Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Picking a Roof Rack for Our Overland Rig

This is the first in a series of picking, installing, and equipping a roof rack for our overland travels.

A roof rack can say a lot about your overland rig.  We spent a lot of effort picking a roof rack.  A lot of time was spent considering the weight of the rack, the rack’s capacity, how cool it looked, how easy it would be to mount our gear, if the cruiser would still fit in the garage, etc.  Ultimately the main contenders were the gamiviti, dissent offroad, and frontrunner outfitters.  We chose the front runner due to the available mounts for the alu-cab shadow awn and got everything from the extremely helpful guys at  We love the t-slot mounting system. Keep an eye out for our upcoming install videos and full walk around of the completed install.

Here's a few great question we got concerning our choice.

1. I'm looking at a rhino rack for my 4runner. Not sure if there is any advantage/disadvantage over the front runner but they sure do look similar to each other?

Yeah they do. I just went back and looked at rhino and remember some of the things that steered me away. On big difference is the main slates run front to back. I think this reduces the wind noise but then there are cross braces since it is to far a span to support much weight. I wonder if this design was to keep from infringing on frontrunner but can't be sure. The weight capacity on their site says 260lbs, I couldn't get an answer as to whether this was dynamic or static load. The frontrunner static load is 660lbs. But the main thing that steered me away was the slots themselves. Now I have never inspected a rhino in person but the slots look to be thinner and wider. Their accessories mount with a rectangular tab that slides in the slot. Frontrunner accessories mount with standard 13mm bolts. That means you can easily make your own stuff which is what I have done and will post some video on that at some point soon. I have made my own table mount, maxx track mount, and built my own eye bolts. Here is an example, A baja rack eye bolt set of 2 is $20 and you can see the tab I am talking about, The same eye bolts from frontrunner using the 13mm bolt is $11 for set of two If you have a frontrunner you can make your own by ordering your own bolts, washers, and eye bolts. Basically cost $2.50 each so half the price of frontrunner and 75% off the rhino rack price. I got the bolts and washers from and eye bolts from amazon here I did 10 at first and liked them so much now I have 30 which is probably over kill:-) I do not know for sure if there is some standard bold that will fit the rhino slot but it doesn't look like it. I hope that helps! Thanks for checking us out!

2. How's the wind noise when unloaded? I like to use the sunroof in the pop up mode on the 100 during daily drives.

The wind noise is not bad, no whistling or anything like that, but not 0. The wind deflectors divert air from the front to the sides. Apparently this was a very noisy rack prior to those being added. Occasionally cross winds will produce a little extra noise but still not that bad. A week after I installed it I put on an awning so it creates all the noise I notice at this point. Now when it's loaded it's a different story. I currently have maxx tracs mounted across the front and they make a little extra noise that is very apparent when the sunroof is open.

2. Since you mentioned your sunroof, did you end up covering it up? I have a 100 series and have contemplated using a 3/4 length size. What size did you pick? Thanks for the videos!

I was contemplating not covering the sonroof. In the end I decided more rack was more important to me.  I was pretty set on a gamiviti and was thinking of going with the sunroof cutout.  I think now they even have a panel to cover it too.    I expect I will eventually put a roof top tent up there and would still like to have some room for gear. The standard full length frontrunner rack is 77.3" and I ended up getting a custom one that is actually a tiny bit longer than 85", one additional slat.  I am going to cover this in some upcoming videos.  The sales guy at ok4wd discussed this option with me since he had it on his 100.  Standard rack goes to end of rails and mine goes a little further to cover the whole roof.  He advised not to stand out on that end but plenty strong for anything I might set up there.

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