Blue Ridge Overland Gear – Rear Cargo Adjustable Attic For Maximum Storage Space in the 5th Gen 4Runner
Traveling with kids comes with all kinds of baggage, literally and figuratively.
While metaphorical baggage is always a challenge, the actual baggage you carry can be just as much of a pain to deal with.
If you have ever had a pillow, blanket or jacket stepped on or covered in juice from laying on the floor, you can probably relate to my pain.
Introducing Blue Ridge Overland
I needed a simple affordable solution to a common problem and that is where Blue Ridge Overland Gear comes into play. I have had experience with Blue Ridge Overland Gear, having purchased their Go Treads Bag, which is a well-built piece. Blue Ridge Overland Gear has made a plethora of storage solutions for tools, recovery, travel and a ton of other off-road gear.
It seems that most of the gear in the backseat area and rear cargo area on my 4Runner consists of blankets, pillows, jackets and “Stuffies” (which are the most important piece of kit for my little ones).
I wanted to get all of these items off the ground and into the attic.
Blue Ridge Overland Gear Attic
The Blue Ridge Overland Gear Attic hangs from the ceiling in between the rear seats and cargo area in the 4Runner.
This elevated storage area allows for lightweight gear to be secured up and out of the way. This is a huge plus for anyone traveling with lots of soft goods, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, jackets, etc.
How to Install the Overland Gear Attic
This is by far the easiest install that I have accomplished to date and I didn’t have to offer a blood sacrifice to the Spirit of Toyota.
Tools Needed For Install:
- 10mm Socket and Wrench
Remove Cover & 10mm Bolt
Remove the cover to expose the 10mm bolt on the rear coat hook hangers in the cargo area.
Then, remove the bolt using a 10mm socket.
Secure Bolt To G-Hook Attachment Points & Rear of Attic
Place the removed bolt into webbing attachment point and reinstall the bolt into the hook hanger. Do this for both passenger and driver sides.
Once both the attachment points are secured, the rear of the attic can then be loosely attached via the G-Hook attachment points.
The front of the attic points are looped around the rear seats grab handles using the attached webbing straps and G-Hooks.
Tighten Attic Using G-Hook Attachments
The attic can then be tightened to the desired tension using the G-Hook attachments, as well as, the lower paracord lacing with a barrel lock.
This step is very important as it determines how attic storage items are held in position.
At this point, the attic is fully installed.
Overall Impression and Review
First and foremost, I love this attic.
After an overland road trip around the western half of the United States, it has done everything it has been advertised to do.
If I had to, I would give it a 3.75 out of 5 stars.
This is not because of anything really negative for what the attic is but what it could be. It is built very well, if not overly built, for the intended task.
Honestly, it could possibly work as an impromptu mini dead man anchor if you’re desperate enough. Should I patent this idea? Probably, but I’d rather see it made.
The attic can hold a good amount of gear from off the ground but there are a few downsides.
While priced at around $100, it’s not the most expensive modification you can make, but it’s also not the cheapest either.
I think a few of the suggested upgrades should keep it at or near the retail pricing. However, if the mini dead man anchor is implemented, then that could get costly.
I’m not one to offer criticism without also offering solutions. So, if Blue Ridge Overland Gear is interested in version 2.0, then here are my 3 improvements:
- Lack of lip around the attic makes items projectile
- Could use more rear cargo storage space
- Takes up space over the backseat headrests
Downside 1. Lack of Lip Around the Attic Make Items Projectile
The most glaring downside is lack of a lip around the attic.
When fully tightened to give maximum headroom and storage, it becomes a shelf.
Hit the breaks even slightly hard and any small items not firmly jammed between the attic and roof become projectiles. Blankets and pillows are large and can be jammed in there without issue.
However, if you placed a backpacking tent that is smaller and has a nylon bag, then it becomes an Artillery Round that won’t stop till it smacks someone in the back of the head.
Quick Note: This is not the perfect solution for tent storage as having a bent pole is never good. The attic must be loosened to form more of a hammock than a shelf to hold gear projectile free. As you can see in the provided images, when it is in hammock mode, you lose even more headroom, mostly in the center seat. Luckily, the center seat is only used for our kid’s activity storage.
Downside 2. Could Use More Rear Cargo Storage Space
The next area that could see some improvement is the cut of the mesh on all four corners especially the rear area across the two coat hanger hooks.
It would greatly increase the storage capacity and usefulness if the mesh edges were straighter between the tension points and not arched. Increasing the rear cargo area would also have a double benefit to allow more usage of the paracord as a drying rack for bathing suits and towels.
When currently used as a drying line, the wet items are almost on top of the rear seats.
Downside 3. Takes Up Space Over the Backseat Headrests
Another issue that is inherent to any attic design is that any rear passenger over average height will hit their head on the attic when sitting.
Blue Ridge Overland Gear states this issue. I was prepared for such a situation, but I forgot that the majority of my passengers are travel-sized kids. However, not the case for when my brother-in-law rides in the back of the 4Runner.
Making the front G-Hook connections to the grab bars allowed for a quick disconnection to free up that overhead space.
Almost the Perfect 4Runner Attic
Either way, this product has a good shelf-life when you have kids. That is until they no longer think of you as the coolest person in the world and transition into their complete living embarrassment stage.
But the benefit to this inevitable tragedy is that you’ll gain a huge amount of storage room in the backseat of the 4Runner and, of course, the attic!
Overall, the attic has worked out amazingly well with only a few missed opportunities that could really make this the perfect 4Runner overland attic.