Ladder Rack for Vans and Trucks – A Buyer’s Guide

From contractors to camper van converters, a simple ladder rack is just about the best addition you can make to greatly increase your overall storage capacity. You can pretty much build anything on top of it, using the basic rack as a foundation for solar panels, cargo storage, or even a seating platform.

But as with all van accessories and modifications, it’s difficult to determine which rack suits your needs, and which one fits on your model vehicle.

Which Roof Rack fits my Van/Truck?

It’s important to remember that with every new vehicle make and model, the roof design may change. And if you read the reviews, you’ll notice that some owners needed to make small modifications to the ladder racks to make them fit perfectly. If you’re a contractor, this should be no problem, but for the camper van converter, you may need to prepare to use some tools and ingenuity to get the right fit.

We’ve done as much research as we can to list out which of the following van racking systems fit well on specific, common models of cargo and transport vans. Scroll down to find your specific manufacturer. This is a long list – so buckle up!

Ford Econoline Van Ladder Roof Racks

ladder rack for e250

AA-Racks Model X27 (w/ ladder stoppers)

The AA-Rack X27 is a pretty affordable solution for most Ford E-Class vans. Ladder stoppers (the vertical “hooks” are easily removable if you’re going to put things other than ladders on top. As long as you have rain gutter drip panels, this should be adaptable enough to install on any E-Class from 2001 – 2019!
Fits: Ford E-150 – 350 (2001 – 2019)

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GMC Savana Roof Rack

gmc savanna roof rack for ladders

ECOTRIC Universal 600 Lb

This ladder rack for GMC Express or Savana models is what we would rank as medium quality, but the installation is painless. Holds up to 600 lbs, and the tall uprights on the side of the rack can be helpful for installing solar panels flush between them. Also worth noting, in case its important to you, that the beams are square-shaped instead of rounded. If you’re looking for a budget option ladder roof rack for a chevy express, this is it.

Fits: 2003-2017 GMC Savana models only

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Chevy Express Ladder Racks

roof rack for chevy express

AA-Racks Model X27 (w/ ladder stoppers)

An extra $50 will get you a higher quality roof rack for your Express van. The “fit” of this rack is much snugger and seems sturdier in most regards, and will be more resistant to rust with oval uprights.
Fits: Chevy Express (2010 – 2018)

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Sprinter Roof Racks

Sprinter van racks

AA-Racks Model X37

If you don’t need tall uprights, and simply need the crossbars, these AA-Racks hightop model is heavy-duty and relatively low profile.

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Ram ProMaster Roof Racks

Rack for ladders on ProMaster

AA-Racks Model AX302 (doesn’t fit the CITY)

Aluminum, doesn’t rust, comes in black or white. Easy install.
Fits: Ram Promaster (2013 – )

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roof rack for promaster model

AA-Racks Model X202-PR RAM ProMaster

Unlike the others, this set include three (3) crossbars, and and from the look of it, should have the lowest chance of developing rust spots, thanks to its sleek and rounded edges. Note: this does not fit the Ram Promaster CITY model van. See below for a roof rack that fits ProMaster City.
Fits: Promaster (2013 – Present )

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cheap promaster city rack

J2000 2 Bar Van Rack

These are a little pricy, around $270, but they fit the Promaster City very well and dont require any drilling whatsoever. The 400lb weight capacity seems a little light in our opinion, but the Promaster City is a smallish van, so you likely wont be putting anything up there that weighs so much. We also like that they come in polished black, which can reduce the appearance of rust spots or scratches over time.
Fits: ProMaster City 2015-On

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Pickup Truck Ladder Racks

On to pickup truck bed racks. These are particularly helpful to contractors, handymen, and adventurers for really customizing under-utilizes space– ABOVE the bed. Great for ladders, kayaks, bikes, or other large items.

universal short bed truck rack

AA-Racks Model X39 Short Bed Truck Ladder

Expect about a 2-hour installation time. Having a friend helps tremendously. But once it’s in, the installations we’ve seen felt rock-solid.
Fits: Most/All Short-bed pickup trucks

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adjustable bed rack for pickups

Smittybilt 18604 Black Contractors Rack

Smittybilt is a reputable company, and this contractors rack is no exception. It’s a small touch, but for those who enjoy their peace and quiet, the small wind deflector feature (to cut down on noise at high speeds), is a welcome touch.
Fits: practically ALL truck beds, EXCEPT those with Utility Track Systems! 71″ wide x 28″ high

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ladder rack for full size trucks

ECOTRIC Adjustable Full Size Truck Contractor Ladder

Steel construction – adjustable – fits both long and short bed trucks

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lightweight rack system for pickups

AA-Racks Model APX25 Extendable Aluminum

Fits:  practically ALL truck beds, EXCEPT those with Utility Track Systems! 71″ wide x 28″ high

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Installing a Gutter-Mounted Roof Rack

The majority of roof racks mount to the van’s existing “Drip edge” or rain gutters, offering a lot of breathing room for all of the racks above. Just because one of them is listed to work for a certain model doesn’t mean the ladder rack won’t fit on your vehicle! If you’re not the type of person to carefully read the directions, you might find this video from TheDanVan helpful on how to install a common roof rack on a cargo van:

A Note About Rust

Your installation might go super smoothly, and you think you’re done, but it’s important to read the manufacturers recommendations on rust prevention, especially in steel ladder racks. Using a $3 tube of sealant in the appropriate crevices can save you from some pretty ugly rust spots (especially on white vans).