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Trick Your Truck | Winter 2007 Out Here Magazine

From tool boxes to bed caps, the right accessories can make your truck work for you.

Make your pickup work for you with the right accessories

By Teresa Odle

Photos courtesy of
Delta Consolidated Industries

Your pickup is a source of pride on a cool late fall morning as you throw the posthole digger, fencing pliers, gloves, and a hammer in the bed on your way out to mend a fence. Most of all, it's a workhorse. Make it work effectively for you with just the right accessories.

Today, there's virtually no end to the practical — and fun — accessories you can add to your truck.

"Whether it's for work, play, or image, there are more than 500 unique aftermarket accessories for pickup trucks," says Dave Herrmeyer, founding publisher and editor of Trucking Times Work, Play & SUV. "Each fills a special need and is available in a variety of materials."

Industry data put the trailer hitch as top seller. But if you combine popular spray-on bed liners, brush-on, and traditional drop-in styles, bed liners really rule.

"If you add bed mats, there's no question that bed protection ranks highest," Herrmeyer says.

Options are numerous, depending on how much protection you need, how important a non-skid surface is, and cost. "The drop-in style remains standard because of the price advantage," Herrmeyer says. Add a tailgate protector for many models.

If you use your pickup for lots of heavy objects, consider bed caps. They run along the rails and top of the tailgate. Some can be painted; and good ones shouldn't affect the fit of your tonneau, or bed cover.

Even a non-skid surface won't keep smaller tools from sliding around, so every working pickup needs a quality toolbox.

Most truck owners buy the standard crossover boxes, but not necessarily in the traditional aluminum tread plate design, says Julius Boyd, director of strategic accounts for Delta Consolidated Industries in Jackson, TN.

"You can get toolboxes in plain white, black, or silver tread plate. Now, they're aesthetically pleasing and also very functional," Boyd says. Whether you choose the basic crossover or premium models that feature dividers and better weatherproofing, Boyd recommends doing some homework up front. You'll need to know your pickup's make, model, and year to determine all the options available.

Some toolboxes work on rollers so you can pull them to the back of the truck; others open to the side, Herrmeyer says.

For items you can't fit in your toolbox, cargo anchors have moved way beyond the bungee cord.

"Some have rails that mount on the bed rail with sliding hooks to adjust for position," Herrmeyer says. "One product acts like an easily movable tailgate that can trap stuff in the front of the bed or in the back against the tailgate."

Winches, running boards, ladder racks, ATV loading ramps, flow-through tailgates, brush guards, and tail light protectors all add to your truck's workability — and they save money and time down the road.

Teresa Odle is a freelance writer in Albuquerque, NM.