We primarily bike & SUP in the summer, then ski in the winter – this post will briefly cover installing the accessories we installed to carry our stuff and protect our Rivian R1T.
For our Model 3, the best way to carry bikes is utilizing a hitch rack – we’ve been using a North Shore Rack for the last decade. We generally won’t use this method for the truck, but I tried it out anyways to see how well it would work. Works with no fuss really, but the thing to watch is your hitch pin length – I’m not sure if the R1T hitch is abnormally thick, or if this is typical of Class IV hitches, but the pin barely fits (my YouTube Short).
The Ridgeline was the first truck we owned, and one of the things we really liked about it was the ease of carrying bikes in the box – but to find a tailgate pad that fit was a bit challenging, since the hinge mechanism that allows the Ridgeline tailgate to swing out makes the tailgate a bit narrower than other mid-size trucks like the Tacoma. RaceFace has a pad that fit it perfectly though, the T2 in mid-size, which as it turns out, it fits the R1T fine too. The adjustability of the straps on the pad allows it to fit the much more curved tailgate just fine. The strap buckles tend to try and hang-up on the flap that covers the goose-neck extension for the tailgate, so to alleviate that I use two hands – one to lift the tailgate and the other to hold the flap slightly out. It works fine. Possibly the Rivian branded tailgate pad doesn’t have this issue, but since this one is working (and has better padding and bike attachment system), I will probably just stick with it. My YouTube Short shows it in practice – you’ll note that the flap doesn’t quite rest flush against the gate in the video just after I installed it; I was able to adjust the pad better so it is more flush, and as it turns out, the bikes don’t come close to hitting the plastic flap anyways.
We bought a Yakima JayLow to use with our Model 3 a few years ago to hold a hybrid paddle board/sit-on-top kayak which we continued to use with our inflatable SUPs – generally any trip we do with the Model 3 beyond a day trip requires the roof cargo box as well for all 4 of us plus our stuff to fit – so the JayLow was a necessity to carry SUPs (i.e. rather than stacking them flat on the bars). I wanted to try it on the R1T as well, but unfortunately the feet won’t open wide enough to fit on the R1T bars. Ironically, the bars are made by Yakima… so not sure how that happened, especially considering how wide the feet open on the JayLow.
But, no worries, because of all of the extra storage in the R1T (both covered and the box), so far we aren’t missing the cargo box for summer activities. Using the bars is just fine for SUPs.
The Rivian Bars
I’ve been using the bars now for a few months and have had them on & off several times. So far I’m very impressed with them! They are a bit on the heavy side, so I’m very careful when installing them on the roof so I don’t drop one by accident and crack the glass. The first bar fit out of the box exactly as the manual suggested it should, but the second one wouldn’t latch on the one side. It took a bit of digging, but I found a forum post where it was noted that the rubber foot on the bottom of the bar foot comes off, revealing two hex-head adjusting screws; it really doesn’t take much to adjust it! I fiddled with it in 1/8th turn increments until I had the latch working smoothly and without undue force. Here’s another YouTube video showing the bars and what I mean about the latch as described above.
Depending on the ski box you have, it may either be pretty easy to install, a bit of a pain, or not even possible! This is due to the width of the bars, and the fixed spacing of the bars on the roof. I think they did a decent job on the spacing for my uses – having the bars further apart is more secure for carrying canoes/SUPs etc. We have a Thule Motion Alpine box, and fortunately the feet spread far enough apart to grasp the bars. It does stretch the adjustments on the box pretty much all the way to the end. Conveniently the antenna fin slots right inside the recessed track where the feet are! You could fit most DH skis in the truck box, and even many nordic skis, but I run my skis long and didn’t want to cram them in diagonally – plus, having them diagonal on road trips eats into storage space in the box – so ski box it is. (And no, none of the other EV trucks would do much better, my DH skis are 185cm and nordic skis 195 – 205cm; they would all need to be placed diagonally.)
And, it turns out the hit to consumption is pretty minimal compared to the Model 3; post coming s00n!
As far as usability goes, I’m tall enough to reach into the ski box when the truck is in kneel mode, though I am finding it easier to flip open a gear tunnel door and stand on that, or on the door sills. Leading me to…
Given we are doing a bunch of activities where we get dirty, and we have kids/teens in the back frequently, we picked up a few other items to protect the truck a bit.
Even being careful the first few weeks of owning the truck (without anything on the roof yet even!), we still managed to get a few scratches on the painted door sills. I found these sweet sill protectors from Tufskinz and installed them, along with these more rugged floor mats from Liner X and frunk mats (great texture and flexibility, but better coverage than the offering from Rivian).
We also bought seat protectors (with zippers) from CanvasBack and some generic seat-back protectors off Amazon.
The ‘hole’ in the front fender looks cool (though it is there for aero purposes), but also seemed like it would be asking for dirt and rock chips up the driver and passenger’s doors, so we added some standard size mudflaps from Twraps to mitigate that issue (our Model 3 didn’t come with mudflaps and after one winter of driving, the paint was wearing off on the rear quarter panels! Don’t want a repeat of that.) PPF would likely also do the trick, but is more expensive, and I’m sure the AT tires impact range far more than blocking these aero holes.
Lastly, we have bought a soft roll-up tonneau for the truck from WeatherTech, but it hasn’t shipped yet, but we are looking forward to that for winter road trips to keep road crud off our ski wax kits, bench, tent etc as we travel around BC and AB for nordic ski racing this winter!