Quite recently we looked at 5 definite advantages of the soft tonneau. We mentioned, however, in that same article, that we’re basically the one-eyed arms dealers here, and that we willingly supply both sides of the eternal Hard vs. Soft Tonneau Wars. So now it’s time to give the hard folding tonneau people a shot. And as the perfect platform, we’ve chosen Extang’s Solid Fold and Encore hard folding tonneaus. This will be infinitely more helpful than other tonneau cover reviews. Here are five practical advantages.
Soft tonneaus are made of tough stuff, but most objects not allowed on airplanes could get through them without too much trouble. Extang’s solid fold tonneaus are made of things a little more difficult to get through with a pair of nail clippers. The Solid Fold is crafted of aircraft-grade aluminum, which probably means it’s resistant to high-speed seagulls or something. And the Encore is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which would be unpleasant for any T-Rex to chew through, though we’ve yet been unable to adequately test this.
2. Impervious to the Elements
Unlike soft tonneaus, a quality hard folding tonneau cover won’t stretch and contract with the weather, which means it will never sag or flap around in the breeze. And Extang Tonneau recently reinvented their sealing system, creating the all new WeatherTuff seals, which keep rain water and mud out of your bed. The Solid Fold and Encore also shrug off large hail and small meteorites that might damage soft tonneaus.
You don’t have to worry about whether or not the edges of your solid fold are snapped down, because the whole thing is held in place with just four clamps. The front clamps hand-tighten down with simple knobs, and the rear clamps are spring loaded and tuck away into the tonneau’s rails when not in use. No tools. Yeah, leave that tool box be, son. You won’t have to drill anything or stick anything on or any of that business.
4. Gets Out of the Way
Remember a few pixels ago when we were discussing those four clamps holding down your tonneau? Those make a hard folder extremely practical for your everyday life. The trouble with one-piece hard tonneaus is that they deal quite a blow to your truck’s versatility. Say you’re riding around and someone has put a 9 foot statue of Steve Rodgers, Captain America himself, on the corner. To be picked up by some garbage truck. Nevermind that it’s bolted down. You can deal with that anomaly in a moment. What about your tonneau? You can’t just take it off and set it down, and you can’t fit Cap in the little of your truck bed you’re now afforded.
With a tri-fold solid tonneau, you can fold one or two panels out of the way, or you can just pull all four clamps, fold it flat, and stick it next to Steve’s giant, spangled feet in the bed of your truck.
5. Allows for Unique Rear Window Zombie Escape
You’ve all been in this situation: You’re cruising through a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested wasteland when your truck runs out of fuel, the very fuel you’ve been searching to replenish for the last three days, and of course you’re surrounded. Bother. Worse yet, your windshield is gone, and the chicken wire someone wood-screwed to the interior plastic on the A-pillars isn’t going to last long against the reanimated corpses piled up against it, arguing over who gets which of your brain lobes.
Normally you’d be doomed. But just before you pull out that one bullet you saved just in case, you remember that you have an Extang Encore, and if you crawl out your truck’s back window, you can open the front panel of the tonneau (using your ignition key, even, for added fallout-world convenience), and slip inside, latching it behind you. You’re safe and surrounded by your ammo cache until your dead hunters give up or are taken out by your friends in the plow truck you should have been driving all along.
Some have suggested just standing on your roof and fighting instead, but you never know where zombie Gheorghe Mureșan is stumping around. (Actually, we’re not sure anybody knows where Gheorghe is after My Giant.) We’re just kidding. Ol’ Gheorghe would never get bit. But you’re going to get tired hacking away at all those cold, dry arms, so just slip under the tonneau. You can grab a nap.
Now you’re armed with 5 extremely practical advantages of the Extang Solid Fold and Encore tonneaus. Your move, soft tonneau guys.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.