Feature Friday: 8 Prime Examples of What to Mount on Your Roof Rack

White 5th Gen 4Runner with Frontrunner Slimline 2 Roof Rack, Roam Adventure Co Awning & 23Zero Walkabout 62

Pictured: Jared Johnson (@txhillrider) Front Runner Slimline ll

8 Different Gear & Accessory Setups to Add to Your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner’s Roof Rack – Pelican Cases, RTTs, Light Bars & More!

This Weeks Topic: Roof Rack Setups & Accessories

So, you have a roof rack or crossbars on 4Runner and you don’t know what to mount. Well, this post is for you. Here are 8 roof rack and/or crossbar setups that showcase a variety of accessories you can mount up on top of your 4Runner.

But let’s back up a second; why would you even need a roof rack or crossbars? Well, if you’re like me, I got a roof rack for my 4Runner because I was always getting sheets of plywood from Home Depot. An aftermarket roof rack usually features a surface that is completely flat when compared to the stock 4Runner roof rails which bow a bit. I now have a 7/8 length LFD roof rack, which allows me to have more space on top to utilize versus the short bit of rail space that Toyota gives you.

For others, it’s a matter of freeing up interior cargo space by putting items into a storage case and attaching it to the roof rack. Aftermarket roof racks give you the ability to attach a wide variety of accessories. Whether it be cases, light bars, RTTs, awnings, recovery boards… 9 times out of 10, there is a bracket that will allow for easy attachment.

I think adding an aftermarket roof rack on your 4Runner is one of the most beneficial mods you can do to your rig. You will realize that as you read through our 8 submissions this week. They all have different uses and purposes for their racks, but the common theme seemed to be space and ease of access to items. Check out these killer setups below to get an idea of what you can mount on your 4Runner roof rack or crossbars.

1. Ryan Lau (@4runnersaurus) LFD Crossbars

Yokohama Geolandar MTs, LFD Crossbars with Pelican Case on White 5th Gen 4Runner

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I chose to mount a case to my roof because, after a family weekend trip, I realized how quickly I ran out of space in the trunk. This Pelican Vault case allows me to keep all of my recovery/utility-related equipment in a dedicated space and frees up my entire cargo area.

I am able to fit everything from my air compressor to a tire repair kit. This box brings my total vehicle height to exactly 7 feet, so I can still clear most if not all, parking garages. I’m currently using the LFD ruggedized crossbars and integrated wind fairing with the factory side rails. Check out my write-up on the LFD crossbars.

2. Eric Jackson (@gen5t4r_eric) – Baja Roof Rack

White 5th Gen 4Runner with Baja Rack, MaxTrax Recovery Boards & Plano Case

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I purchased my roof rack back in 2017 shortly after I picked up the 4Runner. Initially, I was looking for a Gobi one because I liked the look and the function, but the long lead times made me look elsewhere until I found the Baja Rack. For now, the roof rack set-up is geared (pun intended) for me (or my buddies) to get to critical items in a pinch because all of the recovery gear is on the rack.

Inside the Plano case, I have towing rope, kinetic rope, soft shackles, shackles, jump-start cables, ARB Tree Saver, and some other recovery gears. My thinking is, if I am stuck, I wouldn’t have the time or possible space to open my hatch to access recovery gear and keep the gear in the box to allow my friends access to them while I was busy being stuck or accessing the situation.

The other thing I like about my current set-up is that I can secure my Shiftpod Mini with one ratcheting strap to eliminate forward and rearward movement, and not worry about left and right movement as it is pinched between the box and MaxTrax. However, this will change as I am planning to pick up a load-bearing RTT (so all the recovery gear can stay outside) so there will be no need for Shiftpod in the future.

3. Mark Mollat (@Ofrd_adv) – Prinsu Roof Rack

White 5th Gen 4Runner with Prinsu Rack, Cali Raised LED Lightbar, JOE Panel, Maxtrax Boards & Plano 36” Case

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I like this setup most because I was able to mount my essential recovery items for quick access on my Prinsu rack.

From accessing the Maxtrax boards or having access to all of my recovery gear in my storage case – the biggest perk is not needing to worry about being in dirt inside the vehicle after use.

4. Jeff Steffens (@jeffsteffens2) – Prinsu Roof Rack

Magnetic Grey Metallic 5th Gen 4Rrunner with Prinsu Rack & SUPDawg Attachment

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I bought the Apache case as a cheaper alternative to a Pelican and other top brands. I couldn’t justify spending so much on a case that I would mount on my roof for recovery gear. It is low profile and by moving it towards the rear of the rack, I do not hear any wind noise, which is great. Inside dimensions are approximately 50″ x 14″ x 5″. I can fit a good amount of gear in the box which allows me to have more room in the rear cargo area.

I do not have molle panels so this was a great option for me. I mounted the box on the passenger side and it still leaves room on the driver side for me to have my surfboard and snowboard racks mounted.
The case comes with two lock holes on both ends but I only use the rear one. Most of my items in the box are not of extreme value so I haven’t been too worried about it. I drilled 4 holes for 1.5″ carriage bolts and put a 1″ washer, a lock washer, and a nut to hold the box to the rack. I did put some silicone in the holes as well but since they are mounted on the bottom I have had zero issues with water and have had the case on for over a year now.

I also use Yakima SUPDawg for my surfboards and paddle board but these I take on and off as needed. Only my cargo box stays on all the time. The SUPDawg is the way to go if you need to carry surfboards or paddleboards. They are a quick and secure way to get paddle boards and surfboards on and off your roof. The straps have a steel cable on the inside to prevent theft and the straps lock as well as the rack locks to your roof rack.

5. Jared Johnson (@txhillrider) – Front Runner Slimline ll Roof Rack

Lifted White 5th Gen 4Runner with Steel Front Bumper, Winch & Cooper Tires

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

The Front Runner Slimline II Roof Rack has been an awesome platform for me to carry my RTT and camping gear. I chose this roof rack because of the number of accessories and mounts available, as well as their load bar design. Front Runner seems to have thought of everything when it comes to mounts, whatever you can think of they likely have a mount for it.

Their Quick Release Tent Mount Kit has been fantastic since my 4Runner is my daily driver and I like to remove my RTT when I am not going on a trip. The Front Runner load bars allow me to quickly add or adjust mounts by dropping an 8mm bolt into the t-slot opening without removing the load bar itself. The perimeter track also has t-slots on the top and bottom, so mounting a light bar, pods, or an awning is as simple as removing a corner piece and inserting the hardware.

The Slimline II is constructed of powder-coated aluminum which is lightweight and tough at the same time. I have been impressed with the quality of the powder coat and how it has held up to constant abuse from removing my storage box and tent. Overall, the Front Runner Slimline II is an excellent full-length roof rack option for the 5th Gen 4Runner.

6. Dale Bacuno (@mr_84runner) – Alpha Foxtrot Roof Rack

5th Gen 4Runner with Alpha Foxtrot Roof Rack, X-Bull Recovery Traction Boards & Cali Raised LED Light Bar

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

I like that it is a simple setup that also looks clean. The roof rack was easy to install and it’s easy to add more mounting brackets to the rack if needed.

The Cali-Raised LED 43″ Light Bar fits like a glove up top as well. This is due to Alpha Foxtrot having a unique bracket for the 43″ light bar so it fits perfectly.

7. Taya Coleman (@atr_coleman) – Prinsu Roof Rack

White 5th Gen 4Runner, Prinsu Roof Rack, Ironman 4X4 Instant Awning, ROAM Adventure 95L Rugged Case & Baja Designs Amber S2 Sport

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

There are probably thousands of white 5th gen 4Runners with this exact setup or similar but this one is mine. The two ROAM boxes are literally how I find my car in parking lots because it kind of stands out obnoxiously. I normally have two big dogs traveling with me in this car so storage is limited, which made me decide to throw some stuff on the roof. I bought the Prinsu rack immediately after I purchased the car because there was no lead time and stuff got to your door in a single week back in 2020.

One box has my recovery stuff such as soft shackles, recovery rope, tools, and air compressor. The other box is usually empty until we go on a trip. It’s usually filled with more camping gear like string lights, or sometimes extra clothing. I usually have a TSA lock on each box because you never know. The orange boards you see are knock-off Maxtrax’s I bought off of Amazon. I’ve used them, they haven’t broken, haven’t failed me yet, therefore I will not replace them with $300 versions. I’m running Ironman 4X4’s instant awning and have been happy with it so far. It’s only 6.5′ so it’s not bulky and fits what I need it for. My dogs hang out under there on warmer days.

It’s not in this photo but the front of this car has a 42 inch light bar on the roof rack that never gets used. Honestly a purchase I regret and will probably replace at a later date due to the fact that bright white lights bounce off the hood and the throw of this specific light bar isn’t phenomenal. Speaking of light, in the rear, I have some Baja amber S2s as chase lights because that’s what the cool kids have. I think I use it to back up into my own driveway more than on trails when there are people behind me.

The last little touch I have up there is handmade roof rack handles from @para.handles on Instagram. I’m short so it’s been handy to get up there. You’re probably wondering about wind noise, and smiles per gallon from all of this, but honestly, does it really matter with everything else that’s on the car? It’s like 11-14 though, if you’re that curious. I’ve been telling people to get me gas cards for Christmas.

8. Daryl Magdangal (@spacerockrunner) – Prinsu Roof Rack

Lunar Rock 5th Gen 4Runner with Prinsu Roof Rack, Maxtrax MKII Traction Boards in Desert Tan & ROAM Adventure Company 83L Rugged Case

WHAT’S ON YOUR ROOF RACK?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR SETUP?

The Prinsu roof rack is a great low profile, lightweight (50 lbs, per Prinsu) modular rack that is completely solid despite not needing to drill in the front feet. While I am weighing the option of mounting a rooftop tent, I love my current setup for its simplicity and ease of access. My recovery boards are within reach but out of the way. My rugged case provides enough space to store my inflation/deflation kit, some critical tools to always have on hand, and has a good amount of room to spare for most other things I’d need to store like wet boots, etc.

I love the case for its size and the spare storage that it gives me, but I also really love that the Sherpa mounting brackets gave me the option of mounting it without having to drill into a perfectly weatherproof hard case. Inside my Roam rugged case, I store my MorrFlate Quad deflation/inflation kit with a built-in digital gauge ($204.98) along with a simple ratchet/screwdriver tool kit and a lug wrench.

Final Thoughts

I hope after looking through this week’s Feature Friday, you realize how versatile having a roof rack is for the 4Runner platform. These 8 examples showed all of the different accessories you can attach to your roof and carry on a daily basis, or when you’re heading to the trails. I used my roof rack more for Home Depot runs, but hey, I’m a mall crawler.

You guys have a wonderful Christmas, and I will see you next week!

If you would like to be considered for next week’s Feature Friday, we will be showcasing SILVER 4RUNNERS. We want to get inspired by a variety of rigs, submit your build for Feature Friday and you might get featured. If you would like to submit your build for next week, include your setup details and an awesome photo that shows it off.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Wanderlust
Wanderlust
4 months ago

Great ideas. Preparing for my first overland on my (then) new 13 runner, I came across a 4’x6’ sheet of plywood leaning against a dumpster at work. I had this vision to use it for a roof rack for the trip as a prototype for a future rack. I made brackets that use the inside T slots of my stock rack and ran flat head bolts through the plywood to secure it. I loaded a pressurized water tank along with recovery boards, shovel, awning, etc. It’s been 9 years and 25-30 over landing trips fishing, hiking, exploring all over the south west. I’m still using the same rack after all these years! I’ve painted it and store it in my garage, it takes a few minutes to toss on top and bolt in place. All my stuff has mounting holes ready to go. I put some 3” diameter holes around the edges and in the middle to run straps for holding stuff. I added a wind deflector up front. If I need to haul lumber of stuff I have a large flat surface. In the summer, it makes a nice sleep platform under the stars. It does not look great, but you do not notice it when its all loaded up. Something to think about

Trevor Bates
Trevor Bates
6 months ago

Good write up, would have been a lot better if everyone would have added actual over head pictures of their roof rack setups, the side shots don’t really show much detail of the roof racks. More beneficial to see how it was mounted and the layout of the gear.

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