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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Roof Rack vs Bed Rack: Which is Right for You?

The Eezi-Awn Toyota Land Cruiser 60 Series K9 Roof Rack Kit is just one of many roof rack options you might consider for your 60 Series Cruiser.

When you go camping or overlanding, you often have tons of gear to take with you. As such, you might be considering adding a roof rack or bed rack to increase your storage capacity.

But which one is right for you?

In this blog, we’ll compare and contrast roof racks vs bed racks for trucks to help you make an informed decision.

Table of Contents

Roof Rack vs Bed Rack: What is a Roof Rack?

Roof racks, like the Front Runner Toyota 4Runner Slimline II Roof Rack Kit shown above from BTR Outfitters, are designed to be mounted on the roof of your truck and typically come in two varieties: those that mount to existing roof rails and those that are mounted directly to the roof itself. This rack can be installed using either method.

These racks are great for carrying bulky or oversized items, such as kayaks, bikes, or cargo boxes. However, they can be difficult to access if you’re not particularly tall. Roof racks can also negatively impact your truck’s aerodynamics, which can reduce your fuel efficiency.

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Roof Rack vs Bed Rack: What is a Bed Rack?

Bed racks, on the other hand, are designed to be mounted on top of the bed of your truck and are typically used for carrying smaller items, such as tools or camping gear.

Bed racks like the Eezi-Awn Toyota Tacoma K9 Bed Rail Rack Kit shown above are generally easier to access than roof racks, as they’re at a lower height, and they don’t impact your truck’s aerodynamics as much as roof racks do.

However, their position on top of the bed of your truck precludes you from carrying larger items in the truck bed. This might present the need to remove the bed rack from time to time if you need full access to the truck bed to haul cargo.

Likewise, some bed rack systems don’t work with tonneau covers, so if you want a secure bed cover, be sure you invest in a bed rack that integrates with a cover.

Roof Rack vs Bed Rack: Comparing Roof Racks and Bed Racks

One of the main differences between roof racks and bed racks is the types of items they’re designed to carry. As noted earlier, roof racks are ideal for bulky or oversized items, such as kayaks, which might be too long to carry on a bed rack.

Bed racks, meanwhile, might be better suited for smaller items. However, both types of racks can be customized to suit your specific needs.

For example, you can add accessories like cargo nets or tie-down straps to your roof rack or bed rack to secure loads better. Likewise, both types of racks are ideal for adding rooftop tents.

The Eezi-Awn Stealth Hard Shell Roof Top Tent is a great option for roof rack or bed rack applications.

Likewise, you can haul storage boxes, rotopax, a hi-lift jack, and various other accessories with the proper mounting systems on your roof rack or bed rack.

These are just a few examples, of course – but both rack options give you the freedom to carry a wide range of camping or overlanding gear.

Another important consideration is the impact each type of rack has on your truck’s performance. Obviously, roof racks can negatively impact your truck’s aerodynamics, which can lead to reduced fuel efficiency. Likewise, you have to be aware of how much weight you’re adding to the roof of your truck, as doing so makes it more and more top-heavy and more prone to tipping over, especially when taking corners at higher speeds.

Bed racks, meanwhile, have less of an impact on aerodynamics since they’re perched above the bed but below the roofline of the cab. However, both types of racks will add weight to your truck, which can also affect your fuel economy.

Finally, it’s important to consider the capacity and load rating of the rack. In both cases, roof racks and bed racks have specific limits regarding how much weight they can safely carry. This includes two ratings:

  • Dynamic load, which is the maximum weight the rack can carry when the vehicle is in motion.
  • Static load, which is the maximum weight the rack can accommodate when the vehicle is not in motion.

Before investing in a roof rack or bed rack, it’s necessary to take inventory of all the gear you want the rack to accommodate (both current and future gear) and add up the weight of the individual items. Whatever that weight comes out to be must be lower than the dynamic and static weight rating of the rack you buy. The dynamic weight rating will be the lower of the two, so if you’re under that, you’re good to go!

The other part of the weight rating scenario is that bed racks typically have higher weight ratings than roof racks. This is especially true if the roof rack is mounted to the factory roof rails if your vehicle is so equipped. If you have heavy loads to carry, a bed rack is the better choice.

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Roof Rack vs Bed Rack: Making the Right Choice

The Eezi-Awn Jeep Gladiator K9 Roof Rack Kit is a great option if your rig is a Gladiator.

Both roof racks and bed racks are useful accessories for truck owners who need to carry extra gear or equipment. However, the type of rack that’s right for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

If you’re not sure which option is right for your needs, don’t be afraid to consult the experts at BTR Outfitters. I’ve had the opportunity to meet these folks and see their operation, and their dedication to the customer experience is obvious.

Unlike some outdoor companies, BTR Outfitters will point you in the right direction based on your needs, not their desire to have you buy the most expensive option. You’ll get expert advice, impeccable customer service, and you can rely on them to help you with any questions or problems you have after the sale.

So, now all that’s left to do is browse the selection of roof racks and bed racks, figure out which ones you like, and consult with the BTR Outfitters team to get set up with the perfect rack for your rig.

Happy shopping!

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