Can You Mount A Winch In Your Truck Bed?

Absolutely! You just have to pick the right mounting solution.

I assume that you’d want to have the winch as close to the cab as possible, therefore most of the methods will focus on this placement.

Mount options

Bed side mount

The best way to install a winch, I think, is by getting a mount that uses the truck’s bed sides.

The video below shows a guy who fabricated it by himself:

I don’t think you can find a stronger solution for a winch mount than this.

That said, how well would you have to trust its build quality entirely depends on the steel used and welding job.

Personally me, if my goal is to tug in an ATV, golf cart or even a garden tractor of some sorts, I’d feel safer purchasing an already made mount that is rated for a particular safe limit, you get me?

Something like this Toy Loader. It is quite pricey but well worth it, particularly for those who will be winching stuff in and out frequently.

In-bed stand

You can build a stand that goes inside the truck bed, which fastens using only the tie down points with the help of a ratchet strap.

The cool thing about this solution is that it’s easy to remove whenever needed. It also acts like some sort of barrier too – you’ll be able to brace your cargo alongside it, without touching the actual cab. This is a great safety measure to not busting out that rear window.

It doesn’t come without drawbacks, though. First of all, because the winch is going to be sitting rather low, the cable may end up dragging on the tailgate, unless you make a roller-type thing as mentioned in the video.

The stand also takes up a considerable amount of space in the bed, when compared to the mount I talk about above. This can be the difference between your toy fitting to not at all.

Other than that, I think this is a great mounting solution for those who want more portability – keeping it in the bed at all times would simply rob you of some usable space.

Headache rack

A headache rack can prove to be a great location to put a winch on, though there are some considerations to think of.

The main advantage to this way is that you may install the winch much higher, if not cab height, as long as the rack is tall enough.

Having said that, you won’t be able to achieve this result with a low quality rack. You really have to be sure that it would be able to handle the weight you want to pull.

Because winching from a high point on a headache rack creates a lever effect, the rack has to be braced and installed strong – for example, by utilizing the bed sides to distribute the load.

But you don’t have to install a winch that high – you may wish to have it just above the bed, like in the video below:

Very much similar to the first method I’ve discussed in this post, i.e. Bed side mount

Not a bad way to get a winch on a truck if you ask me, but I wouldn’t go for it if I don’t have a headache rack to begin with.

What about the battery?

The easiest, though more of a temporary solution, is to have the battery close to the winch inside the bed. Doing so will allow you to connect to power whenever you need, and remove it from sight when not.

And that is the problem. If you’ll end up winching often, this could become an issue, as you certainly cannot keep the battery there at all times.

If that is speaking to you, what you may opt for instead is tapping into the truck’s battery.

Running the winch every now and then won’t sap your battery too much, and it’ll charge back up whenever driving. Though if you will indeed winch a lot when stationary, you can always start the truck and it’ll take care of it.

The mod will require a bit of handiwork, but nothing an owner can’t do. Just make sure to get nice and thick wires. The guy in the video made a second video about his winch install on a headache rack, where he shows his cable routing job.

Alternative ideas

Drill winch

A drill winch can work wonders. It offers extreme portability, as well as ease of use. As the name implies, in order to run it you have to use a drill… and everybody has one.

Strap one end of the winch to something secure like a headache rack, or a chain, ratchet strap that is secured to two tie down points, and pull in the stuff you like just by running the drill.

A ratchet strap being used to create a point from which you can run the drill winch off of.
Image by GODZILLA from

I must say it’s a rather slow method of winching. You’ll be running your drill at full speed, but the thing won’t be moving quick at all. It’ll get there eventually though.

The ratchet strap way

Believe it or not, a ratchet strap can actually be used in place of a winch.

The image I have showed before in the “Drill winch” section is kind of how you may want to set it up.

Granted the ATV in that pic uses a winch to pull itself in, but the same idea applies if we’re using a ratchet.

First, you have to create a point from which you will pull in the cargo of your choice using the said ratchet strap. Based on that image, you can also choose to use another ratchet strap for it – the main thing to keep in mind is to use the two tie down points that are closest to the cab to create the best hook up point.

And that’s it – use the ratcheting mechanism just as if it were an electric winch. Well, not quite, as you will have to do it all by hand…

Add a winch to the vehicle itself

Instead of wrapping your head around on how to mount a winch to the back of a truck, why not do the same, only on the thing you actually want to pull inside the bed?

ATVs certainly like having a winch in the front, though I’ve seen people put them on lawn tractors, even golf carts!

Speaking of golf carts, it don’t get more beautiful than this. I love the tie down point idea too. Great video.

Try a longer ramp?

The longer the ramp, the less steep the angle will be. Sounds a bit obvious, I know, but this can indeed make a world of difference.

If the one you have is under 6 feet, why not give a 7 footer a chance? Just this much is going to significantly reduce that scary angle, making it perhaps possible for you to ride your toy up and down comfortably enough.

Why use a winch at all?

Having a winch in the back of your pickup truck is great when you have to constantly load and unload heavy stuff.

In particular, a winch makes loading toys like ATVs, golf carts, motorcycles, or even a lawn tractor if you wish, much safer.

Matter of fact, a good electric winch will allow you to do all that without you having to sit on the thing! Just operate the remote and watch it go…

For those with camper shells, having a remote operated winch may be the only way to load your toy in the back of a truck… certainly it wouldn’t fit back there with you on top.

As far as safety, riding up a steep ramp is a bit of a danger, and it only gets worse when you have to back out, let me tell you that. That’s why hooking up a winch makes a world of difference.

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