I Have An Idea That Will Revolutionize Pickup Truck Bedliners And Tonneau Covers


Are you sitting down? You should be sitting down. I don’t care how much you paid for that standing desk, go drag a chair or beanbag over and get your ass in there, because I’m about to knock you on it, and I don’t want any of those precious asses damaged as a result. The world of truck bedliners and bed tonneau covers is a pretty stagnant one, and one that has been begging for innovation, whether anyone realized it or not. Or even wanted it. But I have an idea, and I’m going to tell only you about it, because, let’s be honest here, you’re the only one I trust.

Okay, so here’s the deal: trucks, by their very nature, need to be flexible tools, adaptable to whatever job you need it to do right then. Sometimes you may want your truck’s bed to be a fully-enclosed colossal trunk, a giant vault able to protect whatever you’ve got stashed in there. Other times you may want that bed open, with good protection below, as you shovel in gravel or clam shells or construction waste or whatever. Sometimes you may need a combination of the two!

Current bedliner and bed or tonneau cover solutions don’t really have this kind of flexibility. There are some interesting solutions, like bed covers that are segmented, and can slide across the top of the bed to cover more or less of the open area, like this one:


Those are okay, sure, but I think we can take the segmented bed cover concept and push it further, do it better. The key is the way those covers can slide: instead of horizontal, what if they were vertical? Picture this: a bed cover solution made of a series of tough, rigid panels that were set into vertical tracks down the inner bedsides of the truck, and those panels could be moved up and down, and could be locked into some number of positions on that vertical axis. At their extreme positions, they’d form either a hard bed cover or a rugged bedliner as you can see here:


But, what would make this a really interesting solution is that each panel can be moved on that vertical axis independently! This means you could divide the bed in all sorts of ways; maybe the panels could pivot to be able to be locked into a vertical position to create a lockable toolbox for part of the bed, too!

Bedlinertonneauidea Anim1

See what I’m getting at here? These panels could be moved manually, with some sort of spring-loaded locking pin mechanism, like what is used in lots of adjustable shelving solutions, perhaps each could have a key-lock that could be turned to release all four pins at once. If you really wanted to get fancy, each of those panels could be motorized on their tracks, and, hell, it could even be controlled from a phone app or something. Go nuts, why not? The point is this could be done on the cheap, with manually-repositionable panels, or you can go all out and motorize them.

For example, with the panels set halfway, people like gardeners could have a lower bay for their tools and equipment, and the top could be used to load in yard wastes or whatever:


…or the bed could have the front panels lowered, and the rear raised, so you have a side-loadable stuff area and an enclosed area accessible via the tailgate. Whatever you want! The possibilities are limitless, provided your idea of limitless is achievable via rectangular panels in a pickup bed.

Now, we’d need to take some considerations, like the panel by the wheel wells would likely need some sort of hinged side sections to clear the wells when in the lowest position:


But I don’t think that’s a big deal. The areas between the panels should also have some sort of rugged rubber weatherstripping so it forms a weather-tight seal. Ideally, these rubber parts should be as easily replaceable as windshield wiper blades. Hm could you actually use wiper blades for something like this? Whatever sort of weather sealing solution is arrived at, it would need to allow for adjacent panels to travel up or down next to it.

So what do we think? To me, this seems like a relatively simple and flexible way to adapt how a truck bed can be used, and I don’t see any reason why it couldn’t be adapted to pretty much anything that has a roughly rectangular bed.

Have suggestions? Want to remind me what an absurd fool I am? Threats from Big Bedliner or Big Tonneau? Let’s hear it in the comments!

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44 Responses

  1. Hopefully you fire these things off to a patent attorney to make an application simultaneous with the post on the site. Maybe you should just have that automated in the CMS.

  2. Ok, but… Once you’ve placed something in the bed, the panel is now stuck in whatever state it’s in. The entire point of the dang cover is that you can open and close it with stuff in the bed.

  3. I like the idea, but have the following concerns:

    1. Deformation of the panels – after some use, these panels will likely deform, making it a pain to line anything up and reconfigure them.

    2. Appearance – Again, after use, these will get scratched and look like shit as a tonneau cover. I suppose you could reverse them for that purpose, but people are lazy.

    Now, if you just stuck with segmenting the bed in useful ways (mainly slotting them in vertically), a custom set of inserts with multiple configurations would be really cool. This is accomplished with 2X4’s today, but in a limited capacity. Although, someone has likely thought of this already. Anyway, keep that little hamster wheel spinning. You may just hit gold one of these days!

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