Your friends are in town and there’s only one rig that can shuttle seven bikes at once, your beloved truck.
You get squeamish at just the thought of cramming your bike in to the back of the bed with six other bikes, let alone what all those bikes will do to your truck. That’s where the Dakine Pickup Pad comes in, a tailgate pad designed with both your bike and truck’s safety in mind. The unspoken rule of shuttling will play to your favor: you supply the truck, they supply the beers.
The Dakine Pickup Pad comes in two sizes, large for full size pick-ups and small, which fits most mid-sized pick-up trucks like a Ranger or Tacoma. Our test pad was the large and it spent most of the summer equipped to our beloved “Teal Dream,” a 1994 Ford F-150. We also used it for a few trips up to BC on the back of a 2015 F-150, which featured a different tailgate shape and rear camera allowing us to test the fit and additional features of the Dakine Pickup Pad.
One might wonder what features a simple piece of padded vinyl can offer, but the Pickup Pad does provide some key features in its offerings. It utilizes 3/4” foam with a heavy-duty vinyl cover on the outside to protect both your bikes and your truck when shuttling to the top of your favorite trail. The large uses three web cinch straps to secure the pad to the vehicle (they even provide this nifty installation video), ensuring that the pad stays in place when in use.
There is also an access flap on the outside of the pad, which allows the user to use the tailgate handle with the pad installed. The access flap is also equipped with a “kickstand” to prop the access flap open, allowing drivers of newer trucks to take advantage of their rearview cameras. The Pickup Pad also features velcro frame anchor straps, which help keep the bikes well-spaced, secure, and rub-free. Round out the features list with a reflective Dakine logo on the back and a Marker Camo print color option for those with a penchant for a little flair and the Dakine Pickup Pad stacks up to be a pretty sweet unit on paper.
We received our Dakine Pickup Pad back in June an installed it on the one and only Teal Dream. The Pickup Pad felt very light when pulling it out of the box, but one of the first things we noticed was the heavy duty vinyl cover that covers the entire outside of the pad. The feel and finish definitely gave us the impression that this pad was going to be around for a while. After nearly six months of use and abuse, the pad is still looking solid and ready for more adventures.
The vinyl cover shows no signs of premature wear or fading, even after being on a non-garaged truck during one of the hottest, driest summers on record here in the Northwest. The seams are all still holding strong with no frays or failures and the webbing straps used to secure the pad to the vehicle were also looking good after a summer of installing, adjusting, removing, and repeating. This was a particularly good sign, as the 1-inch wide webbing seemed like it may be the weak spot in the design during our initial impressions. Overall, the pad is in great shape after its first season of use.
Ease of Use
Installation of the product on any truck is pretty straight forward. Unhinge the tailgate, slide the straps underneath, shut the tailgate, center it and tighten the straps. Every tailgate is a little different, and some might not allow for the straps to easily move through when shut, requiring a propped open position when installing. The frame straps are easy to adjust and use, making it easy to secure a wide variety of bikes by simply adjusting the Velcro straps. Once familiar with the product, installation and removal times are less than five minutes and require no tools for the job. This was nice on our test truck, as we had to remove and re-install the pad pretty regularly throughout the summer.
We did find that the pad had a tendency to shift forward on the tailgate, but a quick adjustment and we were off again. When we had the pad on our 2015 F-150, the tailgate had a bit of a lip on the top, which made for a bit of an awkward initial fit for both the pad and the bikes. But ultimately didn’t impede its use, proving it can withstand two decades of the auto industry’s variables. The “kickstand” on the access flap made using our back-up camera a snap to use and made navigating a big truck in reverse with expensive bikes hanging off the back much more confidence inspiring.
The Dakine Pickup Pad provided everything we were looking for in a truck pad. It was easy to install and remove, wore well and most importantly it protected our bikes and truck all summer long. At $120 for the both the Large and Small size pads, the Dakine Pickup Pad won’t break the bank either. So if you find yourself ready to trade-in your worn-down, makeshift sleeping pad/Mexican blanket combo and spring for some real protection for you bike and truck, the Dakine Pickup Pad makes a great option.