The truck bed of a pickup truck makes for a unique vehicle, allowing for unrivalled versatility. Whether you’re asked by a friend to help out during a move or store equipment when you go camping, a pickup truck bed is practical for assisting with scenarios.
Before planning your camping weekend, it’s essential to know your truck’s bed measurements and understand its cargo capacity. You may be asking yourself:
“How to measure truck bed?”
You can get the required measurements with just a tape measure and simple calculations. Some truck accessories need specific sizing to be correctly installed, including truck bed covers, bed rails, and toolboxes. You wouldn’t want to order an expensive tonneau cover to realize it doesn’t fit your truck bed length.
If you want to utilize your truck to its maximum potential, I’ve compiled a straightforward guide on how to measure a truck bed. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Truck Measurement Basics
Before I talk about measuring for accessories, let me start with the basics: measuring truck bed dimensions.
First, you’ll need a 10-foot or longer tape measure and a piece of paper and a pencil for documenting the measurements. A pocket calculator or a smartphone is also helpful for easier calculations.
Measure Truck Bed Width
The distance between the sidewalls determines the truck’s bed width. Therefore, it is crucial to measure truck bed width to haul wide cargo or purchase a crossover toolbox.
Start with positioning the tape measure so that it fits between the sidewalls and record the number of inches. Always make sure that the tape measure is balanced and straight, not bent. If you’re unsure, measure twice for an extra precaution.
Measure Truck Bed Lenght
The truck’s bed length is determined by the distance between the inside of the tailgate and the inside of the bulkhead.
Make sure the tailgate is up and have your tape measure on hand. Place it to fit between your tailgate and the inside of the bulkhead. Write down the number of inches.
Once again, be sure that your tape measure isn’t bent but rather balanced and straight. Also, don’t count any exterior parts of the truck.
Calculating Square Footage
To calculate your truck’s bed square footage, you just have to multiply your width and length measurements by inches and divide it by 144. Here’s an example:
- Let’s say a truck bed measures 97 inches in length and 48 inches in width.
- When you multiply these two numbers, you get 4608 square inches.
- After that, you divide that number by 144, and you will get 32 square feet.
Calculating Cubic Yardage
In most cases, the primary concern regarding the cargo is its weight rather than its total volume. Nevertheless, in many areas, it’s illegal to haul a higher load than the back of the tailgate. In these situations, you’ll want to know the cubic yardage of your truck bed.
You need square footage to calculate square yardage, so begin with that.
Once you determine this square footage, measure the tailgate’s height from the bottom of the truck bed. After you’ve done that, divide this number by 12, which will give you the height in feet.
For example, if the height of your tailgate is 18 inches, you would write down “1.5”. Now that your units are in feet, you just have to calculate the volume and convert.
- Let’s assume our previous truck bed is the example; 32 square feet at the height of 1.5 feet equals the volume of 48 cubic feet.
- Divide the cubic feet by 27, and you’ll get 1.78 square yards.
Measuring For A Truck Bed Liner
There are two main types of bed liners: spray-on liners and drop-in liners. Both of these create dent-proof, skid-proof surfaces in your truck bed.
Drop-in liners are convenient because they can be easily applied to the truck and, if necessary, easily removed. On the other hand, spray-on bed liners need some prep work before being applied and are permanent. The advantage of these is that they are flexible and won’t crack when traversing rough terrain.
Generally, bed liners reduce cargo movement with their skid-proof surfaces. This protects the stuff you’re carrying from sliding around and potentially damaging. Bed liners also act as shock absorbers and reduce vibrations that damage your cargo.
Bed liners also serve to protect your truck bed from the elements by preventing rust and other damage that can shorten the life of the truck.
Bed liner measurements are performed just like the standard measurements. All you need is a tape measure, paper, and a pencil. Even though the process is simple, keep in mind that this will only get you the raw dimensions; you won’t get the truck’s bed shape or profile information.
For this reason, most bed liners are designed for specific truck models. Truck beds change from year to year, surprisingly between variants of the same model. Be sure to have as much information about your vehicle to achieve a better fit.
Measuring For A Tonneau Cover
If you use your truck to carry cargo, then you have to check out tonneau covers. There are many reasons why you should consider getting one, but to put it simply: tonneau covers protect your cargo.
It would help if you didn’t leave your luggage out in the rain, dirt, and dust as it could potentially damage it. There are tonneau covers to keep your cargo safe and protected.
Additionally, tonneau covers protect your stuff from theft, which is important if you’re hauling something valuable. Finally, even the tonneau cover that doesn’t lock can still hide your luggage from prying eyes, discouraging anyone.
On top of all this, the tonneau cover provides a sleek appearance. In addition, hard tonneau covers can match your truck’s paint for a uniform look.
Tonneau cover measurements are the same as standard measurements. However, a lot of truck beds don’t have rounded number measurements. A prime example is a short bed F-150 which has an advertised length of 67 inches, although the actual length is 67.1 inches.
If you divide the width and the length by 12, it will give you the measurements in feet. Also, tailgate liners and rail liners can sometimes distort your measurements. Be sure to account for their thickness with your numbers before buying a tonneau cover.
Measuring For A Toolbox
A truck toolbox is a device that acts as a large storage box and a protective safe. These boxes are heavy, resistant to damage, and made to fit in the bed of your pickup truck. While this means the toolbox is exposed to the elements, you don’t have to worry as it will keep everything inside safe.
When you’re looking to buy bed boxes, you can notice two different measurements. One is the distance between the top section of the box that sits on the rails. The other measurement is the width of the portion of the box that sits inside the truck bed.
The smallest of these two numbers is what you should be concerned about.
Another consideration is height. It’s OK to use a toolbox with a height lower than the rails. It will leave a gap between the bottom of the bed and the bottom of the toolbox. However, you won’t secure the toolbox to the rails if it’s too small.
Be sure you’re accounting for this measurement properly when deciding on a bed box.
Measuring For Nerf Bars Or Running Boards
Nerf bar and running board measurements are slightly different from standard measurements. You have to measure the distance between the wheels rather than the truck bed length.
There are two types of nerf bars. One model is long as the length of the cab and is meant to aid you in getting in and out of the vehicle or reaching the top of the cab. The other type is full length and extends as far as the rear wheel.
You don’t want to measure the distance between your rear and front tires for safety reasons. Instead, you should measure between the wheel wells, providing plenty of clearance to turn safely.
How To Measure Truck Bed? – Summary
You should know everything on how to measure truck bed for most general purposes. Make sure you have a tape measure, a pencil, and a piece of paper when measuring your truck’s bed. A pocket calculator can come in handy for easier calculations.