What is a Cargo Bar?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A cargo bar is a vehicle accessory which is used to keep cargo and goods in place so that they do not shift during transit. Cargo bars are most classically used in pickup trucks, although versions designed for sport utility vehicles, car trunks, and other settings can also be obtained. Auto supply stores may carry cargo bars, and they are also available through hardware stores and online suppliers. Some truck manufacturers also provide cargo bars which have been custom designed for the vehicles in their product lines.


The basic design consists of a bar with feet on either end which are designed to grip the sides of a truck bed. Cargo bars are designed to ratchet into place, with the pressure of the extended bar forcing the feet to stay in place. The feet prevent the bar from damaging the side of the truck and they create traction which makes the cargo bar less prone to shifting. Once the device is firmly seated, the ratchet can be locked so that it will not move.

These bars are designed to be moved to accommodate different types of cargo, although many people leave a cargo bar where it is once it has been installed. They can also be attached to cargo nets, which will create a barrier to prevent objects from sliding under or around the bar. Some cargo bars also have tie down points so that rope can be used to secure loads or cargo covers like tarps to the cargo bar.

One of the classic uses for a cargo bar is for the containment of large tool trunks, chests, and garbage cans in a work truck. The bar can be used to make sure that these items stay secured in the truck bed, rather than sliding around. People can also tether objects like backpacks to their cargo bars for secure traveling. The device is usually designed to go crosswise across a truck bed, and it is possible to create several compartments with cargo bars, if desired.

People who move cargo on a regular basis may find a cargo bar extremely useful. Secured objects are less prone to damage during transit and they are also less likely to slam into other objects or the side of the truck. Cargo bars can also be utilized to secure lightweight objects or things which might blow away during transit, which will prevent loss. Before buying one of these devices, truck owners should take care to measure their truck beds to confirm that the cargo bar will fit once it has been extended.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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