What is a Tonneau Cover?

Chances are, you sometimes need a cover across your bed to protect items you need to transport from one location to another. A common way to temporarily seal off your truck bed is to use something called a tonneau cover – a useful part with a funny name! A tonneau was a compartment on old cars for passengers to ride. The word comes from French and is often translated as “barrel”, the shape of many of the first tonneau compartments. You may sometimes see it misspelled as a “tonno cover”.

Undercover Flex Tonneau Covers

Tonneau covers are used to cover the seats in race cars and sports cars, but for our purposes we’re discussing the tonneau covers that are placed over a truck bed to protect any items being carried.

Tonneau covers come in hard and soft styles. Soft tonneau covers may be a roll-up style made of vinyl, usually with strong ribbing supports that keep the fabric taut. Others attached to the truck bed via snaps, but have lost popularity due to both the time necessary to secure the cover, and the need to permanently attach one half of the snap to the truck frame itself. In either case, the cover is opened or removed by rolling the fabric up starting at the end of the bed and rolling toward the truck cab.

A retractable tonneau cover is another soft option, and can be made of vinyl, plastic, or aluminum. It is attached to the front and sides of the bed, and is opened or removed in the same direction as a roll-up cover. It’s usually much easier to retract, however, and is often lockable.

Finally, tonneau covers are also available in hard materials such as hard plastic or fiberglass. They can be locked for added security, but typically require gas struts to open and close them, as the open upwards like a truck hood. Another option that we carry is the Undercover Flex Tonneau Cover line, which is a hard cover that can be opened or removed by hand, requires no drilling, and can be folded against the cab to easily transport items that don’t fit under the cover.

Click here to browse our selection of Undercover Flex tonneau covers, or click here to go to our main tonneau covers category.

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