Getting your toys to your riding area is always a balance. Too many toys, not enough space. Buying a trailer vs. hauling in your truck bed. Buying a toy hauler vs. using camp trailer and putting toys in the truck bed.
Side x Side Vehicles are an interesting size. Smaller than a jeep or sand car, but bigger than an ATV.
Many UTV owners have come up with some unique ways to transport them to riding areas.
In California, the legal speed limit when towing is 55 mph. That is one of the major factors that drove me to have a truck rack built for my short bed. I also modified my 16′ flatbed trailer to haul a RZR sideways. But this doesn’t work anymore with the length of UTVs growing in the last few years.
Others already have a camp trailer that cannot haul anything (or any more), so they turn to hauling in the truck bed.
The cheapest way to haul your UTV is in the back of your truck. Most long travel UTVs (with the exception of a few RZR kits) are too wide to fit in the bed of your truck. There are a few issues with hauling in the bed:
Watch the back window of your truck when you load so the bumper of your UTV doesn’t go through the window. Also make sure you strap the UTV down well so it doesn’t surge forward under heavy braking.
Don’t trust the cables on your tailgate!
When loading use 4×4 and make sure your ramps are strapped well. It is easy for a ramp to slide out when trying to get the front wheels over the wheel wells in the truck bed.
One way to save your tail gate is with a “GateSaver”. This product uses your hitch to support the rear tires of the UTV so your tailgate doesn’t have to.
In the bed with a “GateSaver” from PDS Fabrication
A properly sized truck rack will allow even a long travel UTV to be stored above the bed rails. There are a few minor downsides to this method – higher center of gravity and the need for longer ramps (I wouldn’t do it with anything less than 10′ ramps).
Shortbed Truck Rack – Roggy Enterprises and Alpine Designs
If you want to haul your UTV in the back of your short bed truck and still be able to tow a camp trailer, the other option is an over cab truck rack. The advantage here is the UTV is completely within the tailgate. The downsides are the same as the normal truck racks, but add to that additional wind resistance and a bit higher center of gravity.
Over Cab UTV Truck Rack – Dean Hoover
This is a custom made rack that Dean made. There is no business involved with making this specific rack, but I liked the concept so I included it here.
On the Back of a 5th Wheel
Saw this setup in Winchester Bay, OR at DuneFest. It was connected to the back of a 5th Wheel!
If you are going to use a rack in the bed of your truck, make sure it is securely fastened. Once you put a UTV up on top and hit a few bumps while turning, you will see why. I did not trust relying on a few straps attached to the factory tie down hooks. It is not that I worried about the straps breaking. It was more that I did not trust the factory tie down hooks fastened to the sheet metal in the bed.
People have been dealing with a similar problem with slide in campers for years. The best solution I found was a set of frame mounted tie downs. This not only gives you a solid point to attach, but also moves the tie down location out to the edge of the rack where it is most effective in controlling movement.
We have decided to partner with ICON Vehicle Dynamics and install their Ford Super Duty 2.5″ Stage 4 System.
This 2.5 Leveling System is a great way to level your 4WD 2005-2011 F-350 Super Duty front to rear. The systems components provide for better-than-stock ride quality and is perfect for the cost-conscious truck owner who wants a level truck and a smooth ride. This stage 4 system upgrades the front and rear shocks to our 2.5″ diameter Piggy-Back shocks. The system also includes our adjustable pan-rod bar and steering stabilizer kit and shocks. The combination of these components offers the ultimate in drivability.
Source: ICON Vehicle Dynamics
LoadLifter 5000 kits are Air Lifts heaviest-rated kits, specifically engineered for hauling or towing heavy loads. LoadLifter 5000 kits work with the vehicles existing suspension to give up to 5,000 pounds of extra leveling capacity when needed, right up to the manufacturers recommended Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Rugged and durable, LoadLifter 5000 air springs are built like a tire and reinforced by 2-ply fabric. The end caps are constructed from ultra high-strength composite Nylon and are strong as steel but are lighter and corrosion proof.
Air Lift LoadLifter 5000
WirelessONE is an affordable wireless on-board air compressor system that provides one-touch control of your air springs from inside or outside the vehicle.
WirelessONE wireless on-board air compressor system
- Easy installation no lines/wires to the cab.
- Wireless handheld unit for convenient operation inside or outside the vehicle
- Single path control: left and right air springs are inflated/deflated equally
- Low pressure sensor automatically activates to maintain safe pressure level
More: UTV Truck Rack Review