Homemade Truck Bed Coversby Daniel Westlake
Truck bed covers, also known as Tonneau covers, are popular because they protect the bed from the elements. The also streamline the truck to help give it better gas mileage. However, some of these covers can be expensive, and the less expensive ones don't necessarily work all the time or for what you need the truck bed for. So a homemade truck bed cover might be a good alternative.
Rain Tarp Truck Cover
The cheapest homemade truck cover can be made by buying a rain tarp and running rope or bungee cords through the eyelets built into the tarp and then hooking or tying them to the hooks inside the truck bed. Some bungees can be hooked to the metal top of the wheel wells at the back of the truck, but this generally isn't recommended because it's not terribly secure and could possibly get caught on the spinning wheel itself. The biggest problem with this homemade truck cover is it's cheap and insecure. You can't lock it and if it isn't well enough secured to the bed itself the tarp can quite possibly blow away while you are driving.
Wooden Truck Bed Cover
A truck bed cover can also be made out of wood, even if you have only a limited knowledge of carpentry and construction. You can drill holes into the metal of the bed itself and install hinges to attach to large pieces of wood that you cut to fit the opening of the bed. The simplest wooden truck bed cover is one piece of wood that just swings open when you unlock it, supported by large, heavy-duty hinges. However the more panels in the cover the more places things can be kept and the less hassle it will be to take off the homemade wooden cover. Multiple pieces of wood can be cut and connected via hinges while attached to support boards that can be installed along the sides and back of the truck bed. Besides the extensive amount of construction, the glaring downside to this homemade truck covering is the fact that you have to drill holes in the metal body of the truck bed itself, which can effect the resale value. It is also tough to make the wood weather resistant.
Fiberglass Resin Truck Cover
By cutting fiberglass resin into two equal sheets that will cover the entire truck bed, a truck cover with two panels can be built pretty easily and may be one of the more efficient homemade truck covers you can build. With a piece of wood in the middle to connect hinges, the fiberglass cover will drop into your truck bed easily, without you having to damage your truck bed. However, it's difficult to cut more panels in the fiberglass resin cover itself, since the more you cut into it, the more a chance it has to break or crack. Still, this truck cover type is what the best Tonneau covers are made out of and, if built correctly, can be replicated at home.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.