Choosing A Tonneau Cover That Really Fits Your Needs

If you’re reading this, it’s probably a safe bet that you own a pickup truck. Let’s face it, they are a useful tool for everyday life. Just ask your friends who don’t own a truck how useful your truck is when they need to move something. As beneficial as trucks can be, a problem arises when you haul anything and the weather is not conducive to keeping things dry. Because of that, having a tonneau cover is a good thing.

But with so many options available, which cover do you need? I was in the same dilemma with Project WorkHorse — needing a tonneau cover — but I also use a gooseneck trailer quite often and having the wrong tonneau can be totally useless or affect hooking up the trailer. Luckily, finding the right cover is easy if you know where to go. To help with that, I am going to tell you that checking on the website can make selection easy.

The Roll-N-Lock tonneau cover is a nearly flush mounting cover that seals the bed from the elements. However, the ability to lock in several partially closed positions makes this a great cover for those who pull a gooseneck trailer as it still allows for a portion of the truck's bed to be covered even when connected to the trailer.

Decisions, Decisions…

Actually, checking out the Real Truck website is a double-edged sword. Looking at the website, it is immediately clear that you have many options to choose from, therein lies the problem. How do you know which cover is right for your truck? First, you need to decide if a hard, one-piece cover is what you need. These do have benefits, but they also have drawbacks as well. In the case of Project WorkHorse, the drawback is connecting my gooseneck trailer to the truck with a hard cover over the entire bed. I don’t feel like taking the cover off every time I hook up to the trailer.

tonneau cover

The bed sides are not parallel, and this wedge-shaped piece needs to be installed first. These pieces (one on each bedside) are attached to the truck via self-tapping screws.

Next are soft covers. I could easily use a roll-up soft cover and simply roll it up when I need to hook it to the gooseneck. The downside of this is when I connect to the gooseneck and it rains, anything in the bed will get wet. That led me to what I feel is the perfect choice for Project WorkHorse, the Roll-N-Lock tonneau cover.

The Roll-N-Lock is a retractable tonneau cover that can lock in several partially open positions. This is great because, when I am hooked to my gooseneck, I can pull the cover back to the trailer tongue and latch it. This gives me some bed area in which to place things that I need to keep somewhat covered. With the Roll-N-Lock, I can have my proverbial cake and eat it too.

The rolling cover is housed within this aluminum box that sits at the front of the truck bed. The box does protrude into the bed area so you can plan on roughly 7-1/4 inches of space being used for the box.

This Tonneau Cover Was An Easy Choice

Roll-N-Lock has various covers, and you can choose between manual or electric — I personally like the simplicity of the manual cover as opposed to the electric unit, so I chose the manual A-Series Tonneau Cover (P/N: BT448A). This is a low-profile, all-aluminum, retractable tonneau engineered to look good (it’s virtually flush with the truck bed), is very functional, and delivers durability in spades. In my opinion, the A-Series from Roll-N-Lock is tough to beat. In fact, I had one on a previous ’03 Ram truck I owned. I installed that cover in 2005 when I bought the truck, and that cover is still on the truck to this day with the new owner. That is what I call a durable tonneau cover.

The main construction of the roll-up portion is made of powder-coated aluminum slats. These interlocking slats ensure a waterproof seal so your stuff stays dry. Where most retractable tonneau covers feature oversized, bulky canisters that take up a lot of truck-bed space, the A-Series features a low-profile, 7.25-inch-deep canister that affords as much bed space as possible. Functionality is nearly effortless, and the retractable cover requires nothing more than a quick turn of the latch to roll it open into the canister. Closing is as easy as grabbing the pull strap and giving the cover a tug toward the tailgate where it latches and locks when necessary.

With the front box installed, the next step is to position and clamp into place the side tracks in which the cover travels. These attach with simple aluminum clamps that squeeze and clamp the track to the truck bed.

Keeping Stuff Where It Belongs Under Our Tonneau Cover

One problem that all truck owners have is finding a way to keep items in the bed from sliding all over the bed. I am too old to constantly be climbing in and out of the truck bed, so I also ordered a Cargo Manager (P/N: CM448).

The Roll-N-Lock Cargo Manager is an adjustable truck box wall/gate that is perfect for organizing cargo in your truck bed. The Cargo Manager can be positioned every 3 inches along the length of the truck bed. This adjustability affords you the space you need to utilize dependent on what’s in the bed. This is a great product for making sure anything in your truck doesn’t slide all the way to the front of the bed.

Tonneau Cover

The Cargo Manager is an add-on accessory that can be ordered with the Roll-N-Lock cover. The rails for the Cargo Manager mount to the side track pieces of the Roll-N-Lock.

If you need to utilize the entire bed, the Cargo Master can be removed in seconds or stored in the track system out of the way. Easy removal will be a blessing when it is time to connect to the gooseneck. I can honestly say, if you have the Roll-N-Lock tonneau cover, you might as well get the Cargo Manager as well. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. You will find your life hauling stuff in the bed of your truck will get a whole lot easier.

tonneau cover

The cargo manager simply rolls within the tracks and is adjustable at 3-inch increments in the length of the bed. You can adjust for the space you need or easily remove the “gate” if you need all the bed space.

Final Thoughts

Installation of both the Roll-N-Lock cover and the Cargo Manager is really straightforward. The installation of both products can be completed using a few simple hand tools. I do need to let you know that some self-tapping screws will be used to secure the Rool-N-Lock side rails to your truck. For that reason, plan on those drilling and securing into the inside bed lip. Even though I did complete the installation by myself, having an extra set of hands to help put the rolltop canister into the truck bed can make things easier. This is because the canister with the roll-up cover inside can be awkward. It is not terribly heavy, but again, a second set of hands could help.

As I stated, this is my second Roll-N-Lock and I cannot imagine using anything else on my trucks. If you’re looking for the ultimate tonneau cover to suit your needs — or any other truck accessories — then you really need to check out to get anything you need.

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Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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