Backwoods DRIFTR Roof Rack – Install & Review


  • Price – Is it worth it? 9.0

A Newer, More Versatile Choice From a Trusted Brand

As road trippers, we are always looking for different ways and/or places to carry our stuff. If you're going on long trips or you're someone who has a lot of equipment to take with you, a roof rack is the perfect solution.

The Backwoods Adventure Mods DRIFTR rack is a rugged mod built to last just like your car and the Tacoma, means long. It is highly adjustable to fit your layout and comes with beefy 1×3 extrusions to handle high loads. Installing this rack is also quick and easy.

Why Add Roof Storage?

Backwoods Adventure Mods Rack Roof Storage Case

I've been looking for ways to temporarily free up cab space to accommodate more people on my trips. I also wanted storage space for clothes, accessories, and pull boards. The flexibility to ride a kayak, skis, or water tank was the cherry on top.

Roof racks provide a great place to install light fixtures and chase lights. Since they are on top of the car, the light from the light fixtures will bounce off in fewer places thus creating fewer shadows. The DRIFTR has cutouts in the rear fairing and slots in the front fairing to make mounting both a breeze.

Overview and features

Backwoods DRIFT Roof Rack Chase Light Cutout

This roof rack has several features that stand out. Like most, the rack provides a flat platform to place all your storage boxes and gear. Where it differs is the cut-out of the rear taillights and the fact that it is more modular. For example, you can adjust the front fairings and load bars to better suit your packing needs.

Main Features

  • Look for simple cutouts
  • ¼” aluminum side panels
  • 5 powder coated extrusions (larger than industry standard) with included hardware
  • Adjustable front fairing (comes with light bar mounts)
  • No piercing included
  • Made in the USA
  • Comes with factory sunroof and antenna


Installing a Backwoods Roof Rack on a 3rd Gen Tacoma

Tools Required

  • Drilling
  • 7/8″ hole saw
  • Knife (to help remove the tape)
  • Side cutter
  • 10mm socket
  • 7/16″ socket
  • Ratchet
  • 4mm Allen
  • Scissors
  • Mark
  • A cutting removal tool

What's Included

  • Driver and passenger side panels
  • Aluminum Fabrics (5)
  • Front and rear fairing
  • Angle brackets
  • Edge trim
  • Fasteners
  • Silicone for RTV
  • A chain locker
  • 3M Tape

Step 1. Fix the Roof

Tacoma Roof Weatherstripping Removal

Use the trim tool to lift the back edge and pull the weatherstrip up on both sides. These are attached with double sided tape. Find an area with a color-matched sticker and remove the stickers.

Step 2. Prepare for Weatherstripping

Determining Weatherstripping to Install a Roof Rack

Place the weatherstrips next to the holes and tuck the ends up. Mark the location of the threaded holes and pass the lines down the weather line. Add about 1/2″ on both sides of the lines and cut the bottom flange. Then, drill a hole with a 7/8″ saw in the weatherstripping.

Step 3. Reinstall Weatherstripping

Tacoma Roof Weatherstrip Reinstallation

Clean the track with a rag and remove as much of the old tape from the weatherstrips as possible. Next, apply the new 3M tape provided. Reinstall the weatherstrip on both sides.

Step 4. Assemble the Rack

Backwoods DRIFT Roof Rack For 3rd Gen Tacoma

First, assemble the front fairing. Slide the nut onto the rails and fasten one of the aluminum extrusions to the back of the front fairing with 1/2” long bolts and Loctite. Then, apply an edge cutter to the curved, front edge of the fairing, cutting as needed.

Bolt the front and rear fairings to the side panels and clamp the extrusions between them. Leave all fasteners loose for later maintenance.

Step 5. Insert Brackets

Backwoods Roof Rack Mount

Use a clear silicone sealant and run a bead through each of the bolt holes in the ceiling where the circle cutout was made earlier. Applying a little sealant to threaded holes can help create a better seal, but don't overdo it. Finally, press the spacers into the holes and thread a long 6mm stainless bolt into the hole with the appropriate bracket.

Step 6. Install the Rack

3rd Gen Tacoma Roof Rack Installation

I recommend a second set of hands for this part and put a moving mat on the ceiling so you don't damage it.

Place the rack on the roof bracket. When the rack is centered side to side, tighten the bracket screws. This rack can be adjusted to sit up or down depending on your preference.

Original Impressions

Backwoods DRIFT Roof Rack 3rd Gen Tacoma

This is an animal. The aluminum extrusions can easily hold a person's weight and the included hardware makes securing your equipment easy. While sturdy, the rack is also light enough to be installed on its own.

The kit comes with everything you need including 3M tape, edge trim, and clear silicone. You usually have to find these items yourself at a hardware store. It comes with all the hardware you need so you can start mounting accessories right away.

Speaking of which, with the included edge trim and low profile design, wind noise is virtually non-existent. It's still there but so weak that after closing the sunroof shade, it disappears at speeds below 45 mph. The trim and front fairing create a stylish package that enhances the look and performance of any truck.

In its low mounting position, the DRIFTR roof rack is extremely low profile, adding less than 1/4” to the overall height of the truck. The rear fairing wraps the rear antenna well and does not interfere with the radio signal.

Some things to be aware of (which apply to any option out there):

  • It is recommended not to use a car wash that uses brushes as it will catch on the rack.
  • Check your garage or parking lot's roof vents. I recommend loading your rack up and measuring the height to make sure it fits before entering the parking garage.

Final thoughts

Backwoods DRIFT Roof Rack Review

To conclude, DRIFTR is a strong but simple solution that also improves the appearance of your car. Although it's an investment, it's worth the extra money for the added power and modularity. The cutouts in the rear fairing will make the chase lights look like they were meant to be there rather than an afterthought.

This rack would be a great addition to any rig be it a daily driver or a fully built overlander.

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