A Tacoma Bed Rack
A complete bed rack system from Dee Zee.
Toyota trucks are world-renowned for their capability and reliability. Fact is, they can be found traveling down the most remote back country roads and trails anywhere on the globe. The 2020 Toyota Tacoma is no exception, and it, like other third-generation Tacomas, makes a great platform for a family exploration rig, or the currently very popular overlander. Still, there is room for improvement, and our goal is to take our mild yet capable 2020 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab SR a bit farther down the path to being a truly useful back country adventure machine. One area that the Tacoma can use a little assistance with is the bed area. The truck's bed is advanced as far as truck beds go, but as with almost anything ,there is room for improvement. We've added a Decked System and are loving its utility and secure storage so far.
One item that many folks have added to their truck beds to increase the utility is a bed rack. The bed rack encloses the bed area, allowing the user more points to secure various items in the bed. A bed rack can also provide a platform for a rooftop tent, a canoe, mountain bikes, and more. Truck bed racks, like those available for our Tacoma, come in a wide variety with tons of different options and ranging in price from small to large. Dee Zee is a company that has been making accessories since 1977, and they have a vast array of different aftermarket accessories for this and any truck. That includes a modular bed rack that uses extruded aluminum bits to assemble into a useful rack no matter what you plan to use the truck for including overlanding. The system is modular, and you can start with the bare minimum, a front bed rack with or without an aluminum mesh that acts like a headache rack for you truck. From there you can add a rear truck rack and tie the two together with either side rails, or top rails, or both. The Dee Zee Overland Top Rails come with cross rails that are easy to place as needed and offer a 225-pound dynamic weight limit (load while driving) and a 600-pound static weight limit (load when parked). From there you can add Dee Zee's Overland Side Rails and Overland Molle panels, which allow you to easily strap Molle-style bags and other accessories to the rack. Here are the details on the installation of this bed rack system on our 2020 V-6 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 SR.
Assembly of the Bed Rack Hoops
The backbone of the Dee Zee Rack are these two identical (for this application) extruded aluminum hoops. They are incredibly lightweight and strong. They also have tracks inside and out where square-headed bolts or square nuts can be inserted to hold just about anything you can imagine. Each foot of the hoop has an aluminum plate that bolts on using one hex-head countersunk bolt and two square-headed bolts with two washers and nuts. Getting the foot plate on the hoop takes a little finagling, but if you hold your tongue just right everything slips into place. Also don't forget the white nylon spacer that goes inside the hoop so the countersunk hex-head bolt can pass through it. Do this four times, one for each foot.
Mounting the Dee Zee Bed Rack to Our Toyota's Bed
Our rack came with eight of these aluminum blocks to secure the hoops and thus the whole system to the bed. The idea is that the blocks slide into the bed-mounted channel these trucks come from the factory with. Unfortunately, these blocks had to be modified slightly to fit in the channel. We used a 4 -inch grinder with a stone to make a groove in the bottom of each block. Dee Zee has since told us that they have another block that will work for this application, so if you order the Bed Rack going forward you shouldn't have to worry about making the blocks fit. With the blocks in place, a bolt with a special washer clamps the aluminum foot plate on each side of the bed hoops. You can set the placement of the hoops now, but if you are adding accessories like the Dee Zee Overland Side Rails and Dee Zee Overland Top Rails, you'll want to leave these loose so you can adjust the exact placement of the hoops.
Dee Zee Top Rails and Crossbars
The Dee Zee Overland Top Rails connect the tops of the front and rear hoops and come with crossbars that will work as a base for mounting a basket, a rooftop tent, or work as a ladder holder or canoe rack. The crossbars are mounted to the top rails using these T-shaped brackets and supplied nuts and bolts.
Movable Tie-Down Mounts
The front and rear hoops also came with two each of these 2 Removable Tie Down Mounts. They are made of cast aluminum and can be used to hold the sides of a canoe on top of the top rails, crossbars, and front or rear hoops. They also can be hung under the crossbar as shown, and the hole in them would make for a great anchor for a Hi-Lift Jack, shovel, or anything, really. The integrated hoops are great for tying with rope, or hooks on bungee cords or ratchet straps.
To add ever more mounting surfaces and areas where things could be tied down, Dee Zee also offers these Overland Side Rails. They add two more bars tying the front and rear rack hoops together. The Dee Zee Overland Molle panels allow you plenty of mounting options for Molle-equipped tools or bags, as well as an anchor for Velcro straps. This way you'll be sure to have plenty of space to store all those nifty free-range, gluten-free, lightweight titanium, overlandy gizmos and trinkets while on the trail.