Few vehicles offer the practicality and load-carrying capability of a pick-up. But it’s sometimes hard to know exactly what to do with that vast expanse behind the cabin. Fortunately, there are all sorts of accessories available for your truck’s loadbed. We take a look at some of the options
One of the most pressing questions for any pick-up owner is what to do with the loadbed. You can leave it bare, and open to the elements. But there’s a high chance your paintwork will rapidly become scratched, and you run the risk of having your precious cargo stolen. It also means that you’re unable to take full advantage of your pick-up’s hallmark load-lugging ability.
Far better to invest in some means of covering your pick-up’s loading area, then. This can come in the form of a hard top, which more or less doubles the amount of loadspace available. Or you can opt for a tonneau cover, preserving the distinctive pick-up silhouette, while bringing welcome security. And when it comes to protecting the loadbed itself, there’s a whole range of bed liners available.
So check out our brief guide to pick-up loadbed accessories. That way, you can be sure to find a way of accessorising your vehicle that is practical, stylish, and within your budget.
Hard tops come in all shapes and sizes. But they have one thing in common – they provide practical protection for your loadbed that enables you to maximise your truck’s cargo-carrying capability.
Some hard tops are designed to blend with the rest of your vehicle. They often match the colour scheme of your pick-up, and are finished in high-quality materials that look just as good as metal. The Truckman ASX and Alpha GSE range of hard tops are good examples of this ilk – they’re stylish, and sculpted to look like a natural extension of the vehicle’s bodywork.
Two other examples of this style of hardtop come from Road Ranger, and are sold in the UK by Up Country 4×4. The RH2 and RH3 hard tops offer such luxuries as key-less entry, a heated rear screen, and side-access doors.
At the other end of the spectrum, the likes of ARB and Truckman offer far more utilitarian hard tops. These are designed with working vehicles very much in mind, and are often constructed out of strong plastic. They sometimes feature a raised roof – making the load area suitable for all sorts of large and unwieldy objects. In some cases, they even make it possible to transport livestock in the back of a truck.
So whether you want your pick-up to resemble an overgrown SUV or a hard-working farmer’s hack, there is a hard top to suit. And with suppliers up and down the country offering a good selection of tops, you won’t struggle to find the right one for your needs.
A tonneau cover enables you to cover your pick-up’s loadspace, without ruining its distinctive side profile.
As with the other accessories we’re talking about, there is a range of options available when it comes to installing a tonneau cover – from the very basic, and workmanlike, to more aesthetically-pleasing items, aimed at the lifestyle market.
Nylon covers are attached to the top of your load area and provide some protection from the elements. This is an inexpensive option, likely to cost something like £300. The virtues of such a product are that it is cost-effective, easy to fit, and very easy to access. But it isn’t very secure, and might not wear as well as a more substantial cover.
That’s why lots of pick-up owners opt for a solid tonneau cover, such as the ones available from Direct 4×4. These cost anything from around £600, and turn your loadspace into a lockable storage area. Even better, because of their enhanced structural strength, many hard tonneau covers are strong enough to stand on – something that can be especially useful if you mount items on your cabin roof, or use the truck for rabbit shooting.
Solid tonneau covers can be made out of anything from plastic to heavy-duty aluminium, depending on your requirements.
As anyone who has used a pick-up for the weekly supermarket shop will testify, sometimes the massive loadspace is a burden rather than a blessing. Small loads can easily slip around in the back – meaning that you open the tailgate to a jumble of items that really ought to remain separate.
Storage solutions provide a practical way of overcoming this failing. They can come in the form of solid boxes, such as the plastic Wolf Boxes available from Flatdog UK. These can be stacked on top of each other, and provide fully waterproof storage for a range of items. They can be lashed in place in the rear of your truck, and offer a cheap way of organising your loading bay. A Flatdog Wolf Box costs £23 plus VAT.
If you have a larger budget, there are all sorts of other storage solutions available. Up Country 4×4 sells everything from bike carriers to toolboxes that are mounted on sliding trays for ease of access. Similarly, N&J Aluminium Linings offers bespoke and off-the-shelf storage that is constructed out of hardwearing, and jet-washable, chequer plate.
Overland companies like TBR UK also offer a good selection of storage solutions, which are designed with the sole intention of making the very best use of a pick-up’s loadspace.
So, you’ve found a way of covering the open loadbed on your pick-up, and you’ve settled on a storage solution that meets your needs. Now the only question is how to protect the bare metal on the loadbed itself.
The favoured solution to this problem will depend very much on the use you make of your truck. For lifestyle owners, who use their pick-up as a daily family vehicle, a carpeted loadbed might seem like the nicest option. These are available for around £350 from suppliers such as Auto Styling UK and 4×4 Accessories and Tyres, and offer a refined environment in which to store loads.
Other options include spray-on bed liners. LINE-X is a specialist in this area, along with others like Scorpion Coatings, and sells a solvent-free coating that covers the bare metal in the back of a truck and provides waterproof protection. Spray-on liners are a good option if you regularly carry dirty loads, like mountain bikes or mucky dogs. They’re also comparatively cheap – a DIY spray-on bedliner from Protectakote is less than £100.
A slightly dearer option, but one that is also more robust, is a plastic bed liner, such as the Pegasus liner that sells for around £140 plus VAT. These are easy to clean, straightforward to fit, and very durable.
If your pick-up is subjected to a very harsh existence, a metal bed liner is a good idea. N&J Aluminium Linings sells custom-made chequer plate bedliners, which can withstand even the toughest wear, and cost around £600.
For a guide to suppliers buy a copy of the October issue of 4×4 Magazine