Cover It: Bed storage, security, and protection for pickup trucks

Not all your cargo hath to sit out in the rain—or in eyesight of thieves

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One of the great features of a pickup truck is the huge amount of open cargo space behind its cab. In the same breath, we will also say one of the worst Features of a pickup truck is the huge amount of open cargo space behind its cab. Sure, it’s a handy spot in which to stash all your tools whilst on the way to a worksite but making a quick stop into the gas station for a cup of nuclear-strength coffee opens an opportunity for sleveens to grab your gear. what to do

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We’ve, ahem covered this topic from the point of view of various consumer-grade truck accessories such as tonneau covers but this post will focus on storage solutions which are decidedly more industrial strength. If stamped diamond plate, aluminum toolboxes, and stout lockers are your jam, then you’re in the right place.

It is worth taking a moment to recognize that most all-electric pickup trucks – such as the superb Ford F-150 Lightning – have a cavernous area up front where the gasoline engine used to reside, providing weatherproof and lockable storage space as an integral part of the vehicle design. Housed within are handy power outlets, permitting job site forums to charge up the tools will distribute to their team upon arrival at the house which needs framing. Rivian goes a step further with their too-cool Gear Tunnel located at the leading edge of their R1T’s bed near the cab.

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For now, the rest of us will have to hit up the accessory catalogue. Here are some ideas.

MAXIMUM crossover truck box

We’ll start off with a classic. If you’ve ever seen a truck parked near a jobsite or fishing wharf in Canada, chances are good you’ve seen one of these ubiquitous truck boxes. Designed to be mounted in the pickup bed near its cab window (with its metal ‘ears’ resting on the bed sides), this one-size-fits-most solution has a hinged lid which swings up and out of the way for easy loading . Gas pressurized struts mean one-handed operation of said lid is easy, and the whole thing is designed to be weather resistant in even the toughest Canadian conditions.

There are variants on this theme, with some truck boxes of this type deploying a pair of lid covers which have their hinges at the box’s centre, permitting quick access from the side of a pickup truck. The downside with that design is the inability to load huge items since it effectively has two smaller openings instead of the single enormous one shown here. No matter the lid style, this design eats up a significant portion of the cargo bed – which still beats losing thousands in tools. This example is roughly $600 from Canadian Tire.

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TruckVault All Weather Standard Offset

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the stalwart toolbox is this slick rig from the team at TruckVault, an American company which has been designing these accessories for years. Designed for trucks with a bed open to the elements, this secure drawer system is coated with a weatherproof exterior spray coating, bulb seals, and compression locks to completely seal the unit from harmful debris. The unit shown here has two drawers and is best for truck owners with large or wide gear which can be stored in the bigger drawer while accessories and smaller gear can go in the smaller one. A flat top surface means your truck’s box is still useful, just several inches shallower than before. Other drawer setups are available, as are a myriad of heights and decorative drawer faces.

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In fact, the TruckVault products are so customized that it is recommended customers consult with TV reps before pulling the trigger on a purchase. This will allow them to understand your needs and recommend a unit with the right dimensions. Expect a bill well over $2,000 for this accessory but that’s a small price to pay compared to a wholesale replacement of tools and gear. And for those who wish to keep their gooseneck trailer connection intact, TruckVault has a box which plays well with that equipment, plus a solution which only takes up half the bed.

Decked CargoGlide Bed Slide

If you’re hauling around cargo which you know won’t get stolen, because it’s either too heavy or unwieldly, this solution from Decked will be your new best friend. After all, those very features which make your equipment unappealing to thieves – weight, dimension – are equally as much of a headache when you’re trying to unload the stuff at home or at the jobsite. Decked has designed this truck bed sliding tray to solve such problems.

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The tray rolls on heavy-duty bearings which are actuated by a single-handed latch. This allows users to smoothly slide out the tray and retrieve their tools or materials. The unit has a maximum payload of 2,200 pounds depending on options, a number which outstrips the ratings for many entire pickup trucks. In other words, there’s a solid chance you’ll overload the truck before you overload this tray. And if you think this $1,899 accessory would go well placed atop the drawer system described a few paragraphs ago, you’re exactly right.

Dee Zee Specialty Series Wheel Well Toolbox

Wrapping our post is this slick container which mounts to the side wall of a truck box just fore or aft of the pickup’s rear wheel. Placing the toolbox in this spot (ahead of or behind the wheel ‘hump’ in a truck box) is a smart use of space since many drivers prefer extra cargo area length than width – think loading up ATVs and dirtbikes, for example.

This tool box, found on PartsEngine.ca for as low as $250, is constructed from a composite material and features a lockable lid which can swing up for access while the user is standing outside the truck. In other words, it can be mounted so the lid swings open toward the center of the pickup box. Just be sure to carefully read the spec and make sure it properly fits your application.

Matthew Guy picture

Matthew Guy

Whether wheeling an off-road rig over rough terrain, hauling trailers with a pickup truck, or tucking into a sportscar, Matthew is never far from something with four wheels and an engine. He’s a member of AJAC and lives in rural Nova Scotia. Find him on Facebook and Instagram @DudeDrivesCars

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