Putting A.R.E.’s DCU Truck Cap to the contractor’s test
By Larry Walton
A couple of years ago, we set up my brother’s Ford F-350 with a truck cap from A.R.E. Before ordering the truck cap, he outlined some preferences that would help him strike a good balance between form and function.
My brother’s pickup is his work rig but it’s also his daily driver. He wanted a truck cap that was cab height, color matched and that matched the same basic style lines as his pickup.
He was able to achieve everything he wanted with a CX Series truck cap by A.R.E. As it turns out, his chosen-for-looks canopy has also been quite functional. The core of his work set up is side toolboxes that are hidden behind doors with black panel inserts that look very much like tinted glass.
Recently we set up my son Tim’s F-350 with a truck cap as well. But this time we had different design priorities.
Because Tim’s work pickup is not his daily driver, we decided to go a little more utilitarian beginning with A.R.E.’s DCU Series of truck caps, which are decidedly more commercial than the CX Series cap on my brother’s pickup.
Ordering a truck cap from A.R.E. is not easy for the indecisive because the options are many.
What is easy is using A.R.E.’s “Build Your DCU-Series” tool on their website. Canopy height, toolbox configurations, window sizes, door types, lighting, ventilation, roof racks and several other options come into play.
When you’re done you can print out a list of the options you’ve chosen.
Tim really liked the side toolboxes that were on his Uncle Chad’s pickup, which work well for his lifted Super Duty, because the floor of the pickup bed is out of reach for most guys. He’d also noticed how Chad benefited from having several of his smaller tools and frequently used items readily available in the side toolboxes.
Additionally, he decided that a unit that was relatively cab height was all he needed and he wanted to keep the profile out of the wind as much as possible.
Because he does a lot of work in rainy conditions in western Oregon, he also decided to go with the hatch back lift, which replaces the tail gate on the pickup.
We’d never had this configuration on any of our pickups before, but it seemed like a good idea because the open door would provide awning-like protection from the rain while you are getting things out of the back of the pickup.
Tim also decided to go with the optional Kargo Master lumber rack and a contractor grade BedSlide.
He ordered the unit color matched to the OEM paint on his pickup with a sliding front window that matches the back window of his crew cab. He also ordered as many interior lights as possible.
One of the things that he did not anticipate was that the DCU design would not match the angles of the side walls on his pickup cab the way that the CX Series truck cap did on his uncle’s pickup. But other than that, he’s been real happy with the unit.
There are several quality features that make this a good choice for the contractor who needs to keep tools and supplies out of sight, protected from the weather and protected from unauthorized acquisition of the contents.
After using the DCU for a few months, we’ve found the design, quality of materials and workmanship live up to A.R.E.’s reputation.
All of the moving parts are still moving. The doors seal well against the weather and the locking mechanisms are secure and easy to operate.
Tim has been enjoying the Kargo Master rack for hauling lumber, ladders and an occasional miter saw table. He said that the BedSlide gets lots of attention on the jobsite, and rightly so. Anyone with experience crawling into a pickup bed to retrieve tools can appreciate having them roll right out for easy access.
We’re all about upgrading pickups here at ProPickup and the addition of an A.R.E. DCU truck cap has been a definite upgrade for one of our own. — Pro
What we tested
A.R.E. DCU Series Truck Cap
- Height: 23 inches
- Color: Painted To Match
- Rear Door: Hatchback Lift With Window
- Side Door Options: Standard Full Length
- Side Toolbox Options: Standard Toolbox
- Side Toolbox Shelving Options: 9
- Front Window Option: Clear Mitered Sliding Window
- Lighting Option: 12