How To Choose The Right Truck Rack System

How To Choose The Right Truck Rack System

How To Choose The Right Truck Rack System

There are plenty of ways to increase the cargo capacity of a pickup or SUV. We’ll explore some of the alternatives later in this article, but for now let’s look specifically at the different types of truck rack system in use today.

A truck rack system – you might call it a cargo rack, roof rack, etc. – is a rack or set of crossbars which mounts to the cab of a pickup or roof of an SUV, directly to the top of a reinforced truck cap, to the rails of a pickup truck bed, or to a frame that encloses the cap but transfers the weight directly to the bed rails.

Let’s look at a few examples of each of these types in turn, and then perhaps take a peek at a few DECKED brand accessories that we think really help you get the most out of a truck rack system.



Leer 100R


The Truck Rack System Generally

No matter what type of truck rack system you choose, it will need to meet a few criteria to perform well and achieve what you need it to. Most people mount a truck rack system to allow them to carry something specific. That might be as simple as a cargo box, as specific as a kayak or canoe, or even something unusual, like a rack-mounted camping tent. Sleeping 6’ off the ground may sound uncomfortable, but you won’t have to worry much about creepy-crawlies, or about waking up in a puddle.

To achieve your goals, then, a truck rack system has to be solidly built and well attached, so that it doesn’t fail or fly off at highway speeds or when bouncing along off-road. It should also look good – this isn’t Mad Max, and you’ll get no points for duct-taping a bedframe to the top of your truck. Finally, it should be reasonably priced. A better built or larger truck rack system will of course cost more than a smaller, less effective one, but there are practical limits.


Category: Truck Bed Rack System

Thule bike rack

Thule Bed Rider Truck Rack System

The Thule Bed Rider is a truck bed rack system that was designed to let you transport several full-sized bicycles in the bed of your pickup without risk of damage. It works fairly simply. You remove the front wheels of each bike to be racked, then clamp their front forks to the rail provided. The back wheel is strapped down, and the bike is immobile. The rack is primarily constructed of aluminum, and no drilling or bolting is required to attach it to the bed.



Category: Truck Bed Rack System With Tonneau Cover


Elevate rack system

Truck Hero Elevate Rack System

The Elevate Rack System by truck hero works with almost all tonneau cover systems, because it mounts to the OEM stake holes in your bed rails. You can then mount any tonneau cover system which attaches inside the rails and leaves the stake holes. The rack itself is powder coated and made of rustproof aluminum. The posts telescope up from 18 inches to as much as 28 inches, to suit all cab heights.


Front Runner Slimline II Load Bed Rack

The Slimline II truck bed rack system from Front Runner is a large, low-profile rack that mounts directly above a pickup’s load bed. It is designed for use with Roll Top tonneau covers specifically, and its lift posts mount directly to the tracks on the Roll Top Cover. Together, they make a truck bed cover and rack system that can’t be beat.



Category: Truck Canopy Rack System


TracRac CarRac Truck Canopy Rack System

TracRac’s truck canopy rack system is based on a pair of 65-inch crossbars. They come with all of the hardware you’ll need to mount them securely to your truck canopy, though.

The TracRac CarRac Truck Canopy rack system is made in Fall River, MA. The durable, powder-coated aluminum hardware comes with a limited lifetime warranty.  The TracRac CarRac has no stated weight capacity, as the real limit is the strength of your truck’s canopy. Some drilling will be required to mount this unit.

Rhino Rack 2

Rhino Rack 2 Truck Rack System

Rhino offers several truck roof rack system solutions. The Rhino Rack 2, for example, is designed to fit most double cab pickups. It makes excellent use of all that extra roof space by mounting low-profile crossbars on a full meter of track. This truck canopy rack system can hold a respectable 220 pounds.

Better still, the bars can be easily removed when not in use. The Rhino Rack 2 crossbars are universally compatible with bike racks, kayak racks, and cargo boxes from other manufacturers as well.


Thule Evo WingBar Kit

The Thule Evo WingBar is light and aerodynamic, and makes a great addition to most modern pickups. The WingBar was built to be very aerodynamic, producing 55% less drag than competing truck roof racks (according to its manufacturer). A single set of 2 crossbars can support up to 220 pounds of weight.



Category: Truck Bed Rail Rack System 

Thule Universal Steel Truck Rack TracRac System

The Thule TracRac Universal Steel Rack is a large overhead rack that mounts directly to your truck bed rails. It lifts your cargo well above cab level, and lets you move even the longest or most awkward cargoes easily. It is rated at 1,000 pounds of cargo, and will only work with full-sized large-bed pickups.


Thule Xsporter Pro Multi-Height Aluminum Truck Rack System

Thule’s Xsporter Pro Multi-Height Aluminum Truck Rack system can be adjusted to make sure your cargo clears the roof of even the tallest cabs, or to tuck shorter cargoes in behind the cab for better aerodynamics. It is available in several finishes, including silver, aluminum or black.


Category: Off Road Truck Bed Rack System


Yakima Bedrock HD


Yakima Bedrock HD Low Profile Truck Rack System

Yakima’s Bedrock HD low profile truck bed rack system can accept several rail widths, from the narrow 55-inch and 60-inch rails to the widest 68-inch and 78-inch options. Because it is low-profile, it keeps your gear in easy reach. The Bedrock HD is rated to hold 300 pounds for on-road driving in easy conditions, or up to 180 pounds while off-roading.



Yakima Overhaul HD Truck Bed Rack

The Yakima Overhaul HD truck rack system is suitable for heavy-duty uses. It is rated to carry loads of up to 300 pounds while off-roading, and up to 500 pounds while driving on good roads. Better still, the Yakima Overhaul HD can ride as low as 19 inches off the rails for small loads and a low center of gravity, or as high as 30 inches to lift long loads above cab height.


Wilco Offroad ADV-LP

Wilco Offroad ADV-LP

Wilco’s ADV-LP truck rack system can be ordered to fit most modern pickup trucks. All models have a total height of 14 inches above the rails. The top rails are fully compatible with tents and most cargo boxes, etc. The sides are designed to allow the mounting of recovery gear, fuel cans, or similar accessories.

The Wilco ADV-LP rated at 1100 pounds while not moving (camping, etc.), 550 pounds on even road surfaces, and 275 pounds while off-roading.


Category: Truck Topper Roof Rack System


Rhino rack truck cap rack

Rhino-Rack Track Mount Roof Rack

These 54-inch crossbars and pylons from Rhino-Rack are designed for use with any reinforced, rack-ready truck cap, or topper. They also work with RVs and some tonneau covers. Like almost all Rhino-Rack products, this truck rack system is backed up by their famous lifetime warranty.


Category: Truck Kayak Rack System

Thule Hull-a-Port

Thule Hull-A-Port Aero Kayak Truck Rack

Thule’s Hull-A-Port Aero kayak rack system turns virtually any truck roof rack into a kayak roof rack system. It uses specialized fold-away mounts along with the Thule-exclusive StrapCatch system. Other important features include oversized rubber pads to protect your kayak.

Unlike many truck rack system examples we’ve seen today, the Hull-A-Port truck roof rack locks to prevent theft as well.


Yakima OutPost HD Truck Bed Rack

The Yakima OutPost HD is a low-profile truck rack system which is often put to use as a kayak truck rack for long-bed pickups. In addition, the Outpost HD is fully rated for offroad use. In fact, its low-profile stance helps to keep your truck’s center of gravity closer to the ground for safer off-road adventuring.


Thule Hullavator pro


Thule Hullavator Pro Kayak Rack System

The Hullavator Pro kayak rack system was designed to be mounted to a car, but it has become very popular as a kayak rack system for small pickup trucks as well. The Hullavator system provides 18kg of lift-assistance, allowing a single person to load a kayak onto a car or truck’s roof rack safely and easily. This specialized kayak rack system offers 8 padded touchpoints to cradle delicate boats, making it as gentle as it is rugged.



Category: Cantilever Truck Rack System




AA-Racks APX25-E

AA-Racks APX25-E

The APX25-E from AA-racks is a cantilevered over-cab bed-mounted truck rack system. It is designed for use with long, relatively delicate cargo such as kayaks, canoes, lumber, and ladders. It is suitable for use with most mid-sized pickups sold in North America. The columns rise a lofty 28 inches above the rail, so it is suitable for almost all cab heights. The rear section of the truck rack system is 71 inches across, plus an extra 38 inches of over-cab cantilever.


Category: Truck Roof Rack System (Fit Around Shells)

Hauler II Truck Roof Rack

Hauler II Truck Rack System

The Hauler II is designed for people who don’t have a reinforced truck cap or topper, but need to mount a cargo rack anyway. As you can see, it mounts to the bed rails like a truck bed rack system, but extends up and out to avoid interfering with your topper. This truck rack system is rated for up to 1,000 pounds, and is suitable for everything from canoes and lumber to cargo boxes and camping tents.



StarONE truck cap rack

StarONE Truck Cap & Topper Ladder Rack

StarONE’s ladder rack is designed to mount atop most commercial or trade truck toppers. It attaches to the reinforced aluminum corner supports of these truck caps. It  allows ladders, lumber, long cargo boxes, or other cargo to be mounted above the cap without drilling into the roof.



DECKED Products Which Can Enhance Your Truck Rack System

DECKED drawer system

The DECKED Drawer System – Secure Storage Underneath Your Truck Rack System

The DECKED Drawer System may look like a bed protector at first glance, and it does serve that function. However, it literally has hidden depths. Under the hard, weatherproof and hard-wearing deck, you’ll find two high-capacity bed-length drawers. Each of these can hold 1,000 pounds of tools or equipment safely, as well as keeping your most expensive, dangerous, or irreplaceable gear safe from theft or misuse.  

The DECKED Drawer System works perfectly under a truck cap or even in a van or SUV. That means it won’t interfere with the use of any truck rack system.


DECKED drawer system on Toyota Tundra


The DECKED Tool Box – Mobile, Secure Tool And Gear Storage For All Late Model Pickups

The DECKED Tool Box is mounted right behind the cab of any working truck or pick-up. It is low-slung, and can be opened with ease under all but the lowest goalpost style truck rack systems.

The DECKED Tool Box is designed and built right here in the USA. We even make sure to use easily and economically recyclable plastics, along with responsibly sourced steel and aluminum reinforcement.  



The DECKED Tool Box lets you transport gear, tools, camping equipment or anything else you need to carry in a sturdy, weatherproof container. The DECKED Tool Box is also very secure – the lock and its receiver are literally armored!





Both the DECKED Tool Box and DECKED Drawer System are parts of the DECKED tool storage and organization system. They come with accessories like the  DECKED D-Box, and many other organizational extras which work interchangeably with both can be found on the DECKED website.


We hope you learned a little about truck rack systems generally today, as well as about some of the experience-enhancing accessories DECKED has to offer.



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Recycled Steel

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