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Tool Box: Commercial Truck Shells, Custom Beds and Bodies Buyers' Guide

Turn Your Truck into a Utility Tool

Tori Tellem
Dec 30, 2009
“Like a Rock.” “Built Ford Tough.” “Ram Tough.” Even today, those old-school slogans sum up the brawny attitude and rugged dependability that draw people to pickups. These workhorses show up in all walks of life and in virtually every industry (and, if you have a friend who is moving, you know you’ll get a call). Not only are they durable, but the ways in which you can put the bed to use are practically endless—load it up, stack it full, haul around weekend toys, job-site tools, and said friend’s couch—you name it. But the bed can be easily transformed into something even more functional and more specialized, so we’ve rounded up commercial-grade shells, custom beds and bodies, and a few other clever gizmos to help you make that truck an all-in-one rolling assistant.
Xtreme Living
There’s a new truck body in town—the Xtreme Pro-Hauler from Alum-Line. It’s a hybrid of the ideal kind: hauler body mated to tons of storage space. Because it has a low profile, you can pull a fifth-wheel trailer or add other cargo to the bed. Louvers and lights in the bulkhead, a louvered tailgate, and a rear step bumper are standard equipment, and the body is made from heavy-gauge aluminum construction. It can fit any make or model of truck with up to a 26,000-pound GVW.

Alum-Line; 800/446-1407.
Photo 2/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide alumline Xtreme Prohauler
All Hands on TruckDeck
Probably the only curse of a truck bed is that you can get in a habit of tossing stuff in there haphazardly. And then of course you can’t find anything easily. What we like about the DAMAR TruckDeck system are the removable Load-N-Go containers, lockable hatches, and recessed CargoDeck surface that can support large materials and equipment. Two of the prepackaged configurations are the Standard and the Professional. The Standard is good for do-it-yourselfer everyday use, while the Professional is for the more serious usage of a pro.

DAMAR TruckDeck; 888/840-1801.
Photo 3/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide damar Truckdeck
Make Mine the Deluxe
The Deluxe Commercial Unit cap from A.R.E. will fit full-size and compact pickups, both domestic and import. It features a fully welded aluminum frame, with an exterior skin constructed from 0.035-inch aluminum. More than 100 options are available to tailor the DCU for how you use your truck—that includes picking the door and window configuration, as well as various add-ons such as tool boxes, ladder racks, interior fabric, and side panels. Customizing the DCU comes down to even the cap height, from 23 to 36 inches.

A.R.E.; 800/649-4ARE.
Photo 4/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide are Deluxe Commercial Unit
Fleeting Moment
DiamondBack’s Fleet package includes an SE cover, tool boxes, a shovel strap, and a range pole holder. The custom side tool boxes mount to the underside of the cover, and they’re unique in that they will allow you to store tools at the edge of the truck, right within reach. The tool boxes are sealed on top with the panels of the SE bedcover when closed. Several lengths are available: 24 inches for an 8-foot bed, 18 inches for a 6.5-foot bed, and 15-inch boxes for a 5.5-foot bed.

DiamondBack; 800/935-4002.
Photo 5/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide diamondback Fleet Package
Workmaster of Your Domain
The Workmaster cap from GemTop pretty much adds “workmaster” to your truck’s job description. Among the many ways to outfit it are options such as a single or double walk-in doors and a side-access tool box with trays or shelves. Standard stuff includes the half rear door (a safety tempered window is available) as well as continuous door hinges, paddle handles, rotary latches, and a third brakelight. GemTop’s steel caps have a welded and riveted construction method that is specially designed to flex as the bed does. It’ll fit both full-size and compact.

GemTop; 866/431-1131.
Photo 6/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide gemtop Workmaster
Pickup Pack
The brochure alleges: “This cutting-edge unit converts your pickup into a light- to medium-duty service body.” The unit is the Pickup Pack, and while the Surveyor is shown, the service-provider possibilities go way beyond that. There’s a crossbox in front and low-side boxes for storage, and there are lift-out trays in each box. When the weather-sealed hatchback is closed, it’ll lock the tailgate; open, you can access the entire bed. Beneath the hatchback is a full-length, 2000-pound-capacity sliding drawer so that you can pull out cargo or tools. Options include lumber racks and multiple box configurations.

Highway Products; 800/866-5269.
Photo 7/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide highway Products Pickup Pack
In Service
The Knapheide Service Body has quite a few useful features. Beyond its 14-gauge, two-sided A-40 galvanneal steel body shell and water-based undercoating are pry-proof stainless steel hinges, vertical doors, a horizontal door that functions as a workbench, and shelves rated at 250 pounds. You also get a slammable tailgate for one-handed duty and compartments for organization and security of tools and equipment. Options include ladder racks, pullout drawers, and receiver hitches. And you can choose from a range of sizes, from small for pickup-bed replacements to large custom bodies for tandem-axle medium-duty trucks.

The Knapheide Mfg. Co.; 217/223-1848.
Photo 8/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide knapheide Service Body
Cap it Off
LEER offers its DCC Series commercial truck cap in so many work-truck configurations—choose height, front, side, and rear options—it’s nearly impossible not to have it built exactly to your specifications. You can get standard Cab-High, the aerodynamic Wedge, or Hi-Rise (tons of interior room) models, with or without windows. While it has 0.030-inch-thick exterior aluminum skin, you can upgrade to 0.040-inch. Standard equipment includes the Super Cage roof, a heavy-duty TIG-welded frame, and an integrated LED third brakelight, while a headliner, interior rack, and 12-volt domelight are among the interior options.

Truck Accessories Group; 530/668-6951.
Photo 9/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide leer Dcc Series
To Service and Protect
Monroe Truck Equipment offers the MTE MSS II Service Body, which includes myriad standard features, such as a corrosion-resistant aluminum fuel fill cup and polycarbonate fender flares, automotive-style full stainless steel paddle handle latches, gas-prop door holders on all vertical doors to prevent them from being damaged, and an MSS “Pooched” bumper with an aggressive, raised tread—the perfect nonslip surface. The MTE Slam Latch tailgate helps to secure cargo quickly and easily.

Monroe Truck Equipment; 800/356-8134.
Photo 10/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide monroe Truck Equipment Mte Mss Ii Service Body
Utility Body
The Royal Truck Body Six+Plus service body is all about adding more functionality to your pickup. The 6-foot, 8-inch body boasts having a five-point locking system, gas shocks on vertical doors and open top lids, lock-in-place adjustable shelves, a self-supported locking tailgate, aluminum diamond plate on the top lids, and double panel doors among its standard features. Rust-free fender flares, portable and removable plastic trays, a stainless steel tailgate cap, and four flush-mount tie-downs in the bed area are also on the lengthy list of convenience items.

Royal Truck Body; 800/834-7692.
Photo 11/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide royal Truck Body Six Plus
Pro Cap
The SNUGpro line of fiberglass truck caps from SnugTop come in Cab-Hi or the more spacious Hi-Liner, and can be crafted to respond to all calls of duty. Standard are the flush-mount side doors with folding T-handles, a fixed front window or boot, a 12-volt interior light, an LED brakelight, and a quick-connect mounting system. And we haven’t even talked options yet. That’s everything from shelving to ways to configure the rear door and tailgate, as well as a heavy-duty Rack-It roof rack and a folding or sliding front window. And if you order that roof rack, the cap is reinforced to handle a 500-pound load on the roof.

SnugTop; 562/432-5454.
Photo 12/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide snugtop Snugpro
The Commercial Series Aluminum HDU from Swiss Caps provides numerous ways to customize your cap. You can pick cap height, roof style, color, door and window configurations, toolboxes and shelving, the type of ladder rack (basic to cab-over or commercial), and electrical options.

Swiss Caps; 800/232-2258.
Photo 13/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide swiss Caps Commercial Series Aluminum Hdu
You’re Covered
The Pro Series commercial truck cap features 0.040-inch metal, folding T-handle three-point locks, a sealed LED brakelight, gas-propped doors, a heavy-duty mounting rail and welded aluminum frame, and chrome hinges on the full back doors. Options include various heights, a front picture or sliding window, heavy-gauge, galvanized-steel tool boxes with shelves and trays, a choice of rear doors—lift-up, or single or double walk-in, for example—utility racks, and more.

Unicover; 800/753-2687.
Photo 14/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide unicover Pro Series
Raider of the Lost Cap
The RCC from Raider comes with a full roof cage, two additional support bows, tube and flange construction, and extra bracing in the corners. It features a stiff, square-tube aluminum frame and 0.030 aluminum sheeting, which translates to a secure enclosure. You can add the works—custom paint, tool boxes, full-size doors, racks, and much more. The RCC can fit a wide range of applications.
Photo 15/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide raider Rcc
Commercial Break
The DCU aluminum commercial cap line from Century aims to keep things economical, but what you can get for your cash will feel like you had a big budget. A 23-inch height, three-point locking system, gas-prop doors, welded framework, 0.080 base rails, and 0.030 heavy-duty smooth aluminum come standard, but you can take things up a notch by ordering 0.040 extra-heavy-duty smooth aluminum, a 29-inch height, a front sliding window, a brakelight, and a heavy-duty rack, among the available options. The DCU will fit many domestic and import pickups.
Photo 16/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide century Dcu
Long Bed
The AMP Research Bed X-Tender is one of those simple products that goes a long way—literally. It’s designed to extend the truck bed during those times you need just a bit more length, but don’t necessarily need all the nooks and crannies of a serious shell or custom body. The 6063 T6 aluminum tubes have glass-reinforced nylon composite uprights, and the entire unit weighs just 9 ½ pounds. The Bed X-Tender flips outward for the extra capacity with the tailgate down, but it’ll also prevent things from sliding if you flip it inward with the tailgate closed. The MSRP starts at around $268.

AMP Research; 888/983-2204.
Photo 17/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide amp Research Bed Xtender
It’s in the Vault
The All-Weather Extreme Series TruckVaults will haul and hide at once. The heavy-duty, armor-coated MDO construction allows a TruckVault to handle 2000 pounds of cargo on the surface, while at the same timehaving the ability to hide valuable goods. You can get one in standard height, or opt for the taller Magnum version. The TruckVault has folding T-handle compression latches, inner drawer face bulb sealing to keep things water-tight, heavy-duty drawer pulls, and inner carpeted dividers. The series are available for all pickup makes and models.

TruckVault; 800/967-8107.
Photo 18/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide truckvault Allweather Extreme Series
Craftsman Truck Box
Craftsman’s Roller Box systems make it easier to keep your tools organized while on the road. The system rolls to the tailgate when you need access to your tools and locks down behind the cab when not in use. Choose from several components to create your ideal toolbox. Items are diamond-plated and weather-sealed, and no drilling is required when installing the support rails. Systems are compatible with short, standard, and long beds.

Craftsman; 800/377-7414.
Photo 19/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide craftsman Roller Box
Loading Deck
Tuffy’s Full-Pull Load Deck acts as both a workbench and an easy way to retrieve objects from the bed. The load deck has a lightweight, aluminum frame with tie-down strap holes, and heavy-duty, 12-gauge steel slides with sealed stainless-steel roller bearings support the load deck. The design of the slide allows the deck to be pulled out all the way or just enough to reach what you want. There’s also a slide lock system to secure the load deck in place every 12 inches. And if you need to clean the bed or access a gooseneck hitch, the deck can be pulled out. It’s available in a 6- or 8-foot model.

Tuffy Security Products; 800/348-8339.
Photo 20/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide tuffy Fullpull Load Deck
Four Options From the Factory
While there are several aftermarket options that will turn your truck’s bed into a rolling workstation and tool box, we’ve been impressed by the increasing number of cool options that come from the factory. Here are four of our favorite pickup-truck storage solutions. — Allyson Harwood
Ford Mid-Box
While this isn’t offered on all Ford F-150s, it is one of the coolest factory bed solutions we’ve seen to date. The Mid-box is mounted between the cab and the pickup bed. It provides a lockable storage area with doors on both sides of the vehicle, where you can stow tools and valuables. Available with 145-inch-wheelbase regular cabs and 163-inch-wheelbase SuperCabs.
Photo 21/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide ford Midbox
Chevrolet/Cadillac Midgate
The Avalanche and Escalade EXT use a cargo bed that’s 5.25 feet long when the Midgate’s up. When it’s time to go to work, though, you can convert the relatively short bed into a long bed. Put down the Midgate, which separates the passenger area from the cargo area, and that bed expands to an 8.17-foot-long space for gear.
Photo 22/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide chevrolet Cadillac Midgate
Dodge RamBox
The new Ram’s cargo management system includes lockable, lit storage bins built into the bed rails. They are weatherproof and drainable. The RamBox system also comes with a bed extender and a cargo rail system. Available with Crew Cab Rams.
Photo 23/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide dodge Rambox
Honda In-Bed Trunk
The Ridgeline’s five-foot-long bed comes with eight tiedowns and four cargo-area lights. There’s also a hidden compartment below the bed—an in-bed trunk. This storage area can hold up to 8.5 cubic feet of gear. The tailgate also either hinges down or to the side, making it easier to access the trunk.
Photo 24/24   |   truck Shells Custom Beds And Bodies Buyers Guide honda In Bed Truck



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