Buyers Guide: Tonneau Covers
Keeping gear and cargo in the bed protected from all the bad elements with a tonneau cover is a far better choice than …
By Larry Walton
If you want to use the bed to keep gear locked up and out of sight, but you don’t need the cargo volume or want the visibility-inhibiting aspect of a truck cap, a tonneau can be a great way to go.
Tonneau cover designs have seen tremendous changes in the last few years. The choice is no longer just hard or soft: Many of today’s tonneaus can be rolled up, folded in half, hinged side-to-side or front-to-back, and some are strong enough to carry a quad or two on top.
Several manufacturers even offer covers that lock, unlock, open and close with the touch of the truck’s key fob remote control.
While soft covers are limited to just a couple of colors or patterns, hard tonneau covers can be ordered to match your pickup’s OEM paint color – or custom painted to the color of your choice.
Roll-up covers offer versatility when you need to haul taller items or load the pickup with a 1-yard bucket of mulch. But required storage of the rolled-up cover can take away a little from front-to-rear cargo space.
Soft covers may not offer enough security from theft for the situations in which you need to park your pickup. while hard covers are not as versatile when it comes to making the bed available for objects that are taller than the bedsides.
A one-piece cover that extends over the bed walls is probably going to keep things drier than models with folding or roll-up surfaces, while tonneaus that open at the front provide real advantages for accessing gear stored behind the cab.
Some tonneaus are even designed to work with cross-bed tool boxes and fuel transfer tanks.
The point is, the wide variety of tonneau covers available in 2013 gives contractors a lot of choices in how they approach bringing added security and cargo protection to pickup beds.
Here are some of the newest tonneau covers available:
TONNEAU COVER PRODUCT SHOWCASE
The Rage by Jason Industries is a fiberglass tonneau cover becomes an extension of the truck with a wrap-over-tailgate design, no-drill clamp-and-go rail mounting hardware and cantilever assist arms with gas shocks. The cover is easy to adjust front-to-rear and side-to-side and includes a strap to aid in lowering the lid. Options include carpet interior and battery LED interior light. The Rage comes with limited lifetime warranties on paint and fiberglass structure and a three-year warranty on hardware.
Jason Industries; jasoncaps.com; (800) 745-2766
The EZFold Tonneau from Bestop is a tri-fold design that sits low on the truck bed, and maintains a flat profile thanks to three boxed aluminum frames. It folds quickly and neatly and can be removed from the truck in seconds thanks to one-hand operation clamps. The EZFold Tonneau takes full advantage Bestop’s experience in convertible and Jeep top manufacturing. An exact fit is available for every popular truck model.
A.R.E.’s LSX Series sports a trimless edge for a clean, streamlined look and mounts using a modular clamping system with ergonomically designed clamps that are color-coded to match the rail of the tonneau cover for an improved OE look. A.R.E.’s spring-assisted scissor-hinge technology lifts the lid both up and away from the truck cab, increasing functionality. A foss lining covers the interior and wiring to give the underside a professional finish. Lids and their OE-paint code finishes are backed with a limited lifetime warranty.
A.R.E.; 4are.com; (800) 649-4273
Fold-A-Cover’s G4 Elite tonneau cover locks the truck bed and tailgate to safely store larger tools. A unique, patented four-panel design and mounting system allows access from the front and rear of the cargo area. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the bed can be used for transporting taller items with the cover folded and stacked behind the cab or towing a fifth wheel or gooseneck trailer. Full-length stainless steel hinges will not rust and can support up to 450 pounds of evenly distributed weight. Options include the Personal Caddy cross box organizer, which sits below the tonneau cover.
Fold-A-Cover; foldacover.com (800) 322-0522
The Wrap Lid by ATC covers the bedsides and tailgate and features a smooth operating latch mechanism. While most lids have a slight dome shape, the Wrap is almost completely flat. Made of a durable, hand-laid fiberglass, the Wrap will last as long as the truck. The no-drill mounting system protects against rust damage and allows removal and installation in minutes.
The Platinum option features a four-bar hinge that lifts away from the cab and a patented hatch to protect the lock against rain, snow and ice.
ATC; atctruckcovers.com (800) 983-2787
The Legacy by Ranch features a black powder-coat one-piece clamp-down frame for easy installation and corrosion resistance. It takes only 4-6 clamps to remove and reinstall the unit. A rotary slam latch provides easy opening and closing. Trim-less edges look more like the edges on your truck. Other features include tri-cell reinforced roof, DuPont Chroma premier automotive paint and standard lift assist arms, which are easy to open and close and increase gas prop life. Options include and automotive-look tumbler lock with a weather resistant flip cover and push button to allow the unit to latch without locking.
Ranch; ranchfiberglass.com (574) 294-7550
The Legacy by Ranch features a black powder-coat one-piece clamp-down frame for easy installation, removal and corrosion resistance. It takes only 4-6 clamps to remove and reinstall the unit. Other features include tri-cell reinforced roof, slam-latch, DuPont Chroma premier automotive paint that can be color-matched to your truck. Options include and automotive-look tumbler lock with a weather resistant flip cover and push button to allow the unit to latch without locking.
The Roll-X hard roll-up tonneau cover is made from an aluminum top with multiple slats and skinned in OE marine grade water tight vinyl. Now you can have complete access to the bed without being robbed of valuable bed space. The Roll-X doesn’t require a canister so there’s more space in the bed to load cargo.
The BAK Flip CS is a hard folding cover with a special rail design that allows a rack with uprights and cross bars to be mounted, which accommodates full operation of both the cover and the rack. The BAK Flip Hard Folding Cover folds over forward and can be run in any open position including propped wide open where it rests below the third brake light. The rack can be adjusted and slide anywhere along the length of the bed rails. If you have ladders, PVC pipes or any light equipment, it can be secured above the cab with the BAK Flip CS Rack System. The system is bolt-on and is perfectly suited for today’s truck designs, allowing you to have both a tonneau cover and a rack.
BAK Industries; bakindustries.com; (818) 365-9000