We’ve had our first snowfall in some areas of the country, and unless you want to be cleaning out your truck bed all winter long, it’s time to seriously consider a tonneau cover. Tonneaus are one of the best truck accessories out there. They protect your truck bed from rain, snow, and ice which can be damaging and lower the resale value of your truck. They also protect your truck’s cargo from both weather and theft by keeping it protected and hidden from view. Finally, having a tonneau can actually save you money: tonneaus eliminate tailgate drag, making your truck more aerodynamic and increasing gas mileage. Some tonneaus have been shown to increase gas mileage by as much as 10%!
Now that I’ve persuaded you that you need a tonneau, it’s time to talk about what kind to get. They are available with both hard and soft tops and with many different tonneau designs. The most popular are hinged, roll-up, and tri-fold.
Hinged Tonneau Covers have a hinge (usually hydraulic or quick release) that props up the tonneau, allowing quick access to your truck bed. These tonneaus are generally the easiest to operate. There isn’t a lot of technology or extra clamps to confuse you. Hinged tonneaus are often the most economical tonneaus as well. Their biggest drawback is that they lack versatility. If you are carrying bulky cargo that extends past the truck bed, you will have to remove your tonneau completely, eliminating its protective and fuel-saving benefits completely.
Tri Fold Tonneau Covers offer much more versatility. They fold in three sections (hence, tri-fold), allowing more truck bed access when you need it. This design also allows you to carry tall cargo without having to remove the entire tonneau. You can leave the back third of the truck open, while still protecting the front. If you need more room, you can fold up both rear sections, leaving only the front third covered. Hand clamps are often used to secure the folded tonneau, and many include a quick-release feature.
Roll-up tonneaus, like the Lund Tonneau Covers, have the highest versatility design. These tonneaus roll up completely to the front of your truck bed. This allows you to carry whatever you’d like without the tonneau getting in the way, and without the hassle of having to remove the tonneau completely. Many covers have a trigger feature that allows roll-up with a single finger, and many use clamps or ties to hold the tonneau in place.