Pickup truck owners often look for ways to maximize the storage and functionality of their truck beds. One popular option is adding a truck toolbox for secure, lockable storage. Another is installing a roll-up tonneau cover to protect cargo from weather and prying eyes. But can you have both? Is it possible to mount a truck toolbox underneath a roll-up tonneau cover?
The short answer is yes! With the right combination of compatible toolbox and tonneau cover, you can install a toolbox under a roll-up tonneau. This allows you to take advantage of the benefits of both products: the organized storage of a truck toolbox and the protection of a tonneau cover. The key is finding options designed to work together.
What Types of Toolboxes Can Be Mounted Under A Tonneau Cover?
Low-Profile Crossover Toolboxes
One toolbox style that works well under tonneaus is the low-profile crossover toolbox. As the name suggests, these toolboxes are designed to fit behind the truck’s rail system, keeping a low profile. Many have a tapered shape to hug the contoured bed sides. This allows them to install underneath a tonneau cover that rolls up above the bed rails.
Crossover toolboxes come in aluminum, steel, and other materials. They offer secure, lockable storage like traditional truck toolboxes. The low profile takes up minimal bed space while still offering ample storage for gear and tools.
Additional Shorter Toolbox Styles
Along with crossover toolboxes, some additional shallow toolbox styles can also mount under certain tonneaus:
- Low-rise toolboxes that sit just over the bed floor
- Compact end-cab toolboxes that utilize space behind the cab
- Streamlined saddlebag toolboxes that conform tightly to the bed sides
The key is ensuring the toolbox height is low enough to clear the tonneau as it rolls up. Measure carefully when selecting a short toolbox to use under a tonneau.
Storage Drawers and Trays
For ultra-low profile storage, some trucks use simple storage drawer systems that slide into the gap between the bed sides and fenders. These provide access to gear but sit very flush and won’t impede a roll-up tonneau.
What Types of Tonneau Covers Allow A Toolbox Underneath?
Roll-Up Tonneaus Designed for Toolboxes
Many truck brands offer roll-up tonneau covers specifically designed to accommodate a toolbox. These use various tactics to provide clearance:
- Side Access Panels: Allows the cover to roll up above toolbox height by splitting the cover into separate panels with gaps over the toolbox.
- Rear Notch/Cutout: The tonneau cover rolls up uninterrupted but has a cutout section at the rear to allow toolbox clearance.
- Higher Mounting: The tonneau mounts higher than usual, providing ample space below for a toolbox before the cover comes down.
Low-Profile Roll-Up Tonneaus
Even without specific toolbox-friendly features, some roll-up tonneau covers sit lower and hug the bed closer than others. These low-profile covers have the potential to clear small toolboxes if carefully matched. The toolbox must be short enough not to impede the cover’s ability to roll up and retract.
No matter what style tonneau cover you choose, also consider:
- Rails vs Rail-Free: Rail-free tonneaus may allow more toolbox flexibility and sit lower overall.
- Tonneau Locking: Opt for a locking tonneau to complement a lockable toolbox for maximum security.
- Bedliner Compatibility: Ensure the tonneau and toolbox you choose work with your existing bedliner.
How Does Installation Work?
Order of Installation
Proper installation order is key to integrating a toolbox and tonneau cover:
- Install truck bedliner if desired.
- Mount the toolbox in the desired truck bed location, often behind the rear wheel wells. Secure it according to manufacturer instructions.
- Install the tonneau cover, following the specific procedure for your toolbox-compatible model. Make sure the cover opens, closes, and rolls up without catching on the toolbox.
- Test to ensure smooth operation and make any necessary adjustments.
To successfully mount both products:
- The tonneau rails/mounts must clear the toolbox height.
- The rolled cover must clear the toolbox width and location.
- The mounting locations cannot overlap or interfere.
- The toolbox and tonneau cover must both be compatible with the existing bedliner and bed rail style.
Always check manufacturer recommendations for installation. Their guidance can help ensure proper fit, function, and warranty coverage.
What Are the Benefits of Adding A Toolbox Under A Tonneau?
Combining these two popular truck accessories provides several advantages:
More Secure Storage
With dual locking options from the tonneau cover and toolbox, you can safely stash more gear out of sight and protected against the elements.
A toolbox adds structured, compartmentalized storage for accessibility. You can neatly arrange tools and supplies secured inside the box rather than loose in the bed.
Coverage for Large Items
The tonneau provides weather and security protection even for large items that won’t fit inside the toolbox. Remove valuables to the toolbox and keep equipment covered.
Go toolbox-only for heavy work. Go covered-only for light hauling. Or combine them when you need super-charged, secure truck bed storage.
Expanded Bed Space
You can still haul large cargo inside the bed while also gaining the toolbox for supplemental storage.
What Are the Downsides or Limitations?
While combining a toolbox and tonneau cover can be beneficial, there are some compromises:
- Reduced overall truck bed space and hauling capacity
- Potential for scuffs, scrapes, or damage if the toolbox and tonneau rub against each other
- More difficult access to the inside of the toolbox with the tonneau closed
- Combined higher cost of purchasing both truck accessories
- Potential compatibility issues if not matched properly
- Additional installation complexity
The reduced hauling capacity may be the biggest drawback. Make sure your storage needs justify giving up that truck bed space.
What Are the Best Toolbox and Tonneau Combinations?
The most seamless toolbox/tonneau pairings include:
- Chevy Avalanche: the OEM-designed crossover toolbox and roll-up tonneau
- Toyota Tacoma: Tacoma truck bed toolbox paired with Tacoma Access Cab tonneau
- GatorTrax Universal: fits various truck beds and GatorTrax retractable tonneau
- UnderCover Flex: mid-profile crossover toolbox and matching Flex low-profile tonneau
- Truck Hero Alu-Box: in-house duo offering adapter for exact fit
Research manufacturer pairings for your specific truck make and model. Custom design for compatibility offers the best performance.
Can You Mount a Truck Toolbox Under a Retractable Tonneau Cover?
Yes, many of the same pairings and configurations that work for roll-up tonneaus will also work with retractable tonneaus. The biggest difference is that a retractable tonneau will not roll up over the toolbox, but instead retract rearward.
To clear a toolbox, retractable tonneaus essentially divide into the following categories:
- Full-Motion: retracts fully past the rear edge of the toolbox, providing total clearance.
- Mid-Motion: retracts partially, requiring a shorter toolbox to avoid interference.
- Low-Profile: sits low and tight to the bed, capable of clearing ultra-low-profile toolboxes.
As with roll-ups, precise measurement and matching is important for clearing the toolbox while maintaining full tonneau functionality. Check manufacturer fit details before installation.
What About Other Tonneau Styles Like Tri-Fold and Snap-On?
Trifold and snap-on tonneau covers have potential to be compatible with certain toolboxes, but it is more challenging. When opened, these covers do not roll up and out of the way above the bed rails. Instead, they fold or snap open in place.
To clear a toolbox, the tonneau would need side-access panels, or the toolbox may need to be small enough to open past it. Limited compatibility means this combination is less common. But it can be done with proper selection and installation.
Conclusion: Maximize Your Truck With Dual Storage Options
Installing a toolbox underneath a tonneau cover is an appealing upgrade for truck owners seeking to optimize bed storage and security. With strategic selection of a compatible low-profile toolbox and tailored tonneau cover, plus proper professional installation, you can successfully mount them to work together.
This combo allows you to take advantage of the unique benefits of both products in one integrated system. Just be sure to choose components designed to complement each other for smooth clearances and operation. With the right toolbox tonneau duo, you can double your secure truck bed storage and utility.