ARB Awning Installation & Overview on 5th Gen 4Runner Roof Rack – Similar to Gobi, BajaRack and other Mesh Style Roof Racks
When you need some shade, the ARB awning comes in pretty damn handy.
Instead of packing a clunky pop-up awning with all those metal accordion braces, consider running an ARB Awning mounted on the side of your roof rack.
Set-up is painless, the breakdown is easy, the shade it provides might be all you need and some depending on length. To top it off, the build quality is just downright impressive.
Start with burly zippers from the heavy-duty nylon reinforced PVC bag and fold out your PU coated 300gsm poly/cotton rip-stop canvas. Move onto attaching the perfectly placed velcro ties to the thick reinforced aluminum extrusions holding the awning in place. Twist the reinforced aluminum legs to lock in place and you’re all set!
This unit is fully waterproof and offers a UVP (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) 50+ rating. To all my fair skinned relatives out there, consider your self sunburn free from here on out!
If you are looking for even more protection from the outside elements, ARB offers a variety of accessories. You have the option to add the deluxe awning room, mosquito net rooms, and more.
Lightweight and easy to install
This ARB 2000 is a lightweight yet heavy-duty sunshade and shelter that sets up easily and adjusts to different peak heights with a simple twist of the legs. Different heights allow you to adjust for rain, snow, sun, camping, picnics, beach outings and outdoor events
The awning is universal so it’s likely compatible with most roof racks commonly installed on 5th Gen 4Runners. You can install this awning on your Front Runner, BajaRack, Gobi, Prinsu, etc.
For this install, we are going to attach the ARB Awning to our custom Stellar Built roof rack, which is similar to that of a BajaRack, Gobi Rack or any other steel mesh floor rack.
Even if you don’t have a mesh floor roof rack, this overview should give you a good idea of what installing the ARB awning is all about and the size options offered.
ARB Awnings come in three sizes and two housings.
Three size options:
1250 vs 2000 vs 2500
- Small (1250mm): 49″ W x 82.5″ (2.1m) L – Check Price
- Weight: 18lbs
- Medium (2000mm): 78.75″ W x 98.4″ (2.5m) L – Check Price
- Weight: 25lbs
- Large (2500m): 98.4″ W x 98.4″ (2.5m) L – Check Price
- Weight: 35.5lbs
- Aluminum Housing: ARB offers the large (2500) in an aluminum-encased housing with improved functionality. They lose the zippers and instead have three quick release bungee cords that will release the aluminum housing lid. You can read more about that aluminum version here.
I ordered the 2500 option, held it up to my rack and instantly shipped it back to exchange it for the 2000 version. And, Amazon charged me $30 to do so. Make sure you get it right the first time.
There are plenty of guys out there running the 2500 option and enjoy the extra length. But I was personally not a fan of the overhang I would have had in the front on my set-up, nor did I feel like I needed “that much extra” awning.
If you are looking to fit a family of four or more people under the awning comfortably, you may want to consider going with the larger version.
We have a family of 3 (mom, dad, and toddler), and 2000mm is perfect for us, with some extra room to spare.
If you are running a 3/4 roof rack or looking to mount the awning on a Tacoma roof rack, then the smaller (1250mm) version may be best suited for your needs, although you can still mount a 2000mm if you want. I would stay clear of 2500mm at this point, though.
Whichever version you choose, I would strongly bet that you are going to love the ARB Awning. It’s pretty damn amazing.
I genuinely didn’t think I would be that excited about it but for fair-skinned folk like myself (not like Conan O’Brien white but I do burn easy) it just makes a day in the sun incredibly enjoyable.
Mounting the ARB to your Roof Rack
The ARB Awning has been designed to fit most roof rack platforms and accommodate most roof rack systems, crossbar systems, camper trailers, and many other applications. This is an incredibly versatile awning that is easy to install, industry-trusted, and can be outfitted with many accessories.
Pictured here is the cheaper version out of the two (the L Brackets) which were substantially less. For 3 of the nice brackets, it was over $50 and for 3 of the L brackets, it was less than $20.
I would imagine the newer gusseted brackets are stronger but if you have the 2000mm version or less, you should be fine. If you are going for the 2500mm Awning, you may want to opt for the upgraded gusseted brackets but even so, the L brackets would suffice.
Every roof rack is going to be different so that may be a deciding factor as well. Our roof rack has very narrow parallel tubing which the gusseted brackets may have interfered with.
The T Track Mounting System
Attached to the back side of the ARB Awning is a T Track style mounting system.
T bolts and nylon nuts
The ARB awning comes with 6 “T” bolts and nylon nuts. These nylon nuts attach directly to the side of the awnings rail system.
Attach Brackets to T Track system
If you can attach these T bolts directly to your roof rack, then great. If not, you will need a set of optional steel brackets as mentioned above which can be ordered directly from ARB, Amazon, or 4 Wheel Parts in a couple of different styles.
Lift Roof Rack onto Support System
You may need to lift your roof rack up in order to reach underneath. I grabbed a set of Quick Fist mounts and placed them underneath the legs of my roof rack in order to tighten down the buts from underneath the rack.
Mounting the Awning at Three Points
You can mount the ARB 2000 awning along its length at two points but preferably you should use three points, as this is going to be much more secure. I used three brackets for our install.
Make sure Doors Clear Awning
As a precaution before mounting the ARB awning all the way down, ensure that you are mounting the unit high enough to clear the doors when opened, so the doors do not catch on the awning.
If you are mounting the ARB awning at only two points, just make sure the two ends of excess don’t exceed 27 inches. To be on the safe side, secure the ARB awning at three points on your roof rack.
As I previously mentioned, this is an awesome addition to the 4Runner. It may not be for everyone but for the people who know, love and appreciate the shade, it’s incredibly clutch.
We live about 10 minutes from a lake, so most of our weekends are spent lounging by the water. My girl loves laying out in the sun but if I even look at the sun wrong, I get burnt.
Our toddler enjoys splashing in the water but having some shade to dry off, sit down and eat some cheese and salami is pretty nice as well.
After a couple weekends back to back under the ARB awning, I can comfortably say I am pretty stoked on lounging at the lake for at least another hour or two.
I am looking forward to the coming seasons to see what the awning can take.
If you have experience with the awning, what do you like or dislike about it? Are there are any must-have accessories you would buy?