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How To Choose the Correct Roof Rack or Bed Rack for Overlanding

September 12, 2021

Roof Racks, Bed Racks, and Bed Bars... Which option is the right solution for you?


Overlanding is self-reliant and that’s one reason why each outing you experience will hold a special place within you and your travel companions indefinitely. While it comes natural to take pride in what we accomplish on each trip (and rightfully so), let’s not forget that there’s a true warrior assisting us every step of the way… your rig. Your vehicle's functionality and carrying capacity is considered the "be all" for this type of activity. Today's blog will focus on things to consider when choosing the best roof rack or bed rack for overlanding. 

But I Already Own a Factory Roof Rack… Let's Start from Scratch

Let’s first address those who own a vehicle that is sporting a factory roof rack. While these may work great for everyday use, they often lack the strength needed to support higher-weight overland gear and accessories. In this scenario, our team highly recommends replacing the factory roof rack with an aftermarket roof rack. We have partnered with industry leading brands such as PrinSu Design Studio, Cali Raised LED, Sherpa Equipment Co., upTOP Overland and many more; each of which offer a much stronger and versatile roof rack than one from the factory.  Not only are these roof rack systems higher strength but they are much more versatile, providing a better mounting platform for Roof Top Tents, Awnings, Storage Boxes, Maxtrax Boards, RotopaX Containers, Spare Tires, Lighting, and other cargo that may be needed for extended days off the grid. Assuming that we've convinced you to start with a blank canvas, let’s review the potential options available for your vehicle. While cars and SUVs are limited to a roof rack (unless you want to get VERY creative), those who own a truck or a Jeep Gladiator will have a more expansive product offering to choose from. This category will range from roof racks, bed racks, and load bars (often referred to as bed bars).

Overland Roof Racks: Roof Racks are becoming increasingly popular and are now available in a variety of stylish designs. They are typically low profile and feature an innovative design to help reduce wind drag and wind noise. Many roof racks such as the PrinSu Roof Rack, Cali Raised Roof Rack, Sherpa Roof Rack, and upTOP Roof Rack, feature wind deflectors that can accommodate a LED Light Bar. Each of the listed manufactures have created an overland style roof rack that was designed with the adventure enthusiast in mind. They can often support weights of 600lbs. – 700lbs. and feature channeled load bars and tie-down points that will allow you to easily secure your gear. These roof racks are popular choices for those who are wanting to run a LED Light Bar and securely transport their gear to the next location. While many aftermarket roof racks can easily support a Roof Top Tent, it is recommended that truck owners consider a bed rack, due to the aerodynamic aspect of things.

  1. PrinSu Design Studio: PrinSu Design is considered the pioneer when it comes to Overland Roof Racks. The PrinSu Tacoma Roof Rack was their flagship product, which quickly expanded to a host of other vehicles. PrinSu Roof Racks have a superior weight rating of roughly 650lbs. - 700lbs. and are extremely versatile. Boasting the statement "More Than A Rack", PrinSu has done an excellent job catering to the adventure enthusiasts' lifestyle. PrinSu Racks are considered the premier roof rack and for good reasons.

  2. Sherpa Equipment Co.: Sherpa Equipment Company is considered a leader in vehicle based modular storage systems. They are located in Colorado and offer some of the toughest roof racks on the market. Sherpa Roof Racks are extremely functional and are often paired with Sherpa Accessories to truly maximize it's capabilities. Similar to the PrinSu Rack, the Sherpa Rack can support weights of 650lbs. - 700lbs. and comes backed with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

  3. Cali Raised LED: Cali Raised Roof Racks are growing increasingly popular and for good reason. They are available at a price that won't break the bank and are made from the same high-quality materials that are used among other brands. Cali Raised has stated that they have "tested and proven" their racks at 1,000lbs., making them one of the strongest in the industry. Please note: We do not recommend exceeding 700lbs. on the roof of your vehicle. We ask that you use caution when creating your Overland Build.

Overland Bed Racks:In addition to roof racks, bed racks allow you to truly maximize your truck’s carrying capacity. By installing a bed rack on your truck, you now not only have the ability to store things in the truck bed but also alongside (and on top) of the truck bed rack. Truck Brigade is proud to be an Authorized Dealer for many industry leading manufacturers of truck bed racks, such as Leitner Designs, Cali Raised LED, CBI Offroad, RCI Offroad, and the list goes on! We have chosen to partner with these brands due to the fact that they each have been tested and proven. Each of these manufacturers have set themselves apart by creating a unique product that could easily cater to anyone’s lifestyle. Bed Racks are often a little pricier than a roof rack, however with that often comes more convenience and more functionality. Bed Racks typically are capable of supporting weights between 800lbs. – 1,400 lbs., depending on the brand. Below is a list of recommended Overland Bed Racks / Offroad Bed Racks.

  1. Leitner Designs:Leitner Designs Bed Racks are considered by many to be the most versatile bed rack on the market. Leitner Designs offers both the Leitner ACS Classic Bed Rack (off-road weight capacity of 250lbs., on-road dynamic weight capacity of 500lbs., and parked static weight capacity of 1,000lbs.) and the Leitner ACS FORGED Bed Rack (off-road weight capacity of 400lbs., on-road dynamic weight capacity of 800lbs., and parked static weight capacity of 1,400lbs.). The difference between the two are that the Leitner FORGED Rack has aluminum uprights and a higher weight capacity. Both of these Leitner Racks feature a sliding load bar and were exclusively designed to work with Leitner Designs Accessories such as the Leitner Universal Mounting Plates, Leitner GearPods & GearPod XL, and much more. In addition to the two listed racks, it’s important to note that Leitner recently released their all-new Leitner ACS FORGED Tonneau Bed Rack. As the name implies, this bed rack is compatible with T-slot rail tonneau covers such as the Retrax XR Series or the Pace Edwards Ultra Groove & Explorer Series Covers.

  2. Cali Raised LED:Cali Raised LED Overland Bed Racks make for an excellent choice as they are easily installed, available in a variety of height options & bed lengths and are priced in the consumer’s favor. While they have not provided a tested “off-road weight capacity”, they have tested and proven that the Cali Raised Bed Rack is capable of supporting roughly 1,100 lbs. when parked. When it comes to strength and durability, Cali Raised makes a superior Overland Rack.

  3. RCI Offroad:RCI Offroad has earned themselves a spot among the top due to how versatile their RCI Bed Racks are. Regardless of the truck you own, it’s almost guaranteed that RCI offers a fitment. While they make vehicle specific bed racks, they also offer their RCI Universal Bed Racks. In addition to this flexibility, they offer RCI Tonneau Cover Adapters that can pair with their Universal Bed Rack to accommodate a variety of Tonneau Covers.

Overland Bed Bars: If you’re looking for the most conservative option to expand your vehicle’s carrying capacity from a price standpoint, bed bars may be the perfect solution. These are easy to install and just as easily removed when not in use. While they do not have the same strength that a roof rack or bed rack offer, they are strong enough to support a Roof Top Tent and other miscellaneous gear. Some excellent quality bed bars to consider would be Cali Raised LED, C4 Fabrication, and CBI Offroad. By going with one of these three manufacturers, you can rest assured that you will get many years of reliable use. Please note that bed bars are typically manufactured to be vehicle specific and are not available for certain vehicles at this time.

  1. Cali Raised: The Cali Raised Overland Bed Bars are available in two configurations, allowing for you to choose what will work best for your setup. Regardless of if you choose their "Circular Bed Bars" or "Flat Bed Bars", you can rest assured that they will get the job done. Cali Raised LED Bed Bars are strong enough to exceed the weight limitations of any Roof Top Tent on the market.

  2. CBI Offroad: CBI Overland Bed Bars second to none when it comes to this product category. These bed bars manufactured in the U.S.A. and are extremely versatile, allowing you to securely mount a Roof Top Tent, bicycles, and much more. 

  3. C4 Fabrication: C4 Lo-Pro Bed Bars are 100% American Made, feature an innovative design, and use factory T-slots on the bedside for a quick and easy installation. C4 Bed Bars are priced competitively and are sure to get the job done.


 When trying to determine what type of vehicle rack solution you want to go with, one of the first questions you need to address is, what gear will you need to carry? Considering your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy will go a far way with determining which option is best for you. Please note that while we try to be as informative as possible regarding category breakdowns and product recommendations, this topic could be discussed for days on end. The options out there are truly unlimited! We would like to point out that each manufacturer and product that has been mentioned in today’s blog has been tested and proven by not only our team, but a multitude of enthusiasts around the world. If you would like further assistance with choosing the best roof rack, bed rack, or overland bars for your next overland adventure, please do not hesitate to reach out to our crew! 

Contact us with any questions via phone (888)-550-3028 or by email -