Hands-On with the Lund Genesis Elite Tonneau Cover
The most important things you need to know about this soft tonneau cover.
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The moment I became a truck owner also became the moment I became a paranoid truck owner. In other words, the realization that anything I put into the bed of the truck was open for being snatched was born at that moment. It wasn't long until I realized how important a good tonneau cover could be if I ever wanted to use the bed for anything other than the groceries.
Truck covers like the Lund Genesis Elite promise to add a decent amount of protection to your truck bed. Some also claim a boost in fuel efficiency, but for the most part, it's all about the convenience of accessing and protecting the bed all at once. In reviewing the Genesis Elite, it is my hope to spare many of our esteemed readers from the frustrating journey of self-discovery finding the right bed cover can bring; self-discovery in the sense of learning what triggers the desire to destroy everything in sight. The truth is, finding the right truck cover is a delicate balance between compatibility with your truck and finding the right design. In my case, the frustration was also compounded by the fact that I had other accessories like bed rail racks that I wanted to use. This created a Tetris-like nightmare scenario in my truck bed: I had to find the right pieces to fit together to get what I wanted.
That is what I found so appealing about roll-up tonneau covers like the Genesis Elite made by Lund. After spending over a year with it, I can say this soft roll-up cover has delivered what it promises in spades, making it one of the best tonneau covers to consider for new truck owners.
The Genesis Elite borrows several design elements from other types of truck bed covers. For example, the soft, flexible main cover is nothing more than the heavy-duty, weather-resistant fabric similar to the tear-resistant, marine-grade vinyl found on virtually any kind of soft, folding cover available on the market today. Unsupported by any kind of metal frame (commonly found on tri-fold designs), the fabric is designed to roll up tightly for better storage.
Instead of an internal frame, all the support is provided by the two side rails that clamp onto the bed rails of the truck. The aluminum frame side rails are made of lightweight aluminum and fasten down to the bed with metal clamps. Velcro on the top of the rails holds the cover in place when it is unfurled across the length of the bed. At the end, there is a heavy-duty latch and locking mechanism to keep the cover secured and inaccessible around the tailgate seal when it is up.
One unique thing about the Genesis Elite is the fact that you can open it anywhere along the length of the bed. Other truck bed tonneau covers are often an all-or-nothing kind of ordeal. If you want to partially open the cover to access something inside, you either have to go with the tri-fold design found on soft and hard folding tonneau covers or stick with the one-piece type of cover that lifts all at once. With the Genesis Elite, however, you can roll it up to any point. Best of all, the cover can also be fully open while the truck is driving. Straps on the end of the cover will fasten it in the rolled-up position so everything is tight and secure while going down the road at highway speeds or traveling along rough terrain.
The Genesis Elite, like many folding tonneau covers and retractable covers, has a bit of a lengthy installation process before you can take full advantage of the low-profile design on a pickup truck. With that said, I found the installation to actually be easier than anticipated. This may be due to the fact that I have seen and experienced true nightmare scenarios with truck tonneau cover installation, especially with hard tonneau cover models that require separate tools, a few good strong friends, and hours of laser precision alignment to get everything working properly, especially when bed liners are involved.
The "easy installation" process starts with fastening the two support rails onto the sides of the bed. To do this, the cover comes with several separate metal clamps that simply fasten down with a wrench. The metal clamps are meant to be placed anywhere along the length of the bed, so you can find the best position to keep everything secure with the weight of the cover. Getting the support rails level is also easy thanks to a small lip that sits on top of the bed rail without taking up space on the stake pockets.
Once the side rails are on, the final step is to mount and secure the cover itself. There are two pieces of metal on either end of the soft tonneau cover, one that screws down onto the support rails (one screw on each end) and the other that locks into position near the tailgate. Getting the cover secured on the cabin end of the bed is a little tricky since it screws in from below, meaning I had to explore a couple of unfamiliar yoga poses to position myself to where I could see and work with the fasteners.
Convenient ease of use is where the Genesis Elite truly shines. If you need quick access to your truck bed, it only takes a little bit of time and effort to get the cover rolled up, especially if you're just temporarily getting into the bed. To open it, you simply have to lower the tailgate and pull on a couple of tabs. The middle end of the cover will unlock. After that, it's a simple matter of rolling the cover-up onto itself.
One of the best things I found appealing about the cover is the amount of space it leaves for use around the bed. Wanting to get the most use out of my truck, I was pleasantly surprised to find the stake pockets to be completely unobstructed on my F150. In conjunction with my truck rack sitting on the tops of the bed rails, the cover works perfectly without running up against anything.
Protection is not one of this cover’s strengths. Since the sides are only fastened down by strips of Velcro, there's virtually nothing preventing someone from trying to reach into the side of the bed to pick up any loose items. With that said, the cover itself still hinders a good amount of access with the bed. Unless someone has freakishly long arms or cuts into the fabric, the Genesis Elite still manages to offer a basic amount of protection for items inside.
Although it offers little resistance against human intruders, things are a bit different with the weather. To my surprise, after a few rainstorms, I found little to no moisture inside the bed of the truck. As long as the fabric is truly secure over the Velcro along both ends of the bed, water has a difficult time getting into the inside. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to get that kind of seal since the width of the fabric was just a little too short for the bed of my truck. This made it important to find the right balance left to right before sealing the edges onto the Velcro.
Unless you're the type of person who needs the ultimate level of protection out of a sturdy tonneau truck bed cover, you will find the Genesis Elite has a good balance between convenience and general protection. Weather-wise, it is one of the few truck covers that offer a true water barrier to protect the inside contents of the truck bed. More importantly, the cover is compatible with a wide variety of makes and models and plays well with almost any truck bed accessory like racks. The fact that you can actually drive with it in the open position without fear of it flying off at highway speeds is a major bonus for truck owners wanting ultimate versatility from their truck bed.
Final Verdict: Coming with a few notable trade-offs and security issues, the Genesis Elite is one of the most versatile truck covers to consider to get the most out of your truck bed.