Types of Tonneau Covers and Hardtops for Pickups

A large cargo area is one of the main reasons why the choice of an SUV can be made in favor of a pickup truck. Practicality, that’s what distinguishes the pickup from the “normal” sizeable four-wheel-drive car. But an open body is not the best place for many goods: it can be flooded with rain on the road, or valuable items will become the subject of close attention of dishonest individuals. The factory configuration of most pickups does not provide any protection. Fortunately, it is not a problem to buy it. You only need to choose between the tonneau cover and hardtop, as well as the varieties of these accessories.

First of all: what distinguishes a tonneau cover from a hardtop? The difference is the following: the cover covers the body on its outer upper edge. Hardtop also increases the height of the pickup body to the level of the cab, or even higher. Naturally, the volume of cargo that can be transported in a pickup truck also increases many times.

Pickup Tonneau Covers

If someone claims that choosing the right tonneau cover can be a difficult task, he is right. At first glance, many of them seem similar or even identical, but it is essential to remember that not all of them have the same characteristics. For example, you can check this article by Car in my DNA on RAM 1500 tonneau covers to see what we are talking about.

The main difference between covers is the materials and wall thickness. There are models made of relatively thin and light materials. These covers are lighter, easier to remove, or put in place. But they are not designed for a severe load, so they are suitable if the cargo will be transported exclusively inside the body. In turn, some models can withstand a significant weight from the top: such a cover can be used, for example, as a loading platform. Some models can even withstand the weight of a quad bike — which may also be useful.

When you are choosing a cover for a pickup truck, in our reality, it is necessary to give preference to durable models equipped with a reliable lock — so you can hope for the safety of the cargo.

  • Soft Tonneau Covers. A simple and inexpensive way to cover the contents of the cargo compartment from precipitation and dust. But this is where the advantages of the tent end. Against the knife or nail of an intruder, the fabric is powerless. You can’t put anything on top of it. And in winter, the material freezes and turns into a problem itself.
  • Rolling Tonneau Covers. Securely close the contents of the body and lock — beautiful, comfortable. But, as the owners write, sometimes they leak. In winter, ice forms in the joints. The drum occupies a useful place behind the cab, and you can not carry cargo on roller shutters categorically any deformation leads to breakage.
  • Hard Tonneau Covers. It does not flow; it is difficult to crack; you can put a load on top that does not fit in the width of the body or fix the auto-slide. The permissible weight of the luggage depends only on the material and design. One drawback, but significant-protected, only that does not protrude above the sides of the body.

Hardtops for Pickups

Hardtop, in contrast to the covers, has more varieties, depending on the purpose for which it is intended to use the body.

The main types of hardtops for pickups are as follows:

  • Canopy-cabin. The most straightforward kind of the hardtop, which is characterized by a minimum price and extreme ease of installation;
  • Star Box. A distinctive feature of this hardtop is the presence of windows, usually tinted. These products are made of high-quality, durable plastic and are very durable;
  • Full Box. Separate sections of cover varieties can be noted full-box. This is not just a practical accessory, but an element of tuning, sports style. Externally, it is easy to determine by the presence of an aerodynamic arc with stop signals, and the top of the full box often has rails to accommodate additional luggage.

Which One to Choose?

It all depends on what will be transported in the back. Or who. Yes, that’s right, because, in the back of a pickup truck, you can equip seats for passengers. Let it be not so comfortable as in the cabin, but it is quite possible to get to a picnic or move around the hunting grounds. And in this case, you need a hardtop with windows. 

If you plan to carry only cargo — you need to understand what sort of. After all, it is quite possible to do with a cover if the dimensions of the cargo are small. But if you have to transport bulky things, so it is better to take care of additional space, because the hardtop increases it almost twice.