The Complete Guide To Choosing And Installing A Rooftop Tent On A 4Runner

If you love camping and overlanding in your Toyota 4Runner, adding a rooftop tent can take your adventures to the next level. But with so many tent options on the market, how do you choose the right one for your needs and properly outfit your rig?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Focus on reputable brands like Ikamper and Tuff Stuff, match the tent size and weight capacity to your 4Runner, and have a professional installer properly mount it to your roof rack for safety and stability.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll overview the benefits of 4Runner rooftop tents, the key factors to consider when choosing one, tips for proper installation, and our top pick tent recommendations to turn your 4Runner into the ultimate mobile basecamp.

Benefits of Rooftop Tents for 4Runners

Increased living space

One of the major benefits of rooftop tents for 4Runners is the increased living space they provide. These tents are designed to be mounted on the roof of your vehicle, giving you a comfortable and secure sleeping area that is elevated off the ground.

This frees up valuable space inside your 4Runner, allowing you to bring along more gear, supplies, and even furry friends on your outdoor adventures. With a rooftop tent, you no longer have to sacrifice comfort or storage space when traveling.

Elevated sleeping platform

Another advantage of rooftop tents is the elevated sleeping platform they offer. By sleeping on the roof of your 4Runner, you can enjoy a better view of your surroundings and stay away from potential hazards on the ground, such as uneven terrain, insects, or small animals.

The elevated sleeping platform also provides added protection from the elements, keeping you dry and cozy during inclement weather. Additionally, the elevated position gives you a sense of security and privacy, allowing you to relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Quick setup and breakdown

Setting up and taking down a rooftop tent on your 4Runner is a breeze. Most rooftop tents come with a user-friendly design that allows for quick and easy setup, so you can spend less time struggling with poles and stakes and more time enjoying the great outdoors.

With just a few simple steps, you can have your tent ready for a restful night’s sleep. When it’s time to pack up and hit the road again, the breakdown process is just as quick and hassle-free. This convenience makes rooftop tents a popular choice for those who enjoy spontaneous camping trips and want to maximize their time spent outdoors.

How to Choose the Right Rooftop Tent

Choosing the right rooftop tent for your 4Runner is an important decision that can greatly impact your camping experience. Here are some key factors to consider when making your selection:

Hard shell vs soft shell

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with a hard shell or soft shell rooftop tent. Hard shell tents are typically more durable and provide better protection against the elements.

They are also easier to set up and pack away, making them a popular choice for frequent campers. On the other hand, soft shell tents are generally more affordable and lighter in weight, making them easier to install and remove from your 4Runner.

Ultimately, the choice between hard shell and soft shell will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Size and weight limits

Before purchasing a rooftop tent, it’s crucial to consider the size and weight limits of your 4Runner’s roof rack. Each vehicle has its own specific limits, so be sure to consult your vehicle’s manual or manufacturer’s website for this information.

Once you know the limits, you can narrow down your options by choosing a rooftop tent that falls within those parameters. It’s important to remember that exceeding the weight limit can cause damage to your vehicle and compromise your safety while driving.

Mounting style

There are several mounting styles to choose from when it comes to rooftop tents. The most common options include crossbar-mounted, gutter-mounted, and track-mounted tents. Crossbar-mounted tents are the most versatile and can be easily installed on most vehicles with roof racks.

Gutter-mounted tents, as the name suggests, attach to the rain gutters of your 4Runner and provide a secure and stable mounting option. Track-mounted tents utilize a track system on the roof rack for easy installation and removal.

Consider the pros and cons of each mounting style and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Remember, when choosing a rooftop tent for your 4Runner, it’s important to prioritize safety, durability, and ease of use. Take the time to research different brands and models, read customer reviews, and compare features and prices.

By doing so, you’ll be able to select a rooftop tent that will enhance your camping adventures and provide you with a comfortable and convenient sleeping space while on the road.

Professional Installation Tips

When it comes to installing a rooftop tent on your 4Runner, it’s important to take the necessary precautions and follow professional installation tips to ensure a safe and secure setup. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Roof rack considerations

Before you even begin the installation process, it’s crucial to choose a roof rack that is compatible with your 4Runner and can support the weight of the rooftop tent. Look for a rack that is specifically designed for your vehicle’s make and model, and ensure it has a sufficient load capacity to handle the extra weight.

Additionally, consider the dimensions of the rack to ensure it provides enough space for the tent to be securely mounted.

Pro Tip: Check out the official Toyota website for recommended roof racks and accessories that are compatible with your 4Runner.

Alignment and mount spacing

When installing the rooftop tent, it’s important to ensure proper alignment and mount spacing. Start by carefully measuring and marking the desired position of the tent on your roof rack. This will help ensure that the tent is centered and balanced on your vehicle.

Additionally, consider the spacing between the mounts to ensure the tent is securely attached and doesn’t wobble while driving.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure about the alignment or mount spacing, consult the rooftop tent manufacturer’s instructions or reach out to a professional installer for guidance.

Safety checks

Before hitting the road with your newly installed rooftop tent, it’s essential to perform some safety checks to ensure everything is secure. Double-check that all mounting bolts and brackets are tightened properly to prevent any loosening during transportation.

Test the stability of the tent by gently shaking it to ensure it is firmly attached. Additionally, make sure that the ladder or access system is in good working condition and securely attached to the tent.

Pro Tip: Regularly inspect your rooftop tent and its mounting system for any signs of wear and tear, and tighten any loose bolts or brackets as needed. Safety should always be a top priority!

Our Top Pop-Up Rooftop Tent Picks

Best Overall: Ikamper Skycamp

When it comes to rooftop tents, the Ikamper Skycamp is in a league of its own. This innovative tent offers a spacious sleeping area that can comfortably accommodate up to four people, making it ideal for families or groups of friends.

The Skycamp sets itself apart with its unique design, featuring a hardshell exterior that opens up like a clamshell, providing easy access to the interior. Not only is the Skycamp incredibly convenient to use, but it is also built to withstand the elements, with a durable and weather-resistant construction.

Whether you’re embarking on a weekend camping trip or a month-long adventure, the Ikamper Skycamp is the perfect rooftop tent to elevate your outdoor experience.

Most Affordable: Tuff Stuff Ranger

If you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy the convenience and comfort of a rooftop tent, the Tuff Stuff Ranger is an excellent choice. This affordable tent offers a spacious sleeping area for two people and is designed to fit most 4Runners.

Despite its affordable price tag, the Tuff Stuff Ranger doesn’t skimp on quality. It is constructed from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use and features a waterproof design to keep you dry during rainy nights.

With easy installation and a compact design, the Tuff Stuff Ranger is perfect for budget-conscious adventurers who don’t want to compromise on comfort.

Best For Families: Tuff Stuff Elite

When it comes to camping with the whole family, the Tuff Stuff Elite rooftop tent is a game-changer. With its spacious interior and ability to comfortably accommodate up to four people, this tent is perfect for family camping trips.

The Tuff Stuff Elite features a durable and weather-resistant construction, ensuring that you and your loved ones stay safe and comfortable in any weather conditions. Additionally, it offers a variety of convenient features, such as built-in storage pockets, LED lighting, and an integrated mattress.

With the Tuff Stuff Elite, you can create lasting family memories while enjoying the great outdoors.

Choosing the right rooftop tent for your 4Runner is an important decision, as it can greatly enhance your camping experience. Consider factors such as size, durability, and ease of installation when making your choice.

To learn more about these rooftop tents and explore other options, check out the websites of reputable outdoor retailers, such as Ikamper and Tuff Stuff 4×4.


Adding a rooftop tent to a Toyota 4Runner can upgrade your overlanding experience with increased living space and quick camp setup. Choosing the right size tent from a reputable brand and having it professionally installed will ensure it fits and functions properly.

With the right prep work and tent match, you’ll be overlanding in comfort in your decked out 4Runner.

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