3rd Gen 4Runners and Rooftop Tents


I'm curious what people have been doing. I see them from time to time, so I know it's possible and people do it, but I've seen it expressed that the roof won't hold up to the weight. The other reason I see (more) commonly stated why they're rare is that they're expensive (which may affect the use of the prior argument)... Given that 4Runners are capable of passing rollover tests (and my experiences with much older and more lightly constructed vehicles), I find the prior argument hard to stomach.

I've seen FLYFISHEXPERT'S's thread/blog on roof reinforcement, which no doubt would help. That presupposes there's a load bearing problem in the first place, and he never updated with any experiential results...


Rollover tests... Exactly. According to the DOT, the structure has to be able to withstand the vehicles own weight.

The factory roof rack has a rated weight limit of 160 (I THINK) lbs, and what this refers to is the weight the rack can handle at highway speeds. Most RTT's are under this weight. The Oasis II RTT I own is only 40 lbs. I'm not a small guy, and my wife and I have slept in our RTT for years without issue. I have seen the clamshell type RTT's like the ARB and Mombasa tents, as well as the Maggiolina type, on top of 3rd Gen 4runners without issue.

I wouldn't worry about anything available today that is properly mounted to the factory rails, even without reinforcement.


Do not use the factory cross bars for your rtt. They will snap where the cross bar joins to the upright and you with the tent will fall to the ground. Set it up with Thule or Yakima system.

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I wouldn't put anything on my factory crossbars. I figured most people knew that factory racks are junk. Buy a Thule rack with 4 crossbars and your good to go.


I kinda figured it was an excuse to be cheap, but wanted confirmation. Photos of 3rd Gens with RTTs are out there, but finding anecdotal reports of behavior, roof deflection, etc. is sparse at best... I'm sure it's simply a matter of weight distribution and not relying on ****ty plastic cross bars...


I have a mombasa that I run on top of my 3rd gen on occasion. It's mounted to two yakima cross bars and if you push on the tent, you can see the roof bend. I wouldn't run it on stock cross bars, I've read reports of them breaking eventually. If you're going to have a custom flat rack made with a bunch of mounting points, I wouldn't sweat it. On Yakima bars it sits up a few inches higher than I would like.

Gas mileage isn't horrible if you keep it between 60-65, however, it is like driving with a giant brick up there.



All of the strength I spoke of is in the rails that are mounted to the roof length-wise, not the crossbars. I have a Yakima/Gibraltar Clamp setup for my RTT.

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Why did you start a thread about what other people are doing then? Lame.

Agree... OP, you asked for help and you reply like that... Probly not gonna get a whole lot replies from others.. Good luck on your search though..