Posted: January 16, 2017
Top Three Features Off-Road Truck Owners Want On Their Vehicle's BedBy Dan Sanchez
To get a piece of the growing off-road truck owner customer base, retailers need to understand they need many of the same products that are already on your shelves. As off-road enthusiasts, however, they differ from other customers in that they need products like tonneau covers, that can handle the abuse of vibrations and punishment that they encounter driving over rough road and trail.
While many off-road truck owners prefer to carry their gear in the truck bed, retailers and manufacturers have found they look for three main features in tough tonneau covers. Overall, they want something strong, secure, and adaptable.
With valuable gear under the tonneau cover, many retailers and tonneau manufacturers claim that the most popular tonneaus for these customers are roll-up style covers. “We find customers who go off-road are looking for products that perform and last in more extreme and demanding environments,” said Charly Henley, director of sales at BAK. “Products like the new BAKFlip MX4 was actually designed for off-roaders and performs best off-highway. It’s made from a premium density core that is capable of carrying up to 400-lbs. of distributed weight. This makes it strong enough to sit on when you’re looking for a place to rest with a view. In addition, it allows the truck owner to fit everything in the bed by instantly folding open and popping up and out of the way, allowing 100 percent access to the bed space.”
Some roll-up covers can also integrate cargo racks, allowing off-road enthusiasts to carry extra gear on the tonneau, or other outdoor gear like bike racks and kayaks. For example, the American Rack System on Truck Covers USA’s roll cover allows truck owners to add a Yakima rack, including a cargo carrier. “This combination of products has grown tremendously over the years and the Truck Covers USA brand is seen on trails everywhere now, said company CEO Nils Forssman. “Carrying canoes, kayaks and other equipment that requires a cab-high rack is now an option. It is easy to assemble or take down and can carry equipment up to 500 lbs.”
Other tonneau manufacturers including PaceEdwards, also found that by adding a rack system that doesn’t interfere with the operation of a roll-up tonneau cover are preferred by off-road truck enthusiasts. The company's new UltraGroove and UltraGroove metal rack, for example, allows a simple and convenient way to install a Thule® or Yakima® rack onto the tonneau cover. “The UltraGroove tonneaus are great looking and very functional,” states Eric Mitchell, sales and business development manager, Pace Edwards. “Truck owners who need the extra hauling capacity that racks provide are going to want something like UltraGroove or UltraGroove Metal.”
With more customer diversity, retailers need to think about how they can attract the various types of truck owners out there. In the off-road market, many tonneau manufacturers say it’s simply a matter of knowing the product lines and matching them with the features they’re looking for to make the sale.