One of the challenges facing any product sold in the aftermarket is adapting a product to the truck box. This often drives compromise, particularly in the mounting system. Most tonneau covers are mounted with simple vertical clamps which are at the mercy of the variation in truck bedrail shape for their stability, and to get them to generate enough clamping load will crush the truck bed rail cover over time. That crushing eventually leads to a weak install point as the bedrail deforms even slightly, or wears from the constant motion and flexing of the bed rail steel.
Stowe understood these limitations and engineered a horizontal clamping system which creates a closed structural box section working with the truck which adds stability and structure to the mounting system without affecting the truck or risking any integrity issues in the long run with regards to rail mount points.
Most tonneau covers just offer different ways to access the truck box. However, the different approaches significantly affect strength and durability over time.
Popular hard folding covers are constructed with light weight components which offer limited structural integrity. The panel pivots are simple piano hinges which have a modest lifecycle and will succumb to water leakage as they wear.
Flush mounted designs depend on a mounting system which clings to the truck box side rail flange limiting the load capacity of the system.
Retractable covers are complex as they are based upon a series of panels with integral mechanical joints and the assembly moves on small rollers. The articulation of the joints can be restricted by contaminants including snow and ice. As the saying goes, the higher the complexity the higher the probability of failure.
One-piece hard covers, depending on the material used, will succumb to either cracking or warpage over time. Attaching hardware to these materials is problematic as they don’t naturally possess pull load strength.
Stowe carefully examined the performance requirements needed to engineer a durable cover system and then rigorously tested the final product.
The hard panels on the Stowe system are lightweight, yet strong, and durable. The panels are constructed of high-tech composites supported by extruded aluminum frames providing a strong and secure platform for the front and rear covers. Tough enough to handle a vicious sledge-hammer attack.
There are three basic hinge designs in use with tonneau covers, piano, interlinked and multi-link.
Folding covers use piano hinges. This hinge construction consists of a simple pin around which two mounting plates pivot. They have a modest lifecycle and will succumb to water leakage as they wear.
Retractable covers are based upon a series of narrow panel elements which interconnect through multiple metal-on-metal joints. The articulation of the joints can be restricted by contaminants and the joints will wear with usage which tends to make them susceptible to water leakage.
One piece covers typically use multi-link hinge systems. They are usually packaged into the corner of the cover and as a result need to be supplemented by support mechanisms located somewhere down the truck rail span which then limits access to the truck box. Further, standard multi-point hinges typically use a 3 or 4 bar hinges, not enough for smooth safe operation. As is typical of aftermarket designs, the hinges are minimalist in their construction and tend to be flimsy and prematurely wear, needing replacement.
Stowe: One of the key differentiators with the Stowe system is that it is designed to meet OEM factory standards and not aftermarket standards. An enhanced multi-link concept was determined to offer the best solution which would meet OEM engineering requirements.
The design of the seven hinge link pivots is based upon proven OEM factory best practices for durability. The links for the Tonneau cover are stamped from 1/4in thick high strength steel.
To provide easy access to the truck box the support struts mount directly to the hinges keeping them out of the way when you need to reach your gear from the side of the truck box. Unlike other tonneau covers the rails on your truck box are clear and free from obstruction
The hinge’s swing path is controlled through the geometry of the multi-link configuration, which consists of a six-link (bar) system designed for precision of motion.
The most popular, is the plastic plunger slam latch, all folding, and most retractable covers use this inexpensive aftermarket design solution.
This design works much like your bathroom cabinet door latch with a plunger that drops into a receiver to latch the door. A pry bar is its worst enemy when it comes to break in efforts.
Another aftermarket approach is the handle and lever concept which will suffer a similar fate. Plastic, enough said.
One piece, and some folding covers, use a simplistic aftermarket push-pull rod system which depends on a small diameter rod which is extended out and under the truck bedrail to hold the cover closed and secure. The pry bar has to simply bend the rod enough to clear and release the cover. Not so secure.
Stowe: To actuate the lock and latch system Stowe incorporated automotive grade, tough, push button entry locks which provide quick and easy access to your stowed gear and are protected from snow and ice intrusion with their recessed design. The locks are connected to automotive-grade steel rotary latches, which provide added strength and security to the lock system. No pull rods or plastic components. The latches are based on similar technology to that which is used in the doors of your truck right from the factory; steel and rugged!
Fastener and cover corrosion is an on-going issue with most covers. You see this all of the time, faded tonneau covers, cracking, peeling, delamination, etc. These weak points in most covers eventually lead to leaking, squeaking, rattling, poor appearance, and worse, easy access to theft. This is driven by the use of inferior corrosion and lack of any UV coatings on the panel and exposed surfaces offering limited protection and leading to material deterioration over time.
Stowe To meet automotive grade corrosion performance, Stowe uses advanced, premium grade coatings to maintain the appearance and integrity of all hardware in both the tool box and tonneau cover areas, including the cover panels themselves.
When it comes to UV protection Stowe uses advanced UV coatings on all exposed components including the cover panels, no exceptions. Keeping your cover looking like new is imperative when ensuring the tonneau cover looks and performs as if it came off the factory showroom floor with your truck.
Most tonneau covers simply use generic off the shelf gaskets, usually a low-grade inexpensive foam to keep costs down, remnants from the old truck bed cap days, peel and stick. A few of the higher end tonneau cover manufacturers will use a better grade urethane gasket, but that’s as far as it goes. These gaskets provide minimal water intrusion protection, especially over time, they eventually wear down and the compression performance degrades creating weak spots for water penetration.
Stowe: In order to solve one of the most challenging problems facing tonneau cover manufacturers and customers for decades, leaking and other element penetration, we had to completely re-envision the tonneau cover sealing system, from the ground up. The automotive industry solved this decades and decades ago, they used bulb seals around all of their door and hatch openings. We did the same. Not only that, we engineered a custom double bulb gasket seal out of advanced urethane and other materials so that we could seal the seal for additional leak protection. Using an advanced double bulb gasket material, although extremely expensive, ensures the long-term compression integrity so that it wouldn’t degrade over time. Additionally, we treated the seals with industry leading anti-stick coatings, another major differentiator in our product over all of the others, and this coating ensures the cover won’t stick to the gasket creating that sticking noise you hear when you lift standard covers, that noise reflects friction and that friction also leads to premature degradation in the sealing system of most tonneau covers. Just another factor leading to the Stowe 2 in 1 being the only true weathertight tonneau cover in the market.
Get all the benefits of better organization—without the issues of having to fit your truck bed cover to a separate toolbox. Gone are the connecting rails, nuts and bolts, foam strips, leaks, rattles, dirt, and frustrating customer service calls. Instead, you get a built-in toolbox/cargo compartment with 400-lb-capacity that stays dry, is tall enough to stand five-gallon pails and long enough for a set of golf clubs. (Plus, with its drain holes and insulation, it makes a great tailgate cooler!)
“absolutely love this setup”
The Stowe 2-in-1 is the only tonneau cover tool-box combo out there that combines truck-tough weathertight security, an all-purpose toolbox to sort and protect your tools and gear, and the careful details that make this such a must-have addition. With our versatile 2-in-1 system, you don’t just cover your gear. You Stowe it!
Want real protection from the weather? This is the only tonneau cover that features fail-safe automotive OEM-grade seals to keep your truck bed, tools, and gear dry and secure all year round.
With automotive-grade locks and high-strength composite cover panels supported by an aluminum frame, your gear, tools and truck bed have the highest possible level of security.
Both the tonneau cover and toolbox compartments open wide to give you convenient and easy access to everything in your truck bed.
“We sell a ton of tonneau covers, so trust me when I say that this 2-in-1 system from Stowe is a good buy. Loved it the minute I saw it!”
– CPW Truck Stuff, Illinois
The Stowe Cargo System is the perfect cover for your truck bed – no matter how you use it. The world’s first 2-in-1 toolbox & tonneau cover system is built specifically for your truck bed and features durable hard cover panels, with a sealed, lockable toolbox – perfect for securely storing tools and gear of all sorts – and a fully lockable and weathertight one-piece truck bed cover.
The system installs easily and its unique hinge cover design enables easy access your truck bed from all three sides without rolling or folding the bed cover. The large and spacious rail-to-rail toolbox rises off the truck bed, giving you easy access to the full length of your truck bed to store larger items.
Industry-leading high-strength six-bar hinge system with integral mounted gas struts provide easy, full access to both the toolbox and truck bed.
The security and convenience of a hard one-piece cover, yet removes easily in minutes when needed. No flipping, folding, or rolling the bed cover.
Highly-engineered, heavy-duty extruded and cast-aluminum frame supports the high-tech composite sandwich cover panels that offer maximum security while being light weight.
Textured powder coated rail finish and polyurea-top coated cover panels ensure durability and a uniquely integrated appearance.