The Toyota 4Runner 5th Generation is perhaps one of the best overlanding vehicles in the market. Not for nothing has Toyota decided to keep on going with this line or gen for 12 years now, it’s simply a beat of a rig.
However, to properly equip it for overlanding purposes, you must upgrade with the right aftermarket roof rack. The mission of this article is to help you and guide you through the best 4runner roof racks in the American market.
We will go over 7 of the best 4Runner 5th gen roof racks, including crossbars systems, and platform systems. At the end of the article you will be able to know what is the roof rack system you want for your Toyota 4Runner, whether that’s a more affordable system, or one that can handle higher weights and a serious off road abuse.
Please not this particular article is only for Toyota 4Runner 5th Gen roof racks. That means, for the 4runners going from 2010 to 2022. If you want to find other or more Toyota 4Runner roof racks CLICK HERE.
What To Look For In A 4Runner Roof Rack:
What do I need for my roof rack? Should I care about how much weight a 4Runner roof rack can handle? Should I focus on how easy is it to install and how do I remove the roof rack? Or, is quality important? Let’s take a look.
- Compatibility – First things first, make sure the roof rack you are getting is for a 5th gen 4runner. Sounds silly, but you’d be surprised at how many people end up getting racks for the wrong generation.
- Use – What will I use my Toyota 4Runner 5th gen rack for? Great question. Will it be for a roof top tent? Will it be for a kayak, ski, surfboards? Or is it only to take more luggage or gear with me? Depending on what you need, you will want a platform roof rack, a set of crossbars, a half rack, and such.
- Size – Does it matter? Well yes. Depending on what you want your rack for, a full platform or full length roof rack is a good idea. If you plan only on carrying smaller items, a half rack roof rack can be a good choice, or even crossbars.
- Materials – Quality materials make a big difference. If you get a cheap roof rack, expect cheaper materials and probably less quality. A high quality 4runner roof rack made from tougher metals will be able to handle heavier cargo, and at the same time withstand much better the elements and more importantly the road.
- How to install or remove my 4Runner roof rack? – Different roof rack systems have different installation options. If your 4Runner has factory side rails, installing a set of cross bars will be a piece of cake. If you prefer a longer lasting and more off-road ready roof rack, then removing those side rails and mounting a platform roof rack is a better option, but it’ll take longer and probably some assistance. If you have a bare roof, a no drill roof rack is quite DIY friendly, and finally if you end up having to drill, removing your 4runner roof rack won’t be easy. Nonetheless, the use is important.
- Additional Accessories – Not all roof racks have aftermarket accessories that are compatible with them. Some brands such as Front Runner, Prinsu and Thule, to name a few, offer many aftermarket rack accessories that can upgrade your 4Runner even more. Looking into that is a good idea!
- Price – well speaking of money’s worth. This matter should not be taken lightly. You choose the roof rack that is cheap, you’ll end up more stressed than ever.
Keep all of these features in mind, they are really important and will certainly help you determine what roof rack you want for your 4Runner. Now, it’s time to take a look at the best racks!
The Best 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Racks:
Here’s the list of what we think are the 7 best 4Runner 5th gen roof racks. There are plenty more options out there in the market, but in our personal opinion, and after carefully reviewing most of these, we have found these as the best options.
Crossbars are not exactly our preferred choice, however we have included the set of crossbars for a 4runner that we think and consider best. That doesn’t make you back down from them, honestly cross-bars are a great choice if what you need and want is an affordable and efficient rack system to transport luggage, lumber or boards. For heavier off road use, we recommend a platform roof rack. Here we go.
Easy to install, excellent weight capacity or load rating, the highest quality in the entire market, and a huge amount of aftermarket roof rack accessories. This is, in short, the definition of the Front Runner Slimline II 4Runner 5th Gen Roof Rack.
Made in South Africa from the highest quality metals in the market, poweder coated in black, and tested in the toughest off road conditions, and even weather. It won’t rust, it won’t lose it’s powder coating or color under the sun, and it can carry roof top tents and even the heaviest of cargo. Yes, it will survive the Arizona sun, as well as the Washington rain, or the North Dakota snow. This is a very, very high quality 4Runner roof rack, that requires no drilling, and has enough space to fit all of your overlanding gear over it.
Why We Like It:
- Size: The Slimline II Tray measures about 49.4 inches x 85 inches, a full-sized rack that covers the entire 4Runner roof! If you decide you want a smaller version, look for the 3/4 4Runner roof rack option.
- Materials: Made of T6 Aluminum and 3CR12 Stainless steel. Sounds sturdy but I’ll give you a background to it. T6 aluminum are those that have the maximum yield strength, meaning they are the strongest aluminum available. On the other hand, 3CR12 stainless steel are those that are water-resistant, which means they resist mild corrosion and wet abrasion.
- Installation: Installation is not complicated. The updated version of the Front Runner Slimline doesn’t require drilling. Although you can still drill to make it sturdier.
- Additional Accessories: Front Runner has literally hundreds of aftermarket rack accessories to pair or upgrade your 4Runner Slimline II. You are able to get under rack table mounts, install water tanks, mount tents and tons of other gear.
- Load Rating: 660 lbs Static Weight Capacity.
To know more about Slimline II Roof Rack from Front Runner, click this LINK.
Prinsu has recently become one of the most popular roof rack companies in USA. They manufacture all their racks in Idaho, and stand out thanks to how low profiled their racks are. This Prinsu roof rack for 4Runner is a full sized platform rack, that requires no drilling, can handle over 500 lbs of weight, and offer little wind resistance and less noise than other racks.
On top of that, they have plenty of rack accessories to add to the rack, as well as the option of installing, quite easily, an LED light bar at the front. The low profile design allows you to save on miles per gallon.
Why We Like It:
- Size: Full sized platform roof rack for your 4Runner, will be able to handle all the off road gear you need to mount on it. If you prefer shorter racks, prinsu manufactures other sizes like 7/8 roof rack and 3/4 roof rack both available for the 5th Generation Toyota 4Runner.
- Materials: 5052 aluminum tracks higher fatigue strength material made of aluminum alloy with magnesium and chromium, powder coated in satin black texture plus a black zinc finish for added style.
- Installation: Drilling is NOT required. This non-drill Prinsu roof rack is very, very easy to install. If you have someone else with you, in less than 40 minutes it’ll be done.
- Additional Accessories: As Prinsu has been growing, they have been manufcaturing and designing more and more accessories for their racks. Well, that’s an advantage for everyone who owns a Prinsu 4Runner roof rack.
- Price: Pricing is honestly very good for a solid USA made roof rack.
- Load Rating: 500 lbs of static load rating (on the safe side).
Interested in buying Prinsu Full Roof Rack for your Toyota 4Runner 5th gen? Click HERE.
Made in South Africa and tested on tough off road trails and under complex and intense weather conditions. The K9 Eezi Awn 4Runner roof rack is a great platform rack, not hard to install, and compatible with many aftermarket accessories even from other brands such as Thule or Yakima.
It can support at least 500 lbs of static load rating, and it has a sleek design that will look great over any 4Runner 5th Gen.
Why We Like It:
- Compatibility : Eezi-Awn K9 racks are compatible with 4Runner 5th Gen. Also, they have variants that are available for 4th Generation and 3rd Generation Toyota 4Runners.
- Size: What is good about K9 Eezi-Awn rack is that there are numerous sizes to choose from. You can choose from 5 platform sizes for this brand.
- Materials: All anodized aluminum composition. The process of anodization gives the metal, in this case the aluminum, a decorative, corrosion-resistant, anodic-oxide finish, further strengthening the metal.
- Installation: Drilling is NOT required. You can install this roof rack by yourself- in approximately 1 to 2 hours at maximum! Talk about easy-installation!
- Load Rating: 500+ lbs static load rating.
You can check other details and description for Eezi-Awn K9 Roof Rack through this LINK
Search Gobi Stealth online and you’ll find hundreds of people talking about the most reliable roof rack in the entire market. The only setback: there is usually a 20 week lead time to get it, so if you want this roof rack for your 4Runner, get ready and get in line.
That said, the rack itself is one of the toughest, offering over 600 lbs of load rating, being the most stable and sturdy rack in the whole market. Fully welded, it’s made in USA from the highest quality metal materials and craftsmanship. It can carry all sorts of items, even the heaviest of cargo.
Why We Like It:
- Compatibility : The Gobi Stealth is perfect for those that have future plans on installing LEDs using their racks, as this rack system has pre-installed light bar mount.
- Size: A full-sized rack that offers two variants. You can choose from the roof rack with sunroof, or the one without.
- Materials: Gobi produces a high-quality roof rack that is made in the USA. If you aren’t convinced with this, I don’t even know what will.
- Installation: Drilling is NOT required. With fewer screws than any other system, GOBI Racks are 100% fully welded roof racks and use only the screws needed to secure the racks to the vehicle, making it noise and rattle free.
- Additional Accessories: The package inclusion of Gobi Stealth is different from the rest. They have added GOBI rear ladder as part of the package! This one’s a sweet combination! Plus, the Gobi Stealth is capable of mounting numerous off-road accessories!
- Load Rating: This roof rack has a 600+ lbs static load rating.
The LED Light Bar setup got you? Click HERE to know more about Gobi Stealth Roof Racks!
Sherpa is a Colorado based company manufacturing all their roof racks with aircraft grade aluminum and 1/4″ thick side panels, which are thicker than those of pretty much any competitor. The main reason we really love the Crestone roof rack is for the simple fact that it literally is an off-road 4runner roof rack.
This platform rack can take 700 lbs of static weight capacity, so it won’t matter what you put over it, it will be able to handle it. Overlanding trails won’t be a problem with this outstanding 4Runner 5th Gen rack.
Why We Like It:
- Materials: Aircraft grade aluminum and the thickest side panels in the industry. This Sherpa Crestone roof rack can take perhaps the biggest abuse out there. It also has special mounting feet with a rubber spacer, which will not damage the roof of your 4Runner even with heavy cargo, or the vibration of an offroad trail.
- Installation: ✅ Drilling NOT is required. Guaranteed easy installation to the factory mounting points present on your Toyota 4Runner!
- Load Rating: This Sherpa 4Runner roof rack can take 700 lbs of static weight rating.
To view the Sherpa Crestone Toyota 4Runner Roof Rack, please click HERE.
4Runner crossbars, finally! You might be very familiar with Thule, the Swedish giant that started off with crossbars, then backpacks, cargo carriers and a lot of other accessories. Well, the Thule Evo Wing Crossbars for a Toyota 4Runner 5th Gen from the 2010 to the 2022 version, are an affordable rack system that will help you carrying lighter items, from boards, to fishing equipment, ski, and sometimes even roof top tents.
They are very easy to install as they can clamp onto the existing side rails of your 4Runner, as well as being easy to take off or remove in less than 10 minutes. On top of that Thule has hundreds if not thousands of aftermarket rack accessories, and you know that versatility becomes a key factor in getting these.
Why We Like It:
- Compatibility : These 4Runner cross bars will only work if your 4-Runner comes with the OEM roof rails. These are the railing found above your roof, from front to back.
- Materials: BoxBeam internal structure, a characteristic unique to Thule crossbars, creates an exceptionally strong load bar that is outstandingly reliable.
- Installation: Easy, fast, and only requires one person. If you have the 4th Generation or 3rd Generation Toyota 4Runner, there’s a bundle of Thule Crossbars with OEM roof railings.
- Additional Accessories: One good advantage of Thule Cross Bars is its ability to mount different accessories, despite its low-profile and sleek design. Its performance can still match up with any other full-sized roof rack on the list!
- Price: Crossbars are an affordable option!
- Load Rating: These crossbars have a 165 dynamic load rating.
To know more about Thule Crossbars for Toyota 4Runner 5th Gen, click HERE.
A Toyta 4Runner half roof rack, or almost a half rack at least. Rhino Rack makes a lot more roof racks for a 4Runner than this one, they have full platform racks and even crossbars, but we selected this half rack on purpose so you could have an idea of how they are and how they look.
Basically, this great platform rack won’t take the entire roof, but a bit ove half of it. It’s still great for carrying larger cargo, but perhaps not as spacious. Nevertheless, if you don’t need the whole roof space, it allows you to open the sunroof.
Why We Like It:
- Size: As we mentioned, it’s a few inches short of becoming a full-sized rack. For me, this is the ideal size for the Toyota 4Runner, a low-profile, sleek and minimalist style. Not too big, not too small, just right!
- Materials: Reinforced nylon and aluminum. These materials are lightweight, but durable. Plus, Rhino-Rack tested their roof racks to the harshest weather condition, so it’s a guarantee that this won’t fail you!
- Installation: If you have your roof rails removed, or your 4Runner doesn’t have that OEM roof rails, then this is absolutely perfect for your use!
- Additional Accessories: Generally compatible with other outdoor accessories. And, additional rail kits are available at minimal cost for the roof rack’s added stability.
- Load Rating: This roof rack has a 165 lbs dynamic load rating.
Details and other relevant stuff for Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform Rack, see HERE.
Wrapping It Up:
Just as mentioned at the beginning of this article, we hope that you learned a lot more about 4Runner roof racks after reading this. The idea was to introduce what we consider then7 best 4runner roof rack systems, as well as going into detail onto different models: such as crossbars and platform racks.
There are many brands to choose from out there. It is not a simple task. Nonetheless, we have tested all of these racks on different occasions, whether that’s because we own them (and yes I raise my hand as I own a Prinsu rack), or because we’ve seen them at the Overland Expos, or even better, had the pleasure of driving rigs that had them.
You can trust our experience and our impartial overview of each and every single roof rack for a 4runner 5th gen in this list. Now happy overlanding!
Any questions? Please leave them in the comment section below.