The 7 Best Toyota Tacoma Bed Racks (2nd & 3rd Gen)

Best Toyota Tacoma Bed Racks

Upgrading your Toyota Tacoma with a bed rack is a great way to increase the storage and functionality of your rig.

But there are some pros and cons to explore before you buy!

Here is everything you need to know before buying a Tacoma bed rack, plus our top picks for your 2nd or 3rd gen Tacoma.

I’ll start with a quick view of our 3 top picks, then dive into more about how to choose a roof rack and what makes each one good.

Table of Contents (Click to Expand)

    Bed Rack Pros & Cons

    Here is everything to consider before upgrading your Tacoma bed rack:

    Pros

    • Increased storage
    • Better organization
    • Less risk of gear causing damage
    • Better protection of bed gear (on some racks)

    Cons

    • Adds weight
    • Gear is still exposed to the elements (on some racks)
    • Gear is not hidden from thieves (on some racks)
    • Can block rearview mirror

    Types of Bed Racks Available

    These are the five types of bed racks to consider for your overland bed rack system:

    Bed Rails

    Truck bed rails

    These are some of the most lightweight options on the market. They don’t affect your aerodynamics and keep your center of gravity low. It should be noted that these kinds of racks are not ideal if you plan on storing items such as kayaks, surfboards, or any other long items.

    Low Bed Racks

    Low bed racks

    Similar to the bed rail systems, these are also very lightweight options that don’t affect gas mileage. They are also great if you are conscious about keeping your center of gravity low to prevent rolling on steep trails. Again, this kind of rack doesn’t provide great storage for long items like surfboards and kayaks.

    Mid Bed Rack

    Mid Bed Rack

    Mid bed racks provide quite a bit more storage on the inside and outside of the truck bed and bed rack. One thing to note is that once your storage items stick out wider or taller than your truck you will affect the aerodynamics of your truck, which can negatively affect gas mileage.

    While they do provide better storage than some of the lower profile racks, mid bed racks still don’t offer enough room to store bigger items like bikes in the bed. They also aren’t ideal for bigger items such as kayaks, canoes, and surfboards.

    These racks also block the middle of your back window which means you could need to deal with potential blind spots.

    ¾ Bed Rack

    ¾ Bed Rack

    These bed racks come up a bit taller than the mid bed racks which provide much more visibility out of your back window. These racks are also tall enough to hold items such as bikes, and with proper risers this kind of rack can hold longer items such as kayaks and surfboards.

    There are some downsides to these racks though. First, you are increasing your center of gravity. This is particularly true if you are loading items above the rack. Also loading gear above and on the sides of your rack will ultimately make your rig less aerodynamic which will affect your gas mileage.

    Full Bed Rack

    Full bed rack

    Full bed racks provide the most storage for taller items and also provide the best visibility out of your back window. They are the tallest option which will mean you are increasing your center of gravity—this is particularly important if you often traverse steep off-roading trails.

    These racks are ideal for those who commonly transport long items like surfboards, kayaks, canoes, snowboards, skis, etc. However, mounting items this high will affect gas mileage considerably.

    Considerations for Buying a Bed Rack

    Here are some of the biggest factors to consider when choosing the best rack for you:

    Weight

    If you love modifying your Tacoma with all the best bumpers, racks, rooftop tents, etc—you’ll really want to spend some time adding up how much weight you are adding to your rig. While each modification may only add about 100 pounds, this can quickly add up. Especially if these modifications are allowing you to store more potentially heavy gear.

    For every 100 pounds of weight you add to your rig, you should expect your fuel economy to drop by about 1-2 percent.

    Height

    The higher you stack your gear and accessories the more at risk you are of decreasing the aerodynamics of your Toyota Tacoma. Also, the taller your bed rack is, the higher your center of gravity will be.

    As someone who has almost rolled my Tacoma with my medium center of gravity setup—I can strongly suggest you keep your center of gravity low if you do relatively intense off roading trails.

    Weight Capacity

    Depending on what model of Toyota Tacoma you drive your truck bed weight limit will be somewhere in the realm of 1,000-2,000 pounds. While it would take some incredible tetris skills to surpass 2,000 pounds in your truck bed, you should be mindful nonetheless.

    You may want to look into upgrading your Tacoma leaf springs to be able to hold a heavier load if you add a bed rack to your truck.

    Looks

    While functionality is always the main driving factor to upgrade your rig, aesthetics matter too. Consider exactly how your truck will look when you load it up. If your rack isn’t going to make you do a double take every time you walk away—it’s okay to choose one that will!

    Price

    Modifications get expensive very fast. This is especially true if you have a list of upgrades you are hoping to do on your Tacoma. It is always worthwhile to decide exactly what you are hoping to gain from all of your Tacoma mods and balance features with price. No need to invest in top quality products with the most features if you aren’t going to need those things.

    7 Best Overland Bed Racks for the Toyota Tacoma

    Here are our top picks for Tacoma overland bed racks:

    1. CBI Tacoma Roof Rack

    Cbi tacoma roof rack height bed rack
    • Weight: 67 pounds
    • Dimensions: 73 × 19 × 6 in
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd Generation
    • Type: Full bed rack
    • Price: $1,350.00
    • View Now

    This rack is a full sized bed rack that provides the most space in your bed for storage. This rack is made from 12 gauge steel that is powder coated and extremely durable. This Tacoma bed rack boasts easy installation and just requires bolting.

    This bed rack also features  t-slot channels which make securing your gear and installation a breeze. The static capacity of this rack is 900 pounds which is more than enough to hold a roof top tent, mountain bikes,  and all of your other overlanding gear.

    2. Putco Venture Tec Rack

    Putco venture tec rack
    • Weight: 50 pounds
    • Dimensions: 75 x 19 x 11 inches
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd 
    • Type: ¾ bed rack 
    • Price: $1,589.00
    • View Now

    This is a ¾ bed rack that is ideal for those who want to keep their rig light and have minimal blind spots. This rack has a static weight capacity of 1,000 pounds and a dynamic weight capacity of 600 pounds. This is plenty for those who wish to store heavy sporting equipment or install a rooftop tent.

    This rack is crafted from a durable and lightweight aluminum and boasts easy installation.

    3. Cali Raised LED

    Cali raised led overland bed rack system
    • Weight: 55 pounds
    • Dimensions: Variable
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd
    • Type: Variable
    • Price: $849.99
    • View Now

    What we love most about this overland bed rack is its versatility and customizability. Not to mention the great price. This bed rack comes with three different height options—7.5”, 10” and 17.5”.  So regardless of what gear you would like to store, or how low you’d like to keep your center of gravity, there is probably an ideal height for you.

    This rack is also incredibly lightweight and constructed from 80 percent aluminum while still offering a dynamic weight capacity of 1,100 pounds.

    4. Overland Vehicle Systems by Freedom Desert Designs

    Freedom bed rack
    • Weight: 80 pounds
    • Dimensions: 105″ W x 15″ H x 27″ D
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd
    • Type: Adjustable
    • Price: $999
    • View Now

    This bed rack is hands down one of the most capable and versatile racks on this list. This rack was designed to fit most truck beds and bed lengths, and even has adjustable crossbars to fit your changing needs. This bed also has T-slot attachments to make gear mounting easy and also boasts multiple mounting locations.

    The OVS Freedom Desert Designs has a static weight capacity of 450 pounds, and an impressive dynamic weight capacity of 1,350 pounds.

    5. DVB Off-Road Bed Rack

    Dvb off road bed rack
    • Weight: ‎100.8 pounds
    • Dimensions: ‎59 x 14 x 9 inches
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd
    • Type: Bed Rails
    • Price: $ 699.99
    • View Now

    This bed rack system is unique in that the rails feature a sliding design that can be customized to fit any bed length. The installation process is easy and can be completed in less than an hour by most people.

    This overland rack can hold 500 pounds of static weight, is perfect for adventure accessories such as hi lift jacks, traction boards, shovels, etc. This rack is coated with a powder coating with a matte black finish, and is laser cut for precision. This is a great low profile design for those on a budget.

    6. Front Runner Slimline II Bed Rack

    Front runner slimline ii bed rack
    • Weight: 53 pounds
    • Dimensions: ‎59 x 14 x 9 inches
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd
    • Type: Low Bed Rack
    • Price: $ 1,445.00
    • View Now

    The Front Runner Slimline II is a low profile bed rack that is crafted from cad designed T6 aluminum with cnc cut parts. This bed rack has a matte black powder coat and is able to carry 650 pounds of static weight.

    This rack works with 2nd and 3rd gen Tacoma models, but is specifically designed to work with the Tonneau bed rack. This rack is highly versatile and boasts being able to hold over 50 kinds of adventure accessories for your next overland trip. The manufacturer’s instructions do warn that drilling is required for installation.

    7. Victory 4×4 Modular Bed Rack

    Victory 4x4 modular bed rack
    • Weight: 95 pounds
    • Dimensions: 11.85″ to 14.5″ and 27.85″ to 30.5″
    • Compatible Generation(s): 2nd and 3rd
    • Type: Half or Full
    • Price: $929
    • View Now

    This bed rack comes with several different options for customization. Choose between either the short bed or long bed options, and whether you’d prefer the half or full sized rack. Regardless, this rack is incredibly resilient and built from CNC cut steel for ultimate durability.

    This bed rack is tough enough to hold a rooftop tent and adventure accessories like recovery boards, shovels, kayaks, etc. This bed rack even comes powder coated at no additional cost.

    Final Thoughts

    There are plenty of amazing bed rack options on the market. It is important to figure out exactly what features you need in your rack to help narrow down your search. Regardless, always be mindful of both the static and dynamic weight capacities of your specific rack and never overload them. And be sure to pay close attention to any weight ratings of your bed covers.

    Looking for more Tacoma mods & gear? Check out these other articles:

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