A tonneau cover can keep your truck bed dry in the rain. The cover sits on top of the bed and seals it off from water. This keeps your stuff inside safe and dry, even in heavy rain. Let’s look at why tonneau covers work so well.
What Is A Tonneau Cover?
A tonneau cover goes over the open back part of a pickup truck. This open area is called the truck bed. The cover fits snugly to seal the bed closed. Tonneau covers come in different styles but all do the same thing. They cover and seal the truck bed to protect it from rain, snow, and dirt.
How Does A Tonneau Cover Keep The Bed Dry?
Tonneau covers are designed to keep truck beds completely dry. Here are some of the features that help them do this:
Tonneau covers fit very snugly over the bed. They have seals along the sides and tailgate to prevent water from sneaking in. When closed tightly, no rain can get past the cover.
Most tonneau covers use heavy-duty vinyl or aluminum. These materials repel water well. They also hold up better over time versus cloth covers.
Some tonneau covers have extra features to improve weatherproofing. For example:
- Drain tubes – These allow any moisture to drain out of the bed instead of pooling.
- Locking design – Some covers lock with keyed entries. This prevents the wind from lifting the cover and letting in rain.
- Low profile – Less space between the cover and bed means less room for wind and water to creep in.
Will Every Tonneau Cover Keep My Truck Bed Dry?
In general, any well-fitted tonneau cover will keep your truck bed dry in most rainy conditions. Even basic vinyl covers offer good protection when installed properly. But it’s a good idea to choose a cover with secure sealing and heavy materials. Double-check that it fits your exact truck make and model too. Then you can be confident it will keep your gear dry.
Some covers offer even better water protection. Upgrading to a premium cover is a smart idea if you live in a very wet climate. Or get one with extra sealing and locks to keep the wind and rain out completely.
How To Pick The Best Tonneau Cover For Staying Dry
Here are some things to look at when picking out a tonneau cover for maximum water protection:
Hard vs soft covers
- Hard covers are made with metal or hard plastic. They seal tighter and hold their shape better against wind and rain. Popular styles are retractable, folding, and hinged tonneaus.
- Soft covers use materials like vinyl and canvas. They are more affordable but may leak in heavy storms. Make sure to get thick, waterproof vinyl.
Added weather seals
- Look for extra strips and flaps around the cover’s edge to block moisture.
- Covers with drainage tubes prevent water from pooling in the bed.
- Covers that lock will stay sealed in windy weather. Keyed locks are most secure.
- Snap closures are easy to use but won’t stop wind lifting.
Low profile design
- The closer the cover sits to the bed, the less room for water to get in.
- Roll-up covers have the slimmest, most waterproof profile when closed.
Will A Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover Be Waterproof?
A basic soft roll-up cover can keep light rain out of your truck bed. The vinyl material repels water nicely when new. But over time, the vinyl may stretch a bit. Seams and snaps can then leak during heavy rain. And the flexible cover won’t stop wind-driven rain very well.
For better weather protection, upgrade to a thicker vinyl cover. Or get one with reinforced, rubberized seams to prevent leaking and tearing. Making sure it fits snugly will also help stop wind lifting the cover and sneaking water underneath. Adding drain tubes is a good way to prevent standing water too.
Overall, a basic roll-up vinyl tonneau can handle light rain. But it may need some upgrades to keep out heavy wind and downpours.
Do I Need A Special Cover For Very Wet Climates?
If you live in a rainy climate, it’s smart to invest in a heavy-duty, watertight tonneau. Look for these features to stop even the wettest weather:
- Aluminum or reinforced plastic – The hardest, most water-tight materials available.
- Full weather stripping – Thick seals will prevent leaks along the tailgate and sides.
- Locking mechanism – Prevents wind lifting and water blowing underneath. Hard locks are best.
- Drain tubes – Let rain run out instead of pooling in the truck bed.
- Low profile shape – Gives wind and water less space to enter underneath.
- Warranty – Covers 3-5 years show the maker is confident in its waterproofing.
Hard folding and retractable covers often have these premium features. The extra cost brings maximum rain and wind protection for your gear.
What Should I Keep Inside A Tonneau Cover?
A tonneau cover will keep almost anything dry in your truck bed. Here are some examples of things you can haul safely underneath a tonneau:
- Luggage & camping gear – Suitcases, tents, sleeping bags, etc. will stay nice and dry.
- Tools & equipment – Store your tools safely without worrying about rust from rain.
- Groceries – Make a big shopping run without the bags getting soaked.
- Furniture – Move dressers, mattresses and other large items without water damage.
- Appliances – Transport appliances like washers without exposing them to rain.
- Sports gear – Golf clubs, footballs, baseball mitts, and more will stay in good shape.
A quality tonneau cover will protect anything you need to stay dry in the back of your pickup. It saves you from worrying about wet cargo and damage from storms.
Will My Tonneau Cover Leak Over Time?
Any tonneau cover may start to leak a little as it ages. Here are some tips to help prevent this:
- Keep it cleaned and lubricated according to the manufacturer’s directions. This preserves seals and snaps.
- Inspect sealing and look for damage after big storms. Repair any cracks in vinyl or bent panels right away.
- Avoid overloading the cover, which can warp the shape and cause leaks.
- Park in the garage when possible to limit sun and weather exposure.
- Consider resealing or using caulk if leaks develop after several years.
With proper care and maintenance, a quality tonneau cover should stay watertight for years before needing repairs. Pay attention to any weeping seals or snaps and fix problems promptly. Keep your cover clean and lubricated to prevent early leaks.
A good tonneau cover is a great way to keep your truck bed and belongings dry. When well-fitted and cared for, tonneaus protect from all but the heaviest rain. Hard covers provide the best water protection.
But soft covers also work with proper installation and maintenance. Invest in a cover with secure seals, heavy-duty materials and a snug fit. With the right tonneau cover, you can rest easy knowing your truck bed and cargo will stay nice and dry.