Sometimes people just suck and you have to prepare for the worst. This realization hit me smack in the face while getting ready for a camping trip. After coming back to the truck, I was disappointed to find someone had slashed the tonneau cover and made off with a decent amount of our gear. Knowing what I know now, if I had really thought about what we were trusting to guard our stuff, I might have ponied up for something with a little more protection. But where to start?
First, Let’s Talk Tonneau Cover Security
Security. In a perfect world, that word wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, we are here on planet Earth. However, we have solutions. That means we have choices when it comes to tonneau covers. However, that can make choosing the right one a daunting proposition. For instance, do you want a soft, roll-up cover, a hard one-piece cover, or a hard folding or roll-up cover? There are many options available, and cost is usually the main factor when deciding.
While soft roll-up covers can be opened easily (no need to cut them to steal items) when discussing hard, folding tonneau covers, most of them require the tailgate to be down in order to open the tonneau cover. If your tailgate is locked, so is the bed cover. However, a hard retractable cover can be opened on its own and utilizes a lock and key to make sure they are still secure while offering the convenience of anytime access. One-piece solid covers can be locked independently of the tailgate and need to be opened before the tailgate can open.
From there, it really just comes down to what sort of material the cover is made of and how it’s built. We’ll be taking a look at aluminum, fiberglass, and composite options, all of which will offer more protection than the vinyl soft cover that lost me at least a paycheck’s worth of stuff. So, while the initial investment for a hard cover is higher, it can possibly save you money in the future.
Let’s Get Into Tonneau Cover Options!
When looking to get e tonneau cover, it makes it easy when you can compare the options side-by-side, and RealTruck.com makes that easy. But, we thought it would benefit you guys if we showed you some of the basic pros and cons so you can make an informed decision before you check out the RealTruck website.
Almost all tonneau companies will have at least one of style of folding cover in their arsenal, if not several. These are a very versatile option, as you still have access to your entire truck bed if you need it.
- Tons of choice at the widest range of price points (including the cheapest)
- Generally pretty high weight capacity
- Virtually no bed space is wasted
- Some models can be paired with in-bed toolboxes
- Block your rear window when folded up all the way
- It can be more difficult than others to open and fold up, especially for the uh, “vertically challenged” among us
- Has more potential for leaks than hinged covers (though many are still rated to be waterproof)
Not to be confused with roll-up covers, these retractable tonneau covers roll up into a canister in the back of the bed. These can be a bit pricey, but they make up for that by being possibly the most convenient of any of the options here while retaining the same security and toughness as any here — the main downside being that the canister takes up valuable bed space. It’s all about give and take.
- Easiest and most convenient to open/close (some can even be opened remotely with a key fob)
- Do not obstruct visibility when open
- Can open separately from the tailgate
- Can lock independently of the tailgate
- The canister takes up bed space whether the cover is open or closed
- Higher price point than others
- It has the same susceptibility to leaks as folding covers
Talk about a cover that looks great and really enhances the look of a truck, one-piece hard covers seemingly “become one” with the truck, especially when painted to match the rest of the truck. It’s arguably the most OEM-looking option of everything mentioned here as well. However, these are probably the least versatile of any others mentioned here, as these limit access to the bed, and need to be removed completely if you need to haul anything much taller than the side of the bed.
- Sleek look, can arrive at your door already painted to match your truck
- Best weather protection, as the cover overlaps the sides of the truck bed
- Some companies have multiple hinge points and integrate with built-in toolboxes for massive utility
- Limited bed access in most cases
- Need to be removed to haul particularly large loads
- The only one here that can’t be used with a fifth wheel or gooseneck hitch
Hard Roll-up Tonneau Cover:
Of the literally hundreds of tonneau covers on the market, There is one option that combines security with the ability to be rolled up to the cab, the BAK Revolver. This combines all the security of the others, but also rolls up and out of the way without taking up any bed space, and doesn’t block your window in order to do it. Oh, and it’s the same price as BAK’s own MX4, so it’s not like you have to pay a premium for the convenience.
- All the benefits of a folding cover while taking up less space and being easier to roll up
- Tough protection with the aluminum slats
- Has a vinyl overlay of aluminum slats
- Not much choice in the market, comparatively
Who would have thought there would be so many choices when choosing a tonneau cover? If you need to keep your stuff not only away from prying eyes, but prying hands as well, now you know what to look out for. Hopefully, these pros and cons helped narrow down your selection a little bit, but to be honest, there is still a dizzying amount of choice out there these days. A blessing and a curse, right?