EVOC Tailgate Pad

EVOC Tailgate Pad

Words & Photos by Chili Dog

There’s a million ways to transport a bike, but few are easier and more effective than the tried and true tailgate pad. Brilliant in its simplicity, tailgate shuttles have always been my preferred method on transport, unless I need the full space of my truck bed for camping gear.

With a 2,000-mile road trip planned from Los Angles, to Mammoth Mountain, to Bend, Oregon, to San Francisco, and then back to L.A. I figured it would be the perfect way to torture test EVOC’s tailgate pad offering.

The Lab

EVOC’s pad comes in two sizes: a small for trucks like the Tacoma, Colorado or Frontier, and a large for full sized trucks like the F-150, Silverado, or 2500/3500’s. Two colors are offered, olive with black accents, or black with olive accents, as reviewed here. There is EVOC branding on each side of the pad, and a cool map graphic on the pad itself. It’s a nice departure from the traditional, boring black vinyl.

I found that the large size was generous for my 2006 Ram 2500, with the outermost sides of the pad almost covering the inside edges of the taillights. While that extra width meant I had to be careful to not pinch the pad when I closed the tailgate, it also made for welcome protection from the bike in the outer most spot. It’s also generous in length, covering the entire tailgate of my truck down to the bumper.

EVOC Tailgate Pad

The EVOC pad has six partitioned downtube slots, each with their own Velcro strap. In between each slot is a foam separator pad covered in a tough, vinyl outer later. Many pads are moving to this design as it keeps the bike securely in place through corners or over bumps. However, it does mean that the pad is limited to six bikes. No more taking off pedals to cram on seven or eight for that last lap unless you don’t mind a bit of extra bike shifting.

The pad is held on to the truck with three retaining straps. The straps are secured and tightened using the traditional system, but unlike most pads EVOC uses a metal tightening adjuster.

EVOC Tailgate Pad

The Dirt

Over 2,000 miles of highway and dirt roads with five bikes is more than enough to test a tailgate pad. Mix in a few spirited dirt road detours and I’d say the trip served as a pretty solid torture test of the EVOC’s durability. After the early summer test session, the pad’s tough outer surface looks just as good as it did the day I opened the box.

While the straps are more than generous in length for every normal down tube I put on the pad, they weren’t enough for E-bikes. My solution was to Velcro two straps together, but that meant I couldn’t strap in a full pad’s worth of bikes.

The stitching for the bike straps looks durable and feels tough. We’re sure it means they will last for years to come. Based on the abuse it saw on this two month journey and reckless shuttle riders, it’s safe to say this pad takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

EVOC Tailgate Pad

Yes it’s great, but it’s not perfect… One of my main complaints with the pad has nothing to do with its bike carrying ability. Maybe I’m just too OCD about my truck’s paint, but I would have preferred a microfiber liner. Instead it has a woven, mesh like material that’s soft, but not soft enough for my taste. That meant that I ended up taking the pad off my truck unless it was completely clean, which brings me to my second complaint: the metal cinching buckles for the straps that attach the pad to the tailgate fall off. A simple design change in the shape of the buckles could have prevented the issue. I chose to just pinch them with a set of pliers so they stayed put. Problem solved.

The pad also has a big opening for trailgate handles of different sizes and shapes. Additionally, if you have one of those new fangled backup cameras, there’s plenty of room for that too. The only problem is that there’s no Velcro attachment point to keep that nifty flap open and off the camera. You have to use one of the bike pad straps.

EVOC Tailgate Pad

The Wolf’s Last Word

Tailgate pads are pretty simple, but it’s surprisingly hard to get one right. Does the EVOC pad tick all the boxes? Almost. My one major complaint is the pad’s interior finish, which may not even matter to people who aren’t painfully obsessed with microscopic paint imperfections

Aside from that, it’s an awesome pad that covered all the bases. It protects the truck with coverage from taillight to taillight and all the way down to the bumper. It also stays securely on the tailgate without the dreaded side-to-side slide that happens with a lot of other pads. EVOC did a fantastic job with the bike dividers too. This recent 2,000-mile trip is only the start of this pad’s life of moving bikes!

Price: $160
Website: EVOCusa.com

We Dig

Stays Put
Keeps Truck Protected
Keeps Bikes in Place
Looks Cool

We Don’t

No Backup Camera Flap Velcro
Metal Tabs Fall Off
No Microfiber Liner

LEAVE A COMMENT, WIN FREE SWAG!

Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack