So I don’t know about you, but I feel like the Toyota 4Runner without anything in its hitch is just too naked. You can put a ball hitch that comes as an option when you purchased the vehicle, but that’s not really customizing the car. You can have the 1up bike rack which always looks cool, pretty much on any car, but you typically do not always want to have that on there.
This led me to my search for the perfect hitch accessory for that hole to be filled. I have experienced and seen many of the 4Runner's hitches banging against the rock or grinding coming out of a ditch. Its the geometry of the vehicle (or lack of a lift). I came across the Factor 55 Hitch Link, something which would look cool especially if you had a D-ring hanging from there with the primary use of a recovery point for your vehicle. A tough one at that. They are aluminum blocks rated from 9,500 to 18,000 lbs. But then do you really want to scratch your $79-$149 hunk of aluminum against a rock?
Next thing I looked into was the CURT hitch skid. Now at a cheaper price (A LOT cheaper at around $36) it does the job of protecting the hitch, and that is where it ends. It does nothing else but protect. So if all you’re doing is Off-Roading/ Overlanding and don’t expect to be recovered from the rear or if you have a another recovery point in the rear, then I could see people going down this CURT route.
Since I wanted functionality from my hitch accessory, I started looking into hitch steps. I found the Tyger Hitch Armor Step. With a 350lb weight capacity and a texture powder coating, this is really tough stuff. This would would give me access to my roof rack from the rear and would protect me from that Honda Civic that forgot to break early. As for banging something that is not meant to be banged on some rocks or scraped against, it sort of turned me off of the whole hitch step idea. That is until I came across what I went ahead and picked up...
The Body Armor Backbone 4-in-1 off-road accessory. I mean the name says it all.
- Is used as recovery point
- It has a built-in skid plate much larger than Curt
- It has a hitch step
- Can be taken out to be used as a wheel chock
- What isn't included on the packaging: Can stop 9mm rounds and be used as shield
This hitch accessory fits most 2 inch receivers, it’s powder coated black, 18lbs of steel, this thing does it all.
Then, I "installed" it. There was no hitch pin included and a piece of powder coat got chipped. Also if you have a tire underneath your 4Runner then it will hit the tire and you can’t slide it in all the way to the last hole. It sticks out a little further than I would like.
Functionality however is all there. For about $112 the Body Armor Backbone lives up to its name and feels solid, protects the hitch, I can climb on top of it, don't need to go into the garage to grab my wheel chock, works as a recovery point. It really is a nicely designed hunk of 18lb steel. Recommend!
Factor 55 Hitch Link Check Price
CURT hitch skid Check Price
Tyger Hitch Armor Step Check Price
Body Armor Backbone Check Price