Whether you’re an independent contractor or managing a national fleet, you likely consider a work truck as much a tool as a drill or jackhammer. And, like tools, a work truck should be outfitted specifically for its intended use. That’s why spec’ing the right cap is essential. But, with the myriad choices in covers and the mounting roster of available options on the market today, spec’ing the best truck cap for the job can be confusing.
To simplify the process, begin by considering everything the truck will be used for in a given week and leave no detail out. Will the truck bed need basic cargo protection, tool organization, improved security, increased space, or ventilation and light? Being specific about your needs is the best place to start when determining what cap and options are best to meet all your needs.
Then, consider the types of caps. Most trucks caps are made of aluminum or fiberglass, with aluminum being the lightest. Both materials are strong and durable and are available in a variety of designs for both personal and commercial uses.
According to Jose Reyna, A.R.E.’s national fleet and commercial sales manager, if a truck is used for multiple purposes, a fiberglass cap is the best choice. “Our fiberglass caps, specifically the ToolMaster and HD Series caps, will provide you with a clean look and finish, as well as offer toolboxes and roof racks for when you need them for the jobsite,” Reyna says.
The centerpiece of the rugged HD Series is an interior aluminum support framework that reinforces the sturdy fiberglass cap construction by routing all roof rack and toolbox weight to the bedrail of the pickup truck. This nearly triples load capacities, allowing a 550-lb capacity on the HD Series roof rack and 200 lbs in each toolbox. Optional heavy-duty side doors open easily to provide access to two steel toolbox inserts.
If strength is high on your list of needs, A.R.E. recommends its Diamond Edition Deluxe Commercial Unit, which is made of .063 diamond plate. The Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU) line also features products made of .035 aluminum, its most popular seller. “Our DCU is custom-made to turn any pickup into the perfect work truck,” says Reyna. “A.R.E.’s DCU is available in four height configurations—23 inches, 26 inches, 29 inches, and 36 inches—so professionals can carry all the necessary gear for the job, whether its drywall, tripods, or tile saws.”
An ISO-9001:2008-certified manufacturer of fiberglass truck caps and hard tonneau covers, A.R.E. has developed customized truck cap and tonneau cover solutions for nearly 50 years. Offering specialty design capabilities, A.R.E. delivers lightweight commercial products geared for the cargo carrying needs of a wide variety of industries and vehicles, including pickup trucks, flat-bed trucks, utility bodies, electric trucks, and even all-terrain vehicles for such brands as UTE beds, Kubota, and John Deere.
A.R.E. offers more than 200 different ways commercial users can customize their DCU truck cap to suit their specific needs. For example, several commercial-grade ladder rack options are available to outfit your cap for work duty. Optional add-ons include a quick clamp ladder lock attachment and a drop down ladder rack. Easy to assemble, ladder rack options can be fitted by an A.R.E. dealer or can be assembled and installed in only 45 minutes with common tools.
As for lighting, options include dome lights, rope lighting, and rear door lighting. These options can be mounted on various places within the cap to allow for illumination of the bed or the surrounding interior area of the cap. Exterior lighting options, including light bars, are available for up to 10 different locations on the outside of the truck cap. To further improve visibility for fleet drivers when operating in reverse, cameras built into the third brake light of the cap are gaining ground as they help improve safety numbers.
Another important consideration is security, especially if you have thousands of dollars invested in work equipment or outdoor gear. Various cap manufacturers offer different locks. The best are automotive quality and utilize the same lock cylinder style as vehicle manufacturers. Some caps also come with remote keyless entry systems.
To make the workday easier, consider including CargoGlide® bed units with extensions that range from 70 to 100 percent. Built with a strong steel frame and sturdy side-thrust roller bearings, CargoGlide units are constructed to last, especially in commercial applications, and can help prevent driver injury.
“CargoGlide makes tools and gear easily accessible, helping eliminate the scuffed knees and aching backs experienced by busy workers who unload their vehicles many times throughout the work day,” Reyna says. “Another benefit to fleet managers is the potential to reduce costs associated with injuries.”
Another option for commercial use is the Pickup Vault™, a heavy-duty, lockable two-drawer system that provides compartmentalized, secure storage in the truck bed. With its lockable carpeted compartments, the A.R.E. Pickup Vault provides an improved solution for safely transporting valuable equipment while keeping items organized and easily accessible.
Featured Image: A.R.E.’s HD Series allows a 550-lb capacity on roof racks and 200 lbs in each toolbox.
Above: Lighting options include dome lights, rope lighting, and rear door lighting.
CUSTOMIZATION YOUR WAY
With all these choices, how do you specify the right truck cap? A.R.E. offers an easy-to-use “Build Your Own” custom cap or cover feature on its website that enables you to completely customize and build out, step-by- step, the product that best suits your needs. The tool begins with inputting your location and the make and model of the vehicle for precision ordering. The tool then takes you through every detail of available options, enabling you to order a cap specifically for your needs. Once you’ve selected the cap you need, the build is sent to the local A.R.E. dealer of your choice and is priced, ordered, and installed through that dealer.
With more than 675 dealers across the US and Canada, there’s sure to be one near you. In addition, A.R.E. has an authorized commercial upfitter network that focuses solely on sales, installation, and service to qualifying major fleets across North America.
If you find you need assistance before you place an order for a cap, A.R.E. is poised to work closely with you to ensure you get a product that’s perfect for your needs. “Even a brief phone conversation about what you need from your cap or tonneau and truck helps us easily evaluate what our products can do to help,” Reyna says. “And, because of the custom nature of our aluminum commercial products, almost any need can be met.”
Something else to keep in mind is that whatever the decision—tonneau cover or truck cap—all are custom made to order and must be professionally installed. Most custom products can be delivered within two to four weeks—one of the best turn-around times in the industry.
Once you have your cap, maintaining it is easy. Be sure to periodically check the various components of the cap. Check out that the gas props are lifting the door correctly and inspect to determine whether the cap has shifted on the bed. Are the seals in good condition? All these are easy to remedy and can be noted as you use your cap more and more.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
A.R.E. Accessories, a Truck Hero, Inc. company, began manufacturing aluminum frame truck caps in 1969 and has become a leading manufacturer of fiberglass truck caps and hard tonneau covers. At its ISO 9001:2008-certified manufacturing facilities, A.R.E.’s 670 employees create the products that are sold through a network of more than 675 independent, authorized dealers. Find out more, call 844.411.3533 or visit www.4are.com/fleet.