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What Is the Best Roof Rack for 4Runner?

When you need storage space in your Toyota 4Runner, the roof offers valuable real estate that often goes untapped. Regarding 4Runner roof rack options, you’ve got many choices, but only a few offer quality and value to go along with good looks and durability.

Know Your Toyota 4Runner

Because the 4Runner has been such a successful vehicle, Toyota has, at times, updated features enough that we don’t so much refer to the year model, but which generation 4Runner we drive.

First Generation (1984-1989)

The first iteration of the 4Runner was a lot like a truck and bears little resemblance to the 4Runners of today. It’s a utilitarian workhorse without many bells and whistles. The bones of the 4Runner most of us think of when we think of Toyota SUVs are there, but it’s changed a lot over the years.

Second Generation (1990-1995)

With an available 150-hp V6 engine, the second-gen 4Runner got a little more power behind it. Its appearance changed from the first-gen into what looked more like what most of us think of as the prototypical 4Runner.

Third Generation (1996-2002)

This 4Runner started to feel like a car for the 21st century, built solid and upping the horsepower. The bulk of available aftermarket roof racks sold are for third-generation 4Runners and later.

Fourth Generation (2003-2009)

One of the less successful 4Runners, the fourth-gen nevertheless offered a V8 engine. It’s the 4Runner that looks most like a safari vehicle. The larger engine, though, drank gas t a time when the world economy entered The Great Recession. Increased fuel prices were hard for prospective owners to overcome.

Fifth Generation (2010-present)

The biggest 4Runner bucks the trend of automakers to adapt their SUVs to be more like cars. It’s a straightforward 4Runner that does the work you ask of it. If you want leather seats or fancy computer-aided braking, this isn’t the one for you, but it remains a successful iteration of the SUV.

The Best Roof Rack for Toyota 4Runner

There are many options out there, but only a few are high-quality aftermarket additions to your precious SUV. Regarding 4Runner roof rack options out there, you have many to choose from, but when looking for a 4Runner roof rack company, look no further than Bajarack Adventure Equipment, which builds racks for all manner of SUVs.

3rd Gen 4Runner Roof Rack - Standard Basket

One of the best things about this rack is that no drilling is required to mount it on your 4Runner. It weighs 60 lbs. and boasts a weight capacity of 300 lbs. While the published limit for the roof’s weight-bearing capacity is 120 lbs., many drivers have approached and exceeded that 300-lbs mark.


The Standard Basket presents a spacious 14.35 square feet of additional cargo area, so if it doesn’t fit in the vehicle, you can bet it will fit on the top in this Bajarack.

4th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack - Standard Basket

Larger, heavier, a little pricier, this update reflects the changes from the third to the fourth generations of the 4Runner. A more powerful engine gets a bigger, badder roof rack, right?


Specifically designed around the sunroof so as not to interfere with it, this Bajarack avoids the sunroof while providing nearly 21 square feet of storage. When it comes to fourth generation 4Runners, this is hands down the best 4Runner roof rack.

5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack with Spy Light System

Not surprisingly, since the fifth generation of the 4Runner is the current one, the bulk of available aftermarket roof racks are designed for it. Bajaracks, for instance, currently offers 11 different fifth-generation racks.


This one, though, is kind of the Cadillac of 4Runner roof racks. While it does not come with the LED light bar or the cables and switch (available separately), it’s built to hold lights you operate with remote control for maximum visibility when you’re off-road.


This enormous rack weighs 97 lbs., but this extra heft comes with a terrific bonus: 24.68 square feet of cargo area on the roof of your beloved 4Runner. 

Specialty Racks

Bajarack offers 4Runner roof racks for more than just storage. Some are specifically designed for the ever-more-popular roof-top tents that, if nothing else, make it so you don’t have to sleep on the ground.


But you need a roof rack designed for those tents, lest your tent mount incorrectly, or you find yourself quite uncomfortable. Bajarack has solutions for all the roof-top tenters out there.

3rd Gen 4Runner Roof Rack - Utility MG

At just 38 lbs. and offering just under 16 square feet of space, this isn’t the biggest rack you’ll ever find. However, if you’re toting a roof-top tent, you likely only plan on storing your tent and, when you’re not driving, yourself up there, this is all the rack you need.


This Bajarack is easily mounted with no drilling required and gives you camping options, and provides a great tent mount for your coming adventures.

4th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack - Utility MG

The fourth-generation 4Runner was more powerful than the third, and this roof-top tent rack is bigger than the one for the third-generation SUV— substantially. It weighs almost twice as much as its third-generation counterpart, and it offers 23 square feet of storage. The extra space allows for the use of folding-style roof-top tents. 

Things to Think About Before Choosing a Roof Rack

The roof of your Toyota 4Runner will support weight, but you’ll need to know precisely how much yours will support before buying a rack. If your rack weighs more than half of your roof’s capacity, your storage capabilities will likely get cut down a bit.


You’ll also want to consider just what you’ll use your rack for. As we mentioned, some are designated for roof-top tents, so if that’s your jam, you’re covered. But depending on what you’re planning to store up there, your rack needs may change. Some basket-style racks offer mesh floors. Solid floors provide different storage options.


Know your roof rails, too. Most 4Runners have roof rails, but not all of them do. This will affect what you can mount on your vehicle unless you’re planning on doing some drilling into the metal of your SUV. That just sounds intimidating.

Wrapping Up

A roof rack for your Toyota 4Runner is easy to come by. The best roof rack for Toyota 4Runner will, in all likelihood, come to your SUV from Bajarack Adventure Equipment. Take some time to research what you need and what you want. You will find all the 4Runner roof rack options you could need, and the answers to any questions your research brings up appear from Bajarack.

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