According to Consumer Reports, pickups are becoming the new “family car.” The reason for this is that full-size pickups today have room for at least 5 adults and are more comfortable to drive. Families comprise 40 to 50 percent of full-size pickup truck sales today. This is a huge change from the past, when pickups were mostly bought by single males.
For new owners of pickups, it is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to some issues of using your new vehicle. One of the big issues is how to safely secure items in the truck bed. One does not want the groceries slamming around in the back of the truck on the way home from the store. The following are a few of the best ways to secure your load.
Cargo Nets for Lighter Loads
Cargo nets that are the right size can be great in securing a lighter load to the rear of the bed near the tailgate. That allows you to reach in and grab what you need quickly. Types of loads that are good for cargo nets would be laundry or bags of sporting equipment.
Heavy Duty Bungee Cords and Ratchet Straps
For loads like a propane tank you need to refill or exchange, your best bet is often bungee cords or ratchet straps that can secure the bottle to one side of the truck. The strap or cord will have to go through the top of the bottle and around the middle of the bottle in order to stay in a rear corner of the bed.
For a 5-gallon water bottle, go around the middle and through the handle with your ratchet straps and moor it right in one rear bed corner. Then, you can get to it more easily.
Family Handyman suggests ratchet straps of at least a 1¼ inch width.
You will find the ratchet straps will also help you secure lumber or building supplies in the bed. The lumber needs to be bundled with the ratchet straps. Any fly-away material needs to be wrapped in plastic to keep it together.
By the way, regardless of the state, you are required to flag lumber that is sticking out of the back of the truck with a red flag. A red mechanic’s towel works great.
Heavy Loads Must Go Nearer the Cab
You don’t want most of the weight on your rear end because it may make your steering tough Instead, get the heavy loads centered nearer the cab area within the bed.
Also, you need to know your bed’s load capacity. A good example is if you are considering buying bags of pellets for your pellet-burning stove or if you are picking up wood for your wood stove. Overloading is dangerous and could ruin your suspension.
Not about securing a load per se, but don’t skimp on getting a camper shell for your truck, especially if you are securing expensive items in the back. Camper shells are pretty much a requirement in snow country because it is no fun removing the snow between your items in the truck bed. Also, they will keep items, like leaves and green debris you are taking to the dump from blowing out the back.
If you can get a bed divider that stays in place, it is basically a piece of wood that has extenders to allow it to fit any bed’s width. It can go a foot or two from the rear of the bed and can secure grocery bags from shopping right against the tailgate within the bed.
You will have to experiment with what your particular cargo needs are, but you will find that you will need bungees and ratchet straps as well as possibly bed dividers to keep everything from flying around the back of your truck bed.