How To Install A Bed Rack


A bed rack is one of the more important pieces of gear you could have for your off-road vehicle. It helps transport cargo and other accessories so you could have more room inside the vehicle. And the most important feature to look for when buying a bed rack is its adjustability and we’ll get to that soon.


Types Of Bed Rack Mounts

There are a wide variety of bed racks that are meant for different vehicle models as well as for different purposes. And there are also 4 different ways of mounting them. Let’s take a look at them;


Clamp Onto The Truck Bed's Sides

RCI Bed Rack – It can be installed on many different vehicles such as the Toyota Tacoma, DODGE RAM as well as Ford Pick Up trucks and it clamps onto the sides of the truck bed.

RCI Clamp Clamped Onto The Leg Of The Bed Rack RCI Bed Rack Clamp

Clamp Onto The Bed's Channel

Thule TracRac Bed Rack – This is another over-cab bed rack that fits a variety of vehicles and it has clamps that slide into the bed’s channel and clamp onto it.

Thule TracRac Clamp  Thule TracRac Bed Rack Installed With Clamps
Drill Into The Truck Bed Rail

UpTop Overland AFS Truss – A bed rack that requires drilling in order to mount the legs to your truck’s bed.

UpTop AFS Truss Mounting Plate UpTop AFS Truss Leg Being Bolted Into The Truck Bed's Side


Bolt Or Slide Into Truck Bed's Track Or Channel

Leitner ACS Forged Bed Rack – A great bed rack if you want to attach a motorcycle or a mounted bike and it is designed for Toyota, DODGE RAM, Ford, Jeep, and more. It is installed onto the truck’s bed track or its channel.

Leitner Bed Rack Mounted With Clamps Leitner Bed Rack Clamps

Now you’ve seen the different mounting styles. Some bed racks use clamps to secure the rack to the vehicle’s bed by attaching it to its sides or even sliding it into the channel. Some are mounted onto the truck’s bed track and for some, you would need to do some drilling before locking them into place.

When going on some really tough terrains it is important to have your bed rack secured well so as to not rock side to side and eventually break the bed rack. In such cases, bed racks that are required drilling are a better option.


Installing The Bed Rack

Now bed racks are very easy to mount on your vehicle but it will take some time. It’s better to have a friend helping you out because some parts will be heavy and you will need assistance. The first thing you will need to do is to figure out where you want your mounts to be placed on the bed itself.

Measure the truck bed so you can adjust the bed rack when putting it on the bed. Then assemble the legs with the measurements you got. You should set the front and back sections of the rack onto the truck bed. This will make it easier if you are going to attach side panels that some racks have such as the RCI Bed Rack.

You will then need to put the bed clamps to hold the rack in place while you tighten the bolts you used to assemble the rack and also tighten the clamps. Now this will do for your basic bed rack setup. There are also some other ways that you can use bolts to secure the legs of your truck bed.

Most importantly follow the instructions you’ll get with the purchase of your bed rack as different models have different hardware.


Bed Rack FAQS


Bed Rack Vs Topper?

While a topper or a camper shell is a good way of transporting items it can be limiting. You can only out the items that can fit inside it. Whereas a bed rack can carry many more things on it and on its sides.


What Can You Put On A Bed Rack?

Bed racks can be used to transport a variety of different things such as mounted bikes, motorcycles, camping gear as well as roof top tents, and many different accessories as well as heavy cargo.


How Do I Know What Type Of Bed Rack Installation I Need?

That depends on the vehicle and rack you buy, but more importantly the rack. if your bed rack explicitly says clamp and no drill, then that’s what it means. Some other bed racks need additional hardware to install them properly, make sure you read carefully each product description or product manual.


Let's Wrap It Up

The majority of bed racks use the same concept of mounting onto the truck bed. As you know by now you should always measure your bed first and then decide what rack you want for it. Always be sure to adjust your front and back legs first before mounting on the side panels or middle leg like some racks have.

And always follow the given instructions when assembling a bed rack. Once assembled feel free to add desired accessories to it and enjoy your adventures with it.

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