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  • Carry ALL Your Extra Gear with a 4Runner Roof Rack

    by Ryan Horton January 10, 2024 11 min read

    The Toyota 4Runner is an ultra-capable rig for fun and play and sports an impressive amount of room. But with a family of four or some friends in tow, the amount of extra room in a 4Runner is quickly diminished. This is even more true for those who embark on a multi-day overland trip in their 4Runner and need the room for recovery gear, coolers, and other necessary belongings. One way to quickly add carrying capacity to your 4Runner is with a 4Runner roof rack.

    4Runner roof racks come in different configurations such as a full-length non-drill rack and even a half-length roof rack. However, with so many 4Runner roof racks out there and everyone's needs being slightly different, how do you know what the best 4Runner roof rack is? In this article, we will explore why a roof rack is a great option for 4Runner owners to quickly increase their rigs carrying capacity and functionality and will also give you our top picks and why they stand out from the competition.

    Key Takeaways

    • A 4Runner roof rack is a proven way to increase your vehicle's carry capacity and allows for seamless options for mounting accessories including a roof top tent.
    • Today's roof racks are constructed out of lightweight aluminum and have extremely impressive weight ratings.
    • Most 4Runner roof racks feature a non-drill installation that can be completed in 2-3 hours with basic hand tools.

    What is a 4Runner Roof Rack?

    A 4Runner roof rack is a roof-mounted rack designed to hold accessories, luggage, and more. 4Runner racks can even support a roof top tent. Most 4Runnner roof racks feature a modular design and can easily bolt onto your vehicle without the need to customize anything.

    Perfect for a Daily Driver or Adventure Rig

    Roof racks are suitable for a daily driver and those going on multiple-day adventures. Some roof racks are more functional for a daily driver and other roof racks can handle more weight and therefore be more suitable for carrying larger loads such as a roof top tent. Regardless of how you use your 4Runner a roof rack can be in the cards for those looking to maximize space and increase functionality.

    Considerations When Looking for a 4Runner Roof Rack

    Every 4Runner roof rack is different. The most obvious difference with roof racks is the length. Many are full-length meaning they run from the front to the back of the 4Runner, but there are also half-length and 3/4 length roof racks which might be more suitable for your needs and style.

    Different roof rack manufacturers also offer different accessories which might be a game-changer if you envision needing to carry specific accessories. Additionally, different front wind screens are available on different models which might limit what lights you can mount on one rack vs another. Aside from other minor differences such as appearance, 4Runner roof racks come in different colors. Black powder coat is standard but many manufacturers offer their racks with special powder coat options and even color match colors to match the color of your 4Runner.

    4Runner Racks - Lightweight and Ultra-Strong Design

    A majority of 4Runner racks feature a lightweight aluminum design. In total, most full-length racks weigh between 50 and 70 pounds and can hold upwards of 500 pounds without any issues. This makes them a great accessory for the 4Runner.

    Best 4Runner Roof Racks

    There is not one best roof rack out there for the 4Runner since they all have different features that might be more desirable for your specific needs and lifestyles. However, we can certainly help you hone in on some of the top 4Runner roof racks. Below you will find out top picks for 5th Gen 4Runner roof racks. Do you have a 3rd Gen or 4th Gen 4Runner? Don't worry the manufacturers listed below also make equivalent models for other model years and even other vehicles.

    4Runner Roof Rack Specifications:

    Brand Model Price Style Side Plates Cross Bars Weight Rating (Dynamic) Rating (Static) Crossbars Front Fairing Options
    Sherpa The Crestone $1,199.00 Full-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~50 lbs. 300 lbs. 700 lbs. 9 Half-Height (light bar)
    Full-Height (no light bar)
    Sherpa Crestone Sport $949.00 Full-Length 3/16" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~40 lbs. 150 lbs.  400 lbs. 7 Half-Height (light bar)
    Full-Height (no light bar)
    Sherpa The Needle $799.00 Half-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~35 lbs. 200 lbs. 500 lbs. 5 Full-Height (no light bar)
    Prinsu Roof Rack $1,080.00 Full-Length 3/16" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~55 lbs. 600 lbs. 1,000 lbs. 10 Standard (no light bar)
    Cutout (40" light bar)
    Baja Designs LP4 Cutout
    Prinsu Pro Full-Length $1,255.00 Full-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum 70 lbs. 700 lbs. 1,200 lbs. 10 Standard (no light bar)
    Cutout (40" light bar)
    Baja Designs LP4 Cutout
    Prinsu 3/4 Roof Rack $870.00 3/4-Length 3/16" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~40 lbs. 600 lbs. 1,000 lbs. 6 Standard (no light bar)
    Cutout (40" light bar)
    Baja Designs LP4 Cutout
    Leitner Designs Full-Length $1,300.00 Full-Length Proprietary Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~60 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 7 N/A
    Leitner Designs Short-Length $1,300.00 Half-Length Proprietary Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~55 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 6 N/A
    upTOP Overland Alpha $1,628.98 Full-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum <70 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 8 Various
    upTOP Overland Bravo $799.98 Full-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum ~60 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 8 Various
    upTOP Overland Zulu $1,899.00 Full-Length Stainless Steel Extruded Aluminum ~85 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 7 Various
    Westcott Roof Rack $899.00 Full-Length Aluminum Extruded Aluminum 46.7 lbs. See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 8 No Cutout
    Cutout (40-44" light bar)
    Cutout (Ten 4" round lights)
    Cutout (Six 6" round lights)
    Cali Raised LED Economy $899.99 Full-Length 3/16" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum N/A See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 8 No Light Bar
    Cutout (42" or 43" light bar)
    Cali Raised LED Premium $999.99 Full-Length 3/16" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum N/A See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 6 No Light Bar
    Cutout (42" or 43" light bar)
    Backwoods DRIFTR Series $975.00 Full-Length 1/4" Aluminum Extruded Aluminum N/A See Owner Manual See Owner Manual 7 Adjustable

    Sherpa Crestone Peak Series Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Sherpa roof racks are proudly made in Berthoud, Colorado out of the finest materials. Sherpa peak series racks including their top-selling Crestone roof rack are constructed from 6061 aluminum, feature stainless steel hardware, and include rubber roof seals.

    The Crestone Peak roof rack from Sherpa is a full-length rack that measures 95" x 47.5" x 2.5" and comes with 9 47" cross bars. It also sports an impressive dynamic load rating of 300 lbs. and a static weight rating of 700 lbs. Sherpa also claims that this rack features stronger alloys (6061 aluminum) and thicker material (1/4 inch side plates). One of our favorite features found on the Peak Crestone rack is the integrated handles found in the side plates. These integrated handles allow you to easily pull yourself up on the rack to access items on the top. The stainless steel hardware and the included rubber roof seals are the icing on the cake and are sure to impress. If you are looking for a bulletproof, low-profile rack, that can accommodate heavy loads and numerous accessories the Crestone Peak rack might be the one for you.

    Sherpa Crestone Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Leitner Designs ACS Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Leitner Designs has long been known for some of the most innovative bed racks in the industry. They have had that claim to fame for over a decade now and we still think their bed racks are the best out there. If you can make a quality bed rack you should also be able to make an impressive roof rack. That is just what Leitner Designs did with their ACS ROOF for the 4Runner which takes all their bed rack knowledge and packs it nicely into a roof rack.

    The ACS ROOF is not just another roof rack and you won't find one like it. The Leitner ACS ROOF features infinitely adjustable load bars that are over double the size of load bars found on competitors' racks. Additional Leitner load bars can be added to the ACS ROOF to configure a completely flat platform. The overall design and thought that went into the ACS ROOF is on another level. While nearly all racks on the market use load bars for structural rigidity, the ACS ROOF gets its structural rigidity from the exterior frame. That's not the only impressive feature of the exterior frame. The exterior frame can also support all your wiring and keep it out of plain sight and protected from the elements. That is something we have never seen on a rack and might be the sole selling point for this rack for some.

    Leitner Designs ACS ROOF - Truck Brigade

    Prinsu Pro Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Prinsu has had great success with their 4Runner Non-Drill rack which is still available at a lower price point, but their all-new Prinsu Pro rack is hard to pass up. The Prinsu Pro took all of the sticking points found on the Original Prinsu racks and improved them. This includes:

    1. Roof rack cross bars that are 44% stronger and now include 6 drop points.
    2. Two-part side rail design for increased rigidity.
    3. Recessed bolt-on mounting feet.
    4. Stainless steel hardware.

       

    These new features found on the Prinsu Pro 4Runner rack increase its carrying capacity and the rack will hold up tremendously well thanks to the stainless steel hardware and bolt-on mounting feet. For a detailed overview see our Prinsu Pro introduction. All Prinsu roof racks are made in the U.S.A. and come with a desirable warranty.

    Prinsu Pro Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Sherpa Crestone Sport Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    We previously looked at the Sherpa Crestone Peak Series roof rack, but Sherpa also offers their Sport Series roof rack at a lower price point for those who don't plan to load it up with a ton of weight and accessories. This lower price point comes with 3/16 inch side plates (as opposed to 1/4 inch) without integrated handles and comes with fewer cross bars.

    At the end of the day, the Crestone Peak can be overkill for some, and if that is you the Sherpa Sport Series full-length 4Runner roof rack might be right up your alley. All Sherpa roof rack accessories will still work on the Sport Series rack and it still features an easy no-drill installation. Despite the lower price point, the Sport Crestone rack can still support 400 lbs. of static weight and 150 lbs. of dynamic weight. It is probably not the rack we would recommend for those who plan to mount a roof top tent, but it can certainly work for others not planning on mounting a roof top tent.

    Sherpa Crestone Sport on a Toyota 4Runner

    upTOP Overland Alpha Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    upTOP Overland offers the most customizable 4Runner roof rack on the market when it comes to color matching. It also happens to be very strong and comes with a unique design. Instead of a single side plate which is common on most racks, the upTOP Alpha comes with an armorTEK and grooveTEK side rail that drastically increases the total thickness of the side rail.

    In addition to the Alpha's unique design, it also is available with many different front fairings. This includes a front fairing that will accept dual Baja Designs S8 10-inch light bars, Baja Designs S8 40-inch light bars, seven Baja Designs LP4s, and much more. Needless to say, if you are looking to run a unique lighting system on your roof rack, the upTOP Alpha Series likely has a front fairing to meet your needs.

    upTOP Alpha Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Westcott Designs Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Westcott Designs is another manufacturer known for high-quality and functional products. Just take a look at their TIG welded rock sliders for a sneak peek of what type of quality we are talking about. The Westcott 4Runner roof rack was specifically designed to minimize wind noise and it is claimed to achieve just over 2 mpg better than competitor's offerings. We have not tested this ourselves, but we will note that the Westcott roof rack is super low profile and fits the lines on the 4Runner perfectly.

    Westcott also offers unique visor options that include ones that will fit a 40 inch light bar, 42 inch light bar, 44 inch light bar, ten 4 inch round lights, and six 6 inch round lights. Another unique touch to the Westcott 4Runner rack is the integrated bottle opener. Who doesn't like a cold refreshment after a hard day on the trail?

    Westcott Designs Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Sherpa Needle Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    The Sherpa Needle roof rack is a half-length roof rack designed for the 5th Gen 4Runner. It features many of the same benefits found on other Sherpa peak roof racks including 1/4 inch side plates, stainless steel hardware, and more, but features a half-length design. This half-length design is desired by from as it allows the sunroof to be fully exposed and also can be a great option if you are looking for a simple storage option for luggage and other items that do not take up the whole vehicle.

    Sherpa Needle Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Cali Raised Premium Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Cali Raised LED products including their Toyota 4Runner roof racks are proudly made in Texas. Cali Raised LED offers two versions of T4R roof racks including what they call an economy and premium option. We will focus this on their premium version which has some unique options not seen elsewhere. This includes an adjustable wind deflector that will protect your light bar when it is not in use.

    One other thing worth mentioning about the Cali Raised LED Premium Toyota 4Runner roof rack is that it comes with steel mounting feet. This can end up being stronger than aluminum mounting feet especially when they are incorporated into the same piece of aluminum used on the side rails. Rear fairings are also not common on most racks and the Cali Raised Premium 4Runner rack comes standard with one that includes 360-degree light cutouts.

    Cali Raised LED Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Backwoods Adventure DRIFTR Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    Backwoods has long been known for quality bumpers but has recently entered the roof rack game with its 4Runner DRIFTR Series roof rack. The DRIFTR rack from Backwoods features a lightweight all-aluminum design, has a low profile, and comes standard with front and rear fairings that can accommodate different lighting options. Like most 4Runner racks, the rack mounts to the vehicle easily without the need to drill.

    One feature we like on the DRIFTR rack is the integrated cutouts in the 1/4-inch aluminum side plates that can act as handles. The rack will also work with other handles and will even work with window molle panels from Sherpa and Rago Fabrication.

    Backwoods DRIFTR Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    Prinsu Full Length Non-Drill Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    We previously looked at the Prinsu Pro 4Runner roof rack, but what we have here is the Original Prinsu Non-Drill 4Runner roof rack which is probably the best selling rack out of this bunch. This means it is a trusted rack and has had millions of miles on it. Is the Pro model better? Yes, but this is still a great rack at a very affordable price.

    Prinsu pioneered the design of side plates and extruded aluminum crossbars and this rack also features a non-drill design and uses 3M tape for the front mount. This might not sound strong but this is exactly how nearly all these racks function so there shouldn't be a concern there. Prinsu also sports the widest selection of roof rack accessories that work with this Prinsu rack so the options are endless in terms of customization.

    Prinsu Non-Drill Roof Rack on a Toyota 4runner

    upTOP Overland ZULU Roof Rack | 2010+ Toyota 4Runner

    The upTOP ZULU is the most expensive rack here and that is mostly for good reason. While all other racks we have looked at feature aluminum side plates, the ZULU features stainless steel side plates. This radical new design features an extremely rigid frame and will not result in any vibration, flex, or added noise.

    The upTOP 4Runner ZULU also uses 3D modeling, stress testing, and an array of design software to ensure the fit is flawless. Like the upTOP Alpha Series roof racks, the Zulu Series racks are also available with powder-coated side plates to match your rig and different lightbar cutout options.

    upTOP ZULU Roof Rack on a Toyota 4Runner

    FAQs

    How to install a 4Runner roof rack?

    All high-quality 4Runner roof racks feature a drill-free installation. This allows you to easily install the roof rack to the factory holes found on the roof of the 4Runner. Simply assemble the rack according to the provided instructions with basic hand tools and you are good to go. Installs are usually completed in just a few hours.

    How to remove a 4Runner roof rack?

    The 4Runner roof rack attaches to the roof in the rear and middle of the roof. Simply remove the weather stripping to access the bolts and loosen them until the rack is ready to lift off.

    Do 4Runner roof racks require drilling or cutting?

    No, most 4Runner roof racks do not require drilling and installs to factory threaded holes found on the roof.

    How do I remove the cross bars on a 4Runner roof rack?

    On most roof racks, the cross bars are bolted to the side plates on each side. Typically each side has two bolts and once those are removed the crossbar can be removed from the rack.

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