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Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad Review

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Review of the Yakima GateKeeper Tailgate Pad

The Yakima GateKeeper is the ultimate way to utilize your truck bed, to haul a large amount of bikes. Right now, we have six bikes on here with the 62 inch option but if you have a smaller compact truck, we do have a 53 inch option. That'll carry five bikes. That's a lot more than almost every single hitch mounted bike rack that we have on our site. The nice thing about this is you can utilize your truck bed and you can also just keep your hitch open for other accessories. First thing I noticed right off the bat is I can see every single bike in my rear view mirror.

That just gives me peace of mind. It doesn't really matter what kind of a bike frame that you have if it's carbon fiber, or just a pretty bike, the straps and the pads on the tailgate pad is gonna prevent against any scratches. Another big thing with me is protecting my truck. The felt inner is gonna prevent against any type of scratches on my tailgate. And the other nice thing that I like about the pad is that it's extremely thick.

So any dents or dings that my forks may make on my tailgate, I don't have to worry about it because it's nice and thick. The outside's also super, super durable. It's made of nylon along with the straps. So even if my rotors or my brake calipers rub up against it, it's not gonna rip over time. And at the end of the day, we're not adding any length hardly to the back of the truck.

So we can really get into those really tight spaces and really hit some cool trails. Well, that was fun. Those are some of the highlights of the Yakima GateKeeper but now we're gonna go over some of the things that I like and some of the things that I don't like. Start with the things that I like about the tailgate pad. Yakima upgraded the straps on the GateKeeper.

These are better than all the other ones on the site, in my opinion. Just because they veered away from the hook and loop design. This is something you can just quickly disconnect. I like this a lot better just because the hook and loops over time do tend to kind of wear out and not work near as well. And something I noticed is this is really really hard to pull, which is good. 'Cause once you pull it, you know it's not gonna get any looser whenever you're driving down the road. So it's very, very secure and it's a lot better than the hook and loops. We also have a pad on the strap which is unique to the GateKeeper. So that's gonna protect not only the top, but down low. Once I take this off, we're also gonna have some protection for our bike on this end as well. There's a lot of give here. So whenever we strap it down fully, I'll take the strap, loop it in real quick, give it a good old tug. Sometimes we just need to rotate this strap a little pad a little bit, now it's nice and tight. Now that it compresses in, this thing's extremely sturdy compared to some of the other competitors. I just have a really rough time getting 'em super tight but with the GateKeeper, this is the tightest fit I have seen on a tailgate pad. It's also going to protect your truck from any scratches, dents or dings. That's something I really like, just because we are putting this on your truck. I wanna make sure that my tailgate stays nice and intact. What really helps protect your pickup truck from scratches is gonna be the felt right here. Not only is it gonna protect the outside of your tailgate, but also the inside. And the cool thing about this is it's so thick that even when some of our forks or wheels or even sometimes the rotors start to bang up against there, we don't really have to worry about it dinging up our tailgate. I do like the thickness of it. The cool thing is we have this. This is gonna protect it from scratches. The thickness is gonna protect it from dings and dents and then the outside is super, super durable. So it's gonna protect itself as well. Unlike any of the other tailgate pads on our site, this one gives us a nice durable metal loop right here which is gonna be great for your bike cables. Does not come with a bike cable, but you can grab one separately here at etrailer. The nice thing about that is if you have a locking tailgate and you have this wrapped all the way around it's gonna take a lot for someone to take all your bikes off. Notice our wide array of bikes here. It's gonna work with pretty much any bike that you have. It just depends on how much weight you really wanna put up and into your truck, depending on how tall your truck really is and how strong you are. But notice that we're not gonna be damaging any of our bikes, just because of the way they sit. I know it kind of looks like they're all kind of crushed together, but if you look first on our bike right here, even with the rotor and the caliper on the tailgate side, it's not making any contact. And then if you go over here, our forks are protecting each other from hitting our rotors and our caliper to the wheel and stuff like that. So there's not really a whole lot of rubbing going on. Literally the only thing touching is the fork to the wheel. And when I mean wheel, I mean tire. So it's not gonna really have a whole lot of damage at all. So I like that. And another thing I love is just it's super solid. I mean, everything's super, super secure. I really like that. I really don't get this security with a lot of the other ones on our site. So you can take this off-road if you really wanted to. And they're not really gonna be bobbing around and damaging each other. Even for our carbon fiber frame bikes, there is a little bit of frame contact, but it's so soft and cushiony. It's not gonna damage the bike at all. So if you have a full suspension bike, if you have a mountain bike, downhill bike, you even have kids' bikes like this one, they're all really gonna fit. Even those fat tire bikes. If you really wanna lug those heavier bikes up on here, it'll work. This thing will work with any bike. If you have a Tonneau cover whether it's a roll up, a fold up or even a canister style, you're still gonna be able to haul your bikes with that. I think that's really cool. We're really enabling our truck to carry a lot of bikes but we don't have to take off other accessories. Even if you did have a ladder rack or maybe even just a truck bed toolbox, we have so much room back here for more stuff. It'll vary from truck to truck. But I think the best way to get an idea of how much room you're really gonna have, go up to your bikes. And we're gonna rotate the handlebars maybe a little bit past 45 degrees, but just measure from where your handlebars mount to your frame right here, pretty much there back is how much it's going to take up from the inside of your tailgate. And then from there forward is what's gonna be hanging off the back. At the end of the day, it's gonna be a lot less length added to your vehicle. And that's something I really like. So I can bring these bikes wherever I wanted to a lot more places than any hitch mounted option. When it comes to putting the bikes on and taking them off, we're not gonna be able to just go up to this green bike right here and take it off. We're gonna wanna start from either side. I think of each side, I believe the bike on the end right here is gonna be the easiest one to start with. Of all the redesigns that Yakima went with, with the new style GateKeeper. I love the color that they went with and also the design, it's actually reflective which you can't really tell right now 'cause it's light outside, but that's kind of cool but I do love the color. It does come in black too. So you're not just stuck with this blue but I think it looks pretty neat. Also the flap, it's huge. A lot of these other ones aren't that big. So some of these trucks, the backup camera is not it still can see a little bit of the pad. There's no way it's gonna see this pad. So that's kind of cool. Also my Chevy symbol is visible, kind of like that. 'Cause I went with this black for a reason. I want people to see it and I can still keep this on my truck and drive like that if I wanted to. So the cool thing about this is they did add some extra little security with the flap. The only hook and loop that they have on this whole entire thing is right here which is very convenient. But if it starts to wear down over time or you just see it flying up, you can line these up and snap 'em into place and those aren't going anywhere. So I love this big flap and the added little buttons for extra security. So this thing's gonna stay nice and put. Like any other tailgate pad, we're gonna have some straps that go underneath. Whenever you're feeding 'em through, you kind of just need to feed 'em through a little bit and grab it. You will over time, get a knack for it. Meaning you're gonna get better at it over time. I'm pretty good at it at this point. It's not that hard. It's a lot easier than just a standard hitch bike rack. So let's take a look at what that looks like in here. And it's got plenty of strap, which is nice. And with any tailgate pad, it is kind of hard to get it up and through this little crack right here. So what they did with the redesign is they added a little bit more rigidity to the end of the strap. So you notice this little extra added piece here. It's a lot stronger. So it's gonna be a lot easier to get it up through there. This one gave me the least trouble of all of them. It honestly took me maybe two or three minutes. All I had to do was just take this, push this through, and I'll just run it through real quick just to show you. So you'll put it on. We're gonna take this little piece right here, make sure it's nice and straight. And then we're gonna reach in here. The best way to do it. Just get it to flap upward. Like that. One thing I did, utilize the thicker strap. It kind of went like this. So it's kind of curved a little bit. And this way, when you go underneath here it'll come up on its own almost. So it's definitely a one man job. So once you get it on through, grab it, make sure it's nice and tight. Go through once, go through again, and then cinch it down, cinch it down. Cinch it down. All the excess strap. We have this little elastic band right there to clean it up. And load up your bikes. That is the process with any tailgate pad but the updated straps. Thank you Yakima. Since it's the same size as the tailgate on your truck, it's gonna fit in our truck. It fits really nicely underneath our back seats here. So we can go ahead, put it in there, fold everything down. And you really can't even notice that it's in here, especially your passengers. So I think that's pretty cool. It's gonna be pretty easy to live with. Might as well just keep it in your truck for whenever you really need it. To make sure you get the right one for your truck, just measure your tailgate. But basically if you have a full size truck, you can go with the 62 inch long one which can carry six bikes. But if you have a truck like a Tacoma, Colorado, Canyon, Ranger, whatever kind of mid-size truck, you can use this one, which is gonna carry five bikes. So we have a size that's gonna fit your needs. And after the long ride, you can still use your tailgate to wind down a little bit. And I gotta be honest. It is a lot more comfy with all the pads here but now what we're gonna do is go over the things that I don't like about the pad. Honestly, I do not have anything bad to say about the GateKeeper. If I we're to be nitpicky, the Thule option does have some little pockets right here for storage, but I have a whole entire truck bed that I can use. And I guess if you are looking for one that has the most amount of padding, the GateKeeper doesn't have the most amount but this is plenty. My tailgate is not gonna get damaged. And at the end of the day, trucks are tough. The GateKeeper is going to last the longest out of all of them, just because we don't have any of the Velcro straps strapping down our bikes. They wear out over time. But with this, it's gonna last a lot longer than the competition. And in my opinion, it looks the best out of all them whether you go with the blue or the black. So if you want my opinion, go with the Yakima GateKeeper..

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