Buying Guide: Truck Bed Rack Systems

Buying Guide: Truck Bed Rack Systems


Truck with Thule kayak rack



A truck bed rack is one of the most useful pieces of equipment you can buy for a pickup truck of any make. They let you carry quite a few things that would be awkward and/or dangerous without a truck bed rack, and generally make your truck a more practical aid to your lifestyle.

In this article, we’ll look at quite a few specific truck bed rack products, including a truck bed kayak rack or two, more than one bike rack for truck bed use, and even the odd low profile truck bed rack. We’ll tour different manufacturers’ offerings, including a Thule truck bed rack, a Yakima truck bed rack, an Overland truck bed rack, and more. We’ll also look at a few DECKED products which can be used in conjunction with most truck bed rack solutions to make them even more effective.


What Do You Need From A Truck Bed Rack System?

The purpose of a truck bed rack is to mount a structure on the rails of your truck bed that allows you to carry an awkward load in a stable and ideally aerodynamic fashion. Most are designed so that longer loads like canoes or ladders extend over the cab of the truck, and do not obscure the view out of the back of the cab. You’ll often see this type of truck bed rack system called “goal post racks,” and the resemblance is certainly there.

In the end, you need a truck bed rack that is sturdy, that can hold the loads you need to carry, that can be mounted and dismounted easily, and (ideally) one that actually looks good.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best truck bed rack systems available today.


Category: Heavy Duty Truck Bed Rack

Yakima Overhaul HD Truck Bed Rack

The Yakima Overhaul HD truck bed rack system is great for heavy use of all kinds. It can carry loads of up to 300 pounds even in off-road conditions, and up to 500 pounds while on the road or while stationary. It is fully adjustable, and can provide as little as 19 inches of lift off the rails or as much as 30 inches. This makes it work not just with a wide range of cab heights, but also with a wider range of load types. Better still, it can be mounted or removed in minutes.


Yakima OutPost HD Truck Bed Rack

The Yakima OutPost HD is a medium height truck rack with all the heavy-duty capacity you might need. It is fully rated for off road use, and its lower total height keeps you center of gravity closer to the ground. It also makes your gear easier to actually get to when you need it. It is fully compatible with Yakima’s SideBar mounts, so you can really get a lot out of this Yakima truck bed rack system.


Thule Xsporter Pro Multi-Height Aluminum Truck Rack 500xt

The Thule Xsporter Pro Multi-Height Aluminum Truck Rack 500xt is a specially made pickup style Thule truck bed rack. You can adjust its height to make sure your cargo clears the roof of the cab, or to improve wind resistance by reducing the height for loads that fit behind the cab. It comes in silver aluminum or black finish. These are fairly expensive at nearly $900. However, that is not out of line for a high capacity truck bed rack system.


Category: Truck Bed Bicycle Rack

Thule bike rack


Thule Bed Rider Truck Bed Bicycle Rack

A Thule truck bike rack like the Thule Bed Rider is a great way to transport several full-sized bicycles in the bed of your pickup safely. The front bike wheel is removed, and the bike fork is clamped directly to the rack. The rack itself is mostly aluminum, and it is attached to the bed without drilling or bolting.

Depending on the year and model of your truck, you can expect to pay around $250 for a new Thule Bed Rider truck bed bicycle rack. If a mounting is needed, that might cost extra.


Thule Insta-Gater Truck Bike Rack 501

The Thule Insta-Gater line of truck bed bicycle racks mount entirely within the truck bed, allowing you to move one or more bikes securely and conveniently, and without strapping them to a “goal post frame” above cab height. No bolting or drilling is required, and the Insta-Gater truck bed rack mounts without any frame contact. At around $280, it won’t break the bank, either.


Category: Truck Bed Kayak Rack

Darby Extend-A-Truck


Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck

Darby’s Extend-A-Truck truck bed kayak rack attaches to your trailer hitch mount, and effectively extends the bed of your pickup far enough to carry up to two kayaks in the bed, below the sight line of the cab rear window. This is a much more aerodynamic solution than an over-cab rack, though it does make your truck quite a bit longer than usual. Take care on tight turns. The height of that rear support is even adjustable, to carry other types of loads.


AA-Racks APX25-E


AA-Racks APX25-E

AA-racks has been making truck bed rack systems for years, and the APX25-E is a great example of why people trust the company. It is a traditional over-cab kayak truck bed rack with the flexibility to carry other loads as well – canoes, lumber, ladders, whatever you may have. It will fit virtually any mod-sized pickup sold in the US today, and has an off-rail height of 28 inches. The rack itself is 71 inches across, and mounts a 38 inch over-cab cantilever.




Category: Low Profile Truck Bed Rack


Yakima Bedrock HD


Yakima Bedrock HD Low Profile Truck Bed Rack

The Bedrock HD low profile truck bed rack system has 4 low-rise clamp pylons and 2 bed-spanning rails. It is available in a 55-inch, 60-inch, 68-inch, and 78-inch version, depending on the size of your truck. It keeps your gear in easy reach, and below the wind-block of the cab – which can be important at highway speeds or when going under low bridges! It has a 300 pound on-road rating, and 180 pounds off-road.

Wilco Offroad ADV-LP


Wilco Offroad ADV-LP

This low profile truck bed rack system is available to fit mist modern bed sizes, at prices ranging from $1500 for smaller beds to $1750 for larger beds. Its total height is 14 inches off the rails, and it is sturdily built of aluminum and steel. The top rails are fully compatible with tent and cargo mounting, and the sides can mount recovery gear or fuel cans. It is rated at 1,100 pounds (static), 550 pounds (on-road) and 275 pounds (off-road).


Category: Truck Bed Ski Rack

Front Runner Slimline II Load Bed Rack


Front Runner Slimline II Load Bed Rack

This kit from trusted name frontrunner is a great choice for carrying a wide range of skiing gear, but also other equipment. It is designed specifically for the Mercedes X-Class (2017 and later), allowing it to mount to the OEM bed tracks without drilling or special equipment.



Yakima FreshTrack 4 - Ski And Board Carrier

Yakima’s FreshTrak 4 is a simple and easy to use truck bed mount system for skis and snowboards. It mounts without any tools, and is considered to be one of the more robust ski rack solutions on the market today. Better still, it can be had for less than $150 from most retailers.


Category: Truck Bed Rack Tent


High Country 55-Inch Rooftop Tent By Freespirit, Part Number 19420419


This roof-mounted tent features a skylight and over-sized windows, as well as a UV-reflecting silvered surface on the rainfly. The tent measures 98 inches by 55 inches by 47 inches high on the inside, and sleeps 2-3 people. It has a 2-inch-thick foam floor, and its extruded aluminum alloy frame can support up to 750 pounds. A USB-powered LED light strip is also included. It mounts to virtually any truck bed rack system, provided it can handle the weight of the tent and sleepers.





DECKED Accessories To Use With Your Truck Bed Rack




The DECKED Tool Box – A Secure, High Capacity, Low Profile Tool and Gear Storage Solution


The DECKED Tool Box is made entirely in America. It fits behind the cab of almost any pick-up, and fits under most roof rack systems with ease.

The DECKED Tool Box is the perfect way to transport tools or equipment, but also camping gear or sporting supplies of all kinds. It is sturdy, weatherproof, and unusually secure. The lock and its surroundings are literally armored against intrusion, so you can even store valuable tools in the DECKED Tool Box overnight.


The DECKED Drawer System – Storage And Bed Protection That Will Not Interfere With A Truck Bed Rack System

DECKED Drawer System

The DECKED Drawer System might be one of the best companion pieces to a set of “goalpost racks” you can buy today. While it is a great bed protector, it is so much more as well. The DECKED Drawer System is completely weatherproof and securely lockable, so you’ll never have to worry about the security or accessibility of your gear again. If you look under the high-impact plastic resin deck, you will find a pair of high-capacity utility drawers, each of which can hold up to 1,000 pounds of tools, equipment, sporting gear, or other supplies.


DECKED drawer system components

Of course, you can use the DECKED Drawer System without a truck bed rack as well. DECKED’s revolutionary tool and cargo storage and transport solution even does the job of a tonneau cover, improving the aerodynamics of your truck dramatically while preserving the utility of your truck bed.

Best yet, the entire system is made of recyclable material. It even includes post-recycled materials right out of the factory. Of course, it has plenty of steel and aluminum reinforcement to help carry any load you need it to.

Finding Truck Bed Rack Retailers Near Me

Truck bed rack systems have been the go-to solution for increasing the practical cargo capacity of pickup trucks for a long time, so you won’t have to go far to find a retailer. If you don’t have many auto parts and truck accessories stores nearby, there is always the internet.

Before you Google “truck bed rack,” though, we’d like to ask you to consider some of the fine DECKED accessories we offer. Most will work in conjunction with a truck bed rack system, and are available in different models to suit just about any modern pickup truck.


How Environmentally Friendly Are The Truck Accessories You Buy?

Granted, we don’t all think of “environmental responsibility” first off when looking for truck bed rack systems or other accessories. But take a moment to think about why you need a truck bed rack. Are you off-roading with camping gear? Transporting sporting equipment to a place of natural beauty? Enjoying nature in other ways? You owe it to yourself, your children, and to the planet itself to protect that beauty that you explore.


One of the best ways you can live up to that responsibility is to favor manufacturers who use easily and economically recyclable materials. If we just shift our buying habits away from single use plastics, we can do a lot of good.

This is why we spent so much time working with the plastic resins we use to make DECKED accessories. We had to make sure it wasn’t just strong, resilient, and durable, but also very practical to recycle. We did so well that we found it was more economical to recycle our own plastic wastes in-house than to buy new products, and all of the accessories we sell contain a high proportion of recycled material already.

We do this because we know that it is important to protect our planet, and because we know that our customers would want DECKED’s carbon footprint to be as small as possible. We are proud to source our materials from suppliers who feel the same way.


Man accessing DECKED drawer system


We hope you learned a little about truck bed rack systems today. We hope you also noticed the superior tool storage and organization accessories you can get from DECKED.