what to cover a rack with...

Just finshed installing a rack for the bed of my truck. The cross bars are treated 2x4’s and was wondering what might be the best material to cover the bars with. Seen many with shag carpeting, which probably works fine, but look awful. I prefer function over fashion tho, Thanks!

I used hose and inner tube
I bought the blue discharge hose from a farm store. The kind that lays flat when there’s no pressure on it. Then tied two bicycle inner tubes together end to end, with the valve stems near the outer ends. Pulled them inside the hose and bolted to my rack.

Attaching to 2x4’s may be a little harder, mine used fender washers on carriage bolts, after punching a hole in only one side of the hose, I used a wire to pull it through so the head/washer were inside the hose. The ends are punched mulitple times so the they fold under and are secured. The valve stems exit thru similiar holes so they can be filled as needed. The advantage of an air cussion is that it doesn’ beat down like foam, and the smooth hose doesn’t catch sand like carpet. I think cost was under $30 per pair.

Hope this helps.


Indoor-outdoor carpet
We stapled that onto 2x4 bars for the first 7 yrs we used a modified snowmobile trailer. Underneath the carpet was foam (the same kind you put under carpeting in a house!).

Mouse pads
Cut them up to size and contact cement them on. Just the right amount of cushioning, and if you want the boat to slide a little better for ease of loading/unloading, glue some felt or micro fleece on top of the mouse pad.

We did that with an old set of racks we made, and it worked great. Cheap, too.

I also use…
treated 2x4. For the top I went to Wally World bought a 72" mini-cell sleeping pad, duct tape, and black trunk liner cloth (in the auto section). I cut the mini-cell foam into stips that fit on top of the 2x4 and secured it with strips of duct tale at 1 ft. intervals. With the trunk liner cut to size I laid the 2x4 with mini-cell foam side down, wrapped the cloth over to the bottom of the liner then stapled with heavy duty staples. It looks good and fairly professional. It has held up for years now. Luck.


my canoes have vinyl gunnels ,

– Last Updated: Apr-03-11 2:39 PM EST –

...... so I wouldn't put anything on the 2 x 4 cross bars , I'd just slip foam gunnel blocks on the gunnels after the canoe was up there . I probably would even round over the top of the 2 x 4's a little bit , I'd definately make sure the ends were sealed well and maybe even seal the rounded over top .

Covering the 2 x 4 will take it longer to dry out , the 2 x 4 and the wrapping will rot quicker also (yes , treated 2 x 4's do rot when not allowed to dry out) .

A bra