Thule vs. Yakima

Democrat vs. Republican

MAC vs. PC

Hey, what ever happened to a world with more than two choices?

Enter: U.S. Rack

So I was all stoked about my new Toyota Tacoma 4×4 and I headed out to look for racks to carry my stand-up paddleboards. Seemed like my only options were Thule or Yakima, but I was looking for something a little less yuppie. No doubt, the two giants of the sport rack industry are giants for a reason; they’ve gotten lots of stuff lots of places with minimal issues. But to me, their designs seemed a bit space age-y and bling-y.

I live in a blue-collar country town full of badass Tonka trucks and work trucks with headache racks and ladder racks, and I found myself wishing I could find a SUP rack that looked less Malibu and more Moab.

A deep internet search led me to U.S Rack.

Though this Madera, California-based company is small and family-owned, it “manufactures the largest variety of distinct pickup truck rack designs anywhere and leads the market with quality, innovative, multi-functional pickup racks that install quickly with NO DRILLING.”

I ordered the Rail Truck Rack which is designed specifically to work with the the Toyota Deck Rail System. I ordered online for $499.00 with free shipping, and it was on my doorstep less than 2 days later!

Assembly and installation took less than 30 minutes using the included Allen wrench, and I was ready to load my boards.

Aside from the matte-black powdercoated finish and bomb-proof design of the racks, I was most impressed with details like the tie-down cleats and tie-down holes in the upper “ears.” With my old Thule racks, I had to tie off my excess tie down straps in a half hitch around the crossbars. The U.S. Rack cleats provide a clean and secure way to deal with excess straps so everything isn’t blowing in the wind.

Though I don’t plan to take the racks off (they look good, military-esque on my rig), they can be removed in under 5 minutes by simply unscrewing them (by hand) from the deck rails and sliding them off.

Last week, my wife and I strapped on our paddleboards and put the racks to the ultimate test: 300 miles across the Mojave desert in extremely windy conditions and over the washboard roads of the Sierras to our favorite lake.

The boards didn’t move an inch. Neither did the racks.

Next project? We’re designing a tarp tent we can quickly fit over the racks in a storm.

If you’re looking for an American-made, bomb-proof, functional, easy-to-install truck rack system that ships for free, look no further than U.S. Rack.

Nice Rack! The U.S. Rack Review

About The Author
- Jeff McElroy is a Ventura and Mammoth Lakes-based writer. His surf/coast-inspired short story collections, CALIFORNIOS and CALIFORNIOS 2 have received awards and accolades within the boardsport and literary communities. He writes about adventure athletes and the wild places for EDGEtv Network. When he's not writing, he's surfing, backpacking, snowboarding, and trail-running with his wife and Jack Russell Terrier.