open tailgate with bed cover on

How to Keep Luggage Dry in Your Truck Bed

Owning a truck is great, I love mine. An open bed is fine for a lot of people, especially those that don’t take their truck on road trips or need to use that space for luggage. Before I had my tri-fold tonneau cover, I had no way to keep the contents of my bed dry. If you are wondering how to keep luggage dry in your truck bed, then read on.

If you’re taking a family trip, one that requires multiple bags for multiple people, it’s usually not an option to put everything in the backseat. Some trucks are big and roomy in the cab, but no truck can take multiple suitcases, a cooler, everything else that goes on a vacation, and your family members, all in the cab. It’s just not feasible.

As I’ve mentioned on this site before, I bought my current bed cover (linked to above) explicitly for keeping luggage dry in the truck bed so that I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on plane tickets. And that’s exactly what I did. The way I figure it I saved about $1000 dollars or so by purchasing that bed cover, being able to keep the luggage dry and in the truck bed and making the drive. This saved me 4 round-trip plane tickets and the cost of a rental car for a week. Unfortunately I lost some time at the beach because of the long drive, but that’s the tradeoff.

Anyway.. I’ve rambled enough, on to the 3 best ways to keep luggage dry in a truck bed.

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1. A tonneau cover

I recommend this method first because it’s inexpensive (if you buy the right soft bed cover), it definitely will keep your stuff dry, and it makes your truck look cool. Ok that last one is an opinion, but I think it’s one that is shared by many people. I personally love my bed cover and have been using it for a few months now. I can now safely put groceries as well as luggage in the bed of my truck.

Are you considering buying a tonneau cover for your truck bed? Check out this guide I wrote on how to choose a tonneau cover.

2. A waterproof truck bed cargo bag

This is another solid option. It is basically just a very durable, waterproof, large zippable bag that goes in your truck bed. It’s not the option I would choose because for just a little more you can get a decent soft trifold tonneau and be able to utilize your entire bed. However I can see a few advantages of having one over a bed cover; it rolls up for easy storage when not in use, they do generally cost a bit less, and it takes up only a portion of your bed space should you need an oversized item in the bed as well. Here is a heavy duty waterproof truck bag you can get on Amazon if you want to go this route.

3. Tarps, contractor bags, storage bins

The above two are the main ones I recommend, especially the tonneau option. However maybe you don’t have the extra money right now or you’re only going to need to know how to keep luggage in your truck bed dry this one time. If one of these is the case, then there are a couple of do-it-yourself options you can try.

  • Tarp and bungees – Get an old tarp, most of us have one laying around, if you don’t they can be purchased for pretty cheap. Find some bungees and get to work wrapping your luggage up in a neat little package, or just covering your truck bed with the tarp and strapping it down tight. This is a quick a dirty way to protect your luggage from the elements on a trip if you are in a pinch, but it’s gonna look like crap. Also, have fun getting into a suitcase if you need something before you get to your destination though.
  • 55+ gallon contractor/trash bags – An even cheaper and dirtier way to keep your stuff dry. This can work though. Some of these heavy-duty contractor bags, like these on Amazon, are waterproof and very durable. In my opinion it’s not a great option when a good tonneau or cargo bag can be had for under $200 (estimated price). However if you already have some of these heavy duty bags laying around and don’t have time to go shopping for anything, then it’s an option.
  • Extra large storage bins – This is actually a decent option, if you can get storage bins big enough to fit your luggage in. If everyone uses duffle bags or even small suitcases, you might be able to cram everyone’s stuff into a few extra large totes like these on Amazon. I have never tried this method, but I think it could work. Many people also have these sitting around their houses already.

Wrap up

In the end you have to choose what works best for you. Quality truck bed covers, or tonneau covers, can be purchased today for so cheap that it’s really a no brainer to get one in my opinion. If you don’t have the money for one then save up because it’s really the best option here. If for whatever reason it’s just not in the cards for you and your truck, then I left you with a few other options here that I hope can help keep your luggage nice and dry in the bed of your truck!

Want to see the low priced truck bed cover that I own and love on Amazon? You can find it here, just be sure to choose the model that fits your truck.