Best Truck Caps: Make the Most of Your Truck
Protect your pickup bed with these top truck caps
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BY Rebecca Henderson / LAST UPDATED ON June 24, 2021
There are many reasons to buy a truck, but the truck bed is probably one of the most popular. If you’re looking into a truck cap and want more information, take a look at our buying guide below. We’ve picked out the top three truck caps we consider to be the best overall, the best value, and one we just couldn’t help but mention.
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Benefits of Truck Caps
- A weather-proof, enclosed space. Truck beds alone are like a great big box you can store and transport items in, but sometimes you need shelter too. Don’t pack everything into the cab of the truck with you—invest in a truck cap.
- Full use of truck bed storage. Adding a truck cap onto the bed of your 4x4 doesn’t mean you’ll sacrifice storage space. In fact, some truck caps even add height so you can store large objects in a covered area.
- Great business alternative. Rather than investing in additional trucks or commercial vehicles, you can easily throw a cap onto the truck you already own. This is especially helpful if you work in landscaping, construction, delivery, and other professions.
- Versatility. Depending on the type of truck cap you invest in, installation and removal don’t take very long. That makes it easy to transition your truck from an open-bed vehicle to one that can transport materials in a covered space. You won’t have to commit to either type unless you choose to.
- Protection. Most people don’t realize that one of the main benefits of installing a truck cap is the protection it offers your truck bed. Though you might still use it often, the truck bed won’t be subjected to all kinds of weather such as damaging sun rays.
- Additional features. Believe it or not, there are some characteristics that make installing a truck cap better than having an open truck bed. For example, anyone who travels or camps can install roof rack rails on the truck cap itself for even more storage.
Types of Truck Caps
Hard truck caps are one of the most common types. You’ll typically see them painted the same color as the truck, but this is not always the case. Hard truck caps can offer more height in the covered truck bed space. Many of these hard truck caps include windows on the sides and rear, some of which will open. Hard caps are typically made of fiberglass. These fiberglass truck caps aren’t necessarily built to withstand the damage your car can sustain. However, fiberglass caps are still fairly heavy and easily weigh over 100 pounds.
Whereas hard truck caps are made from aluminum or other heavy-duty metals, soft caps are typically made of vinyl. Most materials are waterproof and/or weather-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about soaking what’s in the truck bed in inclement weather. Soft truck caps don’t usually weigh as much as hard caps, which can topple the scale at around 200 pounds. Most soft caps don’t exceed 80 pounds. Soft caps are also easier to remove and may include windows.
A type of soft truck cap, the tonneau cover pulls across the length of the truck bed instead of on top of it. Tonneau covers come in a variety of designs, from those that include multiple panels that fold on top of one another for access to covers that roll up like a blanket to be stored near the rear of the cab. Investing in a tonneau cover can be a good way to protect the objects you transport in your truck bed, but they don’t offer the advantage of height.
You’ve probably heard of putting a swimming pool in the back of a pickup truck, but have you ever seen one with a tent? Tent truck caps are basically meant for just a few people and use the added height of a truck bed to lift the tent off the ground. It’s a great way to the camp outside but still, feel secure. You can place a mattress inside the tent as long as it fits in the truck bed, and when you’re done simply fold the tent up and store it just as easily.
Headquartered in Colorado, BeStop was founded by Tom Bradley in 1954. The company specializes in soft-top covers, like this Supertop built specifically for Dodge Rams of certain years and makes.
Well-known in the industry for quite some time, BAK Industries is headquartered in Missouri. If you own a 2014-2020 GMC Sierra or Chevrolet Silverado, they’ve got the Tonneau Cover for you. Search the company’s inventory to find out if it has a cover for your particular truck.
Based out of Florida, Gator has certainly made its mark on the industry. The Gator Evo Hard Bi-Fold Tonneau Cover is just one of their finely-made products you’ll come to depend on.
Still relatively new to the game after about five years in the business, Tyger Auto calls sunny California it's home. Check out its Low Profile Roll-Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover if you want to keep your truck’s exterior sleek while still being able to protect the bed.
Truck Caps Pricing
- $99-$200: Most of the truck caps you’ll find in this price range will consist of various types of tents you can install in the bed for camping. You may be able to find a hard truck cap at this price point, but it likely won’t be very durable and may not necessarily come with the features you want.
- $200-$800: Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $700 for a decent truck cap in a wide variety of types. For example, you can find quality-made hard caps for around $400-$500. There are a number of soft truck caps in this range as well, including tonneau covers, with those at the higher end being a bit better built than others.
- $800-$1,100+: You’ll find some tonneau covers available at this price range, as well as some soft caps. Typically, trucks with longer beds will require more expensive covers because there’s more material involved. Custom-built truck caps fall into this price point as well.
Since one of the biggest reasons for purchasing a truck cap is to protect what’s within from the elements, a waterproof seal is almost always a requirement. The cap itself should be sealed, but it should also attach to the truck bed rails to create a weatherproof bond. You can avoid worrying about moisture getting into the contents of your truck bed with the best truck caps.
Truck caps must be secure in two ways: They should lock your valuables inside and also clamp down securely onto your truck bed. Truck caps with side windows are designed so the windows can only be opened from inside the bed itself. However, the back glass should have some sort of locking mechanism with matching keys to creating a secure environment. The best truck caps also use strong, heavy-duty clamps to keep the cap secure.
Whether hard or soft, truck caps should be made of durable materials that will withstand frequent outdoor use. These materials should be washable—whether via a pressure washer or through an automated car wash—and be designed to repel contaminants and debris. The best truck caps won’t rip or tear easily.
Truck caps are extremely ineffective if they don’t fit your particular vehicle, so ordering the correct size is key. Of importance is not only the length and width but also the height. The best truck caps use their size to their advantage and allow you to transport more within the space of your truck bed.
- Windows: One of the features you may or may not like about truck caps is that they can include side and rear windows. Having windows installed in your truck cap can make for easy access, especially if you’re using your truck for work or business. Windows also make it easier to get airflow to the truck bed, which is ideal for pets or if you use the bed for camping.
- Lining: Depending on the type of truck cap you choose, you may want to look into the types of lining you can install. Soft liners or those that provide insulation are great if you keep pets in the bed or plan to use it as a living space. Heavy-duty liners can also help if you pack a lot of tools and equipment into the bed beneath the truck cap.
- Off-Truck Storage: Storing your truck cap properly when it’s off your vehicle is important to consider. Soft caps and tonneau covers oftentimes roll up out of the way and can be stored in a garage or outdoor shed. However, you may want to consider purchasing or building a wooden base or pallet to store your hard truck cap when you’re not using it.
- Roof Rack Installation: You should consider whether or not you want your truck cap to have roof rails already installed or you’d like to add those on yourself at a later date. Having them installed before you place the truck cap on your vehicle is much easier to do than installing them when the cap is eight to 10 feet in the air on the back of your truck.
- Warranty: The best truck caps will have a lifetime warranty. However, not all manufacturers will offer such an incentive. If you’re going to be using your truck cap for a long time, consider investing in a product that has a lifetime warranty. Those truck caps without lifetime warranties may not necessarily last as long or are as high quality.
Best Truck Caps Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When storing your hard truck cap, place it on a pallet or wooden base to keep it off the ground. You should clean it well before you cover it with a tarp or fitted sheet. Make sure that any weather stripping or sealing material is kept solid to ensure a tight fit the next time it’s installed.
- To keep items from sliding around in the truck bed, place rubber matting along the entire length and width. Whether the bed is coated with a protective layering or not, the mats will keep heavy objects from slamming into the cab, sides of the bed, and the tailgate.
- If you keep a lot of items in your truck bed that you want to access easily, consider investing in a pull-out track system. It allows you to have a raised platform that can easily slide towards the tailgate without coming out completely. These can be very handy for business owners and contractors.
- If you travel with your pets often and just don’t want to keep them in the tent with you all the time, consider lining your truck bed and cap with a soft, insulating material. It will allow you to keep your pets in a safe environment and make them more comfortable.
- Staying organized is key to making the most of your truck cap if you use it to camp. If you make your own bed frame, consider designing it to hold materials as well as keep you comfortable during the night.
- Never install a truck cap by yourself. Invite a few friends over or have a local business or dealership install it for you. You’ll create a safer environment, and you might learn some truck cap tips from them as well.
- Regularly cleaning both your truck bed and truck cap is crucial to the longevity of both components. Before and after installing your truck cap, wash out and clean your truck bed. Once the truck cap is off, clean and wax the exterior so it’s ready to go for next time.
- It’s important to check the seal of your truck cap often. No one wants to be driving down the freeway and seeing a truck cap fly off in front of them. Check the cap for any movement before you get behind the wheel and it could be your own life you save.
Q: How do truck caps attach to the truck bed?
A: Most truck caps will attach to the bed via clamps. These clamps go beneath the bed rails of the truck bed and around the lip of the truck cap. Depending on the type of truck cap you choose, you may or may not need to drill holes in your truck bed. The best truck caps don’t require drilling for installation.
Q: Can you easily remove truck toppers?
A: Yes and no; it depends on the type of truck cap you choose. Many of the products we’ve mentioned in this buying guide are easy to install and remove. However, the heavier a truck cap is, oftentimes the harder it is to remove. Always have an extra hand in case you need it.
Q: How heavy are truck caps?
A: Most truck caps weigh between 20 and 200 pounds. Some can weigh more or less, depending on the materials they’re made of. If weight is a concern for you, we recommend looking at a soft-top versus a hardtop because the softer material will likely be much lighter than the hard cap.
Q: Is every truck cap lockable?
A: No. Most of the soft caps like the tonneau cover simply use the lock in your tailgate to provide security. However, the rear door of many hard truck caps can often act as a locking mechanism. You’ve probably seen the T-handle lock on most truck caps, which feature a hidden lock beneath the rubber exterior coating.
Q: Will most truck caps work if my truck has a spray-in bed liner?
A: They should, but check with each manufacturer before you purchase their product. If the bedliner is even you shouldn’t have any issues getting the clamps to a seat.
Q: What’s the most secure type of truck cap?
A: There’s not necessarily a certain type that’s the most secure. You should consider the most secure type to be the one that has a lock that’s always locked when not in use.
Q: Do they make a universal truck cap?
A: Unfortunately, they do not. The truck cap that would fit a Toyota Tacoma isn’t necessarily the same one that would cover a Chevy Silverado or even a brand-new truck for that matter. It’s important to know the dimensions of your truck bed and order accordingly.
Q: How long do truck caps typically last?
A: The longevity of a truck cap depends on a variety of factors, including frequency of use, material type, climate, frequency of maintenance, etc. Most truck caps should last around five years or more, but it depends on what you purchase and how you treat it.
Q: Do you need special tools to attach the truck cap to the bed?
A: Not necessarily. As long as you can lift the truck cap to the cab height you should be able to install it fairly easily. Most manufacturers will include any special tools you need.
Q: What size bed will a truck cap fit on?
A: Manufacturers make truck caps to fit on short beds, long beds, and nearly any bed in between. For a custom fit, you can look up your vehicle and see what’s made for each specific make, model, and year. Most truck caps cover beds that are as short as five feet and as long as or longer than eight feet.
Our top pick for the best truck cap is the Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Truck Tonneau Cover. The versatile design and ease of use of this product make it a no-brainer.
Truck owners on a budget should consider the MaxMate Roll Up Truck Bed Tonneau Cover. It’s a little bit of secure storage that won’t be too painful on your wallet.