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Get full use of your truck bed with a rack that will let you take your adventures further. Truck Roof Top Tent
It is always a sad sight when you see a truck bed that never gets to live up to its full potential. While the versatility and storage options a truck bed has to offer are incredible, there are several accessories you can utilize to make it fit your lifestyle more seamlessly. Soft-toppers, truck bed toolboxes and tonneau covers are awesome, but the most robust option of them all is the bed rack. While some may feel they can be limiting when it comes to tall storage, a well-suited rack can open many doors to new activities. Whether you want to start overlanding with a rooftop tent, haul a kayak to the docks or even go to the trails for a family bike ride, a bed rack might be exactly what you need to head out on your next adventure with all the right equipment.
Weight Capacity: When looking at the specs for a bed rack, you will often see two weight capacities, static and dynamic. Some brands even go as far as distinguishing between on-road and off-road limits. The static capacity measures how much weight it can hold when the vehicle is parked, and the dynamic is for when it is moving. Static weight matters mainly in the rooftop tent use case because additional weight will be added when you climb up top to turn in for the night.
Materials and Finishes: Bed racks are typically built out of steel or aluminum, each with perks. Aluminum will be a lot lighter but may not be able to hold quite as much weight. Steel will be heavy, which you may want to keep in mind regarding your truck's suspension. But the steel will last forever as long as you don't have any rust issues. Many of these options are powder-coated anyway, so you won't have to worry too much about corrosion.
Half-Height vs. Full-Height: A half-height rack is an ideal option if you are super concerned about your truck's aerodynamics and gas efficiency. The low-profile design will allow you to mount cargo without adding all sorts of wind resistance when you are speeding down the freeway. They also have a lower center of gravity for those who are concerned about rollovers on the more difficult off-roading trails out there. But, their downfall is that they will cover a good portion of your back window and tend to restrict access to the side of your bed. Full-height racks give you more use of your truck bed as you can still store taller items. They are also ideal when you a hauling something like a canoe that is much longer than your bed, as it can extend over the roof a bit.
Compatibility: First, you will want to make sure the rack you are looking at has a compatible option for your truck. Unfortunately, you may need to do some light digging as not every website makes it easy to find the exact rack for your model year and trim. There are adjustable options on the market if you see yourself switching out your truck soon or you just like the idea of flexibility. Some racks are compatible with tonneau covers, so if you are hoping to hold onto your dry storage, you will also want to keep that in mind.
Modularity: Some brands put a lot of effort into accessories for customization. Sometimes the rack will be pretty bare bones at the time of purchase, and then you snag whatever add-ons you need. Some examples are fork mounts for bikes, saddles for kayaks and molle panels for tools or off-road recovery equipment. If you plan on needing these items, I recommend buying the rack from a brand that already produces the necessary accessories, to guarantee design compatibility.
The Slimline II is the perfect low-profile option for a multifunctional bed rack. The platform-style frame is great when it comes to carrying cargo because all your gear can easily be reached. It is low and strong, making it very utilitarian while also not adding tons of weight to your load. When it is not in use, it won't obstruct your rearview visibility at all. A rooftop tent or cargo box will sit below the cab, which is a big win when it comes to wind resistance.
This is quite an impressive setup as it can be adjusted to fit any truck. There are plenty of spots to hook up your gear, including four light pod mounts. On each corner there is a footstep, making it easy to get up to the roof. It has an impressive static weight capacity, making it extremely versatile, but keep in mind that this can also could make your truck a bit top-heavy.
Small but mighty, this rack just might do the trick. It has just enough mounting space for the essentials, while still leaving you with full access to your truck bed. It also won't leave your truck feeling weighed down or top-heavy. Fabtech has plenty of accessories to add to the setup. They even have a bike mount kit that can easily be added on to make your bikepacking trips a bit more accessible.
Yakima is a trusted brand when it comes to hauling extra gear. You may even know them for their rooftop cargo boxes. This rack is adjustable and convenient to set up, as the uprights can be removed pretty easily with its QuickChange technology. They have plenty of different mounting tools to help carry kayaks, surfboards, bikes or even a small rooftop tent. Unfortunately, you will need to buy Yakima's HD Crossbars separately to ensure they are the proper width for your truck.
This rack is the most modular on the list, which comes in handy when figuring out what overlanding setup suits you best. Rebel has options for Tacomas and Gladiators, available in both full- and half-height configurations. It comes with 4 carrying plates that make it easy to mount your recovery tools.
I have the full-height version mounted on my Jeep Gladiator. This search came about when looking into rooftop tent options as we wanted to make sure we could still easily take the hardtop off (the best part about owning a Jeep). We also still wanted to maximize the space in the bed for other camping equipment and more general daily use cases. In addition to the molle panel-style carrying plates, we also use Rebel's tire mount accessory. Our spare mud terrain tire doesn't fit in its proper place under the bed, so this was the next best option.
There was no drilling required which was a nice perk, but installation did take a bit of time. I don't see us removing the unit any time soon.
This one made our favorite truck bed bike racks guide, as its design is simple yet super efficient. No drilling is required for installation, and it can easily be removed when not in use. It is adjustable, so there should be no issue fitting it to your bed. If you have a few more bikes to haul, you can always buy a couple more fork mounts and adjust their spacing as needed.
A super low-profile option that is compatible with a lot of trucks. These rails can hold a decent amount of weight and even have t-tracks that allow you to still use a tonneau cover if you are looking for dry storage.
4wd Roof Tent Robust and tough looking, this half-height rack has great mounting options for off-road recovery equipment while still keeping a lean profile. It does not stretch the length of the bed, but can still easily support the weight of a solid rooftop tent and a couple of occupants. The angled uprights make the build a bit more aerodynamic as your mounted gear won't be extending past the width of the truck very much (if at all).