While the Ford Ranger may be a great little truck, if you need maximum storage solutions and organization, you might need to look into some bed racks. Regardless if you are doing some overlanding, or a weekend camping trip, bed racks make a world of difference in your Ranger. Bed racks are a popular mod to Rangers that are railed systems that bolt into the bed of your truck in minutes. They allow you to mount your gear to the sides and top of the unit keeping what you need organized and within reach.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
What Do You Need Them For?
Need is a subjective word that, for lack of better words, depends on your needs. What gear do you need to carry? Do you need a rooftop tent? Is it something you want on your daily driver? These are all things to take into consideration when you start looking at bed racks. If you do some serious camping, overlanding, or just like to be prepared, a bed rack can become your new best friend.
How are they installed?
Installing a bed rack on a Ford Ranger is actually very easy! Once you get it into place on top of the bed, you simply clamp it down onto the lip of the bed, and you’re done! There is no cutting or drilling required with most modern day “plug-and-play” kits.
How do they work?
Bed racks give you another layer of storage above your bed. In most cases, these racks will have flat rails that stretch across the top of the rack to give you anchor points to tie down your gear, or mount things like rooftop tents.
If you have a bed rack that is taller to match the height of your cab’s roofline, it is common to find rails or mounting points on the side that allow for more locations to keep your gear. The sides are common to store fuel cans, water cans, tools like shovels and axes, and other slim items that won’t extend the overall width of your Ranger by too much.
What heights do they come in?
There are three main heights that you can find for your Ford Ranger: flush, roof height, and mid height. Flush height would rest right across the top of your bed. While this limits the amount of storage that you can have under the rack as you will just be limited to the cubic footage of the bed itself, this means you can mount taller things on the rack. Even if it’s just a spare tire, you now don’t have to worry about the overall height of your truck being extended. It also gives your truck a much more subtle appearance.
Bed racks that extend to the height of your cab’s roof give you maximum storage capacity in your bed and under the rack. If you have side rails as well, you have even more storage capacity at your disposal. Keep in mind that you’ll definitely be changing that overall appearance of your Ranger. It will have that overlanding/bugout look.
Of course there are racks that meet in the middle as well that we will call mid height. These can also have side rails depending on the height, but of course, you will not be able to haul as much. Just keep in mind your needs, and purchase accordingly.
Now that you know the basics about bed racks, let’s take a look at some popular options. These are what we have found are popular on the forums, Facebook groups, and with our own customers. This is by no means a complete list. Find what works for your needs and your budget.
One of the most popular bed racks on almost any truck would be this one from RCI. While this is a universal rack, it has not stopped anyone from making use of it on their Ranger to great success. This rack stands at 12 inches, and includes two top braces perfect for rooftop tents and other gear. One of the key features are the side rails that make your mounting capabilities almost limitless. You can hold up to 750 pounds of a static load. The rack installs quickly and looks great! You can get this rack for just over $1000.
Cali Raised has been in the off-road industry for a while now. While known for their LED lighting solutions, they are no stranger to many of your other off-roading and overlanding needs. Unlike many other racks that come in one height, this kit allows you to order 7, 10, or 17.5 inches in height. It is only 55 pounds and comes with two top rails and side walls for mounting. In the event you want to get yourself a rooftop tent as well, you can get a Smittybilt tent with this kit! No guessing and researching fitment needed. Prices start at $930, but can be optioned up to just over $2300.
Prinsu has been mentioned in a lot of our articles before, and for good reason: they know what they are doing. Their cab height rack is no exception. In addition to being highly capable, it is one of the most aggressive looking designs. So, if you are looking for that off-road look, here’s what you need. Beyond that, you get plenty of mounting locations on the top and sides, and you can choose between bare metal or a black powder coat. Prices start at just over $1035.
If you want to keep things as “factory” as possible, this kit from Yakima can be found directly on the Ford Accessories website. While not Ford exactly, for it to be in the shop, it is something they trust. This rack is a bit different. The front and back supports are not connected, so you can place these any distance you want for greater flexibility. However, this also means no side rails. This keeps things more basic, but flexible. One down side is the cost: $1100. While that does not seem like a lot of rail for the money, that is a price you can expect for something “almost OEM.”
Front Runner Outfitters offers something different. With most of these racks offering storage on the sides, Front Runner focuses more on the top of the rack. The lightweight aluminum design gives you maximum surface area to give you the best base for a rooftop tent, or to tie down anything you need anywhere on the rack! While more pricey with a base price of $1225, they do offer the surface area of a second bed. It’s a more streamlined design over having side storage.
TO SUM IT UP
Hauling your gear is something you need to take special attention to. A weekend warrior will have different needs compared to an Overlanding pro. Do you need all of the side storage mounting surface area possible, or do you need the most streamline top storage? Now that you have some idea on what’s out there, the next step is getting a bed rack for your Ford Ranger! Get out there, haul your stuff, and have fun.
RCI Rack - Courtesy of Stage 3 Motorsports
Cali Raised Rack - Courtesy of Cali Raised
Prinsu Rack - Courtesy of Prinsu
Yakima Rack - Courtesy of Ford Parts
Front Runner Rack - Courtesy of Front Runner