If you want to upgrade your truck’s functionality and versatility, then a good option is to install some truck bed rails. Bed rails run the length of your bed and make it easier to tie down cargo, especially oversized cargo, in the truck bed.
Even though many modern trucks come with tie-down points, bed rails add more security by providing a spot to tie cargo riding along the top of your bed walls.
How Do Truck Bed Rails Work?
Truck bed rails are pretty simple pieces of equipment. They come as long metal rails that run the length of your truck bed and sit on top of the bed walls. Truck bed rails work as a tie-down point for large items being transported in the truck bed, or they can be used as a protective barrier for items hanging over the side of the truck bed.
Even if your truck bed has some tie-down points, truck bed rails give you more flexibility in tying down large items. For example, an ATV or snowmobile being transported in your truck bed will be a lot more secure if you can tie it down from a higher point.
Benefits of Truck Bed Rails
Whether you use your truck as a work truck or just for recreation and daily driving, you can potentially benefit from installing truck bed rails. If you’re involved in commercial work, bed rails are useful for tying down equipment like ladders and machinery, as well as securing large amounts of materials or supplies like lumber, bags of soil, or pipes.
For personal use, truck bed rails can be useful for transporting large items like furniture or big household appliances. It can also help you more easily tie down a large load to the dump, for example. Bed rails are useful for securing recreational and sports equipment such as ATVs, snowmobiles, kayaks, skis, and bikes.
What’s the Difference Between Truck Bed Rail Caps and Bed Rails?
It’s easy to get these two accessories confused based on the name, but they’re actually very different. Truck bed rails are rails raised on mounts on the top of the bed walls. Truck bed rail caps are coverings that sit flush with the sides.
Sometimes you’ll see bed rail caps and bed rails at the same time. For example, some people might install bed rails on the sides and put caps on the tailgate.
Types of Truck Bed Rails
Manufacturers of truck bed rails often add additional features that improve appearance or functionality. However, extra features can raise the price of the basic bed rail, so it’s important to consider whether you really need these features.
Most bed rails are made with stainless steel, but they might be finished in other colors or with a powder coat. Type 304 is the most common grade of steel strength used to make bed rails. You can also get 303 or 302 types for bed rails.
Some bed rails come with LED lights, or they included housings where LED lights can be added. This can be a very useful feature as it allows you to load and unload your bed in low-light conditions. These lights can be wired to illuminate automatically with the truck’s running lights.
It’s important to ensure that any bed rail you intend to purchase is compatible with your truck. This is due to the stake holes in a truck’s side being in different places with different truck models.
There are several different brands that make truck bed rails, including Backrack, Putco, Go Rhino, Steelcraft, Dee Zee, Westin, and Go Industries. Depending on the features and manufacturer, aftermarket bed rails can cost as little as $100 to as much as $600.
How much you spend will depend on what you need and if any extra features are important to you.
Installing Truck Bed Rails
Truck bed rails are pretty easy to install. Manufacturers make use of the factory stake holes already in the vehicle, which makes for no-drill installation. As long as you get bed rails made for your exact vehicle, installation is usually quick and easy.
Your bed rails should come with installation instructions and any additional accessories needed to install them.
Before you start hauling things in your truck bed, it’s important to outfit it with a truck bed liner. The DualLiner bed liner works with any type of truck bed rail because it installs under the bed rail. The DualLiner bed liner system is the only one that really works as it’s supposed to by keeping moisture out and securely conforming to your truck bed.
A DualLiner Truck Bed Liner with Bed Rails