Top 11 Pickup Truck Accessories
Image Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Raptor_with_bed_cover.jpg

Top 11 Pickup Truck Accessories

Written By John Linden

Build and maintain a better and more valuable truck with these indispensable accessories.

Whether you are buying a brand new truck or have been driving your around for years, there is always room to make your vehicle just that much more useful or enjoyable to operate. No manufacturer can know your exact needs ahead of time, and you may not even be aware of just how many valuable accessories there are out here for trucks these days. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the most useful and beloved accessories available for pickup trucks these days. We won’t go extremely deep into any one attachment; instead, this is to help you understand the myriad of possibilities and some of our thoughts regarding them.


Article Contents

  1. Truck Cover
  2. Truck Bed Cover
  3. Tonneau Cover
  4. Truck Cap / Camper Shell
  5. Bedliner
  6. Running Boards
  7. All-Weather Mats
  8. Locking Toolbox
  9. Tailgate Assists
  10. Bed Lights
  11. Tie Downs & Anchors

Truck Cover

Outside of the actual miles you put on your truck, the environment is going to take the most considerable toll on your vehicle’s longevity. Rain damage, sun damage, the passing cat or bird leaving their marks, all of these things will diminish the appearance and durability of the exterior of your truck. Even in indoor parking lots, you are susceptible to a myriad of dings and scratches. With a truck cover, you can prevent 99% of these incidents and significantly increase the beauty and resale value of your truck.

There is a large variety in the quality and material of the truck covers out on the market today. Some are made to get your vehicle out of the other end of a monsoon unscathed; others prevent dust buildup. Find a truck cover suitable to your local climate (or wherever you plan on bringing your truck) and make sure you have it on hand wherever you go in case of unplanned stops or weather. This simple practice will keep your truck looking great and can save you hundreds (if not more) on your vehicle's overall resale value.

Truck Bed Cover

A reliable truck bed cover will, of course, protect the bed of your truck from the elements, but will also provide a significant boost in security and functionality for those who work or operate out of their trucks regularly. Many truck bed covers offer extra shelving, locks, and compartments for your tools -letting you keep your cab cluster free without worrying about theft. Simply by keeping all of your belongings obscured you are provided an added layer of protection. Out of sight, out of mind so to speak.

By limiting the sunlight that is beating down on your truck bed, reducing snow and rainwater buildup, and reducing total dirt and grime exposure (not to mention the avoidance of break-ins) a bed cover does quite a bit to help your truck retain its value.


“ If you plan on getting a bed cover you should also invest in some LED bed lights you can install yourself at the same time.”


If you invest a bit more in a more robust bed cover, you will still be able to transport items on top of it (as large as ATV and Bike Racks), so you won’t be limiting your ability to move large objects as much as you may initially think.

The materials these come in a range from aluminum to synthetic and tough plastics to fiberglass. If you need something that can take a beating, go with a molded plastic/ABS material. If you want a look that matches precisely the rest of the body of your truck, you are going to need fiberglass. Aluminum is also very popular due to its toughness as well as its general lightweight.

Tonneau Cover

A tonneau cover is another form of a truck bed cover, but typically remains more flush with the walls of your truck bed and are a bit smaller and less bulky than other truck shells or caps. There is a lot of grey area in these definitions (‘tonneau’ simply refers to an open space of a vehicle, thus a truck bed, making it technically synonymous with a bed cover) so there is some overlap between #2 and #3 here.

Tonneau Cover
Image Attribution: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Tonneau_on_pickup_truck.JPG

All of the same benefits of a truck cover apply here, though of course, softer tonneau covers (like those made of vinyl) won't provide as much physical security as a hardcover. Tonneau covers give you a lot more options in what and when you store and transport items in your truck. The nice thing about many tonneau covers versus truck shells is that they are often modular, foldable, or removable and give you greater versatility.

Tonneau covers come in a massive range of materials and styles, from canvas to fiberglass, from electric retractable version to simple snap-ons. If you do your research and find the cover perfect for your situation, you will find it to be one of the most practical and repeatedly useful additions you’ve made to your truck. Sliding and retractable tonneau covers are our favorite since they are the easiest to remove and secure and give you the most comprehensive array option at the lowest cost. Canvas snap-on covers can be useful but are just too frustrating in the cold or in a hurry at times, and are not usually as waterproof.

Truck Cap / Camper Shell

Just with the other accessories that we covered that shield your truck bed, a camper shell will prevent a large amount of the wear and tear caused by mother nature. This helps your truck last longer in both value and functionality. The added advantage of camper shell is the amount of space it gives you to operate within the truck bed. You can store a tool chest, a large number of shelves, or a couple of beds in the space provided. If this is more or less useful than a tonneau cover will be up to your individual needs.

A large number of contractors have been able to eschew the need for a work van by instead loading a camper shell with added drawers and a tool chest over their bed. Essentially this turned his camper shell into self-contained and removable ‘work vehicle’ that rides around on the back of his personal truck.

This is just one example of the versatility of truck caps. No matter your hobby or business there is going to be a truck cap that can make your life a bit easier.

Bedliner

Bedliner
Image Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Truck_bed_liner_using_permanent_ArmorThane_polyurethane_spray-on_protective_coating.JPG

This is so useful most trucks come standard with a drop in bedliner that protects your truck from scratches and dings and helps to stop your items from slipping all over the place. Drop in bedliners can be replaced and are preferred if you are looking to keep value as high as possible -they can be easily removed and replaced. Just make sure with drop-ins you remove them and check for rust from time to time. Spray in bed liner will protect your truck from rust and dirt but are almost always permanent.

You can upgrade your standard liner to one of many unique designs and materials. Some are better for large awkward cargo while others are specially made to stop even the smoothest of items from slipping. There are also unique versions that give you a carpet like liner that is still resistant to weather, oil, gasoline, and more.

Running Boards

Running boards make it easier to lift things in and out of the truck (including yourself). This can prevent injuries and the wear and tear to those creaky knees of yours (and mine). Make sure you attach the running boards to the frames to ensure strength and prevent damaging the body of your truck.

Some of the newer trucks have retractable running boards that extend when you open the door. I’m not sure how necessary it is, but it makes you feel like someone's extending the stairs from Air Force One for you each time you get out.

All-Weather Mats

Your truck is expected to work as hard as you are, and that means getting dirty from time to time. Prepping for this ahead of time can go a long way in keeping the core of your vehicle in tip-top shape. All-Weather mats can replace your carpet mats (put them aside and wait until you plan to sell to put them back in) and are much easier to get dirt and grime out of.

This is an investment both in saving you time and worry. I hate getting dirty smelling carpet mats riding around with me, but a quick spray down of an all-weather mat and you are good to go. This is also perhaps one of the most inexpensive accessories you can get that has such a substantial effect on your day to day truck usage.

Locking Toolbox

A locking toolbox for your truck helps you to keep the clutter out of your cab, prevent break-ins, and helps to make you more efficient on a job site. It should be one of your first purchases if you work out of your truck.

Thieves will often break into trucks when they can see valuable equipment through the windows left on the seats. Now they have to deal with a locked up reinforced metal box, and they aren't sure what’s inside.

Locking Toolbox
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Secondly, storage organization and the decluttering of your cab. You don't want tools and equipment sliding around on your seats, or into you, while you are driving. A toolbox will help you to organize and put away all sorts of different types of equipment. There are many versions adapted to a wide array of needs and specializations out there.

Tailgate Assists

This is another accessory that is so useful it comes standard on many trucks today.

Tailgate assists are another life easing thing that just makes the small difficulties go away -and it’s the little things that matter. Just like electric windows, you are not really sure just how much more convenient something is until you have tried it a few times. Most will simply cushion the fall of the tailgate making sure you don’t jar the vehicle.

Bed Lights

Working in the early morning, late evening or poor weather can make it hard to get enough light to work effectively or move safely about your truck bed. This darkness problem is often made worse by truck covers and camper shells that block even more light. Bed lights make sure you aren't wasting time or getting hurt fumbling around in the darkness. If you plan on getting a bed cover you should also invest in some LED bed lights you can install yourself at the same time.

Bed Lights
Image Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/diamondbackcovers/21404319782

Tie Downs & Anchors

Making sure you have the right equipment in place to correctly haul and transport your gear or cargo is essential to correctly operating your truck. These days you can quickly find a huge amount of different anchors all made with specific uses in mind. Track systems can help you load and secure large cargo. Moreover, various tie downs can all come in handy at different times.

Think of this as your transportation arsenal and take pride in the ability to quickly and easily secure down and move even large and awkward hauls.