Best Rear Hatch Ladders For 5th Gen 4Runner

Rear Hatch Ladders For 4Runner

Top 6 Options For The 4Runner In 2024: We Compare Specs, Features, And Accessories

We all love the “Wittle Wadder” jokes. 4Runner rear hatch ladders are a hilariously controversial modification that is often accompanied by the age-old debate of whether or not we really need one.

What started as an accessory on bushcraft vehicles, their function was simple: add easy access to roof-mounted items. But then, do you pack it for every camping trip? Thus, the vehicle-mounted ladder was born.

There’s an entire space on your 4Runner’s roof that’s inaccessible to vertically challenged folks like me: the center area. If you’re looking to fully utilize your roof rack, it provides the means. So, I started researching rear hatch l when my family started traveling cross country and ran out of interior storage space.

Pros & Cons

Top Rear Hatch Ladders 5th Gen 4Runner

We had purchased a storage bag to put all our soft belongings (clothes, sleeping bags, tent) in the bag but wanted to access it often. So, I mounted it towards the back of the 4Runner but quickly realized that I couldn’t stand on the bumper and reach items further back inside the bag.

The first ladder I bought was a used Gen1 C4 (shown in the above photo). It suited my needs and allowed me to access the roof easily. Plus, I could snap photos with a better vantage point. As a bonus, it carried some items I didn’t want on the roof rack or inside the 4Runner, such as a gas can.

Pros

  • Reach: Will help you reach your roof rack, safely.
  • Storage: You can easily expand storage and mount gear such as gas cans, trash bags, recovery items, and more.

Cons

  • Pricing: It’s not cheap, starting at about $280+.
  • Weight: These are meant to hold 250 lbs.+, and as such are made of steel and often aluminum. That added weight means that you’ll mostly likely need stronger lift struts.
  • Obstructed view: They obstruct your rearview mirror and camera.
  • Install: Many of the options require you to drill the bottom of the rear hatch.

The options listed below are in no particular order, so pick the one that best suits your needs!

1. Cali Raised

Cali Raised LED Rear Hatch Ladder

Find It Online:

Specs

  • Steps: 5
  • Weight: Not listed. If I had to guess, it would be close to 11lbs.
  • Mounts: Integrated Rotopax partitions (3), drilled holes on the sides for additional mounts, molle hatching on the ladder throughout.
  • Accessories: Rotopax bases, MOLLE nuts.
  • Drill for base mount?: Yes

    This one features a hybrid steel and aluminum construction and has more mounting space than any ladder in the market. It’s very wide, has integrated steps, and has (3) built-in mounting points on the left side that can accommodate up to 4-gallon RotopaX.

    The top and bottom brackets are powder-coated steel while the ladder, mounting area, and steps are aluminum. This allows for strength where you need it without adding unnecessary weight to your rear hatch, which many do.

    This is the most robust on the market when it comes to mounting options, attach points and storage. However, the steps are hard to use with RotopaX mounted. I rarely find myself using them, so removing them before climbing isn’t a dealbreaker for me. This is also the best value by far regarding price, modularity, and versatility.

    I found that while using this ladder, I gouged the inside of the rear cabin access because the tape didn’t hold my ladder down well enough. To fix this, I replaced the cheaper included tape with 3M double-sided tape.

    For more details, check out the Cali Raised Hatch Ladder install and review.

    2. C4

    C4 Fabrication Rear Hatch Ladder 5th Gen 4Runner

    Find It Online:

    Specs

    • Steps: 4
    • Weight: 18 lbs.
    • Mounts: Sidebars have slots designed to hold steps, RotopaX mounts, etc., but no integrated mounts.
    • Accessories: RotopaX bases, side steps.
    • Drill for base mount?: Yes

      C4 is a household name in the Toyota aftermarket industry. They make tough and well-made armor and their ladder is no different. It is made with aluminum sides and rungs, and steel mounts on top/bottom. This is the heaviest ladder on this list, requiring heavy-duty struts to keep the rear hatch open.

      The strength lies in the double-paneled sides. The rungs are the same aluminum extrusion bars we’ve grown to know and love in popular roof racks. C4 also incorporates a rubber insert on the steps for added grip.

      In-house accessories are installed to the left or right of the steps so as to not be in your way when using it to access the roof.

      For more details, check out the C4 Summit Hatch Ladder install and review.

      3. Gobi

      Gobi USA Rear Hatch Ladder For 4Runner

      Find It Online:

      Specs

      • Steps: 4
      • Weight: 13 lbs.
      • Mounts: Nothing included.
      • Accessories: Rotopax bases, side steps, axe/shovel, Maxtrax, propane, and more
      • Drill for base mount?: No

        When I first started searching for options, I constantly saw ads for this one. Gobi makes a very strong steel rack that’s been around for years. The basket-style rack is iconic with its safari-style aesthetics.

        They typically package the ladder in with the rack for a competitive price, so if you’re looking to overhaul your storage space overall, this is worth a look. Because of their long-standing presence in the market, there are plenty of compatible mounts and accessories available. This one (and the rack) uses tubular 16-gauge steel (as opposed to many companies that use block aluminum and plate steel).

        For more details, check out our Gobi Ladder install and review.

        4. Westcott Designs

        Westcott Designs Rear Hatch Ladder

        Find It Online:

        Specs

        • Steps: 4
        • Weight: 11 lbs.
        • Mounts: Sidebars have slots designed to hold steps, Rotopax mounts, etc., but no integrated mounts.
        • Accessories: Rotopax mount, side steps (not offered by Westcott). They do offer a jerry can mount you could attach.
        • Drill for base mount?: Yes

          Westcott Designs is a relatively new aftermarket fabrication company based out of Phoenix, AZ. With years of experience in the automotive industry, Jeff Westcott looks to improve upon issues that he has seen with aftermarket products. It has an extremely similar design to the C4 but with some noticeable upgrades.

          The ladder comes fully assembled and has a bottle opener integrated on the side. The entire unit is constructed from aluminum, weighing only around 11 lbs. The extrusion bar-style steps make mounting gear and accessories very easy.

          For more details, check out our Westcott Hatch Ladder review.

          5. Front Runner

          Front Runner Rear Hatch Ladder

          Find It Online:

          Specs

          • Steps: 3 (they count the top plate as a stepping point, but all could be used in this manner)
          • Weight: 11 lbs.
          • Mounts: None
          • Accessories: N/A
          • Drill for base mount?: Yes

            Front Runner has been in the game for years, and as such, has the backing and trust of tons of followers. While they typically find themselves in a higher price bracket, this ladder departs from that trend. It’s light, no frills, and is the cheapest option on this list by about $20.

            This minimalist option has solid sides, so attaching anything to it may be challenging. The rungs are also narrow (10″) and not plentiful (3).

            What does set it apart, however, is that the top mounting plate has two non-slip rubber pieces for added safety when climbing and descending. Plus, at only 11 lbs., you can still open/close the rear hatch with the factory lift struts.

            If you’re looking for a simple one that is well-made, this is for you.

            6. Prinsu

            Prinsu Rear Hatch Ladder

            Find It Online:

            Specs

            • Steps: 4 (more can be added, all can be relocated to different positions)
            • Weight: 17 lbs.
            • Mounts: None
            • Accessories: N/A
            • Drill for base mount?: Yes

              This is an interesting option. Prinsu commands solid brand loyalty by offering (at the time) the first mass-produced, no-drill roof rack on the market. From there, Prinsu and CBI joined forces and have been a staple in the offroading community ever since. After making variations of their rack, improving the design, and pumping out new accessories, they finally released theirs.

              It boasts square tubing sides, sheet metal steps, and pre-drilled holes in (7) different positions so that you can install the steps where they work best for you.

              For more details, check out our Prinsu Ladder install and review.

              Final Thoughts

              Cali Raised LED Rear Hatch Ladder

              There are plenty of solid options in the way of rear hatch ladders for the 5th Gen 4Runner. Having experience with the Gen 1 C4, I was excited to try out something new and compare the two.

              Cali Raised is the newest entrant into the rear hatch ladder market. In my opinion, they’ve made a strong impression with their integration of MOLLE panels. This makes theirs the perfect solution to truly expanding your storage and organization. It’s also one of the only ones that I could attach filled Rotopax cans to and open the hatch.

              All of the options listed above have their pros and very few cons. To pick the one that’s best for you, first make a list of your needs, and then your wants. Then, check the specs above, grab one, and get up on that roof!

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              TGGreen
              TGGreen
              20 days ago

              Samuel, Is that a Clemson Class of ’09 on your rig? I graduated Clemson in ’94, still go back as often as possible. Great looking rig btw!

              Nick
              Nick
              22 days ago

              Only thing I wish you would have added to the article is what the weight rating is, I’m 200lbs and when I was shopping for a ladder I noticed that there are several brands that are not rated for me

              Brad S
              Brad S
              26 days ago

              Anyone with ladders dealing with the dreaded rear hatch rattle? I’ve been trying to solve it for years with no luck!

              Francisco Suarez
              Francisco Suarez
              26 days ago

              I can vouch for the victory 4×4 ladder. I can tell you I got rear ended 6 months ago while I was at work and that ladder protected my parked 4runner outside and only had a cracked left rear tail light. The other driver’s rear was smashed in. Ladder was solid. Thumbs up to the guys at victory 4×4 for the solid product.

              Samuel
              Samuel
              26 days ago

              That’s amazing! I have their sliders and can definitely cosign on their quality.

              Hali
              Hali
              26 days ago

              Greenlane Off-road makes
              an excellent all aluminum ladder that’s super light/strong and you never have to worry about it rusting out.

              RayC
              RayC
              26 days ago
              Reply to  Hali

              I have their all aluminum hybrid sliders, excellent product and service.

              Samuel
              Samuel
              26 days ago
              Reply to  Hali

              I wish I had more info on them when I was writing! Many of the options above mix aluminum and steel, but not ALL Al.

              Mike
              Mike
              26 days ago

              I don’t have a ladder but if I felt I needed one, I’d opt for one that can actually function as a ladder. Cali Raised seems to lack purchase for your feet, so I’d pass on them. Sorry!

              Samuel
              Samuel
              26 days ago
              Reply to  Mike

              If you’re traveling and using the ladder as storage AND need to climb, I can see that. But, as I said, that’s a pretty niche use. Usually, when I get to camp I remove the things I’ve stored on my ladder. Then, the built-in steps function well.

              Short21yang
              Short21yang
              26 days ago

              C4 ladder all the way! Rocking it with the Gobi Ranger Rack. It’s nice, beefy, holds 2 of my 2 gallon rota packs, extra steps. The whole shebang. No regrets with it. Check out my reciew here https://youtu.be/RjSzI152X4k?si=p_dupTXj2VVqBT-w

              Samuel
              Samuel
              26 days ago
              Reply to  Short21yang

              I rocked a c4 ladder for 4 years, the V1 (non-drill). I had no issues, and the design is solid as hell.

              Syed
              drifter
              Syed
              26 days ago

              Gobi ladder and rack here. Had them both for.over ten years and no issues. I only have recently seen a small bit of exposed metal at the screws/bracket. Will probably put some protection on. But the ladder get a lot use from my boys. It’s solid.

              Samuel
              Samuel
              26 days ago
              Reply to  Syed

              They’re hard to deny the consistency they put out.

              Dmitry
              Dmitry
              26 days ago

              Baja ladder is pretty good

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