Yakima LockNLoad Roof Rack System + Mounting Options: An In-depth Review For the 5th Gen 4Runner
In the not so distant past, dinosaurs ruled the world and for us, 5th Gen 4Runner owners, we had very few aftermarket options.
While that’s pretty much always the case with a new generation for any car model garnering the respect of the aftermarket world – we’ve come a long way with the 5th Gen.
However, it seems like now more than ever, companies are reacting quickly with new product lines geared towards the latest and greatest makes and models. And with the much-anticipated 6th Gen 4Runner, we’re sure to see lots of options hit the market much faster than we saw ten years ago, especially with the growing popularity of the 5th Gen 4Runner.
The thing that often gets overlooked is the companies that focus on both versatility and universality. The days of generic and one-size-fits-most aren’t as appealing to the consumers who want custom and “made specifically for me”.
Why not? White 4Runners are dope, but not when you see ten of them in a row with the exact same mods. @Overlandbound_Fake jumps all over photos like that shouting “sheep” and oftentimes, he’s not wrong.
Yakima Roof Rack Lineup
But, I digress… Let’s talk about roof racks.
Almost everyone is making a roof rack nowadays and they’re either erector set style like the popular Prinsu or fully welded tubes like the Gobi Rack with painfully long lead times. A few years ago, Yakima offered the LoadWarrior Rooftop Basket and it seemed like the easiest and cheapest option for most.
In fact, you can see something similar to the 4Runner Venture Edition by Yakima called the MegaWarrior. While I don’t proclaim to be the leading subject matter expert on the Toyota 4Runner, I get the impression that most of us want a roof rack that’s a bit more low profile, less basket looking, platform-style (i.e., you can strut on it Walker Texas Ranger style) and one that offers versatility with add-ons and gear-specific mounts.
In December, Max Sheenan wrote a piece on 7 New Products From Sema for the 5th Gen 4Runner.
In that article, Max did a quick overview of a new rack Yakima released called the LockNLoad System, their “Heavy Duty Roof Platform” which is similar to the Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform.
The LockNLoad System is not a basket, doesn’t look too generic, and very much a platform, this roof rack not only emulates the low profile look we’ve all wanted, but the wait times are almost non-existent and there are lots of add-on options to make it specifically yours.
Plus, if you want something that can withstand the toughest of conditions, this rack was designed in the Australian Outback!
Price & Product
Fully constructed with high-grade aluminum and powder coated in a black textured finish, the roof rack clocks in at a few hundred dollars below every other competitor in the market. Ours happened to ship quickly and again, the price was just right.
Find it Online:
Like others, it comes ready to assemble. So, put on your IKEA DIY hat and get cracking. Building the rack is straight forward and the instructions are detailed but not complicated. The real question is, how will you accessorize it? Or maybe the more important question is, what do you actually need? Like we mentioned earlier, the rack is versatile with lots of configuration possibilities and gear-specific mounts.
Yakima Roof Rack Mounts
Yakima has outdone itself by offering quite a few mounting options for things you can lock (and load) to the rack.
Mounting Options & Accessories For Yakima Rack:
- LockNLoad Rack Platform
- TimberLine Towers Mount Kit
- Spare Tire Holder
- “High Lift” jack
- Corner bracket (for things like coolers or storage cases)
- Perimeter rails
- Lightbar (coming soon)
- Recovery tracks
- Jerry cans
The LockNLoad rack has rails with miles and miles of T-slots, so you can get pretty creative if you don’t opt for the off-the-shelf mounting options listed above.
Additionally, the Yakima SkyRise HD Tent mounts up nicely on the rack (review forthcoming), and I’m sure other tents that mount on crossbars and side rails would as well.
The LockNLoad comes in six different sizes, while the common option for the 5th Gen 4Runner is Platform B (60” x 54”). It weighs roughly 85lbs without any accessories or add-on’s and is off-road rated to 165-330lbs.
Overall Look & Feel
Given the height on previous basket racks Yakima produced, we were admittedly a bit concerned with how high it would sit on top of the already raised stock side rails.
Shockingly, it was no different than the FrontRunner platform rack and to the naked eye, it, fortunately, seemed to sit a hair lower.
In addition to the smooth set-up process, we opted for the traction board mounts for our MaxTrax and the brackets for our Hi-Lift.
If we had one qualm about the rack, it would be with the Hi-Lift mounting brackets.
The brackets themselves seem to be indestructible and the rubber pads prevent it from bouncing around, rattling and eventually, chipping off the powder coat finish (leading to rust).
The height was a bit on the higher side for our taste but the ease of accessing it when needed and firmness once installed will definitely keep the jack in place for a long time. That might just be a matter of preference but it’ll make you look like a certified bad-ass, that’s for sure.
Down the line, we’d like to see Yakima offer these mounting options with either built-in locks or grooves to allow the consumer to run a luggage wire lock through.
Besides that, we were very happy with the rack, the mounting options, and the quality of the product as a whole. The quality was top-notch and you can tell once it’s in place and you add some gear-specific mounts, it was really well thought out.
Installation was a breeze and while not recommended, I was able to mount the platform to the mounting blocks solo. But then again, I was super hyped to see the rack-mounted into place, so I probably switched into an unnecessary beast mode during the process.
Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I ripped my shirt off, gave my neighbor the Stone Cold Stunner and doused myself in Coors Lite… which led to Sunday’s sore back…