When we purchased a 2016 SR5 4Runner, black wasn’t exactly the color I would have chosen. Having owned a black vehicle some years ago, I was well aware of how much it would show everything; dirt, water spots, and scratches. In order to offer some protection to the paint, my initial plan was to wrap the vehicle. However, the cost to do a full wrap didn’t seem practical to me. I did some more research on what I could do and came across Go Offroad Armor Tech (GOAT).
The biggest problem I’ve always had with being in the overland space is worrying about potential damage and getting scratches on my vehicle. It sounds ridiculous, but that always bothers me. Maybe it’s a bit of OCD on my part, but that’s the truth of it. The problem is that it’s bound to happen regardless of how hard you try to avoid those branches or rocks or whatever you might be driving through.
GOAT offers a simple solution in the form of magnetic panels to keep the side of your 4Runner, Tacoma, or FJ Cruiser protected from branches or flying debris that would otherwise cause damage.
You can decide to have plain panels done up, or GOAT offers a wide variety of excellent designs. They’re also super easy to work with if you want something custom done. You can also get the panels in either a matte or gloss version.
The 4Runner set comes shipped in a massive tube on two gigantic sheets for the left and right side of the vehicle. Once you pull everything apart, there are twenty total pieces to cover your vehicle from the front fender to the rear fender.
GOAT recommends not installing them until it’s at least 60 degrees outside, so they are a bit more pliable. I would also recommend having a second set of hands available for some of the larger pieces to make it a little easier.
The front and rear bumpers do not have any coverage being a non-metallic surface. The hood has no coverage either because of heat issues, and the rear cargo door doesn’t have any pieces either because of the amount that would be necessary.
Installation on the first go-around is going to take you the longest amount of time. If you can’t remember where the pieces go, I would recommend leaving the panels in the sheet until you are ready to put them. Or, take a picture of each piece so you can see where they go.
After the first couple of times, they were a breeze to put on, and I had no issues remembering which piece went where. The problem then became making sure they were lined up correctly. This isn’t an issue with the panels; it’s more of me wanting to have them look straight and match up with the vehicle lines.
I ordered my set in January, and it arrived pretty quickly within a few weeks. At the time, I had to wait for a nice enough day in March before I could put the panels on. As soon as I thought it was warm enough to, I went ahead and installed them.
After that install, the weather here turned back to winter, and I was able to drive with them on through some rain, sleet, and snow for a few weeks before taking them back off. I was very pleased with how they held up once it got cold again. I was fully expecting to get home from work one day and find a piece that had come off. That was not the case.
After waiting a few months, I was finally able to test them out on the trail. This is where they really come in handy. On this particular trip, we ended up in some very tight and brush filled sections that would have otherwise left some good scratches on my vehicle.
At one point, I can recall a small tree running down the side of the vehicle and even hitting the rear of the vehicle. Where a dent or good-sized paint chip would have probably been, there was nothing.
The GOAT armor for sure did its job on the trail and, to me, was well worth the money. Once I was back to camp, I was able to see how much punishment it took. There were still some visible scratches where trees hit gaps in the panels, the fenders (which aren’t covered), and the sides of the roof where my tent did not cover.
Is It Worth It?
While it isn’t a 100% coverage solution, it’s enough to help protect the vehicle paint and retain some value. The only spot I wish had a panel was the gas filler door. For some reason, this wasn’t included in the 4Runner set, but I have seen an FJ Cruiser set that did include one.
Storing them can also be a pain once you pull them off (GOAT recommends every two weeks). I initially rolled mine up and put them in my Boss Strong storage drawer. This turned out to be not a good idea when I wanted to put them on again. I had to reform some of the panels to be flat and not curve when on. The best option is to store them flat in order to retain their shape.
All in all, I am happy with my set of GOAT panels. The cost of them at just over $500 shipped is well within a budget instead of spending thousands on a vehicle wrap that has more potential to get ruined. That cost also allows you to have options on multiple designs you might want to swap out. I would highly recommend getting a set if you own a Toyota and are after some protection.