Author: EB Pilgrim
The open road has a tendency to make its way into pickup beds, especially when driving along dirt roads or through storms. That's all fine and dandy if you're not hauling anything, but what if you are?
Many of us have hastily covered our bed with a tarp and fastened it with bungee cords, duct tape or rope because, quite frankly, it's quick and cheap – for maybe a few miles. Eventually, though, quick and cheap give way to time consuming and costly when tarp rings rip or bungee cords snap and start slamming against the side of your pickup as the contents of your bed decorate the landscape behind you. And wind resistance created by the tarp can cause your fuel gauge to rush headlong toward "E."
Others of us have covered our bed with a topper. Though highly effective at protecting what you're transporting, toppers are typically expensive and a huge hassle to install and remove, especially when you need to haul taller items. You'll need some buddies and bribes at the ready. Another topper nightmare is visibility, especially when pulling a trailer or even backing up. There must be a better way —
There is: tonneau covers.
Reasonably priced and guaranteed to keep the open road out while keeping cargo in, the advantages of tonneau covers become evident rather quickly. First, they provide a low profile compared to toppers so they don't impede your vision. Second, they stay put, even in gale-force winds, so you don't have to worry about losing cargo. Third, they save on fuel costs compared with open beds and tarps, often as much as 10%.
There are two basic categories of covers to choose from: soft and hard. From them come several styles, each with its own range of benefits to suit your needs.