What is the Best Tonneau Cover for Keeping Water Out?


No matter what season you’re heading into, there is always a need to keep the back of your truck covered so that whatever you store there is kept safe. Water is essential for your health, but your tools and all your gear in the back of your truck? Eh, not so much. If you need to keep your stuff out of the elements, then a well sealing truck bed cover is just what the doctor ordered. Not only will a good tonneau cover keep your gear dry and out of the weather, but it will keep your stuff away from prying eyes as well. For water protection, look for the best tonneau cover for wet weather conditions. Here are a few things you should know about choosing a good cover for keeping water out.

Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof?

Soft tonneau covers aren’t technically waterproof, though they can be water-resistant. For this reason, it’s generally best to go with hard covers if you need things in the back of your truck to stay completely dry. Hard waterproof tonneau covers physically block the water out instead of repelling it the way soft covers do. But if you can’t afford a hard cover, you should know that soft covers are pretty reliable as well. They just may not be completely waterproof.

Hard vs. Soft Tonneau Covers

We already talked about how hard tonneau covers tend to be better at blocking out water. But that’s not the only way soft and hard covers differ from each other. Soft covers such as those made from vinyl do have their benefits. They are very lightweight and they’re generally easier to open than hard covers, which tend to be much heavier. Soft covers are also more affordable than hard weatherproof tonneau covers.

Top Tonneau Covers for Extreme Weather

Some of the best tonneau covers for extreme weather include tri-fold tonneau covers (which include drains and rails to divert water away from your gear), and hinged covers (which are exceptionally good at keeping water out of the bed).

How To Choose the Best Tonneau Cover for You

When choosing the right tonneau cover for your needs, keep a few things in mind. First, how much water protection do you really need? Second, how much can you afford to spend? Third, do you like the convenience of soft covers or the durability and reliability of hard covers? Now it’s time to choose a tonneau cover based on how you answer these questions.

It’s also good to establish who the big players are here, and who are the brands you can trust. TruXedo, Extang, BAK, and Truck Covers USA are a few notable examples that have all made a solid name for themselves in the tonneau cover industry. I’ll give you a little hint, though. At AutoAnything, we don’t do business with brands that put out sub-par products, and we have hundreds of thousands of product specific reviews to back that up.

Weatherproofing your truck bed:

One thing we need to tackle before we get into this list. No tonneau cover can completely seal off your bed, because your tailgate has gaps built into it from the factory in order to drain rain water. To fully weatherproof your truck bed, you’re going to need to invest in a tailgate seal in order to prevent water from getting in. Also, while the truck bed covers on this list will do an admirable job in keeping water out, some might require a little tweaking and finesse to get a reliable seal. Manufacturers such as BAK will include tips on how to get this done with the installation instructions. Such is the nature of the beast.

Vinyl Tonneau Covers:

I figured this was as good as any place to start, given that vinyl covers tend to be some of the most affordable options, and can be very effective at keeping the weather out (that title goes to hard shell hinged covers, check those out below). These are also usually the lightest weight covers, and are offered in folding, roll-up, or even hinged configurations depending on your needs. Using tough, marine grade, and UV treated tarp, a good soft vinyl tonneau cover will last at least as long as say, a Jeep or convertible top would.

TruXedo TruXport tonneau coverOne of the most popular soft folding covers on the market is the Extang Trifecta 2.0 Tonneau Cover. The Trifecta boasts three aluminum folding frame sections, which make it easy to access your tools, camping equipment, or whatever you haul around in your truck bed. It’s custom crafted for your specific year/make/model and installs in five minutes or less. Seriously, it’ll probably take you longer to unbox the thing than put it on the truck. When you need to get to your stuff, just open the tailgate and pop the latch for the cover to fold it back. Easy as can be.

If you really need to save a buck, though, you can’t go wrong with the TruXedo TruXport roll-up tonneau cover. Coming in at under $300 for most applications, this isn’t the cheapest tonneau cover in the world, but it is one the most well liked with 4,300 reviews averaging 4.5 stars. Hard to argue with those numbers, huh?

The handy thing with these roll-up tonneau covers is that you get full, uncompromised use of your bed when you need it. With the TruXport, all you need to do is roll it up towards the cab of the truck, peeling up the velcro as you go, and then it buckles into place, allowing you to haul whatever you need, and then rolls back into place in 30 seconds once you’re done.

Hard folding Tonneau Covers:

Here’s where we get into the real bread and butter of the industry. For instance, even though it’s no where near the cheapest truck bed cover we sell, the BAK MX4 is our best selling hard folding cover, and one of the top selling tonneau covers period. With tough aluminum panels, and a dense foam core, the MX4 gets the job done, and looks damn good in the process. Sitting flush with your bed rails, and folding up completely out of the way of the truck bed, the MX4 is inconspicuously secure when you need it to be, and out of the way when you need the extra room.

Extang Trifecta 2.0 Soft Folding Tonneau CoverOf course with all those hinges and different surfaces to seal, there are a lot more opportunities for water to get by the seals. That’s why those geniuses at BAK built in drains along the rails with drain tubes to allow the run off to drain away from your precious gear. This feature isn’t exclusive to BAK of course, they are just some of the best at nailing it. Oh, and did I mention that you can load up the cover with 400lbs of distributed weight? Beast.

Representing the cheaper side of the hard folding tonneau category is the American Tonneau Hard Tri-Fold. This one is unique in the fact that from the outside, it looks like any other classic style vinyl tonneau cover, but underneath that tough, marine grade vinyl is a hard ABS composite core for added security and puncture/cutting resistance. Besides the good looks, the added advantage of that vinyl top of the cover is that there are no exposed hinges along the top for moisture and dust to work its way through. This is a solid pick for someone who needs security and solid weather resistance on a budget.

Speaking of security, what allows hard folding tonneau covers to be so secure is that they lock with the tailgate, giving thieves no easy way in that doesn’t involve cutting with some serious power tools, or learning how to pick a lock. I wouldn’t be placing my money on the thieves in either case.

Hinged Tonneau Covers:

Ah, yes. If the name of the game is weather resistance, then a hinged tonneau cover is about as good as you’re going to get short of welding the damn thing shut. That’s a little impractical for my taste, which is why I would recommend something like the Undercover Elite LX instead. Due to the way these covers clamshell over the entire bed, they tend to provide the best weather protection around.

UnderCover Elite LX Tonneau CoverThe Elite is packed with features in a category where most of the options just have one function, and that’s it. My favorite thing here, which I’m surprised more companies haven’t done, is allow you to use your factory ignition key with the lock on the cover, so you only need to worry about one key for the entire truck. That along with getting it delivered factory paint matched to your truck makes this a top choice for the OEM+ look.

While traditionally constructed of fiberglass, hinged tonneau covers now come in a variety of new materials. Whether you want the classy look of fiberglass, the lightweight maneuverability of canvas and vinyl (shown) or the heavy-duty hauling capacity of aluminum, hinged truck bed covers have something for everyone.

Retractable Tonneau Covers:

When protecting your gear is equally as important as hauling flexibility, retractable tonneaus offer the ideal solution. They secure in multiple positions along your bed rails to make room for large cargo while still keeping smaller gear under cover. From completely closed to open, you can retract your cover in seconds to suit any situation.

Roll-N-Lock E-Series Retractable Tonneau CoverThe flush design of retractable covers allows them to boast the lowest profile of any tonneau type. Not only does the sleek style of a retractable cover add a nice touch to your exterior, while remaining as tough as anything out there. While these do take up a little bit of bed space with the canister that the cover rolls up into, it’s a worthy trade-off for the security and convenience — especially with the power retractable options.

Oh, and about that weather resistance. Covers like the Pace Edwards JackRabbit and the ProZ UltraTrack feature integrated channels and drain tubes to clear runoff and get that water away from your gear

Getting Maximum Protection

DiamondBack HD Truck Bed Cover

Staying Completely Dry

Undercover Elite LX Ford F-150 Red

Product Comparison

TonnoPro Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover TruXedo TruXport Roll-Up Tonneau Cover Extang Trifecta Folding Tonneau Cover American Tonneau Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
Sale Price From $279.95 From $302.40 From $395.10 From $274.75 /each

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Customer Rating


Ease of Installation



4.50 Average Customer Rating(1k+)

4.50 Average Customer Rating(1k+)

4.50 Average Customer Rating(1k+)

4.50 Average Customer Rating(95)
Average Install Time 5 to 10 minutes 20 to 30 Minutes 5 to 10 minutes
Frame Material Aluminum
Lock Type Non-Locking Non-Locking Non-Locking
Material Soft Vinyl Soft Vinyl Soft Vinyl Soft Vinyl
Opening Style Folding Roll-Up Folding Folding
Sealing Design Velcro Clamp Clamp
Tension Control System Manual dial adjustment
Warranty Lifetime Warranty 5-year warranty 10-year tarp/lifetime frame warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty



  1. I’ve read all the reviews but none give a percentage of being water tight. I understand they will not be completely water tight but which one does the best job. Also the hard covers, how easily removable are they?

  2. You made a good point that aside from being waterproof, ample protection should also be considered when it comes to getting truck bed covers. I’d like to know more about getting a new one because there are times when I think about traveling to the woods for some stargazing. Maybe I should start buying equipment in preparation for such a trip.


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