The best tailgate pad not only looks good on your truck but holds your bikes, so they don’t move around. The right pad will be easy to install and remove – and make it quick to load your bikes.
It will be made of sturdy materials and heavy enough to protect your truck bed, but light enough to handle.
A good tailgate pad has heavy-duty straps – not only anchor it down to your truck but also to keep your bikes securely fastened.
It will have a soft underside lining to protect your paint job from getting scratched as you transport your bikes.
Comparison Table of Tailgate Pad
|Dakine Pickup Pad|
|Demon Tailgate Pad|
|Thule Gate Mate|
|Evoc Tailgate Pad|
|RaceFace Tailgate Pad|
|Thule Tailgate Pad|
|Zydeck Tailgate Pad|
|Surf to Summit|
The right tailgate pad holds multiple bikes, looks stylish on your truck, fits well, and takes all the punishment you have to give it.
That said, let’s look at the top ten picks for tailgate covers and what features you should consider when purchasing one.
Top 10 Best Tailgate Pad Review
01. Dakine Pickup Pad – Sturdy Construction All-Seasons Tailgate Cover
The Dakine pickup pad has the capacity to hold multiple bikes at once, which makes it ideal for families and larger groups to use when they are hauling bikes.
Plus, with the secure fasteners and heavy padding on this tailgate protector, you can be sure that when multiple people are pulling their bikes off of your truck, the paint won’t get scratched.
The construction is sturdy, so it is long-lasting and will survive tough outdoor conditions and rough wear and tear.
It looks good on a pickup and is easy to install and take off if you only use it for bike riding on the weekends.
02. Yakima Crashpad Truck Bed Pad – For Bikes, Surfboards, & Long Loads
The Yakima Crashpad truck bed pad is a little different in the fact that it does not have straps to secure the bikes.
This is not a concern; however, as the heavy, high-density foam holds the bikes in place and keeps them from moving.
The heavy foam also makes this truck bed pad ideal for hauling surfboards, which will stay put while in transport, simply by placing them on the pad.
The ballistic nylon fabric is very durable in the fact that it can carry many other long objects without harming the fabric. As well, the heavy foam is excellent at protecting against scratches on your paint job.
03. Demon Tailgate Pad – With Convenient Tool Pockets
The Demon tailgate pad features ¾” foam padding covered by heavyweight vinyl, but it also has a feather-soft backing to further keep your paint job from getting scratched.
The two Velcro pockets (resting on the inside of the tailgate when the pad is installed) are handy for holding bike tools or other items when you are on the road.
There is a handy flap that opens for the tailgate handle, so you can open the tailgate when the pad is fastened on.
The flap has a Velcro seal so that it can remain closed when you are not using the tailgate handle. This truck pad also has a reflective logo on the back for added safety while hauling bikes.
04. Thule Gate Mate Tailgate Pad – High-Quality Materials
The Thule Gate Mate tailgate pad, true to its name, is a high-quality pad that fits most trucks well and also accommodates the different types of bikes you might be hauling.
The extra cushions on the sides of this tailgate pad keep the bikes from scratching any part of the truck, and the thick padding keeps the bikes in place without having Velcro bike loops on the top of the tailgate pad.
The Thule Gate Mate is heavily padded and prevents any scratching to the paint and damage to bikes.
It is well-made and durable for loading and hauling mountain bikes.
05. Evoc Tailgate Pad – Stylish Pad For Smaller Trucks
If you want a more trendy-looking tailgate pad for a smaller truck, the Evoc tailgate pad is it.
It is designed for trucks like the Ford Ranger, the Chevrolet Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma, the Nissan Frontier, and other trucks in this size range.
Besides the Velcro loops to hold your bikes in place, the Evoc tailgate pad also has foam blocks that are molded to protect the down tubes of your bikes.
The design on the tailgate pad makes it much more stylish than the other plain-looking pads.
It is easy to install and remove and is durable and thick.
06. RaceFace Tailgate Pad – Designed for the Bike Enthusiast
The RaceFace tailgate pad has quite a few extra features above and beyond other pads.
The outer shell is constructed of denier fabric – in a resilient herringbone tweed pattern.
The shell is further treated for water repellency, and the underlining that rests on the tailgate is a micro-brushed fabric that prevents scratching.
The additional bumpers on the RaceFace tailgate pad that face the inside of the truck bed keep bikes from touching each other while in transit – preventing damage.
The square pads along the top keep the forks in place for even more stability. The strap and loop system keeps the bikes completely stationary when moving over rough terrain.
07. Thule Tailgate Pad – For Surfboards and SUP’s
The Thule tailgate pad for standup paddleboards and surfboards takes into account that you will be using this in the sun and around the water.
This means that the color won’t fade, and the pad will not become brittle with prolonged exposure to the elements.
There is a sturdy strap for the board that is 1” wide x 4’ long. Additional straps for the other end of the board that lies on the truck bed are sold separately.
Mounting surfboards on this pad is extremely easy, and the pad ensures transport without damage to the boards.
The strap may be long enough to hold two boards but generally is better for one. However, you can buy a longer Thule surf strap.
08. Zydeck Tailgate Pad – Easy To Install & Quick To Load
The Zydeck tailgate pad is a no-hassle and convenient way to protect the paint job on your truck when you are hauling mountain bikes.
It has no special features, except for the fact that it is priced less than many of the others and is simpler to use.
The medium size pad is recommended for truck models like the Honda Ridgeline, the Chevrolet Colorado, the Ford Ranger, the Nissan Frontier, the GMC Canyon, and the Toyota Tacoma.
The large size pad is recommended for truck models like the Ford F series, the Chevrolet Silverado, the Toyota Tundra, the Nissan Titan, and the GMC Sierra.
09. Surf to Summit Tailgate Pad – Many Useful Features
The Surf to Summit tailgate pad has everything for the bike enthusiast. This pad accommodates 6 bikes, which can be fastened securely with the strap anchors on the top of the pad.
The raised blocks on the back of the pad provide further stability when transporting bikes, preventing them from making contact with each other.
The strong webbing holds the pad securely to your truck and the sturdy construction means it will last a long time.
One of the other details on the Surf to Summit tailgate pad is that it has two large zippered pockets that can hold trail gear for convenience.
10. Fox Racing Protective Tailgate Cover – A Different, Sporty Look
The Fox Racing protective tailgate cover is held securely onto the tailgate with sturdy webbed straps. There are individual attachment loops for straps to further secure the bikes if needed.
The Fox Racing tailgate cover looks different than the other tailgate pads on the market, which is something people really like about it.
Buying Guide: What You Need To Consider To Find the Best Tailgate Pad for Your Truck
The first thing that any truck owner thinks about when hauling something is how much damage it will do to their truck – and bikes are no exception.
This is why investing in a tailgate pad makes sense if you are the owner of a truck because it is better to pay a hundred dollars or so for a pad than it is to pay a few thousand for a paint job.
However, when most people start hauling bikes, they do what every other truck owner does. They throw down a blanket or an old rug in the back and put the bike on top of it.
What they quickly find is that not only does the bike slide around and scratch the truck, the bike also gets scratched in the process.
This is why a sturdy tailgate pad is essential to protect your truck’s paint as well as the bikes themselves.
But which pad? It’s hard to know unless you have purchased one before, so here are some things to consider when you are picking out a protective bike pad for your truck.
This may sound like an obvious consideration, but the pad you buy to protect your truck must fit on the tailgate.
However, truck pads mainly come in 2 sizes: small and large. Meaning that one fits a smaller truck and the other fits a larger truck – but not necessarily.
This is because the pads are made for the size of the truck – not the year, make, or model. These tailgate covers are really made as one-size-fits-all.
So while one brand may fit your truck model perfectly, another brand in the same size may not fit your tailgate at all.
The standard sizes are 54” wide (small) and 62” wide (large), but this does not take into account the thickness of your tailgate.
The best thing to do is check to see if the manufacturer recommends their tailgate cover for any particular model.
If they do, the chances are that some truck owners have given feedback that this tailgate pad fits their make and model perfectly.
Most of all, you will want a pad that securely holds your bikes in place. There is no reason to buy a pad if your bikes are still knocking around in the back of your truck, scratching everything up when you are off-roading.
You also do not want any of the bikes falling off and possibly causing damage or a wreck.
To prevent this, buy a pad that fastens securely to your truck and then keeps the bikes stationary, upright, and separated during transportation.
Obviously, you want to protect your paint job. Look for a tailgate pad that has heavy padding and a soft, fleecy, underside to protect your paint job.
Some pads even have extra pads on the side and back to make sure the bikes don’t slip or fall in your truck while it is moving.
How often are you going to use your tailgate pad? If you go mountain biking every weekend and use your truck to haul loads during the week, you are going to need a tailgate cover that is heavy-duty.
Especially if you are going to leave the pad on, you will need one that can withstand the soaking rain, the glaring sun, and high temperatures.
If you are just going to use it occasionally, during the summer to go to the lake or the campground, you will not need to worry about buying the most expensive pad on the market.
Just to be clear, the most expensive pad is not necessarily the most durable one for your situation.
Think about what you will be using it for and read the comments of other buyers. This will help you decide which tailgate pad is the best for your situation.
A tailgate pad is something you will have to put on and take off every time you use it.
Most people don’t like to leave them on all the time because they can be stolen, and the pad itself covers the backup camera.
So more than anything, you will want to look for a pad that you can get on and off easily – maybe by yourself.
There isn’t a whole lot of variation in color and style, although there are some. Many people choose a cover that looks good on their truck instead of worrying about the durability – if they aren’t going to use it that often.
The price between an average cover and a really high-end cover only varies by about a hundred dollars or so.
Considering what the pad is protecting, shopping around, and really buying what you like overall is your best option.
F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions) About Buying A Tailgate Pad
Since most people start out hauling their bikes in the back of an old pick-up truck, they don’t care about it.
It isn’t until they get a new truck and some really nice bikes that they start to think about buying a tailgate pad to protect their truck from getting scratched up.
That said, here are a few questions people have when they purchase their first tailgate cover.
What are the benefits of buying a tailgate pad?
First, it is much cheaper to buy a tailgate pad than it is to get a new paint job for your truck or a bike repainted or repaired from bouncing around while it is being transported.
Plus, you want your bikes fastened down when they are in the back of your pickup truck, so they don’t fly out while you are driving and cause damage.
What size cover do I buy to fit my truck?
This seems like a much more obvious question than it really is. While tailgate pads generally only come in two sizes (large and small), each manufacturer’s pad will fit some truck models better than others.
So after you have measured the width of your tailgate, it is time to do some research to find out which brands fit which your truck model better.
What are the best materials for a quality truck pad?
The materials used to make a truck pad are fairly standard, but some fabrics are better than others.
Most fabrics are either polyester or nylon, but it is good to look for the words heavy-duty and durable. Also, look for some kind of weather-proofing.
The underside that touches the paint should be made of soft fabric, and the straps should be made of sturdy nylon webbing.
What features should I look for in a tailgate pad?
The main feature you should look for in a quality tailgate pad is the padding itself. Buying a brand with thick padding will mean less damage to your bikes and the tailgate itself.
This is because the front wheel of the bike goes over the tailgate – and the thicker the padding, the more the bike will stay in place.
In fact, if the padding is thick enough, you will not need any Velcro loops to hold the bike in place, which is why you will see some tailgate pads without these loops.
If the pad does come with loops to hold the bikes stationary, make sure the stitching is high quality, because shabby sewing on loops is something you can’t fix later on.
Also, look for a pad that has a flap so you can reach the tailgate handle and so that you can use the rear backup camera.
Buying the Best Tailgate Pad: Conclusion
As you can see, buying a tailgate pad that will work on a moving vehicle that you will use to transport bikes is a little more complicated than you might have thought.
Although, now you also realize that just throwing your bikes in the back of the truck on an old rug is not the best idea either.
So do some research and ask other truck owners which brand fits the best and lasts the longest on a model similar to yours.
By doing this, you will get on the road faster and enjoy biking much more with the right truck pad.