Soft tonneau covers provide many benefits for truck owners, like protecting cargo from weather and thieves. But truck owners may want to mount additional accessories like toolboxes on top of their soft covers. So can you use Velcro to mount these accessories?
What Are Soft Tonneau Covers?
Soft tonneau covers are made from flexible materials like vinyl, canvas, or plastic. They roll or fold up for easy removal. Some popular soft tonneau brands include Roll-N-Lock, Extang, and Truxedo.
Soft covers have advantages over hard folding and retractable covers:
- Lower cost – Soft covers are typically the most affordable tonneau option. Hard covers have more complex designs that increase manufacturing costs.
- Lightweight – The flexible materials used in soft covers weigh less than aluminum or fiberglass hard covers. This reduces fuel consumption slightly.
- Flexible – You can fold soft covers up partway to fit taller cargo. Hard covers only fully open or fully close.
- No panels – Soft covers are one continuous piece so there are no separate panels that can misalign. Hard covers have multiple panels that sometimes shift.
However, soft covers aren’t as protective or secure as hard covers. They also tend to flap at highway speeds.
Can You Install Velcro On Soft Covers?
Yes, Velcro can be installed onto soft vinyl tonneau covers to attach accessories or mounts. The soft vinyl material is an ideal surface for adhering Velcro hook and loop strips.
Many soft tonneau covers even come with pre-installed Velcro strips from the factory. These allow you to divide your truck bed into sections or tie down cargo.
If your soft cover doesn’t have Velcro strips, you can add your own. Make sure to clean the vinyl thoroughly before applying the adhesive-backed Velcro. Press each strip firmly to ensure maximum sticking power.
Pros Of Using Velcro
Velcro is a handy option for mounting accessories onto soft truck bed covers because:
- Adjustable – Velcro makes it easy to move accessories to different positions in your truck bed as needed. With tools like screwdriver mounts, you can place them exactly where you want.
- Removable – Velcro strips peel off cleanly without leaving residue or damaging soft vinyl. So you can temporarily attach items, then remove them later on without hassle.
- Durable – Industrial-grade Velcro is designed to stick securely and withstand vibration, wind, and weather. So accessories stay firmly mounted.
- Flexible – Soft tonneau covers can flex and sag over time. But Velcro adapts, keeping accessories firmly planted even if the vinyl droops.
- Affordable – Good quality Velcro with adhesive backing can be purchased inlong strips or kits for around $10-20. This is cheaper than custom brackets.
Cons Of Velcro Mounts
However, there are a few downsides to consider with Velcro:
- Strength limits – Although strong, Velcro does have weight limits for how much it can hold. So it may not work for heavier accessories like large toolboxes.
- Bond wears – Over years of opening/closing the tonneau, the Velcro adhesive can start to give way. This allows mounts to peel off. Reapplying adhesive restores the bond.
- Cleaning difficulty – Velcro strips can trap dirt and debris. This can be tough to clean off soft vinyl covers, especially with hooks catching the fabric.
- No hard mounting – Although convenient, Velcro does not physically attach accessories to the truck bed like drilled brackets. Items solely Velcroed may shift more.
So for lightweight accessories under 30 pounds or so, Velcro provides a handy removable mounting method. But for heavy-duty use, permanent brackets may work better long-term.
Tips For Using Velcro On Soft Covers
To maximize results and longevity when using Velcro adhesive strips on soft vinyl tonneaus, keep these tips in mind:
- Use industrial-grade Velcro – Cheap Velcro has weaker adhesion that fails quicker. Spend a few extra bucks for heavy-duty marine, automotive, or industrial Velcro.
- Clean surface thoroughly – Use vinyl cleaner and allow to fully dry so the Velcro bonds optimally with no dirt or residue.
- Apply firm pressure – When adhering the Velcro strips, press down very firmly across the entire strip for 30-60 seconds. This helps maximize sticking power.
- Reinforce ends – Wrap the Velcro around the vinyl tonneau edges 1-2 inches if possible. This prevents the ends from peeling up over time.
- Reapply if needed – Check Velcro strips yearly before winter. Reapply fresh adhesive strips if any sections have peeled up or worn out.
- Limit sun exposure – Park in shade when possible and use a tonneau cover to limit UV damage to the Velcro adhesive. Sun and heat can break down the bond.
Alternative Mounting Options
If Velcro won’t work for your needs, what are some other ways to mount items onto soft vinyl tonneau covers? Alternatives include:
- Clamps – Various clamping mounts like cut-to-fit blocks can grip soft tonneau edges to hold accessories. No drilling required.
- Suction cups – For lightweight items, heavy-duty suction cups provide temporary attachment without mods. Useful for electronics or fishing rod holders.
- Snap-in brackets – Some DIY brackets secure into the soft cover’s metal snaps for solid accessory attachment points.
- Adhesive pads – Foam tape pads with adhesive on both sides can stick items to the tonneau cover without damaging it. Removable when needed.
- Truck bed rails – Install accessories onto bed rail caps or racks instead. Gets gear up off the cover surface.
- Hardfold cover – Consider upgrading to a hinged hard cover. These allow easy bolting on of handles and mounts for more heavy-duty use.
So in summary, applying industrial-grade Velcro strips provides a handy temporary mounting solution for smaller accessories on soft vinyl tonneau covers. Just be sure to follow the proper preparation and application steps for maximum holding power.