Thursday, May 17, 2018

Diamondback Truck Bed Cover Review

Securing your firearms while traveling can be a nerve racking thing.  All serious gun owners avoid calculating the total investment spent on their guns and accessories and will never tell their spouse what the actual value is.  On my last three pickup trucks I've used tonneau covers to secure my "items".  So on my latest truck, when it was time to select a bed cover I went with the Diamond Back cover over the traditional fiberglass covers I previously used.

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What immediately attracted me to the Diamondback cover was the rugged look and the ability to support a claimed 400 pounds.  This is a great feature for me, since we usually stand on the side beds of our trucks or tonneau covers to fill deer feeders on our Texas deer leases.  Standing on a color matched tonneau cover is not the best thing to do since the paint can be easily scratched and the weight of a full grown adult plus 50 pound bags of corn can damage the cover.

Constructed of diamond plate aluminum, the Diamondback can be purchased in either a glossy bare metal finish or a black spray on finish.  I selected the black finish since it goes better with my grey 2017 Toyota Tundra.  I was assured by the sales person on the phone that the spray on coating would hold up over time.  The coating is claimed to be the highest quality spray on coating you can get when it comes to spray in bed liner material.  I've seen so many truck beds with chalky bed liners degrading in the elements that I can only hope Diamondback is correct with this claim.  Only time will tell, and having mine for year now at the time I write this review, it shows no sign of degradation.

I selected the DiamondBackSE model due to the door panel configuration.  Other models like the 270 and 180 are geared more for tool boxes and I would mainly be hauling guns and ammo.  I passed on the HD (Heavy Duty) version of the cover since I would not need the extra strength and the additional $400 up-charge for the HD.

Being a dude, I still have a collection of tools that are used on a semi-regular basis but not for my occupation where half my truck is tools.  So I ordered the SIDE BOXES tool boxes for my bed cover.  The side boxes are small and mount up above the bed so they do not take up any floor space.  For me they provide the perfect amount of space for my tools and tie down straps.
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LED lighting, truck lights, tool box, bed cover, mounting, clamps
The cover went on very easy for one person.  The SE model is in 3 panels, two doors and one mid section that clamps to the bed rail of your truck.  The mid section is the only section that requires tools to install and remove.  The door panels come off easy and weigh around 40 pounds each.  Having the ability to remove the door panels is a huge plus for me.  When you need to haul something tall, they can be removed by just one person.  My last fiber glass cover required another adult to help and then the problem of storing the huge cover without scratching the paint was a problem.

Since the mid section is relatively permanent, I figured it would be a great place to mount some lighting.  These bed covers are really dark on those early morning hunts when you are trying to gear up before the sun rises.  I found some water proof LED light strips on the web that run on 12VDC and figured they would be perfect for the 12V electrical system on the truck.  Since my Tundra had bed lights already (I wanted more), it was easy to tap into the bed lighting wiring so the new LED strip lights come on at the same time.  Click HERE to see a link to the LED lighting I used. 

I installed the cover in the summer sun and had to use gloves to handle the metal panels.  The silver under side was impossible to touch with bare hands while adjusting the fit.  Once closed up, the summer heat and sun heated the contents of the bed as if it was in the cab of the truck.  As mentioned my last bed covers were fiber glass with carpet on the underside.  Over heating was not an issue with that design.

My other issue was the middle panel on the SE model that clamps to the side of your bed.  I must have over tightened the bolts since the two folding doors sit up at an angle and prove difficult to close and get a good water tight seal (see pics).  This must be a common theme since I see pretty much every other Diamond Back cover on the road looking the same.
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The locking rods have a plastic sleeve on the ends where they engage the under side of the truck bed.  In order to get the door panels to seal nicely, you have to get the end of these rods snug against the bed rail.  In my case the rubber sleeve slides off the rod just enough to not allow the door panel to open.  In some cases the rubber sleeve slide all the way off and would not stay on (see pics).  Getting these rods just right can be difficult.  Once they are adjusted you are good to go.  BUT once you put some weight on the bed cover, the door panels tend to flex some and cause the adjustment of those rods to change.  Not a super big deal since you can open the door panel and grab the corners and flex the panel back with your hands.
diamondback, bed cover, install, adjustment, assemble, truck bed
diamondback, bed cover, install, adjustment, assemble, truck bed

I tend to focus on the negative aspects as I see it since you assume the product marketing fanfare is all true.  With that said, I can stand on this cover with confidence knowing that I will not jack anything up.  Locking up my gear (mostly guns) in such a secure cover gives me piece of mind, knowing my weapons and gear are secure when I stop at that road side cafe after a day at the range.

Out of 5 stars I give it 4 just because of the negatives I mentioned above.  And as long as you can live with the negative points I mentioned, I think you will not be disappointed.  I would recommended this cover to others with my main complaint being the heating of the contents.  So far no ammo has cooked off in the Texas heat.

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