My wife and I recently traded out her Honda Odyssey Elite Minivan for a Ram 1500 Longhorn Limited truck. The Longhorn is part of a new breed of trucks by Ram, Ford, Toyota, GMC, et al that cater to consumers that want to drive a truck that has the higher end features of a luxury vehicle. This was the case for my wife – our boys were out of car seats and she wanted to get back into a truck, but she wanted it to have all the bells and whistles of a luxury crossover – we found all that and more in her new Longhorn. The vehicle is just beautiful inside and out.
So you got the truck, what about the cover?
Of course the problem with trucks is that the bed needs a cover if you plan to put anything of value in there. We like to travel, and since the boys are in the rear cab, all our suitcases and gear have to go in the truck bed – that means we needed a cover that would provide weather protection and security.
We didn’t want to go with a full topper (in which case we would have just bought a large SUV) and we didn’t want to go with a single piece hard-shell topper (we didn’t like the way it looks). So that left us with the ubiquitous Tonneau Cover option.
What is a Tonneau Cover?
A “tonneau” is an area of a car or truck open at the top – for trucks that’s the bed. It follows then that a ‘tonneau cover’ is the item that covers the opening in order to provide weather protection, stop theft, and even improve aerodynamics/gas mileage.
If you shop for a tonneau cover you’ll learn they’re made out of hard or soft materials including steel, aluminum, canvas, PVC, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. They also come in a variety of styles – some are bi or tri-folds, some roll up or retracts, some tilt open, etc. Some of them can be locked, some just snap shut.
How did we decide on a Diamondback Cover?
Once we determined we wanted a tonneau cover for my wife’s truck, we had to decide what style we wanted. This took a bit of time, online research, and visiting some tonneau cover distributors so we could see the product types in person. We also started paying attention to what we saw on other people’s trucks around town.
As I said, weather protection and security were the most important items for us, followed by ease of use and appearance. Since the ‘snap’ covers only provided minimal theft deterrence, we quickly eliminated them. Next we compared the various models that had multiple ‘hard’ panels that could be folded open, retracted, or rolled up.
We found numerous items we liked in this class and we’d actually made the decision to purchase a BakFlip MX4 since that model was known to fit our truck and seemed to offer us everything we wanted.
Then we saw the Diamondback and that changed everything!
One look at a Diamondback cover and you’ll immediately recognize it’s something special. Pick an adjective – Tough, Impressive, Bold, Sturdy, Impenetrable – these and more come to mind when you see a Diamondback. We absolutely loved the look of the Diamondback and thought it would be a perfect looking cover for our bed.
What makes a Diamondback Cover so special?
Weather protection – reviews out the wazoo complain of leaking in most tonneau covers – to include the BakFlip MX4 we considered. But the Diamondback was built with weather protection in mind – a thick EPDM compression gasket runs along the perimeter of the cover to create a barrier to water, snow, or ice, keeping your cargo dry. Win!
Anti-Theft – although nothing is impossible to break in to, it would take a very determined thief to take the time to pry open the fortress that is a Diamondback when far easier fare could be had slicing open soft tonneau covers or picking the kinda flimsy locks offered by most other tonneau covers. The Diamondback cover is made with die-cast zinc lock handles on the access panels that work in conjunction with a 3/8″ deadbolt-style rods directly under the bed rails of your truck. Check it out…
Ease of Access – although the panels on the Diamondback weigh 35-50 pounds each, because the cover uses gas springs, my wife can raise/lower the panels with a single hand. Another Win!
Appearance – well you already know the answer there. We never knew a tonneau cover like this was an option but once we saw it it was exactly what we wanted!
Bonus – Made in America! My wife and I are grateful to be “Make America Great Again” Conservative Christians who love the USA. When we learned the covers are made in the USA that was yet another reason for us to buy a Diamondback and support a quality American business. Additionally, I was born in PA and when I read the story of how the company was formed at Penn State that was the icing on the cake.
Which Diamondback Cover did we choose?
Diamondback makes 4 different covers at this time: The Diamondback SE, Diamondback HD, Diamondback 270, and the Diamondback 180. You can compare them here. There are also 3 different finish options to choose from – the standard Rugged Black, the new Smooth Black, and the classic Rugged Aluminum (Silver).
We chose the Diamondback SE in the new Smooth Black finish – it looks amazing.
The reason why we went with the SE vs the HD or 270 is because we’re not planning to haul anything on the top so we didn’t need the extra heavy duty HD version which can hold up to 1600 pounds of gear/ATV’s/You Name It ON TOP of the cover. The SE version holds up to 400 pounds on top of the cover and that’s plenty more than we’ll ever need.
With the HD eliminated, and not interested in the 180 version, that narrowed it down to the SE and the 270. I was initially leaning towards the 270 with the multi front panel access options, but knowing that I was going to have to do the install myself, I thought it would be best to just go with the easiest model to install (the SE) vs the extra steps of the 270. [Update: after doing the install and realizing it wasn’t really all that hard, I know now we could easily have gone with the 270 model, however the SE has been great and it’s providing everything we want in a tonneau cover].
During the process of buying our Diamondback we learned that the company has an unrelenting commitment to quality backed by truly OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE. When I installed our cover I noticed two things that weren’t quite perfect.
The weather stripping on one of the corners of the rear panel didn’t quite fully meet with the center panel – it was off by about a 1/2 inch.
Additionally the “Diamondback” logo on the back had a tiny bit of paint overspray on the couple of the letters so the logo wasn’t completely clear to my eye (to the clear the logo was still very legible, just not perfect)..
Both of these were very minor issues but given that we’d just paid about $2k I decided to reach out to Diamondback customer care and let them know.
I assumed they’d just send me a small section of additional weatherstripping for the 1/2 gap and I didn’t really expect much on the minor paint overspray on the logo letters since it wasn’t that big a deal. At most I figured they’d just send me a replacement for the rear panel. Boy was I wrong!
Customer Care Specialist Ben Kramer immediately responded to my concerns and went above and beyond to make it right. Since the issues were minor he offered me two options – a discount to keep the current cover or a full replacement cover.
I never expected they’d want to replace the entire cover just to fix a couple minor issues with the rear panel, but as Ben explained Diamondback as a commitment to quality and additionally, due to the production process of the Diamondback covers the unique fitment of each panel and one of a kind lock handles, you can’t just replace one panel (the locks won’t match up) so Diamondback wanted to replace the entire cover for us.
We chose the replacement option, Diamondback sent us a new cover, we kept the old cover on until the new cover arrived, quickly swapped out the new cover for the old, and then sent back the original in the return box/crate provided by Diamondback – it really couldn’t have been easier. I’d like to recognize Ben and all the good folks at Diamondback for taking care of us in this way!
With customer service like this and a great warranty program we’re confident our Diamondback will be with us for many years to come. That’s peace of mind worth investing in.
So what’s the bottom line?
If you’ve got a high end truck and you’re looking for a high end tonneau cover to complement it, you really need to be looking at the Diamondback Covers. Check out all the Diamondbacks on their site and if you decide to order, let them know That Helpful Dad told you about ‘em. It’ll be a win-win for all of us.