EVOC TAILGATE PAD REVIEW
Words by Sourpatch | Photos by Dusten Ryen
Since they started some 20-plus years ago, EVOC has been a staple in the outdoor community across a variety of categories. EVOC may have got their start creating sports-driven backpacks, but since this they have expanded their product line-up tenfold. Nowadays, you can get just about any type of pack, travel bag, luggage and so on, for nearly any outdoor pursuit. As one would expect from a travel-oriented company, tailgate pads eventually graced their catalog. Although EVOC’s Tailgate Pad has been out for a number of years, this is our first hands-on experience with the pad, and we were excited to see how it stacked up against the competition.
EVOC put a different spin on their Tailgate Pad with its overall thin and tailored construction that has padding added where it counts. One-inch-thick EVA foam blocks keep your bikes’ downtube off the corner of the tailgate. EVOC also offset taller molded foam blocks to create downtube dividers, which help prevent bikes from sliding and rotating, in addition to the Velcro downtube straps. The EVOC Tailgate Pad is available in a M/L option for mid-size trucks measuring at 54 inches across, and a L/XL option for full-size trucks measuring at a wide 63 inches. The outer shell of the tailgate pad is made of 600D Polyester with a PU coating, with the less desirable woven-like tarpaulin interior. The pad is secured to the truck using three hook-and-loop straps. EVOC included a large Velcro flap to give easy tailgate access, which can also be folded away for use with a backup camera. For those that have e-bikes, the standard downtube straps will be too small. Instead, EVOC offers eBike straps which are sold separately for $20 a pair. It’s also worth mentioning, EVOC suggests wrapping your tailgate with a protective vinyl to help prevent any unwanted scratches, and the same goes for the downtube on your bike. The EVOC Tailgate Pad is offered in a choice of all Black or Black/Olive colorways with a subtle World map graphic, and retails for $160 (M/L) to $180 (L/XL).
The EVOC Tailgate Pad fit all of our test vehicles, however the fit on each was slightly different. The pad fit the F250 and the 2500 almost perfectly. On the GMC, the pad would get wedged between the tailgate and the bed, requiring it to be folded a smidge to obtain a proper fit. On the F150 with the curved tailgate it fit, just about, but not particularly well. Though EVOC’s Tailgate Pad uses the less effective three strap arrangement (opposed to four straps on other offerings), the use of aluminum G-Hook adjusters is a welcomed upgrade and makes installs less tedious. This tailgate pad received a big negative mark though with its absence of a microfiber liner. My tailgate still looks good after seven years of almost constant tailgate pad use and I plan to keep it that way, so not having the simple layer of protection is less than desirable. The thought of having to spend an additional couple hundred dollars for a protective vinyl film/wrap to use this pad without worry is a big no-go. Of course for those who aren’t fussed about their paintwork, or are lucky to have a tailgate that’s already wrapped, it won’t be a concern.
With the pad installed, we performed our capacity test and verified EVOC’s claim that the pad does indeed fit six bikes comfortably. Our capacity load test consisted of both analog and eBikes. While the straps that come on the tailgate pad don’t fit ebikes, they did secure our analog bikes effectively. For eBikes, EVOC sells eBike straps separately, in a pack of two, for $20. It’s a worthy (or necessary) but potentially expensive upgrade if you are looking to add eBike straps to all six slots, taking the total price above the $200 mark.
In motion, the EVOC Tailgate Pad stayed pasted in place no matter the amount of weight or driving style. Our precious cargo also stayed in place surprisingly well, despite many attempts to get bikes to tilt or move. An area of concern I have revolves around the thin foam padding EVOC uses, specifically around the stanchion contact point. Depending on bike weight and the quality of the roads used when shuttling, it’s possible that issues could arise. This is just speculation, but one that could be avoided with a slightly more generous serving of foam. The access flap that EVOC opted for on their Tailgate Pad is quite large. This ensures it can accommodate a wider array of handle / camera designs, but it has a “thrown together” look and feel. On top of that, having to fold the flap into itself is not the most refined of methods, though it gets the job done.
The Wolf’s Last Word
EVOC’s Tailgate Pad may have been ahead of its time when it was released, but the competition has caught up and, in some cases, surpassed it. The Tailgate Pad from EVOC is a solid option in the sea of tailgate pads. It ticks a lot of our boxes: it’s sturdy; can fit the 6-bikes claimed; the downtube straps fit most bikes (eBike straps sold separately), and there is some downtube protection. Holding it back are the tailgate and stanchion protection, which are lackluster. Being recommended to wrap the tailgate due to the pad’s construction is a big negative when others are equipped with a soft, paint protecting microfiber liner for the same price or a few dollars more. That said, if you are someone that wants the ability to shuttle six bikes safely and aren’t worried about your truck’s paint (or have a wrapped tailgate), then the EVOC Tailgate Pad is a very solid option. If you only ever haul a couple bikes around, EVOC does have a two bike option with many of the same features for a fraction of the cost.
Price: $160 – M/L | $180 – XL
Sizes: M/L (Midsize) | XL (Fullsize)
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.