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The Proper Ways to Measure Truck Beds: An In-Depth Guide

how to measure a truck bed
Last Updated on Aug 16, 2023 By Lillian Kazmierczak

The right measurements can go a long way. Knowing your truck’s bed measurements is crucial when determining your truck’s cargo capacity or fitting a new accessory. Obtain help from a friend to measure carefully; keeping your measurements straight with the truck bed walls and rails will help you.

How to Measure Truck Bed for a Toolbox

Step 1

Find out how far apart your bed rails are. You should avoid ordering crossover toolboxes that are smaller than the total outside to outside measurement of your truck bed. Otherwise, it may not fit properly on the rails. A lack of metal can also make it difficult to secure the box. Crossover boxes that are much larger than the outside width of your truck will overlap your truck’s bed rails, causing the holes not to line up with the bed rails.

Step 2

Determine how far your bed rails are apart inside to inside of the rail. It is recommended that the pickup box that you order has at least an inch or two less inside width than your truck bed.

Step 3

Count how far the truck bed top and bottom are apart. Don’t measure from the lowest spot on the bed, but from the top of the channels. This measurement is always smaller than the height of the truck bed. More than that, the toolbox won’t rest on the truck bed rails.

Step 4

Take a measurement of your truck’s rear wheel well and the top of the bed wall of your truck. Next, make a line on the bed rail using a straight edge on the floor at the front of the wheel well. From your mark on the inside, you can easily measure the distance between the bed rail at the front of the bed. The box should leave at least two inches so that you can adjust it if necessary.

Take into account the possibility of future additions of stake pockets or bed rails, ladder racks, or tonneau covers. Stake pockets or narrow cover or rack options may be covered by the box.

The right way to measure the truck bed for a tent

Time to get the tape measure out. When your tailgate is up, start at the rear of your truck and measure the length of the bed in a straight line. From wall to wall, measure the width after you have the length. Typically, full-sized trucks are 68-77?? wide, whereas compacts are 56-63?? wide. With these two measurements, you can work out if you have a full size or compact, long or short bed. Choosing the tent model is easy – just use the sizing you just worked out.

Step 1

Your truck bed should be cleared of everything first.

Step 2

The measuring tape should be placed at the end of your tailgate once it has been opened. Move the tape towards the bulkhead while keeping it straight on the truck bed. You can convert inches into feet by dividing them by 12.

Your truck’s corners can also be used. From the bulkhead, stretch the measuring tape toward the tailgate’s left corner. Take measurements and record them.

You can use a Bluetooth laser to ensure you get the correct measurements.

Step 3

A pickup truck usually has a standard width, so the measurement might not be necessary. Just in case, it doesn’t hurt to check. Begin on the inside of your truck’s right side and work your way left. Maintain a straight measurement tape. You can convert inches into feet by multiplying 12 by the inch measurement.

Step 4

Check the height or depth of your truck bed. Measure your truck bed vertically from one side. Record the measurements.

How to Measure Truck Bed for Camper Shell

Step 1

Take a measurement of the distance from the truck bed floor to the truck cab. In order to ensure clearance from the truck cab to the top of the camper shell, you must extend it approximately 6 inches. Measure and write it down.

Step 2

Measure the truck bed’s width from the inside of one sidewall to the other. Measure the distance and write it down.

Step 3

From the cab to the seam of the tailgate, measure the length of the truck bed. Measure the distance and write it down.

How to measure truck bed for tonneau cover

Tonneau covers can be measured easily by following these simple steps:

Step 1

Stand behind your truck and lower the tailgate

Step 2

You need to measure up to the bulkhead wall by running your tape measure along the floor.  The bulkhead wall is the one behind the cab.

Step 3

Your measure should be taken where the gap is on the floor of the bed

Step 4

You can convert inches to feet by dividing by 12, which is usually the way these covers are listed.

The length of a tonneau is usually rounded off to an even number by tonneau manufacturers. Try to be within a few inches of the measurement. Buying a tonneau doesn’t have to be an exact match to the measurement you have. Tonneau sizes are typically standardized by manufacturers to fit your pickup truck’s model and make.

What to consider when measuring for a truck cover

Have you got a bed liner installed?

Tonneau space may be impacted by a bed liner. Therefore, you should measure the area inside the liner rather than over it. In order to attach the bed rails to your tonneau cover, drilling or cutting the bed liner may be required.

Is your truck bed already equipped with accessories?

Different tonneau covers may be needed depending on the accessories installed on your truck. Many manufacturers offer tonneau covers for RamBoxes and Rams models that are built for that. You might have a cargo management system installed on a Silverado too. You’ll want to make sure your cover fits any accessories you wish to use.

Choosing between a soft and hardcover

Soft tonneau covers

Most people prefer soft tonneau covers. Their prices are generally lower, with many styles to choose from, making them a good choice. It is also easier and lighter to install soft covers.

Hard tonneau covers

Har plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass are what make up a hardcover. As a result, they are less popular since they are more expensive. Due to the weight, this type of cover will require a few people to install. Some modes will need a small crane or forklift to install.


Q. I carry tall cargo. Is there a cover to go over that?

Ans: For tall cargo check out the Sawtooth STRETCH Tonneau. With its unique expansion capabilities, it protects large, tall cargoes. While not in use, it lays flat, is capable of supporting snow loads, and protects and holds large cargo with its patented hold and stretch technology.

About the author

Lillian Kazmierczak

As far as I can remember, I would say I have been a car nut for my whole life. My father was a car dealer who used to change and repair his cars himself. This gave me the opportunity to get around all sorts of cars and get my hands dirty repairing vehicles from an early age.

A great fan of Japanese quality and German preciosity, my deep passion lies in older models that I believe have a flair that takes me back to my childhood! I also love their extraordinary durability and reliability when compared to today’s modern models.

When not out taking a ride, I enjoy socializing with fellow motorheads online and consuming any car facts and figures I can get my mind on!

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