Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad and Bike Carrier Review

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Review of the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad and Bike Carrier

Hey guys, it's Randy here at etrailer again. Today, we're taking a look at Yakima's Gatekeeper. This is designed to be a tailgate style six bike rack or tailgate pad. They've designed them to work on full size trucks like what we have here today, so this one's going to be 62 inches wide, but they also make them for the midsize and compact truck, that one's going to be 53 inches wide.Now, tailgate pads like this, we see used a lot in your mountain bike competitions and things like that, getting the bikes from the bottom of the hill up to the top. You can get a lot of them tucked in here, and since we're not keeping the whole bike in the bed of the truck it saves us some room for some of the other stuff we'll need. These are also going to come in really handy for transporting longer items, whether that's going to be ladders, lumber, pipes, things like that.

With these nicer trucks, they usually have nice bed rails around them and not too many people want to tear them up anymore. By putting this on there and then allowing those items to rest down on it gives us a lot of protection.Now, the full size truck version is going to have six sit tight cradles. The compact or midsize truck, it's going to have five. These are designed so we can open them up and get that front tube of our bike laid in there and get it cinched down. You can see there's a lot of padding here, so even rougher roads, we're not going to have to worry about stress and strain on our frames, and it's a soft material both here on the top and on the bottom, so when we're transporting our bikes, whether it's carbon fiber, painted, something like that, we're not going to have to worry about any scratches or damage.Now, you can see to hold it in place it's pretty straightforward.

We're using three straps. These are going to come in between the tailgate and bed of our truck. They go into the keeper there, and then they get cinched down. This one really holds on the truck really well. There's no shifting, no movement with it really at all.Now, this is a nice, thick pad.

I'd say it's at least 3/4 of an inch thick to give us really good padding so we don't have to worry about damage on our tailgate, and this is a very durable nylon. It's got just a little bit of a texture to it there, it feels nice and thick, it feels sturdy. You can see all of our seams, they're stitched up really well, so I don't think this material, we're going to have to worry about too much with UV fade, it's going to stand up to the elements really well, offer some moisture resistance there so it's not soaking in. Then on the bottom side, we'll take a better look at it here in a minute when we show you how to install, but you can see it offers that felt material there. That's going to, up against the paint of that truck's going to protect it really well, won't have to worry about it.Now, to give you an idea of the overall size the full size is going to be 62 inches full width, and the flap on the back is going to be 20 inches.

The thickness side to side, that's going to be seven. When we go to the compact truck model, our width is going to be 53 inches, the height here at the back 17-1/2, and width is going to be a total of five.Now, something else I really like about the Gatekeeper that we don't always see on tailgate style bike racks like this is this really large opening back here. This is just a flap, you can pull this up, set it over, but that's going to give us good access into the handle for our tailgate release, but also for backup cameras if we need to see where we're going while we're backing up, you can open that up and that's going to give us full visibility. A lot of the other ones, they're going to be much smaller than this, so trucks that have handles that are down further, kind of limits your access to.Now, the Gatekeeper also gets really good reviews from our customers. It's like Sue said, "We ordered for a family vacation where we pull a travel trailer with our pickup and needed a place for all the bikes. It works really well and kept all bikes stable with no damage over a very long trip. Great product." Or Shawn said, "Great bike carrier. We carry four bikes and this keeps them secure, even on dirty and bumpy roads. Takes a few minutes to get it on the tailgate correctly, but once on, it works great."Now, when we compare the gatekeeper to other tailgate pad style bike racks like this, I see a few things that stand out to me. One is the width of the strap that actually secures it to the tailgate. This is a really nice wide strap. Generally, those are going to be a little bit thinner. I also like the way the cradles are contoured and designed to hold a bike frame. Most of the other ones we're going to see are just going to be a pad there, no real indention there for that to hang onto.I also really like how big the opening is here to get to our tailgate release and also so we have plenty of vision out of our backup camera. Now, there are other truck bed style bike racks out there. Typically, those are going to be like, a fork mount style bike rack. We can mount them to the side of the truck or into the bed of the truck. The thing I like about this one over that type is that this doesn't require us to remove the front wheel, it doesn't require us to do anything other than just throw them in, strap them down, and get back up the hill.Then, to begin the installation of course we'll want to open up our Gatekeeper here. You can see we've got the nice felt side, this is going to go down towards the paint just to keep our vehicle's paint protected. Going to set this right up and over. Now we'll just open up our access door there, it's going to allow us to slightly open our tailgate, and we're going to pass that strap in and underneath our tailgate so it comes up here in our bed. Once that's fed through, we get access to our clip here. We're going to feed it through the middle and we're going to bring it down the side closest to that rounded tab. That'll give us the bite that we need. All right, get that started and centered, then we'll do our other two.Once we have each of those three straps started, snugged up a little bit, we just want to make sure that we've got it in the position that we want. Then we'll begin to cinch those down the rest of the way. Once we have those straps cinched down, you'll see everything's locked in place really well. There's no sliding, there's no movement, so we won't have to worry about the keeper moving as we're heading down the road.Now, to get the keeper ready to load up our bikes, we want to open up the straps, just like that. We're going to lay that front tube right in there, that'll allow us to secure it. Once that's laid in place there, just bring our strap back over and we can use the hook and loop to get everything secured. Now, our keepers here are soft and they're not going to damage paint or carbon fiber frames, both the upper and lower have padding to it. You can see right down there, even if we are going over some rougher terrain or something like that, it's going to help to really absorb that shock well for us.That's going to complete our look at the Yakima line of Gatekeeper tailgate pads and bike carrier.

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Info for these parts were:

Installed by:
Jeff D
Video Edited:
Kathleen M
Installed by:
Randy B
Video by:
Chris R

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