Editor’s Note – This list of the best 4Runner roof racks was updated on February 23, 2023, to add newly listed products and improve content relevance and usefulness.
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.
However, when work can be set aside, the 4Runner roof rack can reveal its rugged, off-road personality.
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.
Rackmaven may earn a small commission should you purchase a product through one of our affiliate links.
A Brief Look at the Different 4Runner Generations
The Toyota 4Runner has been a prevalent choice of offroad vehicle for 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. It fulfills all the necessary and practical functions expected of a roof rack, while its construction is high quality and its pricing is palatable.
1. Arksen Universal Roof Rack
64 x 39 x 6 Inches
The Arksen universal roof rack is constructed in a basket style, a popular choice due to the rails that act as a barrier around the cargo, providing extra stability and security. The basket is manufactured from steel, making it an ideal option for carrying heavier items. With a capacity of 150 pounds, this roof rack is average compared to similar models.
A black powder coating is applied to protect the steel frame from potential corrosion caused by environmental factors. Despite this, prolonged exposure to the elements can still cause it to rust, so I recommend incorporating a rust-prevention spray into your maintenance routine to ensure its longevity. A steel wind fairing is installed on each rack to protect cargo from wind damage and reduce noise.
The assembly of this roof rack is quite simple, as the sections can be effortlessly inserted together and securely held in place with clips. Installing this roof rack on most vehicles is easy, as it uses universal mounting hardware. It took me approximately 45 to 60 minutes to assemble the roof rack.
Once all components are assembled, and the side farings are ready to be fitted onto the joints, start by threading the bottom screw first, then pivot the faring up until it clicks over the top rail, followed by threading the top screw. Once both screws are in, tighten them to complete the process.
The Toyota 4runner roof rack is an ideal choice for versatility due to the Arsken basket. This basket is compatible with various brackets, allowing you to transport luggage, fishing gear, and kayaks without additional mounting components. Furthermore, it is compatible with vehicles that have mounting rails and cross bars.
Suppose you’re looking for a basket with lower-side rails and a maximum weight capacity of over 150 pounds. This basket may not be the best option, as it is sizeable enough to accommodate most luggage and sporting and outdoor gear requirements.
I am highly satisfied with this product, and the unbeatable price makes it a great deal!
The Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack Is a Good Budget Option
If you want an economical option for a roof rack for your 4Runner, the Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack is the perfect fit. This crossbar is among the most budget-friendly roof-mounted storage accessories for your 4Runner; with a price tag of $120, it’s a great pick for those looking for functionality, practicality, and value for money.
2. Genuine Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack
42.9 x 8 x 6.3 Inches
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.
Although the plastic of the cross bars and tightening mechanisms on this roof rack appears strong, this may question its long-term durability. Since it is our budget-friendly winner, we must be realistic in our expectations. Additionally, it lacks a locking mechanism, making it somewhat insecure regarding theft prevention.
The cross bars of these bars have a slightly curved design, which may make loading cargo that needs a flat mounting surface feel less secure. Despite this, their design does help to lessen wind noise, and for their price, these bars provide tremendous utility; they are sturdy and practical and require minimal work to install.
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
47.3 x 36.6 x 5.9 Inches
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 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.
Wind Fairing Feature
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, it does have a slight whistle when driving.
When installing the wind fairing plexiglass, take caution as it can easily crack if the screws are tightened too tightly. To avoid this, use Loctite and assemble the plexiglass with a gentle touch.
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.
The Best Compact 4runner Roof Rack Is the N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack
The N-Fab T102MRF roof rack is ideal if you require a smaller, more compact 4Runner roof rack. Constructed from lightweight aluminum, this modular roof rack can support up to 150 pounds of cargo.
4. N-Fab T102MRF Roof Rack
21 x 21 x 12 Inches
The N-FAB roof rack has a sleek, aerodynamic design. It’s 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.
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.
Any Safety Features?
I especially like the fact that the N-FAB has a variety of front and rear mounting locations for LED lights, as it provides added safety and visibility.
It is simple to install this roof rack onto your 4Runner, as it has a bolt-on design that does not require drilling. Make sure to mount the bolts in the correct order, or else they won’t fit correctly. While the rack isn’t too heavy to lift, it can be somewhat awkward, so I recommend having someone help you with this to ensure you don’t damage your 4Runner’s roof.
Despite the slight bending of some of the support brackets when the cargo was loaded onto the rack, I do not believe this is a cause for concern regarding the rack’s ability to support the weight. However, I recommend that it not be pushed beyond its limits.
It would have been better for wind noise if the wind fairing had been slightly more angled due to the small amount of wind resistance created by the rack.
This rack is quite compact and sleek yet still capable of holding significant weight and providing long-term durability. Although it may not have the rugged appearance of some other models, it is still very functional.
7BLACKSMITHS’ Universal Roof Rack Is a Great Heavy-Duty Option for Your 4Runner
If you need a roof rack with extra durability and cargo security for your 4Runner, then the universal roof rack basket by 7Blacksmiths is your best bet. With a weight capacity of 250 pounds, it can support 100 pounds more than the average roof rack, which typically has a weight limit of 150 pounds.
5. 7Blacksmiths Universal Roof Rack
43 x 39 x 6 Inches
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.
Heavy-Weight Carrying Capacity
This Toyota 4Runner roof rack stands out because it supports up to 250 pounds of cargo, making it ideal for heavier items. Furthermore, it is easy to assemble and can be adjusted to fit your 4Runner with the help of U-bolts.
I would change one thing about this basket, which is its impressive weight capacity, by adding a rubberized coating on the rack to prevent scratches and damage when loading and unloading cargo or equipment.
The 7Blacksmiths 4Runner roof rack is a great consideration due to its strong construction, ease of assembly, and an above-average weight capacity of 250 lbs compared to other roof racks, all for an affordable price.
What Are the Different 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 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.
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 reinforce your cargo and luggage. They are usually large, strong, and ruggedly built, offering 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, 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.
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.
Considering how much you want to spend on a roof rack, the cost is always a deciding factor. Quite a few things determine the cost of roof racks, but they usually start at an average price of $150 and then go up to $600.
What you plan to transport on your roof rack and how much it weighs should also be considered.
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.
How Do I Protect and Maintain My 4Runner Roof Rack?
Roof racks are a great way to add storage and convenience to your 4Runner, but they require proper installation and maintenance to ensure they stay in good condition.
First and foremost, choosing the right roof rack for your vehicle is important. Different 4Runners have different roof shapes, so choosing a rack designed to fit your specific model is important. Once you’ve chosen the right rack, it’s time to begin the installation process.
The installation process varies depending on the type of rack you choose, but generally, it involves attaching the rack to the vehicle’s roof with bolts or screws. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing the rack to ensure it is secured properly and will not come loose.
Once the rack is installed, it’s important to maintain it regularly. This involves cleaning it regularly and checking for signs of wear and tear, such as rust or corrosion. It’s also important to periodically check the mounting hardware to ensure it is secure. If you notice any signs of wear or damage, replacing the hardware as soon as possible is important.
Finally, keeping an eye on the rack is important to ensure it is properly secured. If you notice any signs of movement or shifting, taking the necessary steps to secure it again is important. This may involve tightening the hardware or adding additional clamps or straps.
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.
What Type of Roof Racks Fit on a 4Runner?
Several types of roof racks fit on a 4Runner. Popular brands include Thule, Yakima, Rhino-Rack, and Prorack. Each brand offers various styles and sizes depending on your vehicle type and the load you plan to transport.
Timo is an outdoor enthusiast and gear specialist who is constantly exploring. As an avid hiker, he has completed the ADK 46ers, South Beyond 6000, GA4000, and the Colorado 14ers. He's ice climbed Mt. Hood, hiked up half a dozen mountains in the Alps, and spent three consecutive summers constructing a sustainable trail through the Colorado high country.