7 cargo accessories for your pickup truck

Carrying things in your truck isn’t as easy as just throwing them over the tailgate.

Sure, you can do that with your bike/toolbox/newly bought hardware items, but they’re going to slide around and damage both them and your truck.

To avoid this, you need some fixtures and fittings that increase your truck’s utility.

Today we’re going to discuss accessories that take the pain out of hauling stuff.

And keep in mind these aren’t isn’t just for the guys with the burly HD trucks—these goodies are for Silverados and Sierras, Canyons and Colorados, too.

And with Christmas just around the corner, who knows—you might even find one in your stocking.

Bed liners

A bed liner should go into your truck the moment you take delivery—and never be taken out.

That’s because they protect the bed against damage and help stop stuff sliding around.

Liners come in three types: rubber mat, carpet-style, and spray-in. Rubber mats are a little cheap-and-cheerful but get the job done.

Carpet-style mats look a little smarter and may be somewhat more slip-resistant. One advantage of mat and carpet types is that they’re removable.

The best part? Buy a new truck a few years from now and you can transfer them over. Can’t say that about spray-in.

Bed extenders

A bed extender lets you drive with the tailgate down. In effect, it’s a fence that goes across the width of the tailgate to stop things falling out. It can either give your short bed truck the carrying capacity of a long bed, or give your long bed even more capacity.

Tie downs

Tie downs are eyelets used for attaching hooks and straps. Check your bed closely and you should see points for fitting tie downs. Just be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended load.

Bed lights

These are extremely useful for anyone who has to load and unload in the dark. Bed lights have been around for years but today’s use LEDs to shine an intense light on all your gear. The most popular/useful are those that fit under the bed rails. Like under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen, they make it easy to find stuff.

Tonneau covers

These fit over the bed of your truck, keeping out both weather and the, er, criminally inclined.

There are two basic types: soft and hard. The soft covers roll or fold out of the way for those occasions when you’re carrying your mother-in-law’s antique dresser.

Hard covers are less flexible, obviously, but they offer more security. Much like the vehicle’s hood, they have a stay rod that holds them open for easy loading and unloading.

If you do decide to go tonneau cover shopping, don’t forget to consider bed length and how the color will look on your truck.

Bed-mounted toolboxes

It’s not just contractors who see value in having a toolbox mounted on the bed: campers, hunters, hikers and anyone else who’s active outdoors can benefit. Toolboxes either fit across the width of the bed, in which case you mount them right behind the cab, or down the sides.

However, getting stuff out a bed-width toolbox does mean climbing in and out, so the side or rail-mounted toolboxes might be easier to use.

Ratcheting straps

Try using rope to secure your cargo between a pair of tiedowns and you’ll find you can never get it really tight. That leaves your motorcycle, lawn tractor or whatever to move around as you go over bumps and potholes.

Ratcheting straps are two-part assemblies with a hook at each end and a lever in the middle. Hooks fit over bed tiedowns and cranking on the lever pulls the strap tight. When shopping for ratcheting straps remember to consider length and strength. (The maximum load you can safely put on a strap is roughly 1/3rd of the breaking strength.)

Make your truck work harder this Christmas

You bought a truck expecting it to work hard for you—even if only on the weekend.

However, some truck owners find it hard to use all that space effectively. The answer is to fit the bed out with a range of accessories that will resist damage and hold your stuff securely.

Search for them online if you like, or come down to Budds’ and we’ll explain which are the most useful and how to put them to work…

And we might even give you tips on how to make sure they end up in your stocking.