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Posted on Sep 05, 2019 by Karsten Koberg
Truck bed racks are a constant matter of discussion on different forums or Facebook groups that we’re a part of.
We see many different people asking which rack system is better for their Tacoma, for their Ford F150, their Colorado ZR2, so on and so forth.
Many opinions come down to why you want to have a pick-up truck bed rack, what you will use it for, and where you are going to be using your rig.
This post will try to keep as simple as possible the basic characteristics and recommendations for anyone looking for a bed rack.
We’ll cover different rack options, from different brands, and go over their positive features, what they can give to your truck, why you would want to buy them, and what you can do with them.
Remember, if you have, let’s say a Tacoma, there are many different racks that can fit the bed of your vehicle. Why you should choose one over another can come down to the price, or to the height of it, or simply to the fact that one can be customized further more than another.
Choose wisely; choose after you are informed about:
Truck bed racks come in different shapes, sizes and models. There are many different brands operating in the market, you can go with the bigger names such as Thule, Yakima, Front Runner, or you might want to go with more of a boutique brand such as Leitner Designs, CBI Offroad or others.
Your choice, should always be based on your true needs, and by true needs we mean what you actually use your truck for, and not just overload it with a very heavy rack and tons of accessories that in the long run won’t be needed or end up even causing trouble due to the weight.
The first bed rack we will look at is the famous TraRac SR by Thule. Many people know Thule for being one of the most famous brands in the whole world. From cross-bars, to roof racks, hitch bike racks, and many other car accessories, they are a symbol of trust, of durability and reliability.
The Thule Track Rack SR is a very flexible and reliable bed rack system. The greatest thing is how smart and easy to use this rack is, since it adjusts to various vehicles, different bed lengths, as well as being capable of holding many different loads.
Brand & Name
Fits Vehicles (view different years in product listing)
Load Rating (Static)
Compatible With Accessories
Thule TracRac SR
· TOYOTA Tundra Short Bed & Long Bed
· FORD F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F550
· DODGE RAM
· GMC Sierra & Canyon
· CHEVROLET Silverado & Colorado
Now that we briefly introduce the rack, it’s time to look at why this is one of the best possible options for your pick-up truck.
The first reason is the brand and the confidence behind it. Thule, despite being one of the biggest brands in the world, still provides top quality items. They will last for many years, they’re made with excellent materials, and they will have many accessories to combine the rack with.
That brings us to a second point: compatibility.
Thule racks tend to fit perfectly with other accessories such as bike racks, and this is no exception. However, since at Off Road Tents we specialize in overlanding and off road equipment, we want to talk about roof top tents.
The TracRac SR bed rack will have no problem whatsoever carrying a roof top tent on top of it. Thanks to a1250 lbs static weight capacity or load rating (which means it can hold 1250 pounds of weight when the vehicle is not in motion), this truck rack will be able to hold any rooftop tent, from hardshells to softshells.
The Thule TracRac is therefore an ideal option if you want to mount a roof rack tent on the bed of your truck.
What makes it another preferred choice of ours is the flexibility. As we mentioned above, this pick up truck rack will adapt and adjust to many vehicles. Despite the height being non-adjustable, it has the option of choosing different bases or overhead rack sizes, as to fit your specific vehicle. (If you want height adjustability, check out the Thule Xsporter Pro bed rack HERE)
This rack was also designed for an easy installation: it does not require any drilling, it slides into the bed of your rig, it has a corner brace design for a stable load carrying, and it has additional tie down points for security. The aluminum construction makes it lightweight enough to avoid any overweight on the bed.
Overall, a fantastic truck rack.
Before purchasing it, make sure you choose the right size for the overhead and for the base rails, as they will change depending on the make, year and model of your truck.
Remember, this Thule rack will easily hold any item, even for off-road experiences, as well as daily use.
The Active Cargo System by Leitner Designs is probably our favorite truck bed rack system out of all the ones available not only in this list, but in the market.
The simple fact that this bed rack becomes pretty much an all-in one solution to ergonomically fit and carry all the items and gear you may need, is the game changer.
It is a true upgrade for your vehicle.
Leitner Active Cargo System
· Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma Long Bed & Short Bed, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, Ford Ranger, Ford F150, F250, F350, F450, Ford Raptor, Nissan Titan.
Why do we like the ACS so much?
Mostly how solid it is, how light it is, and all the accessories you can include to it.
First things first, there are many different models, sizes and types of Leitner Active Cargo System. As a matter of fact, you will have to choose (see them HERE) from the different models to see which one fits your pick-up truck.
That said, these systems are all made with military grade aluminum, fully TIG-welded for maximum strength, all manufactured in USA, and very lightweight.
They will not cause any structural trouble to your vehicle, and they are able to hold a static weight capacity of 1000 pounds at least. This is due to the fact that you will have to drill into your truck’s trunk to install it, but that also means a safer setup, as well as a stronger bed rack.
We then have the accessories, these Leitner ACS racks offer a huge range of accessories to upgrade the rack and truck.
Firstly, you will be able to carry very heavy weights on it, such as any roof top tent, awnings, showers, surfboards, overlanding gear, or whatever comes to mind.
Secondly, the rack was specifically designed to upgrade it with other accessories (you can see them HERE), such as the Gear Pod to safely store items, the MaxTrax Mounting Plates, hi-lift jack mounts, awning mounts and even Roto-Pax mounts.
If you decide you want to upgrade your rig with a complete bed rack, this is one of the best choices.
Front Runner Outfitters is widely known for producing a variety of overlanding and off-road accessories, from racks, to rooftop tents and even camping tables.
The famous Slimline II roof rack is a great choice, since it’s reliable, easy to install and quite solid. The same applies for the Slimline II load bed rack kit, which offers a 660 pounds static weight capacity and comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty.
Front Runner Slimline II Truck Bed Rack
· Multiple Vehicles: Chevrolet Colorado ZRII, GMC Canyon, GMC Sierra, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, Ford F150, F250, F350, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Ram,
One of the main reasons we like the Front Runner Slimline II for the bed of your pick up truck, it’s because it comes at a great price, it’s easy to install, and it’s specifically designed for your specific vehicle. What do we mean by that? Well, that Front Runner takes their time to design a specific rack per vehicle.
That means that if you own a Chevy Colorado, then the rack will fit only your rig, if you own another truck, then there will be a rack for that other truck. Some of them require drilling, others don’t.
However, they all have a static weight capacity of 660 lbs, allowing you to still safely carry large weights, RTTs, kayaks , bicycles and more.
Add to that the huge variety of accessories that Front Runner offers, and the flexibility of this bed rack becomes tremendous.
One thing to point out, which might be a pro or a con depending on why you want the rack and why you will sue it for, is the fact that it is a lower bed rack, sitting below the height of the cab. Therefore, whatever you carry on it probably won’t affect the wind resistance or the aerodynamics of the vehicle. Sure, it takes some space away from the bed area, but also allows you to reach whatever you carry on top of it, much more easily than with other models.
Tuff Stuff is a Cali based brand that manufactures smart overlanding accessories, from car top tents to winches, lights and even a very smart, affordable and useful bed rack.
This black powder coated rack is available in two sizes: 40” or 60”. It is adjustable, meaning that it will fit a large range of vehicles, and if you want, you can just purchase one size or the other, to make sure it’ll fit the dimensions of your truck’s bed.
Tuff Stuff Adjustable Roof Top Tent Rack
This is a bit of simpler rack when it comes to what it offers and it’s compatibility with accessories, but it has a lot of pros in other areas.
Manufactured in the US, this bed rack is of excellent quality and durability. On top of that, it takes only 15 minutes to install it, and will fit pretty much any pick-up truck out there, you just adjust it, and in certain cases use the custom T-Nuts and you’re done. No need to drill, no need to assemble something complicated, the ease of installation, or take-down, is a huge advantage.
It was designed on purpose to carry RTTs, which is another advantage for those that already know they want to buy a truck bed rack to install their roof top tent on top of it.
The price is extremely fair and affordable, it has been tested by the guys from Tuff Stuff 4x4 to make sure it can handle tough trails, and it has excelled.
It might not have a flashy design, yet this rack is quality.
Easy to install, easy to remove, with a 500 lbs static weight capacity and with an adjustable height going from 19 to 30”, the Overhaul HD truck bed racks are a very practical solution.
Despite not being the ones with the largest load rating, they are good enough to handle whichever roof rack tent you throw at them, even hardshells. On top f that, they are really easy to mount on the bed of your car thanks to the Quick Change rack attachment designed by Yakima.
Yakima Overhaul HD
Yes, many Yakima accessories available
There are many things we like about this bed rack system, firstly it is affordable, secondly it’ll adjust to may different vehicles making it simpler to choose it, and then it has an adjustable height.
By adjusting the height it’ll be easier for you to take different things depending on the trip. For example, if you’re going to carry kayaks or boards, you might want them as high as possible so that the overhang of these items is over the cab.
However, if what you want is a car top tent and you don’t want as much wind resistance then it’s as simple as lowering the height and you’re good to go.
They come with pretty good features such as the QuickChange rack attachment, so the installation takes toughly 30 minutes. It also comes with the famous Yakima SKS (Same Key System) feature to safely lock them and avoid any theft.
Finally, made from high quality aluminum, they weigh only 50.54 pounds, which is great, especially if you’re going to be mounting rooftop tents at the back of your truck.
The main goal of this article was to provide you some insight into 5 excellent different types of truck bed racks. The five of them offer different features and solutions for your rig, and just as we said at the beginning, your choice should be narrowed down depending on why you want the rack, what you will be mounting on it and where you will be using it.
All five racks can pretty much be sued for very similar activities, but of course, if you’re extremely serious about overlanding, carrying gear and other accessories on the rack, then you’re probably better off with a Leitner ACS.
Instead, if what you want is a flexible truck bed rack, capable of carrying yes heavier weights such as roof top tents, but also having the flexibility of mounting bicycle carriers or things of the sort, then the Thule TracRac might be your best choice.
Purchasing a truck bed rack isn’t an impulsive thing to do, you have to give it a good amount of thought, evaluate factors such as load capacity, build, as well as your truck itself and how you want to modify it.
Remember, all of these truck bed racks are a good mod for your rig, but one might be a better one than the other, depending on what you’ll be using the for.
If what you're looking for is actually a roof rack and not a truck bed rack, then please take a look at our entire collection of roof racks HERE.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate in giving us a call: 844-200-3979 or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO, if you would like to share info, pictures or anything roof top tent or overland related, please feel free to do so Joining Our Facebook Group HERE.
I have a Toyota Tundra Crewmax 2019. I’m down to the Thule and Yakima. Both models adjust. I have two questions. Do I have to purchase different attachments to install (with either product)? Last question I have a 5’5” bed. After install can I adjust all settings? I plan to transport bikes so I’d like to put it at the lowest setting. Then On different adventures I plan to transport kayaks so I’ll need to put it at a higher height to clear the cab.
Morning.I have ford ranger DC with rollbar and a sail.I want to know if die front slimline can be fitted and if the sail is not a problem.Then i want to know if there is a quick realese to make the front slimline a tabel.
please review my truck rack NEW patent pending
A pity Yakima Overhaul HD products are not available in all Europe. What a gap in the market !
The Yakima Overhaul HD static load capacity is 800 pounds. Just installed mine and that is what the spec sheet shows.
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