The cab is loaded, the bed is loaded, but you still need to bring along more stuff in your Toyota Tacoma. What I love about the Tacoma is its versatility—from every day hauler to efficient work vehicle to off-roading machine, this truck can do everything you throw at it. When the bed is full, or your cargo is just too bulky to fit, an additional roof rack can be exactly the thing to take your truck to the next level. I have reviewed our top five picks for the best Toyota Tacoma roof racks that will expand your hauling capabilities and take your vehicle to the next level.
Our Top 3 Choices
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The Front Runner Toyota Tacoma Double Slimline II is our number one pick because we love that this product fits such a wide range of Tacoma years. Even with the shark fin antenna on the most recent years’ models, this versatile and modular rack is going to give you the carrying capacity to bring along all that you need for all of your road trips. Lighter than steel but just as heavy-duty, this roof rack has a slim design atop the cab that looks great loaded with or without your items. Check out the full review below for more details on why the Slimline II is our best choice.
Top 5 Toyota Tacoma Roof Racks Reviews
1. Front Runner Slimline II – Best Overall
Front Runner seems to have thought of everything in making the one and only roof rack you’ll need to buy. The high-density aluminum frame is lighter than steel but is rated to carry up to 660 pounds of cargo–one of the highest weight limits in the industry. That’s a lot more than most will need, but you can rest assured that your bulkiest gear will remain safe and securely in place.
Whether on an off-road excursion or an on-road adventure, this product has been created to make mounting your cargo an easy experience with no rattle. Mount your equipment to the top, the bottom, or the sides of the Slimline as necessary. You can even go between a platform shape or to a basket shape by adding expedition style rails. How you set-up your rack is entirely up to you and your trip’s particular needs. The rack itself is also easy to install—no more drilling required! We love the amount of versatility here and we love how sleek it looks complementing the top of the Tacoma even when not in use. The included wind deflector keeps road noise to a minimum when the rack is not loaded.
There are very few downsides to this rack. Designed for the rugged off-roading terrain in Africa, there’s not much that this roof rack wouldn’t be prepared to haul on top of your vehicle. This strong, lightweight, low-profile, and modular rack however, is a bit pricier than the other options on this list. It is backed by a lifetime warranty and built to last. Even if any one component became accidentally damaged, you are able to get replacement parts through customer support without having to repurchase the entire rack.
-strong, light, and not bulky
-extreme cargo capacity and versatility to bring along anything
-Higher price point than other models
2. Toyota Genuine – Best for Everyday Use
The Toyota Genuine PT278-35170 roof rack was designed by Toyota to work seamlessly on your double cab Tacoma. It attaches beneath the weather stripping in existing mounting holes on the roof of your truck. Sometimes the installation can be more difficult, but if you need help there are a number of excellent videos online to point you in the right direction. The best part about the design of this OEM roof rack is how great it looks once installed. The crossbars fully stow away inside of the rails when you’re not hauling gear to reduce wind noise and maintain a very sleek profile.
When cargo weight is evenly distributed between both of the crossbars, this roof rack can hold up to 75 pounds of gear—enough to bring along your canoe, a couple bikes, or all manner of camping equipment or other bulky but light loads. It is important to note that this rack has not yet been redesigned for the most recent models of Tacoma trucks and will not fit with the 2020 due to the shark fin antenna. For older versions, this rack works seamlessly and is the high quality you can expect from Toyota.
-Stow-away cross-bars disappear when not in use
-Will not fit current year model Tacomas
-Installation can be tricky
3. Curt Roof Rack – Best Economy Roof Rack
This traditional basket shaped roof rack is a solid choice for hauling smaller cargo that may not otherwise fit in the bed of the truck. While still lightweight at less than 30 pounds, the cargo basket is made of very durable tubular steel that will last if well-taken care of. This roof rack comes finished with a carbide black powder coat to resist corrosion, but for extended use or a lot of expected poor weather it may be necessary to add additional waterproofing to ensure the steel does not rust.
We like the Curt roof rack because it mounts easily and features a tremendous amount of tie-down points to secure whatever stuff you fit up there. On its own, it offers almost 11 square feet of usable space. With an additional Curt extension piece (#18117), you can expand the total square footage to an extremely roomy 16 square feet of cargo space to support even the bulkiest items. You can also order a waterproof bag from Curt that perfectly fits inside the basket carrier to keep items dry if necessary.
The attached windshield at the front of the basket helps cut down on highway speed road noise and also protects much of your cargo from the effects of the wind. Once installed on existing rails and cross-bars, this roof rack is strong and sturdy. With the 4 inch tall walls, you can feel confident about your cargo arriving safely at your destination.
-Lightweight but sturdy
-Offered at an economy price
-Installs on existing cross-bars
-Steel has potential to rust over time
4. DV8 Offroad Roof Rack – Best for Lighting
The DV8 Offroad Roof Rack is another option that mounts directly into the existing roof holes in your 2016 or newer model truck. If you are hoping to mount your current LED lights to your vehicle, this is an awesome choice as it has an LED cutout that accommodates a 45” light bar and several others on the sides for up to 4 slim LED lights for almost 360 degree lighting. You can also purchase brackets to accommodate a 40” LED light bar as necessary.
This roof rack does more than just provide lighting to your off-roading trips. The sturdy aluminum can be used for just about anything you can fasten to it. It is a lightweight and strong option for those really looking to push the limits of what their Toyota Tacoma can do off-road while hauling tons of gear. The aluminum also does not rust like many similar products made with steel.
For every day or on-road driving, the front has an air deflector for better aerodynamics and to reduce road noise and gas mileage drain. Its shape also curves along with the roof for a tailor-made fitted look that’s as stylish as it is rugged.
-LED cutouts on front and sides to accommodate led light bar
-sturdy rack built for the demands of off-road driving
-Instruction manual needs improvement
5. Hooke Road Roof Rack – Best Value
The Hooke Roof Rack is the perfect alternative to spending a lot of money on a big name brand. We love this rack because it is tough and can support just about anything that you need to transport on the roof. You can even put a rooftop tent on this rack without worrying about damage. The heavy-duty steel features a durable black powder coated finish and has been rated to prevent corrosion damage for 5 years.
The aerodynamic style is a nice touch, though the wind deflector could definitely use some improvements. Hooke’s customer service is fantastic and will help you with a solution if yours is flapping excessively at highway speed. What stands out most about the front of this roof rack is the four included high power LED spotlights that look great and thoroughly illuminate what’s in front of you. These lights come with the purchase of the roof rack so you do not need to buy your own led light bar, but expect them in a second package.
Unlike some of the racks on our list, this one is fairly easy to install if you follow directions. You’ll be assembling and installing at the same time, but this makes disassembly and storage a breeze when not in use. Uniquely, the crossbars provide additional holes to help securely mount your gear at a nearby tie down point. This roof rack is spacious and strong—a great value for your truck.
-4 included high-powered LED spotlights
-Heavy-duty construction can hold up to just about any cargo you need to carry
-Wind deflector needs design improvements out of the box
There are a number of important factors to consider when you’re choosing between roof racks for your Toyota Tacoma. A number of roof racks will fit the double cab Tacoma if you already have installed roof rails and crossbars. Many roof racks, however, are designed specifically for the shape and uses of your vehicle. These often have a great looking lower profile, seamless integration with your truck, and won’t require you to have already invested in additional solutions for your roof. Pay attention to the year of your Tacoma as third generation vehicles have slightly different sizing needs due to the “shark fin antenna” addition that may interfere with some roof racks.
On Road Considerations
If you’ll mostly be traveling via established roads to get to your next great adventure, it is important to have a roof rack that won’t dramatically lower your gas mileage or create excessive road noise at highway speeds. You will still need to factor the weight of the amount of cargo you’ll be transporting and the size of its bulk. Roof racks that have a more platform shape will generally lend themselves better to bulkier items such as kayaks and canoes or bike holders. Roof racks in the basket style will be perfectly suited for smaller items you’ll be carrying often and may need to access easily due to the protective walls. If you want to learn about the best rooftop storage for your car and also about the best kayak roof racks of 2021, you can check our recent post about it. And for another reliable way to carry your outdoor needs, read our recent post about 4Runner roof racks. Also, having a roof rack awning installed in your vehicle is helpful for you especially if you’re going to spend a whole day or night outdoor.
For off-road excursions, you’ll need a heavy duty roof rack that’s going stay secure on your vehicle and keep your gear secured also. Strength will be important for your choice between roof racks, so consider materials designed for durability as you never know what you may encounter. Too much weight will change the way your Tacoma handles so you’ll need to account for this on rugged terrain. Some roof racks will have led cutouts for you to add led light bars for increased visibility if necessary and many will be designed specifically for the unique needs of off-road travel.
Based on the way you drive and how you utilize your truck, it is important to pick a roof rack that’s going to cater to your needs and the types of gear you’ll need to bring along most often. Weight limits vary greatly between each of the styles of roof racks. There are products out there for everyone, but the best roof rack for you is the one designed for your style of adventure. Here are our top five Toyota Tacoma roof racks in each of our categories.
There are plenty of options for adding a roof rack to your Tacoma to suit basic transporting needs all the way to the rigors of difficult off-road terrain. While we really like the Toyota OEM roof rack, especially for casual use, the Front Runner Slimline II stands above the other offerings. It is light but incredibly strong. For most excursions, the Slimline will be overbuilt for the demands of most roof cargo, but that gives us incredible peace of mind when hauling gear. Its modular versatility can’t be beat no matter how or where you’re driving.
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