintenance plan. The assembly of this rood rack is very straightforward, as the different sections slip into each other and are held together with clips.

In terms of versatility, the Arsken is an excellent fit for a Toyota 4runner roof rack as the basket can be used with other brackets, meaning you can load luggage, fishing gear, and kayaks without needing separate mounting parts for each. This basket is compatible with vehicles with mounting rails and cross bars.

When on the road, this rack has a design edge over other competitors as it has a steel wind fairing at the front. This not only helps with aerodynamics but dramatically reduces wind noise as well.

This basket is sizeable enough to accommodate most luggage and sporting and outdoor gear requirements. The biggest drawback may be if you’re looking for something with lower side rails with a maximum weight capacity of over 150 pounds. Apart from that, the Arksen is a great 4runner roof rack. It looks good and gets the job done at a very reasonable price.

Liked

  • Lightweight
  • Many anchor points
  • 150-Pound weight capacity

Disliked

  • Not fully rust-proof

The Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack Is a Good Budget Option

If you’re looking for a perfect fit for your 4runner that will be gentle on your budget, look no further than the Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack. These cross bars are one of the most affordable roof-mounted storage accessories for a 4runner.

2. Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack

Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack

Load Capacity:
132-Pounds

Material:
Alloy Steel

Item Dimensions:
‎42.9 x 8 x 6.3 Inches

Folding:
No


What you get for your money is a pair of sturdy, non-aftermarket crossbars (OEM parts) designed to be fitted to the roof rails of the Toyota 4Runner. This is a 5th gen 4runner roof rack for year models 2010 to 2022 with a weight capacity of 132 pounds.

Installation is easy, though some care and attention are required. The crossbars slide into the slots located in the rails. After correctly placing the bars in the slots, you can position them along your 4Runner’s side rails. Once placed, the bars lock with thumbscrews.

Physically, this roof rack has a slight drawback because the cross bars end that clips onto the 4Runner’s side rails and tightening mechanisms are made of plastic. The plastic seems strong, but this questions the long-term durability of the clips, but since this is our budget-friendly winner, we should be realistic in our expectations. As far as security is concerned, this is also somewhat lacking, with no locking mechanism on the Toyota 4runner roof rack.

You get tremendous utility from these bars. They are well worth their price, sturdy and practical, with minimal work needed to install them. The cross bars have a slightly curved design, meaning loading cargo that needs a flat mounting surface might not feel as secure on the bars. However, their design does help to lessen wind noise.

Liked

  • Easy installation
  • Affordable
  • Perfectly fits 5th generation Toyota 4Runners

Disliked

  • Plastic ends on crossbars
  • No locking mechanism

For the Most Rugged Look, Get the Tyger Auto Roof Rack

There is nothing flimsy about this roof rack from Tyger Auto. Its large basket design and heavy-duty 1.5-inch steel framing make this the perfect roof rack for rugged, offroading adventures in your Toyota 4Runner.

3. Tyger Auto Roof Rack

Tyger Auto Roof Rack

Load Capacity:
150-Pounds

Material:
Alloy Steel

Item Dimensions:
47.3 x 36.6 x 5.9 Inches

Folding:
No


Tyger Auto knew that if they wanted to cater to the 4Runner community, they would have to come up with something that would fit the image, and they have not disappointed. This heavy-duty basket-style roof rack is exactly what you want if you’re a regular outdoorsman and camper. The steel tube frame has a black E-coating that makes it impervious to rust, which is exactly what is needed to protect it against long-term exposure to wet environments. The rack’s design provides ample attachment space for cargo straps and nets.

Installation is quick and easy, taking about 30 minutes. This rack would be compatible with 3rd-gen Toyota 4Runners, 4th-gen, and 5th-gen 4Runners.

One thing that I appreciated is that manufacturers take the time to remedy wind fairing issues. Tyger Auto has designed this rack with wind fairing to help reduce wind noise and drag while traveling. However, please do not expect any wind noise as it does have a slight whistle when driving. Also, be aware when installing the wind fairing plexiglass. It is not difficult to crack the plexiglass when tightening the screws to use a Loctite and assemble it with a gentle hand.

Overall this rack is a great quality roof rack for your 4runner. It looks fantastic and feels rock-solid when mounted. The only precautionary advice I would give is to add another E-coating layer for additional rust protection, as one layer feels too thin. This is the perfect option for someone that needs a roof rack that can handle going off the beaten path.

Liked

  • Easy to install
  • Rugged in appearance
  • Thick steel tube framing

Disliked

  • Can rust easily

The Best Compact 4runner Roof Rack Is the N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack

If a smaller, compact 4Runner roof rack is what you’re looking for, then the N-Fab T102MRF roof rack is perfect. This modular roof rack has dimensions of 21 x 21 x 12 inches and is made from lightweight aluminum but can carry a cargo of up to 150 pounds.

4. N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack

n-FAB T102MRF Roof Rack

Load Capacity:
150-Ponds

Material:
Aluminum

Item Dimensions:
21 x 21 x 12 Inches

Folding:
No


The N-FAB roof rack has a sleek, aerodynamic design. Its aluminum construction makes for a lightweight rack but is still durable enough to handle heavy loads and long-term exposure to harsh environmental elements. It is designed with a wind fairing flap to minimize wind noise while driving at high speeds.

Additionally, the N-FAB is equipped with a bunch of front and rear mounting locations for LED lights. This feature I especially like due to the added safety and visibility benefits. As with most roof racks, this rack also has a black powder coating finish, using N-FAB’s 3-stage powder coating system to limit the chances of rust.

Installing this roof rack onto your 4Runner is easy due to its simple bolt-on design that requires no drilling. Just mount the bolts in the correct order; otherwise, they will not fit properly. Although the rack isn’t heavy to lift, it does feel a little bit awkward, so I would suggest getting someone to assist with this, to be on the safe side and avoid scratching your 4Runner’s roof.

When the cargo was loaded onto the rack, it supported the weight well, although I could see some support brackets bending downwards slightly. This isn’t any reason to doubt the rack’s capabilities, but I suggest not pushing it past its limits.

The rack does create a small amount of wind resistance, so having the wind fairing slightly more angled would’ve been better in terms of wind noise. Overall, this rack is compact, sleek, and functional. It’s not as rugged in appearance as some of its counterparts, but it can still hold its own in terms of weight capacity and durability.

Liked

  • Light-weight Aluminum construction
  • Easy installation
  • Front and rear mounting locations for LED lights

Disliked

  • Support brackets bend slightly
  • Assistance might be needed to mount the rack to the roof

7BLACKSMITHS’ Universal Roof Rack Is a Great Heavy-Duty Option for Your 4Runner

Most roof racks have an average weight limit of 150 pounds, but if you’re looking for something with a little more backbone for your 4Runner, then this universal roof rack basket by 7Blacksmiths is your answer. With a weight capacity of 250 pounds, it can support a 100-pounds more than most of its competitors while offering durability and cargo security.

5. 7Blacksmiths Universal Roof Rack

universal roof rack basket by 7Blacksmiths

Load Capacity:
250-Pounds

Material:
Alloy Steel

Item Dimensions:
43 x 39 x 6 Inches

Folding:
No


This 4runner rook rack is constructed from heavy-duty metal bars, side rails, and a steel wind fairing plate. The entire rack has a black powder-coated finish. I suggest you use silicone sealant on all joints and welds while assembling this roof rack. This is just an added precautionary measure to help avoid rusting issues.

The major factor that sets this basket-style roof rack apart from other Toyota 4Runner roof racks is that it can support a cargo weight of up to 250 pounds. Assembling the cargo basket is easy, and the mounting can be adjusted to fit your 4runner with the help of U-bolts.

Although this basket’s weight capacity is impressive, one thing that I would change is to have a rubberized coating on the rack to avoid scratches and damage from loading and unloading cargo or equipment.

7Blacksmiths has provided a strong, heavy-duty 4Runner roof rack that can support an above-average weight capacity compared to other roof racks. Its strong construction and ease of assembly are two more factors that make this rack a great consideration, especially for its price tag.

Liked

  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Adjustable dimensions
  • Fantastic weight-carrying capacity

Disliked

  • Require seal for weld mounting

Roof Rack Types

Like the Toyota 4Runner, Suv’s can accommodate various roof racks and cargo carriers. Each depends on your transportation needs and has its pros and cons.

Crossbars

Crossbars are the starting point for rooftop storage if your SUV doesn’t have a built-in roof rack. Crossbars run across your vehicle’s roof from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side to create mounting points for your other rooftop accessories, such as cargo car top carriers, kayaks, etc. The crossbars also can be mounted to your vehicle’s existing roof rails.

Roof Rack

A roof rack is a series of crossbars mounted to your vehicle. You can use a cargo net or tie-downs to secure items to the rack. Some racks have bolt-on hardware to hold bikes, kayaks, and other cargo to the rack, with no tie-downs or nets, needed.

Roof Cargo Basket

Roof cargo baskets are similar to roof racks but have a box-like frame or side rails to provide extra reinforcement for your cargo and luggage. They are usually large, strong, and ruggedly built and offer a wider range of storage possibilities.

Roof Cargo Boxes

These spacious and stylish cargo boxes are usually large, hard-shell plastic boxes ranging from about nine cubic feet to 22 cubic feet. They are lockable and often feature an aerodynamic design to help keep fuel efficiency and wind noise down.

Roof Cargo Bags

The roof cargo bag is a fine alternative to the heavier and hard plastic cargo box. You still have the large storage compartment, able to hold whatever you wish to pack into it, but in a much lighter, foldable, and easy-to-stash-away container.

Most of these bags are made from waterproof vinyl or nylon to protect your gear against the elements. You can use many types of cargo bags without having a roof rack or base rack system in place. They come with straps that can be looped through the side windows of your vehicle or hooked onto the doorframe.

Kayak Roof Racks

There is an incredible variety of kayak carriers, with designs that range from simple cushioning pads to complicated mechanisms that feature saddles, cradle arms, hooks, and elaborate tie-downs. These systems include rollers or lifters to help get your watercraft into position.

What to Look for When Buying a 4RUNNER Roof Rack – A Buyer’s Guide

Roof racks are an excellent solution if you need extra storage space. However, before buying a Toyota 4runner roof rack, you should consider a few key considerations.

Fit

Of course, one of the most important considerations should be whether or not the roof rack will fit your 4runner. Not all racks fit all generations, so determine what rack would be a good fit before buying.

Cost

Considering how much you want to spend on a roof rack, the cost is always a deciding factor. There are quite a few things that determine the cost of roof racks, but they usually start at an average price of $150 and then go up to $600.

Weight Capacity

What you plan to transport on your roof rack and how much it weighs should also be considered.

Durability

Roof racks should be solid enough to withstand a lot of different pressures. This can be from frequent use, heavy loads, adverse weather conditions, and general wear and tear. Invest in a rack that looks good on your 4runner and is durable enough to do the heavy lifting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Weight Can a 4Runner Roof Rack Hold?

The maximum capacity recommended by Toyota for a 4runner roof rack is 165 pounds.

What Is the Difference Between Roof Rails and Roof Racks?

Roof rails are pre-installed with the car, whereas roof racks or crossbars are added separately.

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