If you haul tools in the bed of your truck, a headache rack can keep you safe in the event of shifting loads.  It can save space in the truck bed for hauling other things like lumber, tree limbs, or building materials.

Headache racks are ideal for hauling long handled tools like leaf rakes, shovels, picks, axes, and sledge hammers. They also help keep the cab cool during the hot summer months, which is a godsend when you’re on a break!

Many companies make headache racks that can haul tools. Basically, the racks designed to haul tools are made out of either steel or aluminum, or a composite of the two.

BackRack Headache Racks

BackRack manufacturers a standard headache rack made out of steel that is inexpensive and can haul a ladder laid in between the uprights of the rack. This rack makes hauling a ladder easy as you just need a couple bungee straps in addition to the rack.

A landscape tool accessory can easily be attached  and can haul up to 11 landscape tools. Some people haul a ladder between the BackRack uprights and also mount a smaller tool holder to the side of the rack so that they can haul a ladder plus up to five landscape tools.

BackRack also makes a Safety Rack, Louvered Rack, and Insert Rack that will all support their landscape tool holder accessories. The 11 tool accessory or the smaller 5 tool accessory can easily be mounted to any of their racks with the exception of their “Three Light Insert Rack.”

Rear Bars For Ladders

Some companies make additional racks to headache racks in order to haul a ladder. It’s mounted close to the tailgate of the truck and the ladder sits on both the headache rack and this rack so that it does not scratch the tailgate.

As you can see from the Backrack set (pictured) this allows you to get more use out of your headache rack. The best thing is it’s incredibly easy to install. It slots right into the stake holes already in the tailgate of your truck. Some users prefer to carry it in their toolbox and attach it only when needed.

Avoid Racks With Lights

Headache racks that should be avoided if hauling tools is desired are those that contain lights.

Tools can be bungeed down but it is possible that shifting tools in transport can damage the lights. For this reason, it is a good idea not to haul tools with a “lighted headache rack.”

Protection From Shifting Tools

Safety racks which prevent tools from shifting and damaging the rear window make a great choice. Long handled tools can be tied or bungeed to the frame or the mesh screen of the safety rack and then safely transported

Protect Your Rack!

One problem that does arise when hauling tools is damage to the headache rack itself.

A tough powder coat is important so that shifting tools do not scratch the rack and cause areas to prematurely corrode. This is generally not a problem with aluminum headache racks but can happen with steel racks.

Be Careful Strapping Tools

Tools can be attached to louvered headache rack frames but should not be attached to the actual louvers that shield the cab from the hot sun. Louvers are really not designed for the stress imposed by strapping in tools and can be damaged.

Don’t Leave The Center Area Open

It is also recommended that you do not haul tools with headache racks that leave the center area open so that you could reach into the truck bed from the cab.

Hauling tools with these kinds of racks can defeat the purpose of the rack. Tools can shift on the rack and quite possibly slide into the rear center window.  This is generally not a problem with long handled tools but if you are attaching small tools or equipment, they could possibly move during transport.

Which Type To Buy?

Regular standard headache racks are fine for hauling long handled tools as long as the tools are securely attached. They are usually less expensive and are a good choice for those that do not need a rack every day.


Headache racks should be a necessity if tools are going to be hauled. Without them, accidents are possible that can either hurt the driver, passengers, or damage the truck.