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Let's Talk Retractable Bed Covers


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My truck has the short bed. It also has the GM sport bar. I've been running the Rough Country hard trifold tonneau since I bought the truck. It works great! There's nothing wrong with it. As several ex-girlfriends have told me, "It's not you. It's me." That really is the case in this situation.

 

I wrote the book on social distancing before COVID ever became a thing. At my kids baseball practices and games I prefer to sit in the bed of my truck in a lawn chair and watch everything. I hate being around others. Problem is, I'm in Kommiefornia, and social distancing is still required. This means my wife now wants to sit in the back of the truck. She said it's the best seat at the game. However, with the sport bar the trifold cover I currently have only allows the first part of the cover to be opened. I'm now thinking about a retractable cover.

 

I've been looking at the various retractable covers, such as Embark Max by Advantage and the retractable cover by Roll-n-Lock. I'm curious what has and hasn't worked for others in the past and present? I'm considering power open/close models, but if they are a PITA to maintain functionality then i don't mind going with manual operation. The sport bar mounting flanges take up almost the entire width of the top plastic cover of the bed walls, so the tonneau cover weather gasket overlap is very important.

 

If everybody could share their opinions, experiences, thoughts, etc it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

 

 

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I have a RETRAX and really like it.  I do not like the room it takes up at the front of the bed next to the cab but I understand that is the trade off for a roll up cover, it has to go somewhere.  I think roll-n-lock may not be as deep for the cover storage but I have no issues with the RETRAX.  I have the polycarbonate model, not the aluminum.  I have no issues with leaks.  If it comes a really hard rain I get a slight leak on the edges where the cover meets the tailgate.  It's very minimal I would not have an issue putting luggage back there during a hard rain.  We don't get much snow in SC so I can not attest for standing snow.  I think you will be happy with either the RETRAX or Roll-n-Lock compared to what you have.  You get a lot me versatility due to being able to lock the cover anywhere during the travel of retracting.

Edited by Rackumrack
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I have a RETRAX and really like it.  I do not like the room it takes up at the front of the bed next to the cab but I understand that is the trade off for a roll up cover, it has to go somewhere.  I think roll-n-lock may not be as deep for the cover storage but I have no issues with the RETRAX.  I have the polycarbonate model, not the aluminum.  I have no issues with leaks.  If it comes a really hard rain I get a slight leak on the edges where the cover meets the tailgate.  It's very minimal I would not have an issue putting luggage back there during a hard rain.  We don't get much snow in SC so I can not attest for standing snow.  I think you will be happy with either the RETRAX or Roll-n-Lock compared to what you have.  You get a lot me versatility due to being able to lock the cover anywhere during the travel of retracting.
Thanks for the reply. I'm not concerned about the space the canister takes up at the front of the bed. With the sport bar that space is pretty much useless anyways. Can't sit in a camping chair all the way back there due to head clearance and the side panels making it impossible to see.

As for snow, that's not currently an issue due to living in San Diego, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't throw caution to the wind. I (meaning my wife) have been stationed in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, VA throughout her career. I'm also from Salt Lake City. Therefore, snow is a reality later on down the road. The Roll-n-Lock is advertising a 500 lbs weight limit on top. I'll look more closely at the Retrax. One thing I'm leaning towards right now is mounting a rooftop tent on top of the tonneau cover via the Thule crossrails. With the ability to pack food, bedding, campfire supplies, and maybe an outdoor shower in the bed of the truck, I can make the Trail Boss a solid camping option. My neighbor has been asking me to go to Superstition Mountain with his family on an almost weekly basis (when his Custom TB isn't in the shop).

I'll take a look at Retrax and see what they are offering.

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I'm on my second RetraxONE MX.   https://retrax.com/retraxone-mx

GM decided to change the standard box size between '18 HD and '21 LD or I would've transferred the first one to this truck. 

 

MX is the manually operated one, with poly slats.  I figured if there is a scratch if wont' as easy as the coated aluminum slats. Of course it's also cheaper. 

Not sure how it would fit around a sport bar.

 

I find walking beside the truck pulling/pushing the latch handle makes for easier opening than trying to fold the panels on a folding one I had on 15 thru 18 standard bed trucks. 

Also nice that it will retract without opening the tailgate, and tailgate will open without opening the cover.

It doesn't matter which is closed first. The folding one I had it was necessary to have the last fold lifted when closing the tailgate, and the tailgate had to be open to unlatch the cover for folding. 

It has a key lock in the latch.

Edited by redwngr
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I've been doing a lot of research on which way to go with this  Every option has its pros and cons.  I was about to pull the trigger on a powerfold one that has the side rails for the Thule crossbars so I could install a roof mount tent over the bed.  But, when I did the math and then the measurements to see if it would work, it turned out it won't, so anything with the side rails for the crossbars is out.  Besides, I probably would've had to modify the side rails to make it work with the sport bar.  I was prepared to do that. 

 

Then, I started looking at the manually operated Retrax MX, but after measuring the side of the sport bar where it mounts to the bedside, I determined that wouldn't be a good idea either.  The sport bar is almost 4 feet long.  Even though the canister for the Retrax is about a foot forward from the front of the bed, it's still not close enough to reach around the sport bar and grab it to close.  This brings up the curiosity of modifying it, ie, could I mount one end of a strap to the end of the Retrax MX so I could pull it closed from the back of the truck, with the tailgate closed of course?

 

If easily installing a strap isn't viable, there is the remote operated power open/close version.  I'm confident I could handle the install.  Seems a lot easier than installing the upfitter switches.  I hate to spend $700 more for the powered version, but it seems like this may be the required direction to go.  I'll either use double-sided tape to mount one of the fobs onto the sidewall of the truck bed, are eliminate the remote signal receiver and mount switches inside the cab and inside the truck bed.

 

What are your thoughts on what I should do here?

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With the sport bar being an issue I would opt for the power.  I just saw how the sports bar is made and it would pose quiet difficult to reach around and grab the manual handle with the height of the truck, unless you are 8' 6"! 😅 I will look when I get home to see if there is a  location to attach a lead to pull the Retrax shut unless someone can chime in before then.  I think you will be very happy with the cover.

Edited by Rackumrack
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I have the Roll-n-Lock M-Series on my 2020 TrailBoss. Love the looks and the canister box isn't too bad. I can still fit crap underneath it and bikes and such haven't been a problem when throwing them in my bed. Only thing I've had an issue with is the latch that locks it into place sometimes unlatches itself. It's like the locking bar gets wiggled loose by bumps and stuff on the road and it unlatches and rolls up to the next stop. Personally I think it's an installation issue as I had it installed by the dealer. I tried adjusting it but couldn't really change much. It doesn't happen much now, but I find myself constantly looking back to see if it's unlatched itself. Kind of annoying and it was a bit pricey. I probably would have been good with the ole folding tonneau covers I've used in the past.

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I found a local authorized dealer for both Retrax and Roll-n-Lock.  Looking at their website they have a Retrax on display.  Hopefully the same can be said for the other brand.  My schedule is busy, and I'm trying to find an opportunity to go to the dealer and see what they have.  Leaning towards a powered Retrax with the poly finish. 

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I have the retrax and a roof top tent and freaking love it! So much so that I created an account just to reply to you! Here is my current setup...

 

swiilnjb49n61.jpg?width=1334&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=63462a26f2b0ca5318f145463a775dfb3e5dd684

 

Parts list:

  • Retrax MX Pro Aluminum bed cover
  • 60" Yakima HD Crossbars and towers
  • Roofnest Falcon XL

The wife and I are avid outdoors people. We bike, hike, camp, climb, and paddle board. My old GMC tri-fold cover and tent were both destroyed in a 50+ MPH sand storm that turned into a snow storm last year in Colorado. So I took the opportunity to upgrade. My only regret is not doing it sooner. The cover is amazing. It takes up a little space at the front but its not bad. It's not 100% water and dust tight but its still better than the old trifold. The cross bars are super solid and silent. And the tent is the best part. It's super comfy, very easy to setup\breakdown, gives us a ton of room back in the bed, and only costs about 1/2 a mpg when its on the truck. Only down sides are you can't keep bedding in that particular tent and having 200lbs up that high does mess with the trucks COG. I HIGHLY recommend going this route if you're into camping.

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Forgot to mention, the ONLY down sides to the cover are you have to drill small holes in the front of the bed for the drains and the lock core for the bed cover is not compatible with Yakima's SKS cores. I reached out to Retrax and they confirmed it.

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On 4/29/2021 at 6:19 AM, Charles Eline said:

I have the retrax and a roof top tent and freaking love it! So much so that I created an account just to reply to you! Here is my current setup...

 

swiilnjb49n61.jpg?width=1334&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=63462a26f2b0ca5318f145463a775dfb3e5dd684

 

Parts list:

  • Retrax MX Pro Aluminum bed cover
  • 60" Yakima HD Crossbars and towers
  • Roofnest Falcon XL

The wife and I are avid outdoors people. We bike, hike, camp, climb, and paddle board. My old GMC tri-fold cover and tent were both destroyed in a 50+ MPH sand storm that turned into a snow storm last year in Colorado. So I took the opportunity to upgrade. My only regret is not doing it sooner. The cover is amazing. It takes up a little space at the front but its not bad. It's not 100% water and dust tight but its still better than the old trifold. The cross bars are super solid and silent. And the tent is the best part. It's super comfy, very easy to setup\breakdown, gives us a ton of room back in the bed, and only costs about 1/2 a mpg when its on the truck. Only down sides are you can't keep bedding in that particular tent and having 200lbs up that high does mess with the trucks COG. I HIGHLY recommend going this route if you're into camping.

Charles, thank you for posting up.  I went to the local Retrax dealer I mentioned previously to take a look at the Retrax covers.  They believe there is going to be an issue with the setup I'm considering due to the sport bar I have, and want to keep.  They are investigating whether or not a modification would work.  For the time, I'll standby.  Do you have any pics of the Retrax along the bed rails?  That's where all the concern is right now. 

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On 4/26/2021 at 1:00 PM, BossTaco2020 said:

I have the Roll-n-Lock M-Series on my 2020 TrailBoss. Love the looks and the canister box isn't too bad. I can still fit crap underneath it and bikes and such haven't been a problem when throwing them in my bed. Only thing I've had an issue with is the latch that locks it into place sometimes unlatches itself. It's like the locking bar gets wiggled loose by bumps and stuff on the road and it unlatches and rolls up to the next stop. Personally I think it's an installation issue as I had it installed by the dealer. I tried adjusting it but couldn't really change much. It doesn't happen much now, but I find myself constantly looking back to see if it's unlatched itself. Kind of annoying and it was a bit pricey. I probably would have been good with the ole folding tonneau covers I've used in the past.

I was able to look up the install instructions for the Roll-n-Lock.  It's a no-go, unless my is incorrect.  Installation requires use of the hole in the bed wall fitfully under the front stake pocket that has the round plug in it.  The sportbar from GM Accessories that I have on my truck already occupies that space.  I do not see a way that both the sportbar and tonneau cover canister can use that space together. 

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On 4/23/2021 at 6:13 AM, Transient said:

 

My truck has the short bed. It also has the GM sport bar. I've been running the Rough Country hard trifold tonneau since I bought the truck. It works great! There's nothing wrong with it. As several ex-girlfriends have told me, "It's not you. It's me." That really is the case in this situation.

 

I wrote the book on social distancing before COVID ever became a thing. At my kids baseball practices and games I prefer to sit in the bed of my truck in a lawn chair and watch everything. I hate being around others. Problem is, I'm in Kommiefornia, and social distancing is still required. This means my wife now wants to sit in the back of the truck. She said it's the best seat at the game. However, with the sport bar the trifold cover I currently have only allows the first part of the cover to be opened. I'm now thinking about a retractable cover.

 

I've been looking at the various retractable covers, such as Embark Max by Advantage and the retractable cover by Roll-n-Lock. I'm curious what has and hasn't worked for others in the past and present? I'm considering power open/close models, but if they are a PITA to maintain functionality then i don't mind going with manual operation. The sport bar mounting flanges take up almost the entire width of the top plastic cover of the bed walls, so the tonneau cover weather gasket overlap is very important.

 

If everybody could share their opinions, experiences, thoughts, etc it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

 

 

 

Our Sierra came with a Truxedo roll up cover.  Been on for about ten years and still looks great and doesn't leak.  It's the Lo Pro model I believe.

 

 

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18 hours ago, swathdiver said:

Our Sierra came with a Truxedo roll up cover.  Been on for about ten years and still looks great and doesn't leak.  It's the Lo Pro model I believe.

 

 

Thanks, but I have my concerns about those types of covers.  Particularly security.  I'll often have firearms and ammo in the back of truck, in addition to the half dozen that are already in the cab.

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