How To Measure A Truck Bed For Tonneau Covers & Bed Caps

how to measure a truck bed

One of the best parts about owning a truck is having the ability to haul just about anything in the bed. However, most trucks come off the factory floor with no protection for the bed. As a result, many truck owners opt to find a bed liner, truck cap, or tonneau cover. In order to keep their cargo dry or protected. Before truck owners buy they need to know exactly what size bed they have. Which raises the question, of how to measure a truck bed for tonneau covers and bed caps. Instead of guessing, we’re here to help explain the best way to measure so you can order the correct cargo equipment.

Typical Truck Bed Sizes –

Truck manufacturers have created about 3-4 standard bed sizes that are based on the cab size. Depending on the truck manufacturer you will typically have a regular cab, extended cab, or crew cab. Each of these influence the size of the bed, as does the truck size. For example, a compact truck such as a Toyota Tacoma or a Ford Ranger will have different bed sizes then a Ford Super Duty or a Chevy 2500.

Typically, you’ll find that trucks tend to have a box size of 5.5′ – 8′. To confuse you even more, each truck may have another name for the truck bed size as well. For instance, a compact bed, short bed, long box, are all common terms used to describe a truck bed. As you can see it’s best to learn how to measure a truck bed in order to get the most accurate size for truck parts.

How To Measure A Truck Bed –

Length Dimension –

There are a few things to know before you measure your truck bed. Indicated on the image here are some terms to help you start your measurement process. Of course, if you own a truck you more than likely know what and where the tailgate is positioned. The other term is the bulkhead or the front of the box located near the read cab wall.

Between these two points is where you’re going to take a measurement to determine your box length. Most truck manufacturers in their specs & dimensions will have a measurement of their box sizes. However, taking an actual measurement is going to give you your most accurate dimensions.

how to measure a truck bed
how to measure a truck bed

Width Dimension –

There are two width dimensions to consider depending on the type of truck bed accessory you’re considering. Therefore, it’s best to understand and learn both methods. The first is the inside dimensions, which is common for Tonneau Covers. That said, the other is the outside dimensions if you’re considering a truck cap or hard tonneau cover cap.

Indicated on the image adjacent is where you will take the two different dimensions. Be careful to measure both the front and back of your truck bed as the bed rails can be different widths. As each manufacturer creates their boxes differently depending on aesthetics. Another thing to consider is step-side boxes. They are less common on newer models, but this is when the trucks wheel-wells are located on the outside of the box versus the inside.

How To Measure A Truck Bed Tutorial –

I myself am a more visual learner and sometimes it’s nice to see a video or tutorial. That said we have selected a great video to showcase exactly how to measure a truck bed. This is a pretty simple task so don’t over think the process and follow the easy instructions.

Current Truck Bed Sizes By Manufacture –

Ford Super Duty –

  • 6 3/4′
  • 8′

Ford F150 –

  • 5 1/2′
  • 6 1/2′
  • 8′

Ford Ranger –

  • 5′
  • 6′

Chevy & GMC HD –

  • 6 1/2′ (78.86″)
  • 8′ (97.76″)

Chevy & GMC 1500 –

  • 5 3/4′ (69.33″)
  • 6 1/2′ (78.86″)
  • 8′ (97.76″)

Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon-

  • 5′ (61.70″)
  • 6′ (74.00″)

Ram 2500 & 3500 –

  • 6′ 4″
  • 8′

Ram 1500 –

  • 5′ 7″
  • 6′ 4″

Nissan Titan –

  • 5 1/2′
  • 6 1/2′
  • 8′

Nissan Frontier –

  • 5′ (59.5″)
  • 6′ (73.3″)

Toyota Tundra –

  • 5 1/2′
  • 6 1/2′
  • 8′

Toyota Tacoma –

  • 5′
  • 6′

Common Truck Bed Accessories –

When it comes to owning trucks there are numerous truck accessories to customize and tailor them to your lifestyle or occupation. As a result, learning how to measure a truck bed is crucial to order the right parts for your truck. So now that you know how to measure a truck bed it’s time to select some new accessories to make your truck more usable. Listed below are the most common truck bed accessories for your truck.

Bedliners –

how to measure a truck bedA truck bedliner is one of the most common and most often bought items for trucks. The idea is to protect the inner-side of your truck from damage when sliding tools, wood, or cargo into your truck. Without a bedliner you stand to scratch your truck bed which can lead to rust and deterioration. That said, there are two kinds of bedliners, drop-in and spray-in. The most common and most affordable are drop-in bedliners. They are hard shells made of hard plastic that is form fit to your bed size and shape. These are extremely easy to clean and tend to hold up quite well to outside elements such as temperature, moisture, and UV-Rays.

A spray-in bedliner requires a bit more work and cost. As companies such as Line-X have to sand the interior of your truck bed for their chemical spray to stick. The benefit is you get a liner that is formed to your exact truck and water can’t sit underneath the liner.

Tonneau Covers –

The second most common truck bed cargo equipment are tonneau covers. Designed to keep your truck dry from snow, rain, dirt, and mud. They can help protect your cargo when driving as well as keep it protected and locked securely. With an abundant of different designs, there are endless choices to pick. Typically they are found in a thick canvas material, hard plastic shell or aluminum. The cost will depend on the style and material selected. A tonneau cover is one item that you will need to know how to measure a truck bed in order to get the correct size.

A tonneau cover tends to offer truck owners the most versatility. As they can be rolled up to accommodate tall cargo items or rolled down to keep contents dry and secure.

Side Rails –

how to measure a truck bedMost truck beds tend to have about four anchor points located in the corners of the truck bed. However, if you’re hauling a lot of cargo of various shapes you’ll find that four none-moveable anchor points aren’t adequate. Which is why truck side rails have become so popular. They provide a secure location for ratchet straps to attach too securing any size load nearly anywhere in your truck bed.

Bed Caps –

Another great truck bed accessory is a truck bed cap. These offer the most protection for outside elements as well as security. They are most commonly found made of fiberglass or aluminum. This keeps them very durable, lightweight, and with the ability to match your truck vehicle color.

Truck caps are designed to be attached to the truck bed’s side rails with clamps. This creates a security layer for any contents that are inside your box. As you can’t remove the clamps without getting access from the inside. As for the door that opens above the tailgate these are most often made to lock with a key or know days they can unlock with your wireless key fob as well.

Bed Caps are a great accessory, but they do prevent you from carrying tall items as they can be difficult to remove without a hoist or lift.

Ladder Racks –

One of the most common accessories for contractors and small business owners are ladder racks. They provide your truck with versatile racks to carry not just ladders but, pipe, wood, or any other type of oversized construction material. They can even provide the ability to carry a small recreational boat, canoe, or kayak. Ladder racks are typically made of aluminum or steel. Of course, steel will be less expensive, but they can rust over time if scratched. Therefore, most people tend to use aluminum racks to increase the life of their purchase.

Truck Bed Organizer –

Last, but not least are truck bed organizers. These are designed to allow you to not have to jump in-and-out of your truck bed to get tools, gear, or cargo. Instead, there is a bed that is on a draw system that rolls out from your truck giving you easy access to your cargo. These are great if you have a cap or tonneau cover as you don’t have to open your cover each time you need something. They can also keep your truck bed very organized if you carry tools or other construction equipment.

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