You Don’t Need To Learn French To Speak Tonneau
Tonneau Cover With Toolbox: A Guide
Oh, man, who would’ve ever thought there’d be SO much to say about picking out aTonneau cover that fits with your toolbox? Well, there is, and that’s because these covers have become a whole industry unto themselves. The fact is, the word tonneau has its own history, going all the way back to racing during the early Bonneville Salt Flat days –– and even before that, from across the Atlantic Ocean.
The story goes, there was a time when hotrodders started covering up open areas of their vehicles. In those days, covers were made of whatever material they could find: bedsheets, canvas, leather – you name it! Their reason? To get that aerodynamic leg up over the competition. And it worked; the clever addition of the tonneau cover was the number one reason why previous speed records were shattered back then. But where’d that word come from, anyway? See, in the early 1900’s, car manufacturers began offering options for their models, and one popular option was the rounded, open rear passenger seating, or “tonneau,” taken from the French winemaking word for “barrel.” Sometimes, those 1934 Ford Phaetons and other makes that had open back seats would come equipped with a soft leather cover. A-ha! The “tonneau cover.” So that explains what in the heck that name is.
But let’s fast-forward to the present to find out why this makes a damn bit of difference to truck lovers today. See, the cover reduced the racers’ wind drag, and that happens to be a major factor that affects all open truck beds on the road today. What does that mean to you? Well, by leaving your truck bed totally open, you’re probably reducing your fuel efficiency, and you’re paying more for gas every week than a comparable truck that has its own cover. In fact, a cover can improve your mileage by one mile per gallon. And that’s the real reason behind this mini history lesson.
But if you really want to know how not to get bogged down –– then you need to figure out the right organization and the right accessibility for all your stuff, while also choosing the right covering for your truck. So how do you decide? Let’s take a thorough look at this guide to tonneau covers and then figure out if there’s a way that you can really have it ALL: a tonneau cover that works with a toolbox.
A Lot To Cover –– Your Toolbox With Tonneau Cover
Your truck is great for hauling everything from rocks and gravel to plywood to more precious cargo. But your cargo is also at the mercy of things you can’t control, like weather and road conditions. And nothing is more damaging to some materials, like metal, than the rain and the snow. Also, a truck’s bed is layered with a rugged grippy coating to help keep the contents in place. But the coating tends to wither away over time. With the tonneau cover, the life of the bed and its coating are protected and maintained longer.So how do you protect your cargo from mother nature? Well, some truck owners install a tonneau cover with a toolbox on their truck.
You might decide to go with a tonneau cover because it helps keep the cargo dry and clean and adds a layer of safety, but some people simply think the cover gives their truck a sleek and sexier look.
To Cover Or Not To Cover? That Is The Question
So let’s take a deep dive into types of tonneau covers that might go over your truck bed toolbox.
Soft/Vinyl Roll-up Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
These covers are good because they don’t require any drilling to attach to the truck, as they use a frame with support bows that clamp to the truck. They can protect the bed and cargo from the weather and are fairly inexpensive, installed on rails attached with clamps.Basically, you just roll them up –– exactly like the name says.
There are two installation styles: top mount and flush. The top mount style covers your pocket holes, so you won’t be able to use tie downs and ladder racks when the cover’s installed. With a flush mount soft cover, you can use tie downs.
- Installation is quick and painless
- Doesn’t cost much
- Keeps your stuff hidden from view
- Somewhat reliable level of protection from the elements, including intense exposure to sun/UV light
- Simple to use and to roll back up any time for full use of your bed
- You get what you pay for; you’ll need to find one that comes with a good warranty
- Mediocre protection and security. Your valuable gear may be tucked away from sight, but your average fifth-grader could figure a way in
- Velcro fasteners make it easy for thieves to to look in and cut open
- You lose most of your payload capacity; forget tying anything on top
- Accessibility might take a hit, as it will be harder to reach your tools and parts unless you figure out a way to keep them near the tailgate
- Material can be hard to handle in extreme weather conditions
- With the top mount style installed, you can’t use tie downs and ladder racks
Hard Roll-Up Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
Hard roll-up covers are similar to soft/vinyl covers with the added benefit of a frame that clamps to the bed and allows the cover to be rolled up and stored for easy access when needed. They combine the accessibility of a soft roll-up with the increased security of a hard tonneau. However, keep in mind that they’re bulkier than a soft roll-up, so when they’re open, they take up more space. Beware of that when you’re using the rearview! Your vision may be obstructed. Typically, they’re constructed with aluminum, so they’re pretty durable.
- Easy to install
- Durable; made with aluminum frame supports
- Step up from soft roll-ups
- Improved security
- Somewhat protective during weather events; however, it’s not waterproof
- Easy to roll and unroll
- Next step up from soft covers but still fairly easy on the wallet
- In general, they have a 400 pound payload
- Payload is improved, but you can’t have tie-downs
- Less than certain weather protection
- cargo will slide unless it’s all tied down
- Lack of organization and accessibility: unless tied near the tailgate, your stuff is unreachable. You’ll need to crawl or open
- When open, takes up space
Folding Bed Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
These lids come in the hard and soft varieties and allow easy access to the truck bed and cargo by folding up halfway up the bed. Hard folding covers lock to prevent the tailgate from opening. Soft folding truck bed covers are cmade of heavy-duty vinyl stretched over an aluminum frame. You can put them in quickly - just a few minutes - using hand-tightened clamps. When it’s open, the tri-fold design allows you to uncover up to two thirds of your truck bed. However, to access the whole bed, you have to remove the cover, which means your tools should be tied down near the tailgate for constant accessibility. Hard-fold tonneau covers are either made with aluminum, or composite panels with a high gloss, matte, or textured finish. Most have a tri-fold design and better payload capacity.
- Soft folding covers are most affordable in the folding cover category
- Soft covers are simple to use, install, and remove
- Soft covers are lighter than hard folding or retractable covers
- Can be opened or closed by one person on the side of the truck
- Hard folding covers are more durable than their soft counterparts.
- Hard covers have better weatherproofing, security, and durability than their soft counterparts
- Payload capacity is improved with the hard folding covers
- Lack of security
- Lack of weatherproofing
- Negligible payload capacity
- Poor weatherproof qualities
- Will block your rear view when open
- Easy to tear
- Hard covers mean rearranging cargo to remove and install
- Hard covers are secure only if the tailgate is locked/lockable
- The hard lids can be expensive
- Despite added payload with the hard covers, there’s no cargo tie-down option
- Top load has to be removed to access bed cargo from top
- Not compatible with most ladder racks and accessories
- No organization options
- Lack of organization: your cargo will slide unless you tie it down
- Lack of access: crawling inside truck bed to get your stuff
Retractable Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
These high-tech lids are simple to operate and provide all the ease of a soft cover while giving you the added security and protection of a hard cover, without restricting access to your full truck bed. Automated covers are available, too.
- Made to be durable
- Great if you love technology, especially if you get the automated cover
- You’ll have good security with a locking tailgate
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Takes up space when it’s stored in its container
- Harder to install
- Sliding cargo
- Risk automated pieces malfunctioning
Full Shell Tonneau Cover With Toolbox
Also known as painted covers, full shell covers offer great truck bed security. The cover overlaps the tailgate and locks, so the tailgate cannot be opened without unlocking and opening the cover. They’re attractive, weatherproof, and secure, but also limit the functional use of your truck bed. When the lid is attached, it prevents the tailgate from opening.
- Fiberglass lids can be painted to match the truck and are reinforced for maximum durability.
- Conceals the entire bed of pickup and provides a tailgate seal
- Good security
- Good weatherproof option
- Attractive, hides disorganization
- Most allow for mounting racks and other accessories
- Limit the functional use of your truck bed
- Can be expensive, depending on the material
- Heavy and hard to operate: there may be a quick release system available, or it may be mounted to a framework with clamps that need to be released to remove the lid
- They are removable, but beware: fiberglass lids can weigh more than 100 pounds.
- Hard plastic covers can weight 60 pounds
- Can’t load large equipment or pieces, like furniture
- Easy to scratch
- No tie-down options
- Hard to access cargo/prevent cargo from sliding
- When the lid is attached, it cn prevent the tailgate from opening
- When open, obstructs your rear view
Do You Need A Truck Toolbox If You Have A Tonneau Cover?
While it can definitely be to your benefit to have a tonneau cover, the truth is that not many tonneau covers actually provide a totally dry bed in inclement weather. Also, you should remember that there’s no real security if your tailgate doesn't lock. The fact is, tonneaus are typically unusable as far as payload capacity, plus you have to open them to access your cargo.
So the bottom line is, having a tool box in addition to your tonneau cover depends what you use your truck for, how organized you want or need to be, and how much security you require. If all you need is to keep your produce dry, or you just like the aesthetic of a cover, then let’s be honest, a toolbox won’t make a lick of difference. In that case, you should stick with a cover that’s easy to operate. But if you’re hauling around two-by-fours, insulation, expensive gear, lots of tools and smaller parts that you need access to in the blink of an eye, or maybe firearms that, for peace of mind, you need to keep separate, dry, and locked away from kids and other people, then what you need is a system that’s part tonneau cover and part toolbox.
And that’s where DECKED comes in.
Remember that little history lesson all about French wine casks, the 1900’s, and hot rodding? Well, what we created at DECKED is a whole new level of engineering that we’re pretty sure is going to go down in history. The DECKED system works with or without a tonneau cover to make your truck bed just as aerodynamic, safe from theft, strong as Fort Knox, totally weatherproof, give you more hassle-free access to all your stuff than your grandfather could have dreamed, way back in the day.
All The Benefits Of The Strongest Tonneau Covers…
PLUS 2,000-lb Payload Capacity & Much More
The DECKED Storage System is its own tonneau cover –– from the future. But we’re not speaking in French here, we’re in America, so let’s be clear. To put it in plain English, DECKED is also extremely durable because it’s engineered to be bombproof, and it serves as a secure and weatherproof area to store your work tools and the whole gamut of your gear and cargo. The DECKED storage system features two full bed-length weatherproof roll-out drawers rated for 200 pounds each. They provide full access to everything in your bed, including on the cab side away from the tailgate, as opposed to the accessibility problems that most tonneau covers give you. Each DECKED drawer is independently locked, and with a locking tailgate you’re getting more safety measures than any tonneau cover on the market.
Plus, if you’re a bonafide outdoorsman or you’re the type who’s religious about organization, there’s almost an endless choice of accessories that lets you totally customize the box and the system to your own needs. The Crossbox and D-Box accessories are made for you. The D-Box is included with your Tool Box and will keep your gear neat, separate, dry, and safe.
The Piecekeeper is an optional add-on that is specifically molded with foam and will keep your wet firearms separate and protected from moisture.
DECKED is all about ergonomics, so there’s even an optional Ladder made from 6000 series aluminum that easily drops to the ground, takes up minimal space, and telescopes closed inside the DECKED Truck Tool Box.
With its main plant headquartered in Defiance, Ohio, DECKED products are 100% made in the USA and offer a lifetime warranty on ALL of their products.
And here’s what I mean about DECKED being the tonneau cover from the future: the durable high density polyethylene (HDPE) deck is capable of holding 2,000 pounds, with multiple tie-down points that can be added to secure your ATV’s, dirt bikes, and large equipment. And get a load of this: unlike with a tonneau cover, with DECKED you can even mount rack systems to the top with the CORE TRAX or T-TRACK mounting system.
- Perfect Fit: fits most full-size and mid-size trucks manufactured since the 1990’s
- Payload Capacity: 2,000 pounds
- Accessibility: Comes with an integrated ladder that nests underneath the lid, which means you can access over 50% of your storage from the side of the truck, without ever having to jump in the bed
- Durability: Heavy-Duty and built with anti-corrosion, galvanized steel hardware; made from 100% recycled High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and high-impact injection molded resins that rest on a sub frame consisting of 40 pounds of steel
- Storage space: 9.82 ft³ (73.4 gallons), 200-pound storage capacity per drawer
- Top Of The Line Security: Built like Fort Knox, even if your tailgate isn’t locked/doesn’t lock
- Weatherproof: Weatherproof durability lets you work, drive, camp, or hunt in any forecast with total confidence
- Easy Install: J-hooks attach to the bed tie-downs, which makes the DECKED storage system easy to assemble, install, or remove; comes with install instructions that shouldn’t take more than a few hours to complete
- Customized Organization Options
- Extra Square Footage: Use of your full truck bed, plus all the space on top
- 100% Made In The USA
- Affordable: Less expensive than most expensive tonneau covers
- Financing Options available
- Costs more than inexpensive soft covers
- Install takes up to a few hours, includes instructions
Like A Fine Wine: Pair Your DECKED System & Tool Box With A Tonneau Cover
And here’s the kicker. With the DECKED Drawer System, the beauty is you won’t have to give up your dream to have a tonneau cover with toolbox –– if you don’t want to. That’s because DECKED is a really great complement to most tonneau covers. In general, you can have about 10" of space under the tonneau cover to store other items on top of your DECKED System. Keep in mind, though it doesn’t go with EVERY design of tonneau, most lids will fit perfectly with your DECKED System, which is 12" tall. All you have to do is make sure you have clearance above that, and you’re good to go!
Be A Part Of HIstory-In-The-Making
We’re pretty confident we’re making history with our innovative engineering made for just about every kind of pickup truck or van owner. So be a part of history and order your Decked Drawer System today!