If you are anything like us, the back seat of your rig can fill up and get disorganized in a hurry. Especially on a multi-day adventure and even more so with a Tacoma where the room in the rear of the vehicle seems to shrink by the day.
One solution to help alleviate this is a Tacoma bed rack. Those not interested in a bed rack should consider a Tacoma roof rack which shares many of the features and benefits.
Bed racks are a newer phenomenon, but have taken the industry by storm. This is in part due to the increased functionality they provide your rig and how they can drastically enhance your offroad adventures.
But what Tacoma bed rack is best and what brand bed rack will suit your adventures best? That is a great question that we can certainly help with.
Since there are many different Tacoma bed racks, it is important to consider how you plan to use your truck and what features are most important to you. Luckily there are many excellent bed rack options for the Toyota Tacoma.
Below are our top 5 Tacoma overland bed rack options that everyone should consider prior to making a decision. You cannot go wrong with a bed rack from Leitner Designs, CBI Offroad, upTOP Overland, Westcott Designs, Cali Raised, Front Runner, or RCI Offroad. Each of these brands provide unique benefits, some of which are outlined in detail below.
Leitner Designs Active Cargo System | Toyota Tacoma
Leitner Designs is in a league of its own when it comes to versatility and quality.
The Leitner Designs Active Cargo System FORGED Tacoma Bed Rack is a completely modular and extremely lightweight (under 85 pounds) that is able to support a substantial amount of weight (1,400 pounds – static weight).
The Leitner Designs proprietary rear sliding load bar is a game changer compared to other bed racks on the market and allows you to load tall items (think dirt bike, fridge, etc.) without the need to remove the bed rack entirely. Simply loosen the knobs and slide the cross bar(s) forward out of the way. You now have full upright access in your bed.
That is, the growing list of Leitner Designs bed rack accessories that are designed to work exclusively with Leitner ACS racks. Leitner has the most expansive offering of accessories that includes Gear Pods (standard, dual, and XL), Roof Top Tent Mounts, Universal Mounting Plates, Hydro Pods, and much more. While bed rack accessories might not sound too exciting on its face, these Leitner accessories are truly what make the Leitner overland bed rack system a top contender.
Don't forget the Leitner Designs Tacoma Bed Stiffeners that add additional strength to the ACS setup.
upTOP Overland TRUSS Bed Rack | Toyota Tacoma
upTOP Overland offers the most options when it comes to Tacoma bed racks. These options include Tacoma bed racks that work with a soft topper and even models that are designed to work with a Diamondback Cover and Retrax tonneau cover.
Let us not forget that the upTOP TRUSS Tacoma bed rack comes in multiple height options including a short height, mid-height (half rack), and full height (full rack) option. These options all feature the same quality construction, but allow you to configure your setup to fit your exact needs.
But what does that exactly mean?
It really comes down to personal preference, but generally speaking, a full height bed rack sits even with the cab of your truck or slightly above the cab on your truck. If you are planning on mounting a rooftop tent that is longer than the bed of your Tacoma, you might consider a full height bed rack so it can hang over the cab slightly.
On the flip side, if you are concerned about wind drag, then a short height bed rack might be your best bet. It is also important to consider what you plan to carry in the bed of your truck with the bed rack installed.
Unique to the upTOP Overland TRUSS bed rack system are the pre-drilled load bearing armor plates that come on each side of the rack. These side rails act like large molle panels allowing you to easily attach your favorite accessories.
It is also worth considering an upTOP roof rack which compliments upTOP Overland bed racks perfectly.
CBI Offroad Bed Rack | Toyota Tacoma
CBI Offroad has long been associated with quality products including bumpers, skid plates, bed racks, and much more.
The CBI Offroad Overland Bed Rack was their first offering, but as of late, CBI has launched a cab height bed rack as well as a roof rack height option designed to line up perfectly with a Prinsu roof rack.
The CBI Tacoma Overland Bed Rack is constructed mostly out of tubing while the new cab height and roof rack height bed racks are built from plate. Both options work great for mounting rooftop tents and mounting various accessories. The primary difference aside from the overall construction and design is the height of the bed racks.
The CBI Overland Series Bed Racks are more of a mid-height option that do not extend as high as the cab height and roof rack options. The overall appearance of them is also drastically different so that should also be a factor when it comes to deciding which rack will suit you best.
Not ready for a full bed rack, but still looking to mount a roof top tent? CBI Overland Bed Bars might be just what you are looking for.
In terms of its design, the RCI Tacoma bed rack features laser cut and CNC cut and formed uprights with top braces. This unique design is extremely strong and should have no problem supporting heavy loads up to 750 lbs.
Need to mount a roof top tent? No problem, the RCI Offroad Tacoma bed rack can support many different kinds of roof top tents including 3-4 person tents which usually are heavier.
RCI Offroad also offers numerous bed rack accessories allowing you to mount recovery boards, fuel and water containers, and even bikes along the side of the rack. RCI Offroad is one of the only companies to offer a unique solution for mounting mountain bikes directly to the side of the bed rack.
RCI manufactures all their bed racks right here in the U.S.A. and offers a bed rack for both the short bed and long bed Tacoma. Two height options (12 inches and 18 inches) are available with RCI Offroad's Universal Bed Rack that will fit a Tacoma since they are adjustable and universal.
Westcott Designs broke onto the scene with their TIG welded rock sliders and has continued to make a name for themselves with their preload collars. They also happen to make a Tacoma bed rack which shares the impressive quality seen on many of their other products.
The Westcott Designs Tacoma bed rack also happens to be the most affordable bed rack in the mix. But don't let that fool you, the Westcott bed rack offers many of the same benefits found on more expensive bed racks such as the ability to mount a roof top tent along with numerous accessories.
To enhance your ability to attach accessories to the bed rack, consider the optional molle panels designed to attach to the side of the rack. These molle panels enable you to mount accessories and other gear directly to your bed rack.
Installing a Tacoma Bed Rack
We can keep this short since installing a bed rack on a Tacoma is probably easier than installing a bed rack on any other vehicle aside from maybe a Tundra. Since the Toyota Tacoma has a factory rail installed on the bed rails, all Tacoma bed racks will utilize this rail during the installation. This makes the installation of a Tacoma bed rack very simple and can be completed using basic hand tools.
A bed rack is not for everyone, but for the most part a bed rack on a Tacoma can increase your carrying capacity and also provide an excellent way to keep gear and accessories organized. All the bed racks mentioned above do just that as well as act as a platform for a roof top tent.
If you are considering a bed rack, it is important to consider your options which are spelled out above. This includes the height of the rack, accessories available for the rack, the overall appearance of the rack, among other things. After all, we think all the racks mentioned above could be an excellent option to enhance your adventure.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to reach out to our team who has in-depth hands-on experience with Tacoma bed racks.
What height Tacoma Bed Rack should I get? Luckily, Tacoma bed racks come in different heights allowing you to select a configuration that suits your needs best. Most manufacturers offer a midsize rack and full size rack options. If you want to maintain space under your rack or need the ability to haul items that are longer than the bed itself such as a kayak, then a full size rack would be best. If you want to keep wind drag to a minimum and are concerned with your gas mileage, then a mid size or low profile rack would likely suit your needs better.
How do you install a Tacoma Bed Rack? A Tacoma bed rack is installed using the factory rail installed inside the truck bed. This means there is no drilling or cutting required to properly install a Tacoma bed rack.
How much weight can a Tacoma Bed Rack support? While there is not an official load rating published for most racks, we are confident that most Tacoma racks can support 400-500 pounds at least which should be more than enough for things like a roof top tent.