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WELCOME TO YOUR PREMIUM OVERLANDING GEAR STORE!
The Toyota Rav4 was introduced into the market back in 1996. It probably started attracting attention with the 2nd generation launched in the year 2000. You could get one in America with a 2.0 liter inline-four engine with 150 hp. Slowly but surely Toyota started improving this vehicle until it became a more “aggressive” car with the 5th generation in 2018, the XA50.
It’s not a surprise that it was then that it started attracting the attention of overlanders and even the off road world. This was an attractive vehicle, that with the proper aftermarket accessories, it could turn into a good family overlanding rig. Toyota even launched a Rav4 Adventure and TRD Off Road lines.
As of today, the Rav4 is becoming more and more popular in the overlanding world. Not for nothing, some of the world’s biggest roof rack brands now have different rack options for it. Front Runner, Prinsu, Thule and others all offer a Rav4 roof rack. In this review, we will go over the best Rav4 roof racks in the American market, and we will help you choose the one that’s best suited for your needs.
Best Rav4 Roof Rack
Toyota Roof Rack Rav4 FAQs
Toyota Rav4 Roof Rack Cross Bars
All Toyota Rav4 Roof Racks
Toyota Rav4 Roof Rack Accessories
As we mentioned above, the Rav4 has become a popular off road vehicle, and the newest line consisting of the Adventure and TRD Offroad models are a sign of just that. Want to make sure you upgrade your rav4 into an overlanding vehicle? Then Front Runner has got you covered with the Slimline II. Made in South Africa, from powder coated aluminum and high strength steel, this roof rack is suited for the toughest trails in the world.
It will literally turn your rav4 Adventure or TRD Off Road model into a vehicle equipped for longer road trips, overland adventures and the possibility of carrying any cargo you might need. This Rav4 roof rack has a 660 lbs load rating, meaning you can carry from kayaks, to bikes and even roof top tents.
Installing this platform roof rack is not that complex. Yes, it does require drilling, but onto the existing roof rails of your Rav4. Basically, as you can see from the included installation manual, you will use the feet from the rack and bolt them onto the Rav4’s roof side rails. This does require some knowledge with power tools, but it’s still a fairly intuitive installation. And once you’re done, you will have a solid, stable and extremely strong roof rack.
Please be advised this model suits ONLY the Rav4 Adventure and TRD Off-Road model from 2019 onwards.
660 lbs load rating
Requires drilling for installation, meaning it’s not as simple as with other racks
Many aftermarket accessories to add to it
Incredibly high quality
The Prinsu Toyota Rav4 Roof Rack is perhaps the best choice for any Toyota Rav4 from 2019, 2020 and 2021. This particular roof rack offers a very easy and simple installation as it doesn’t require any drilling. The low profile reduces the wind resistance and the noise considerably when compared to any other roof rack in the market.
Add to all those features the fact that you can use it with the regular Rav4, as well as with the TRD Off Road and the Adventure models. Do keep in mind that you can only use it with the latter two IF YOU REMOVE THE SIDE RAILS. Otherwise, it’s not compatible. We advise you to only remove them if you are comfortable with doing so and know how to handle some tools.
Keep in mind, this roof rack will not work with the Rav4 XSE or the XSE Hybrid, nor will it work with any Rav4 with a panoramic roof.
With a 500 lbs load rating, to stay on the safe side, this USA made roof rack for your Rav4 is an excellent choice to carry from ladders, to kayaks, canoes, bikes, recovery gear and even roof top tents. It’s a great cargo carrying platform rack, and recently Prinsu started crafting new rack accessories that will help you carry even more items without a headache.
Easy no drilling installation
Will not work with a panoramic roof
Very low profile, not noisy
Comes with the option to leave a space for an LED light bar, making it easier to install one
The Sherpa Snowmass in an excellent aluminum USA made roof rack for any Toyota Rav4 from the 2019 to the 2022 model. It’s a full-length platform rack, that comes in two different heights, half (for a single row light bar), or full height in case you don’t want a light bar. Plus, you can customize a few other features such as getting in black powder coated or in a raw aluminum finish.
Much like other racks, installation doesn’t require any drilling, so it’s simple to install it yourself with the help of a friend or family member.
One of the key features that sets Sherpa roof racks apart, is that their racks offer an industry lading ¼ inch thick aircraft grade aluminum side panels, which are thicker than most in the industry, and can take literally a stronger abuse. They are built to withstand more weight, more vibration, and tougher trails.
As other Rav4 roof racks, it does not work with a panoramic roof. The static load rating is excellent at 700 lbs, meaning you can literally mount over it whatever you can think of.
700 lbs static load rating
Versatile, comes in two styles for you to choose from
Great aluminum side panel construction, tougher than most
As you may know, Rhino Rack constantly offers different rack solutions for almost all vehicles, from either crossbars to platform roof racks. The Pioneer Platform is their popular platform rack model, which supports itself over grab-on legs that will then attach to the elevated side rails of your Rav4.
It’s an easy to install roof rack, taking around 30 minutes to do the whole process. The platform rack is 52” x 49”, so large enough to carry most items, from bicycles to kayaks. As said before, it just grabs onto the roof rails of your Rav4 from the 2019 to the 2022 model.
Given the grab-on design, this Rav4 roof rack will work with a panoramic roof, and even with the TRD and Adventure model. The only set back, is that it doesn’t have such a great load rating. Rhino-Rack doesn’t specify the exact weight capacity, but to keep it on the safe side, it should be handled with some attention. The grab-on legs are excellent; however, it cannot take as much off-road use as other platform racks.
Incredibly easy grab-on style installation
Not as great load rating as other models
Can be used with a panoramic roof, Adventure and TRD versions
Many aftermarket rack accessories
This section will cover a different style of cargo racks: the Rav4 cross bars. Crossbars tend to be more affordable, easier to install and uninstall, less noisy and more lightweight. However, they are not as useful in off road conditions, can only carry certain objects, and cannot withstand as much weight. They can be great and useful for many, but just understand what you’re after.
Rhino Rack, as we mentioned above, is one of the leading rack brands, and on top of making platform racks, they also have lots of different crossbar systems. This particular Toyota Rav4 Roof Rack Cross Bar system consists of 2 crossbars, which will attach to the flush rails of your Rav4.
Keep in mind, these are different from the grab on version that Rhino Rack also makes, but we thought about mentioning these, as they offer a different mounting solution in case, you’re after them, but you can also get those that grab onto the side rails.
These Rav4 crossbars work great on the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 models, even with a panoramic roof. They bolt onto the existing roof factory mounting points you can find when taking off the rubber over the flush rails. Simply bolt them onto them. Installation isn’t complicated, and the fact that they bolt directly to the roof makes them more stable, secure and can handle larger weights.
Easy installation, bolt directly to flush points on roof
For those models with roof rails, you will need to get the grab on models
Can be used with a panoramic roof
Stable can handle larger weight
Thule, one of the worldwide leaders in crossbars and other rack accessories, also makes two different sets of cross bars for your Rav4. They have flush rail bars, as well as grab-on crossbars to the elevated side rails on your Rav4.
This model are the Evo Wing cross bars, which will very easily and quickly attach to the roof rails of the Toyota Rav4, providing enough strength and stability to mount lighter cargo. We are talking of surf boards, kayaks, canoes, fishing gear, and the very famous cargo carrying boxes from Thule themselves.
The crossbars are quite silent, not providing much wind resistance, as well as being lockable from the sides. It has a patented clamping technology from Thule, that makes sure these are fastened and clamped much tighter than other models in the market, but you must remember to still check them often and make sure they are tight and secure, especially if you carry heavy accessories or if you are taking your Rav4 on complicated roads.
Easy to install and remove
Cannot handle as much weight as platform rack
Great for aftermarket accessories such as roof boxes
In this section we will look at some of the most common accessories that you can add to the roof rack on a Rav4. Normally, these accessories are great for overlanding too, or just to carry items that will improve your day-to-day activities or your weekend hobbies, such as bike racks, kayak carriers and light bars!
There are plenty of different bike roof racks in the market, you can get Thule bike carriers, the mounting accessories from companies such as Prinsu and Front Runner or Rhino Rack. And you can find all of them on our website, going to the bike rack section.
However, for the purpose of this Rav4 roof rack guide, we will talk about one of the most common and versatile Rav4 Roof Rack Bike Racks: the Thule Tandem Carrier.
The Thule Tandem Carrier is a one bike carrier that will fit on Thule crossbars, more specifically the square bars and round bars. It will not fit the Wingbars or Evo bars. It’s s lightweight rack accessory, that can fit one bicycle on top of it, up to 55 lbs of weight.
Installing it can be simple, as it easily holds and locks onto the crossbars. It has a pivoting fork mount design, for a very secure and steady transportation. You will need to take off the front wheel of your bike, as it happens on most carriers, but that also makes it easier for one single person to mount it over the roof of your Toyota Rav4.
Another great roof rack accessory for overlanding, off road adventures and honestly day-to-day activities: an LED light on the roof of your Rav4. Honestly, the moment you install a light to your rack, whether that’s a light pod or an Led light bar, the road just feels safer, and the journey a better one.
We offer different roof racks that can easily fit almost any light bar in the market, however platform roof racks, such as Prinsu, Front Runner, Sherpa and such, are the best suite for light bars. They tend to either have after-market mounting kits, or already come designed to fit them, such as Prinsu and Sherpa.
That said, we do carry many different light bars, but the best Rav4 roof rack light bar size is between 40 and 42 inches. Therefore, a great light bar is the Baja Designs S8 40-inch-wide light bar.
Baja Designs is by far one of the leading light bar brands in the whole world. Their products are truly outstanding, and the S8 LED bar is not an exception. You can choose different light patterns, but we recommend the Driving Combo pattern, with a white lens.
This Rav4 light bar comes with a limited lifetime warranty proving the high quality of manufacturing. It has 19,050 lumens that use 24 Cree LEDs, and it has a lifespan of over 49,000 hours of light. The exterior materials are made of stainless steel and aluminum, as well as polycarbonate front lens that’s nearly indestructible.
Mount this light bar to your Rav4 roof rack and get ready for the next level of adventure.
Kayak carriers come in different shapes and sizes, and some can be even custom made with just straps. You do not need to go all the way and find a very specific accessory to carry a kayak over your rack, however, if you do, it’ll be safer and make your life easier.
We offer different kayak carrying solutions, more specifically for brands such as Rhino Rack and Front Runner. The Front Runner Pro Kayak Carrier is perhaps the best out there from all the different Rav4 roof rack kayak racks.
Keep in mind it can only be used with the Front Runner roof racks, but this great kayak rack comes with angled V braces, that are adjustable to a 20%, creating the perfect saddle for the kayak itself. It comes with very resistant rubber pads that avoid scratching the kayak, as well as keeping it in place. Plus, it comes with Stratchits to secure it even further. Did we mention it can carry kayaks or canoes up to 300 lbs of weight? Yes, it’s great!
The roof rack weight limit will vary from one roof rack to another. It’s extremely important you pay close attention to the weight load rating or load capacity of each roof rack you are after. If you want your Rav4 to carry heavy cargo, go for a roof rack that offers at least a 500lbs load rating.
Well, none of the roof racks that we carry have a ladder for a Rav4. However, you can find a solid Rav4 roof rack ladder from RnoFit Fabrication.
This is a great question. The short answer is yes, it is safe, and you can do it to install certain roof racks such as the Prinsu. HOWEVER, be aware, once you do so, putting them back is not an easy task at all. Our recommendation is to only do it on your own if you are handy with work tools, power tools and have some serious knowledge of vehicles. If you don’t, do it with a professional or get a roof rack that doesn’t require you taking these OEM roof rack rails off.
Each Rav4 roof rack will make noise. If you get crossbars, then the noise will be far less. If you get a platform rack, getting a Rav4 rack wind deflector can be a great idea to reduce the noise, Front Runner, amongst other brands, have wind deflectors. Otherwise, a low profile Rav4 roof rack such as Prinsu, offers slightly less noise. Nevertheless, they will always make a slight whistling sound or noise. It’s part of getting a rack, and you will get used to it.
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