How To Keep Luggage Dry In Truck Bed? [Tonneau Cover Recommended]

For many travelers, the truck bed liner is the first consideration of towing a trailer. It’s a custom upgrade that can be used as a dry and secure way to transport anything from luggage to watercraft on top of your vehicle. From time to time we have all felt like our luggage got wet, either inside or out in the truck bed. This could be due to rain, sleet, snow, or any other weather-related event.  This can leave your suitcase exposed to mold and mildew, which can damage your gear and equipment in the suitcase. So, in those cases, securing your luggage in the truck bed has become necessary while you’re on your way to the exciting camping trip. In this guide, I’ll show discuss the most effective and affordable ways to keep your luggage dry in a truck bed so that your luggage or suitcase remains waterproof and secure in the truck bed.

To keep the luggage dry in the truck bed, I used a soft roll-up tonneau cover as it was easier to assemble over the truck bed, and it allowed me to access my luggage and tools lying on the truck bed whenever I need without having to go through the hassle of completely removing the tarp and bungee cords.

Also, I would recommend you place your necessary tools and gear in the toolbox to ensure further security and protection. You can check my guide on the best toolboxes for Ford.

How To Keep Luggage Dry In Truck Bed?

Here are the ways to keep the luggage dry in a truck bed.

  • Use Contractor Bags
  • Use Tarp for Truck Bed and Bungee Cords
  • Use Rollup or Tri-fold Tonneau Cover
  • Use Cargo bag

1. Use Contractor Bags

Contractor bags is the most affordable way to keep the luggage dry in the truck bed. Contractor bags are big trash bags that contractors use to store everything they need during the job. Trash bags are also easy to fold and stow as needed in the truck. It is easier to move a contractor bag covered suitcase to let the water roll off easily.

You can carry multiple contractor/trash bags by unwinding them in one sheet, and reroll that up. 

Contractor bags are very thick make sure that your items don’t get ruined in the truck bed if it rains while driving on the road.

So, all you need is a good-quality contractor bag to waterproof a truck bed. I have used Hefty Contractor Bags. Trash bags are made of 3-mm polyethylene which is strong enough to reduce punctures and tears. The dimensions of the trash bag are around 32. in x 46. in.

The best way to use a contractor bag to keep the luggage dry in the truck bed is to put the luggage in one bag, then turn it around and put it in another bag. Twist the flaps of both bags closed, double it over, and slip a stout rubber band around it. Make sure that the open ends of both bags are twisted in the opposite direction to ensure a double barrier against the leakage, and secure the luggage.

The only downside of cargo bags is that they absorb a significant amount of heat due to their black color. This heat can damage the material of your luggage.

2. Tarp For Truck Bed (The Bungee Cord Method)

Tarping a truck bed using a bungee cord is one of the traditional ways of securing luggage and keeping it dry.

Tarping the cargo area of your truck can be a smart way to keep your belongings dry during trips. It can keep your truck bed dry and help protect your items from mildew, mold, and dirt.

Tarpaulins are usually rolled up when not in use. Tarp is a simple and inexpensive way to protect your truck and its contents. Also, tarps do not expose your luggage and gear while you’re driving. So, your luggage can be saved from any possible theft attempts by strangers. You can use tarps made from natural materials, such as canvas, polyethylene, or nylon.

Tarps for truck beds not only protect your vehicle from rain or snow damage but also provide privacy when needed. For example, if you use your truck for camping trips or other outdoor activities, having a good quality tarp is essential in order to keep your belongings safe and secure from the rain.

To use tarps for truck beds to keep your luggage dry, you need the following things:

  • Good quality pallet
  • A thick tarp
  • Bungee cord or ratchet strap

A plastic pallet is a safety measure to prevent luggage from soaking moisture accumulated on the truck bed. You can get these from amazon. These pallets will create a riser for your luggage, and help protect them from any water sloshing around in the truck bed.

For tarp cover, I would recommend this option. 6’x8′ can be the perfect size to fully cover your truck bed and keep the luggage dry. Tarp covers are not completely waterproof as exposure to a standing pool of water for a long time will cause water to leak through the cover.

To use a truck bed tarp, start by placing a tarp cover flatly on the truck bed. Put your luggage or suitcase on the plastic pallet by placing it in the center of the truck bed. Fold the tarp cover over the truck bed and hook it using the bungee cord (I’ll recommend this one).

Make sure that there are no wrinkles in the tarp cover so that they will not get caught in any of your tools while driving down the road. If necessary, use some weights or bricks to keep it flat while you work with it.

You can check out this video to get a better idea of fitting the tarp cover on the truck bed.

Another way of using a tarp for truck bed efficiently is to put things in the trash bags, then place those items in a heavy plastic tarp, and wrap it up, almost like a burrito, with the edges tucked under.

The only downside of using a tarp for the truck bed is that it is very hard to manage for simple loading/unloading. Another downside of a tarp is that it cannot withstand snow.

3. Use Tonneau Covers To Waterproof Truck Bed

Compared to the tarp, a tonneau cover is a bit expensive and a modern method of protecting the truck bed from getting wet. A tonneau cover is a cover that is made to fit over the entire bed of a pickup truck so that you can use it to secure items while they are on the truck. Truck tonneau covers are made to be watertight. And they can keep items inside the truck safe and dry. They also protect your belongings from dirt and dust. 

A tonneau cover is typically made out of vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass. So, it will not allow water to leak through it. Moreover, it will maintain its strength through all weather conditions. A tonneau cover is especially worth using in the windy weather as it will easily remain in place on the truck bed due to its efficient roll-up, retractable and folding mechanism.

In the category of the roll-up tonneau cover, I would recommend this TruXedo LoPro. It is a bit expensive compared to the regular rollup tonneau cover as it mounts to the inside of the bed rails to allow a lower profile. Since the LoPro model of TruXedo sits lower and flush, lower and flush. It looks a lot nicer and cleaner looking. Also, the lower profile allows a tighter seal compared to the regular rollup tonneau cover, which simply sits over the bed rail. Also, the LoPro tonneau cover offers lesser wind resistance.

To install TruXedo LoPro tonneau cover, you can check out this video:

Tonneau covers can have also a type called tri-fold cover. Compared to the roll-up tonneau covers, tri-fold tonneau covers are durable and sturdier. Also, tri-fold covers provide better truck bed security due to their advanced locking systems. Tri-fold tonneau covers are also very easier to open and close. Due to its heavy structural weight, tri-fold cover ensures a tighter fit over the truck bed.

  • If you want a soft trifold tonneau cover, I would recommend extent trifecta.
  • If you want a hard tri-fold tonneau cover, I highly recommend this BAKFlip MX4. BackFlip MX4 is the most secure hard tri-fold cover to waterproof the truckbed, and secure the luggage and suitcase.

4. Use Cargo Bag

Another way on how to keep your luggage dry in the truck bed is to use cargo/truck bag. I will highly recommend buying this Rightline Gear Sport 3 bag. It is waterproof and can easily fit in your truck bed. It also comes with the attachment straps to secure it in truck bed.

Will Luggage Fly Out of Truck Bed?

The luggage may fly out of the truck bed during high speed, sharp turns, sudden stops, or rough roads. So, I would recommend you secure it in the cargo bags. You can also prevent luggage from flying out of the bed by securing it with the bungee cords/straps and tarp.