Rhino-Rack Reconn-Deck: The perfect platform for Overlanding?

   05.12.22

Rhino-Rack Reconn-Deck: The perfect platform for Overlanding?

If you’re into Overlanding, chances are you’ve spent time looking for the perfect platform to mount all of your gear on. Let’s take a closer look at Rhino-Rack’s Reconn-Deck and see if it could be the answer to your needs.

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The first build on my Tacoma was around an enclosed cap from AluCab. I wanted lockable storage with some built-in organizational capability, and the ability to eventually mount a rooftop tent.

I successfully ran that for several years until I decided to lighten up my load (a cap and rooftop tent are heavy) and reconfigure the build to be more robust. The original setup looked great but was ultimately unsound as a ton of weight (air compressors and storage bottle) was attached to a side cabinet mounted using a couple of small bolts into a rail system. I needed a more modular design that also was strong enough to mount what I needed.

Versatile Truck Bed System?

There is no such thing as a perfect system–at least I haven’t found one yet. There is always a compromise. A Tacoma is small and narrow, compared to a full-sized truck (like, say, a Power Wagon), and does not have a large cargo capacity. What I’ve started looking for in a cargo management system is easy installation (and removal) as well as the ability to change the configuration for whatever my current activity is so I can carry what I need. The Reconn-Deck has so far allowed me to do that.

view of hi-lift mounted on reconn-deck bars
I mounted my 60″ hi-lift extreme across my bars on the non-entry side of my tent. This keeps it easily accessible and makes use of what would otherwise be dead space.

Adding a bed rack system allows for a number of additional mounting options for stowing and securing gear and other accessories. The Reconn-Deck towers can support a number of different top components: the Reconn-Deck Bars (with or without the Reconn-Deck NS Bars), Pioneer Platform (if you want to maximize carry space), or Vortex Bars.

The towers have slots allowing you to mount components on them as well.

installing aluminum panels
I had some aluminum MOLLE compatible panels added to my truck. The Reconn-Deck towers have convenient slots to attach accessories.
aluminum molle panels installed
These panels (made by a local fabrication shop Mild to Wild) not only allow me to mount MOLLE compatible gear, but also provide some security for items in the bed.

You can mount any of their huge range of roof rack accessories on the bars–assuming the item can span the distance. The system is designed to suit users’ specific needs.

Reconn-Deck Bars

The Deck Bars are what I am running on my truck (I have a Rhino-Rack Pioneer Platform over my cab), and the Deck Bars will be the focus of the remainder of this post.

The Bars can accommodate 330 pounds dynamic load (while moving), and 826 pounds while static. The load rating is enough to mount a rooftop tent.

side-view of bed rack system
I have a 23Zero Walkabout rooftop tent mounted on top of the Reconn-Deck bars. The system can easily support the weight of the tent and a couple of people when the vehicle is not moving.

The Reconn-Deck bars have integrated channels on all four sides allowing you to mount items in a variety of ways. The underside channels are a good place to mount flat items like a folding table. The bars are made from powder-coated aluminum.

A Sleek and Rugged Design

The Rhino-Rack truck bed system is honestly pretty minimal. The towers mount to the rail system in your truck bed. There is no drilling or modification needed. It comes with all of the tools you need to do the install. Their design team included a clever torque wrench and hex tool (this is becoming a more common trend among off-road gear companies it seems).

included torque wrench
The system comes with a clever torque wrench that helps you with the install.

Once you mount the towers, you simply mount the Reconn-deck bars (or whatever platform you want to use).

The biggest downside is that you have to have bed rails. Or install some. If you have existing bed rails, you can install the system in about an hour by yourself.

reconn-deck towers before being moved to final location
Install is super easy and can be done by one person in about an hour.
mounting nuts in bed rail system for reconn-deck
The Reconn-Deck system comes with mounting nuts for your rail system. They simply slide in and you bolt through to towers to them and then torque to spec.

The most challenging part of the installation is measuring the tower placement. Rhino-Rack provides a handy reference for most vehicles, giving you the distance between towers and the distance from the front of the bed. These are fairly important measurements because you want the towers to be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the bed. Aside from that, it is bolting things in and torquing to spec. (Bigger trucks can add a third tower if needed.)

reconn-deck towers with witness marks
Any time you torque something to spec, you should use witness marks to help you with the periodic inspections you should be doing. Bouncing down the trail can loosen things over time, and torque specs, are, well, important.

Rhino-Rack Reconn-Deck

The Reconn-Deck is a relatively new product from Rhino-Rack that has been designed for not only overlanding, but snow-sports, cycling, fishing/surfing, and contracting. It’s a great platform to mount all of your gear on (and the perfect platform for my needs right now). It’s made from high-quality materials that will stand up to even the most extreme conditions.

side view without molle panels
I started out with no panels and had my hi-lift mounted on the towers.
rear angle view of installed bed rack system
My current setup.

The Reconn-Deck is adjustable, so you can customize it to fit your vehicle, and it comes with channels on the towers that provide multiple points to mount accessories. It’s quick and easy to install or dismantle, so you can reconfigure without a lot of hassle.

There are a few bed rack systems out there, and all have pros and cons. For my build, the Rhino-Rack system meets all of my current needs. You can learn more about the Reconn-Deck at Rhino-Rack’s website.

If you are running a bed rack, what do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Avatar Author ID 94 - 882922972

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Before that, he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie,” and assaults 14er in his sandals, and engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming copious water. To fund these adventures, he writes all manner of content (having also held editor positions at several publications) and teaches wilderness medicine and off-road skills. He hopes that his posts will help you find the gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it (and the training to use it). Learn from his mistakes--he is known (in certain circles) for his curse...ahem, ability...to find the breaking point of anything. You can follow him at https://linktr.ee/docrader.

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