Roof racks are prized for their versatility. With the right accessories, a roof rack can be adapted to transport just about any outdoor toy in your inventory, from kayak to bike to cargo box. We appreciate their stability and their out-of-sight unobtrusiveness while driving. The key tradeoff: Needing to lift your 4Runner gear overhead in order to secure it. Here is a review on LabRak’s rooftop rack for 3rdGen 4Runner’s.
Shane over at LabRak Rook Racks in Bend Oregon hooked Team4Runner’s 2001 3rdGen up with one of the most advanced racks we have seen yet. 65 pounds of pure aluminum. Measuring 60 inches by 44 inches, made from a heavy duty Aluminum and slightly textured powder coated material. The mounts are made from 304 Stainless Steal cut to cary 800lbs evenly distributed amongst the rack; which is something we were looking for with the potential of a roof-top tent + gear. The roof rack instals directly into the side tracks of the 4Runner and needs no drilling. All the hardware fits our expectations with a matte black color and nylon lock nuts making sure nothing rattles lose. With this all being said, how do we go about reviewing and testing the LabRak roof rack? Well, Team4Runner traveled two weeks and 3000 miles over highways, gravel roads, tight turns, and moderate trails through Colorado and Utah. We put this rack to the test. We beat it up, stood on it, hauled and carried a pile of different gear. We used it to its capacity, and it was impressive. From integrated wiring, corner slots, XSlats, and T-Slots, this things is extremely capable. We had our worries at first about mounting our Yakima bike and Thule ski racks to it, but with LabRak mounts they fit like a glove. Everything is laser cut and low profile, and to our dismay, there was no extra wind noise. But, we took in to consideration the wind noise produced by our 38inch gear bag and ski’s. We loved the fact that it was USA made, straight from the dreamer state of Oregon.
We have said lots of good about this product, one huge reason why is because we care a lot about the packaging, shipping, and service that a company provides. LabRak will replace everything, and aside from that, our Rack, Mounts, and all the extras shipped fast. The packaging was shipped in a secure and protected box with all the extra padding and handling. Quality is key for our whole team, most certainly impressed with it.
LabRak has created something unique, they have manifested years of planning into one innovative design. Team4Runner wanted to connect with a roof rack that wasn’t the same design as all the others. We wanted to rock something that was new, something that we could give tons of exposure too. We needed a rack that could haul just about anything, from a tent to a kayak, something that had mounts that were tested and approved. We connected with LabRak, tested their rack and gear, and yes… our expectations where exceeded. We got away from our basket rack and switched to a rack that has been and will be much more accessible to the adventures our 4Runner takes us on.
We care a ton about the looks. This rack looks great; not only its design and matte black finish, but the way its built and its sincere quality. It’s convincing and it grabs our eye. So why LabRak over their competitors? Whats so much better? What’s the convincing part? For us a downside comes from the roof of our 4Runner, in this matter all 3rd Generation 4Runners. When to much weight is applied on the front corner of the rack, the roof of the 4Runner tends to slightly bend in. This is purely the structure of the 4Runner, and it doesn’t help we have a sunroof. This is one thing to take notice when purchasing any heavy duty quality roof rack. On the other side; we have evaluated a whole slew of racks and for the most part these racks are great racks. They are good quality, built well and priced right. FrontRunner for example does not make a 3rdGen 4Runner rack for 96-02 4Runners. These racks offer less T-Slots, making their compatibility and capability less advanced. In fact, FrontRunner and LabRak prices are extremely similar and comparable. The biggest factor that sets the LabRak roof rack apart is their customizable design for all their racks, specifically our 3rdGen rack. We have only been impressed with the rack itself along with all the mounts and accessories. LabRak has tons of new accessories and mounts releasing soon, with innovative new designs like this 3rdGen rack, new mounts like our shovel mount, and impressive new designs. It has been fun reviewing and testing this rack, our team has enjoyed taking it through the ringer.
We mounted our 38in x 38in rooftop bag using LabRak Shok-Strap tie-dows and Tie Down Rings. Our specialized mountain bike using a Yakima BlockHead and hardware sent from LabRak. Our Traction Jack Recovery Kit using hardware (and a soon to be released) roof top mount plus a LabRak Anti-Rattle Shok-Strap. We bolted our Thule Ski racks down into the tray slots as well. We had extra room for our backpacks and rope, plus room to sit and have a sandwich while up in the Mountains. HUGE Bonus, the racks are made to order.
Is this rack really any good? I know that was a huge question when we were deciding which rack to mount on our 3rdGen 4Runner. The simple answer is yes. This rack has a LOT of accessories, very easy to mount, slim & innovative design, and was built to tackle any and ever vehicle based endeavor. Team4Runner highly recommends this rack to any 4Runner and Toyota driver. Overall this rack is a winner in our book and has been added to our quiver of roof racks and expedition gear for the great outdoors and for our 4WD overland trips. We feel like this rack will be well suited for your next adventure in your 4Runner. Check out the full line of LabRak Roof Racks and accessories at LabRak.com
For more recommended reviews on this rack check out TCT Magazine, a couple years old but worth the read. Click Here