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Types of Hard Tonneau Covers

Hard tonneau covers, like their soft counterparts, come in various shapes and sizes. These different types of vehicle bed overlays have been designed and manufactured to cater for the various needs and applications of bakkie owners. As such, it’s always best to make your choice based on your daily, weekly or monthly requirements.

Hard overlays are usually made from aluminium, fibreglass or some kind of hardened PVC. They don’t tear; they provide added security and, because of their rigid structure, also provide more in terms of design options.

Hard vs. Soft… in South Africa

These overlays protect the bed of the vehicle from wind, from excess water and from flying debris. It also shields the content of the bed from curious eyes, thereby adding to the security of the bakkie’s load.

Soft overlays are made from PVC, are easy to manipulate once installed and are easy and relatively affordable to replace. Their hard counterparts offer slightly more mechanised convenience since operation without any (hydraulic) assistance could prove troublesome due to its weight. It is also possible to lock some of the hard cover types, effectively turning it into a boot.

However choosing between the two should be a choice carefully made: soft designs are plentiful and attract little attention. They are also prevalent for a very specific reason: they don’t require drilling of the bakkie’s body, and can be controlled more easily in windy conditions than their hard counterparts. The latter, although very convenient, come with a pretty hefty price tag, and will need some form of maintenance after a few years’ of use.

Nevertheless, we’ve inspected a few hard cover types, and happily list our favourites here:

Hinged

Think of the boot of a hatchback – how it opens and closes with the aid of hydraulics. Hinged designs open and close in much the same fashion; they lift from the back toward the front. These are often lockable and offer easy access to the bed of the cab. Although predominantly preassembled and made from hard material, they are sometimes available in DIY formats, using a soft material.

Folding

Folding designs are usually made from segments of hard material. These are joined at their longest sides, allowing them to fold toward the front of the bakkie on top of one another. Control of the aperture size is the benefit this design brings to the party, making them slightly easier to handle than their hinged counterparts.

Retractable

One word sums these covers up quite nicely: smart. The cover slides toward the front of the vehicle, automatically rolling and storing itself in a container unit usually placed at the front of the bakkie’s bed (close to the cab). This design allows for more precise control of the aperture than its folding counterpart, and requires almost no effort to operate. Think of it as turning your bakkie’s bed into a giant drawer!

Although we stand by soft tonneau covers as the best option for South Africans, we’ll say again that, ultimately, the choice should be based on your requirements. This will ensure that you get your money’s worth, and that the design you choose provides you with some type of return on investment.



 







 
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