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Pickup Bed Rack Buyer's Guide

Bruce Smith February 2, 2012

Rack ‘em up!

Pickup Bed Rack Buyer’s Guide: Pickup bed racks have long been a necessity for just about every contracting and landscape business, but these days racks are used for more than carrying just ladder and pipe

By Peter D. DuPre

Bed rack. Ladder rack. Pipe rack. No matter what you call it, the aftermarket bed rack is one of the most valuable and useful accessories an owner can install on a pickup. Carpenter, landscapers, contractors and plumbers use racks for hauling tools, cargo and equipment to and from the jobsite.

But like any piece of modern job equipment, the bed rack has to be able to do the required job and its design evolve with the times or it’s consigned to the scrap heap.

Over the past few years, a tough business climate, rising expenses and shaved profit margins have dictated that business owners re-examine the vehicle they drive, the accessories they purchase and the way they use their vehicles.

Trucks are no longer purchased with just load hauling in mind. Fuel economy is now a vital part of the equation, as is expanded utility.

Greater utility value

Today’s pickups are often used for business and personal use, which means that on the weekends, the tools and equipment are put away and the kayaks, dirt bikes and ATVs are put on board. This means that the bed racks being sold today must also be multi-purpose.

This may sound pretty obvious, but the fact is a ladder rack with permanent anti-slide bars installed may not be suitable for hauling a canoe or kayak as the vertical bars can damage boats and other toys.

Likewise, a bed rack with non-removable crossbars can make it difficult to load ATVs and dirt bikes.

Luckily, racks are changing. Over the past couple of years the bed rack has evolved so that it is more flexible for both work and play. A rack is no longer just a rack; it is now part of a cargo management system that helps make your work (and play) truck more practical and useable.

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