🥇 Top 5 Best Tailgate Pads (Evoc, Thule, Yakima)

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Regardless of whether mountain biking or surfing triggers your adrenaline rush, there’s no excuse for disregarding the truck that carries your bikes and surfboards. After all, your vehicle brings you and your gear to your favorite location. Tailgate pads are a highly recommended investment, not just for your bike’s or surfboard’s sake, but for your truck’s sake as well.

Our Top 3 Choices

Evoc Tailgate Pad
Evoc Tailgate Pad
9.5/10
  • Bike capacity: 6
  • Made from 600 weight Denier coated with polyurethane + Tarpaulin
  • Velcro fold-up flap for easy access to tailgate handle
  • Dimensions and weight:
    M/L – 53.5 x 33 x 1 inches; 4 pounds
    XL – 63 x 39 x 1 inches; 5.07 pounds
  • Comes in black and olive
RaceFace Tailgate Pad
RaceFace Tailgate Pad
8.9/10
  • Outer pad is constructed of 600 Denier + PVC with micro-brushed inner lining.
  • Bike capacity: 6
  • Velcro-backed webbing loop and strap system if bumpers are not enough
  • Dimensions:
    Small/Medium – 57 inches wide
    Large/Extra Large – 61 inches wide
  • Comes in inferno
Dakine Pickup Pad
Dakine Pickup Pad
8.3/10
  • Made of heavy-duty nylon; scratch-free, polyester cover & padding
  • Large model can hold up to 7 bikes
  • It has a Velcro flap that allows for easy access to the tailgate handle
  • Product Dimensions:
    Small – 54 inches wide
    Large – 62 inches wide
  • Comes in black

Traditionally, we transport mountain bikes and surfboards via racks, which may be mounted on roofs, trunks, or via trailer hitch. However, roof- and strap-based trunk racks are aimed primarily at SUVs. Truck owners only have hitch racks as an option.

This has led to a lot of truck owners looking for other methods of hauling their two-wheelers. They lay them in the truck’s bed, secured and fastened down by handlebars, or they mount them with customized wheel chocks.

Also, with the rising popularity of cycling, bikes have become more expensive, which makes owners want to avoid simply throwing them in the bed of the truck. This has inspired car gear engineers to design products that are specific to truck owners. This is to aid them in moving around their treasured bikes and surfboards.

Best Tailgate Pads

Considering the key factors listed below when looking for the best tailgate bike pad, we reviewed the top 5 models, which may help you narrow down your choices.


1. Evoc Tailgate Pad

No. 1
1. Evoc Tailgate Pad
9.5/10 Our Score

Features and Specifications

  • Fixation for up to 6 bikes
  • Made from 600 weight Denier coated with polyurethane + Tarpaulin
  • Velcro fold-up flap for easy access to tailgate handle
  • Dimensions and weight:
    M/L – 53.5 x 33 x 1 inches; 4 pounds
    XL – 63 x 39 x 1 inches; 5.07 pounds
  • Comes in black and olive

Requiring much less time compared to complex bike racks, the Evoc Tailgate Pad does the job of protecting your bikes and truck exceptionally well. Anyone who drives on rough roads knows that it causes persistent movement by the bikes. Repetitive shifting by the bikes may result in scratches.

Not with the Evoc Tailgate Pad. It has straps positioned between the toughened foam guides, which are optional, but ideal for long trips and rough roads. The straps could take a minute or two to mount or unmount the bike, but they guarantee to fasten the bike down securely with supportive pads.

This Evoc model comes in two sizes: M/L and XL. The regular-sized one fits well with Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Canyon, Ford Ranger, and some other compact trucks. The XL is perfect for Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Chevy Silverado, Ford-F150, Dodge Ram, and other full-size trucks.

Pros
  • Release handle allows for easy access to the tailgate
  • Unique pad attachment system
  • Well-designed straps and separators
  • Durable and weatherproof
  • Polyurethane coated
  • Great for shuttling MTBs
Cons
  • Huge EVOC logo
  • More expensive than other brands
  • May block backup camera

2. RaceFace Tailgate Pad

No. 2
2. RaceFace Tailgate Pad
8.9/10 Our Score

Features and Specifications

  • Outer pad is constructed of 600 Denier + PVC with micro-brushed inner lining.
  • Can hold up to 6 bikes
  • Velcro-backed webbing loop and strap system if bumpers are not enough
  • Dimensions:
    Small/Medium – 57 inches wide
    Large/Extra Large – 61 inches wide
  • Comes in inferno

Made of durable Denier fabric (600D) + PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with herringbone weave and DWR (durable water repellent) treatment, the RaceFace Tailgate Pad is your all-weather protection for your bike and truck.

Best fitting Toyota Tacomas, it has raised bumpers along the edge and large raised pads outward the tailgate to keep your forks stationary. This system makes the bumpers keep the down tubes in place and each bike separated. If the bumpers fail, there are Velcro straps that secure them to the pad.

The RaceFace Tailgate Pad is one of the pricey options, but its lining is beefy enough to protect your tailgate perfectly.

Pros
  • Available in sizes that fit small, medium, and large trucks
  • Extra security provided by raised square pads
  • Has inner lining that protects the tailgate
  • Easy to put on a tailgate
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • May fit poorly on newer truck models
  • Fabric tends to fade

3. Dakine Pickup Pad

No. 3
3. Dakine Pickup Pad
8.3/10 Our Score

Features and Specifications

  • Made of heavy-duty nylon; polyester cover & padding
  • Large model can hold up to 7 bikes
  • It has a Velcro flap that allows for easy access to tailgate handle
  • Dimensions:
    Small – 54 inches wide
    Large – 62 inches wide
  • Comes in black

The number of bikes this tailgate bike pad can hold makes it an ideal gear item for families and larger groups. The secure fasteners and heavy padding on your tailgate assure you that no paint will get scratched when the passengers take their bikes off.

The nylon construction is sturdy and durable. This bike pad is made to survive tough outdoor conditions and rough wear and tear. While it adds to the looks of your truck, you can easily go back to how your vehicle originally looks by simply lifting the pad off from the tailgate.

Pros
  • Individual frame anchor straps that hold the bike in place across the top of the pad
  • Features a wider width compared to other models.
  • Handle flap can be secured in an open position
  • Reflective logo for improved visibility and safety
  • Sturdy construction
Cons
  • No bumpers/separation pads
  • Hangs high on the tailgate

4. Thule Gate Mate Tailgate Pad

No. 4
4. Thule Gate Mate Tailgate Pad
7.9/10 Our Score

Features and Specifications

  • Allows you to transport up to 7 bikes on your compact truck’s tailgate
  • Soft rubber pads have anchor straps to keep your bikes separated and secured on rack
  • Constructed with heavy-duty vinyl with interior foam padding
  • Dimensions:
    Small – 54 inches wide
    Large – 62 inches wide
  • Comes in black

Your economical choice in transporting a bike with your truck is the Thule Gate Mate Tailgate Pad. No, it won’t take up most of your bed space, but it allows you to drape your bike right over the tailgate. With this pad in place, you can easily sit your bike right over, leaving so much free space.

The pad is made of heavy-duty vinyl and protects your bike and truck from any scuffs, scratches, and abrasions. It’s 62” wide and is roomy enough for up to 7 bikes. Utilize the nylon straps located on top to keep the bide pad safely attached to the tailgate.

The Thule Gate Mate Tailgate Pad introduces a knock-block on each side. This is to prevent any of your hauls from sliding off the side. You can also gain easy access to your tailgate latch with its flap, so you won’t have to take the whole thing off.

Pros
  • Can carry as many as 7 bikes on full-sized trucks
  • Molded foam blocks keep the bike from sliding
  • Ultra-soft underside prevents scratches
  • More affordable than other brands
  • Durable construction
Cons
  • No straps to secure bikes in place
  • Poorly positioned tailgate handle flap
  • May need two people to install it

5. Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad

No. 5
5. Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad
6.3/10 Our Score

Features and Specifications

  • Carrying capacity of 6 bikes
  • SitTight cradles secure your bikes and keep them from shifting or sliding as you drive
  • HindSight flap lets you use the tailgate handle as well as a backup camera without removing the pad
  • Tough and durable nylon outer surface is abrasion and weather-resistant
  • Dimensions:
    Small – 53 inches wide
    Large – 62 inches wide

Convert your tailgate into an easy-to-use 6-bike rack. The Yakima GateKeeper Pad is designed with integrated bike cradles and closure ties that fasten down your bikes to keep them stable and secure.

With tailgate bike pads, you can simply tuck in your bike(s) on the tailgate, leaving enough room in the bed for other stuff you need. Allowing the pads to rest on the tailgate gives the trucks and the bikes the protection they need on bumpy roads. The pads are soft enough to not cause damage to the paint job but stiff enough to hold the bikes still.

Therefore, rough roads won’t leave you stressing about straining your bike frames and scratching your car paint.

What you’ll really like about the Yakima GateKeeper is the large flap/opening. You can pull it up to gain access to the tailgate handle and you can keep it in that position to gain a view from your backup cameras. This is helpful when you need to see where you’re going behind, right?

Pros
  • Built to resist harsh weather conditions
  • Provision for rear/backup camera
  • Thick foam protection
  • Extremely durable
Cons
  • Needs better stitching

What to Consider Before Getting a Tailgate Pad

These days, transporting your bikes on your vehicle leaves you with a lot of options. There are roof, hitch, and trunk racks, to name a few. But, if you have a pickup truck, using tailgate bike pads is one more option for protecting your precious cargo.

You can just hang a blanket or a towel to pad your tailgate, but if you do that, you can kiss that nice paint job goodbye. Luckily, there are many great tailgate bike pads to choose from. But, how do you know if you’ve chosen the best model to do the job effectively? Consider the following points before spending money on a protective tailgate bike pad for your truck.

Fit

This is the most obvious consideration and it should be at the top of your mind when looking for a bike pad. If the pad is too loose or too fit, it may not be possible to carry your bike smoothly. Most bike pads come in two sizes, standard (or small) and large.

The large-sized tailgate bike pads generally fit full-sized pickup trucks like Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra, and Ford F-150. Standard-sized pads are suitable for small to mid-size trucks such as Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and GMC Canyons.

If you want to make sure the pad fits your truck, simply measure the width of your tailgate and compare it with the width of the product. Another option is to check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for recommended tailgate pads.

Safety and Protection

Above all, you want to make sure you have a pad that firmly holds your bikes in place. A pad that lets your bikes knock around at the back of your truck makes purchasing a set pointless, which is why security matters. Make sure the pad you get keeps your bikes from falling off while also preventing damage.

Such pads utilize securing straps that hold the bikes while driving on rough roads or climbing up a trek. Some manufacturers find it unnecessary to have massive pads to cover the whole length of the tailgate. Instead, they integrate individual bike mounts that have padded bases. Strapped around the tailgate, they do not block the rear-view camera of the pickup truck.

Nevertheless, full and heavy pads offer good protection for both the bike and the truck. You won’t make a mistake choosing either option.

Durability

If your truck is used for biking on weekends and hauling loads on weekdays, a heavy-duty tailgate bike pad is what you need. It adds to your bikes’ value, especially if you need to leave them in the soaking rain, glaring sun, and high temperatures.

For occasional use, you don’t have to worry about not getting the most expensive option. Pricey tailgate bike pads aren’t always the best choice. It all depends on your situation and how often you’ll use your pad.

Installation and Usability

Tailgate pads are supposed to be taken off every time you finish using them. A lot of people prefer taking them off after use since they can be easily stolen. They also block the back-up camera, so, understandably, they won’t be there all the time.

With this in mind, the best tailgate bike pads should be easy to put on and take off – both solo and with another person. They should be easy to use, comfortable, and time-saving.

You may also want to check for a tailgate handle flap. This helps you open your truck’s tailgate easily, even when the pad is in place.

Color, Style, and Price

Most tailgate pads are designed to look rugged and dark, so there aren’t a lot of choices in color and style. Some can add aesthetics to pickups, but they may look good without offering long-lasting support and security.

There isn’t a big difference in price between an average tailgate cover and a high-end one. Maybe just about a hundred dollars or so. Considering what the pad will be protecting will help you get the best buy.

Tailgate Pads: Benefits and Uses

Throwing your bikes on tailgate pads is much simpler than attaching them to a bike rack. This makes it especially useful for truck drivers with bikes for gravity runs. Moreover, with mountain bike wheels getting bigger, frames getting longer, and full suspension causing drastic changes to top tubes, transport became a problem with most traditional bike racks.

Tailgate pads are an attractive option as they not only add aesthetics to your truck but also create a barrier between your truck and your bike. This leaves no direct contact between your two-wheeler and your vehicle, hence no damage done. A pad could be helpful if you’re worried about the paint job or if you’re thinking of the resale value of your truck or bike.


Conclusion

As straightforward as they look, the search for the best tailgate bike pads can be hard. The features make it difficult to pick the one you need. Hopefully, the reviews we wrote will stop you from throwing an old rug on your tailgate and pretending it’s a tailgate pad.

Read and do the necessary research. Learn from other users’ experiences and let your data be the judge. Surely, the best tailgate bike pad will give you nothing but an exciting ride with your gear.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you get from buying a tailgate pad?

Tailgate pads are way cheaper than getting a new paint job for your truck, or your bike for that matter. While you can throw the bikes in the bed and just let them lay around, the constant bouncing and moving will cause damage not just to your two-wheelers, but to your truck as well. Tailgate bike pads keep them fixed firmly at the back of your pickup truck, so they don’t fly out as you drive.

How should I know which size fits my truck?

Tailgate pads usually come in two sizes, large and small. The larger ones range from 59” to 62”, while the smaller ones range from 50” to 53”. Measure the width of your tailgate and then do the math. You may also refer to the manufacturers to see if the model they offer fits your truck in the same way you can check with your car dealership if they can recommend what fits your vehicle.

What makes a quality truck pad?

A quality truck pad is gentle enough to keep scuffs and scratches away, but firm to keep the bikes still and durable to withstand all weather conditions. Go with tailgate pads that are made with at least 600D fabric. It wouldn’t hurt to opt for a brand that weatherproofs its products too!

Any useful tips for using tailgate pads for mountain bikes?

Tailgate pads do an outstanding job of keeping your truck and bikes safe. However, sometimes their heavy-duty finish is a bit hard on your bike’s paint job. Some bikers use foam pipe covers on the fork and downtube for additional protection. Also, if you need to bolster your tailgate’s padding, especially if it doesn’t fit well with the width of your tailgate, you can use a foam pipe to cover across the width to improve the fit.

Relevant Resources

Leave a Comment