May 28, 2021
A History of The Tailgate Pad: 1990s to Now

A little tailgate pad history: ever since the intersection of truck and off-road bicycle ownership, people have been looking for creative ways to transport their bikes to and from the trail. Some have opted for roof racks, bed racks, or other metal mounts to hold cycles upright. In recent years, tailgate pads have perhaps become the most popular and budget-friendly option.

The Tailgate Pad — Humble Beginnings

Using a blanket as a tailgate pad.

Using a blanket as a tailgate pad. The tailgate pad’s origins can be traced to Western Canada. Riders in the late 90s would throw blankets, cardboard, or other workable material to provide a buffer between their bike’s forks, downtube, and the tailgate surface. Once in position, gravity and friction work their magic to keep the bicycle secure. This option has multiple advantages due to simplicity and lack of additional hardware – it works; there are no constraints based on tire size, bike weight…etc. that you sometimes find with racks and mounts. Lift the bike, place it on the tailgate, and you’re good to go.

From humble beginnings, the tailgate pad was eventually brought to market in 2005. This first model featured a vinyl material that secured to the tailgate snugly with adjustable straps (a significant improvement from the blanket method). In the fifteen years since then, competition has caught on. Several outdoor accessory brands now sell their own versions. A search on Amazon will bring an unending assortment of shapes, sizes, brands, and prices of pads. Yet, virtually all of these products follow the same formula: vinyl material, nylon straps, and some Velcro. These materials aren’t meant to live outside— Sunshine, extreme temperatures, and moisture quickly take their toll. It’s widely accepted as a fact of life: tailgate pads don’t usually last long.

Meet Cache
Co-founders Dillon and Tyler Green gained insight for Cache products through their own MTB and truck ownership. They were all too familiar with the annoyances of Velcro and poor durability. Dillon had prior experience working in a bike shop and had heard many complaints of stolen tailgate pads. Ultimately, the idea of the Basecamp System was born – a truly durable and secure tailgate pad (and the foundation for the world’s first modular tailgate system). After three years of R&D, design, and production the pad went on sale in mid-2019.

Diagram of Cache's improvements to the traditional tailgate pad.

Finally, after years of stale products, innovation changed up the industry. Let’s take a look at crucial improvements brought by The Basecamp Pad.

Diagram of Cache’s improvements to the traditional tailgate pad.

Gone are the days of sun-beaten, faded, disintegrating vinyl canvas pads. The Basecamp Pad is coated in thermoformed PVC plastic, a material so durable that Cache is backing all products with a five-year warranty. It’ll age like fine wine, forming to the contours of whatever tailgate you attach it to. It’s grippy, offering stability and protection for any bike. It’s also theft-resistant: with a patented 3-digit combo locking carabiner, attached by a steel-beaded nylon cable, The Basecamp Pad brings peace of mind. And, thanks to the payload strap at the top, bikes (or other cargo) can be easily secured. The pad fits five bikes, most trucks, and is compatible with many backup cameras.

Don’t settle for 2005 – you deserve a proper tailgate pad. We like it, and we think you will too. Learn more at