A truck really is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment you can have for working on a farm. It’s great, not only for getting you out to the farthest parts of your land but for carrying the tools and equipment you need. Having a truck may seem like common sense, but how you kit it out can make a huge difference to its usefulness. What practical upgrades can you make to a farm truck? Let’s take a look.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Are The Best Farm Truck Accessories?
- What Tools and Equipment Should I Keep In My Truck?
What Are The Best Farm Truck Accessories?
When you get a new truck, the dealer will most likely offer you a raft of optional extras, but which are really worth the money? Here are some of the options worth considering, or if your truck is second hand, adding for yourself.
The bed of your truck can quickly get banged up if it’s not protected. Scratches, dents, and deeper gouges are not only unsightly but they allow rust to start forming.
There are various options available to help protect the bed of your farm truck and help it to look good and last longer. We will start with the least expensive options first:
Paint on or spray-on
They come in two kinds, either spray on or paint on. They are generally easy to apply and provide a waterproof, tough, grippy surface that not only protects from weather damage but also provides a durable grippy surface.
Because they are bonded directly to the surface there is no risk of water becoming trapped underneath and causing rust.
The main downside to these types of coatings is that over time they will wear off, they don’t protect against dents and they can be very messy and smelly to apply.
You can fit a liner yourself, by simply putting in a custom cut sheet of marine ply.
It’s best to apply a paint-on protector underneath the ply to give added protection, but the plywood will stop dents and is easy to replace.
The biggest downside is that it doesn’t have a really long lifespan.
Almost all truck manufacturers offer model-specific plastic drop-in liners. There are some other companies that also provide aftermarket ones.
They do a great job of protecting against scratches and dents, but water can get trapped under them increasing the likelihood of rust.
If the plastic liner becomes cracked, it’s difficult to fix and will probably require replacement.
Yep, you read that right, a specially made carpet from Bedrug, a US-based firm lets you put a nice carpet in the bed of your truck.
It isn’t quite as crazy as it sounds, as the tough properties of this polypropylene rug are resistant to all kinds of substances, including grease, oil, and even some corrosives.
They are easy to clean too, as you simply pressure wash or vacuum them. Because they are non-absorbent they dry in approximately 20 minutes.
The manufacturer states that the carpet acts as cushioning against impact, prevents your load from sliding about, and is softer on your knees…
Available in several options, plus floor mats, it is stuck to the bed using adhesive Velcro strips.
Custom Chequer plate
If you’re after some real heavy-duty liner, then you won’t be able to beat a custom-fitted metal chequer plate.
Some manufacturers offer a single-piece, laser-cut, and welded that simply drops into place, much like the plastic liners do.
An added bonus is that you can also have additional hooks, mounting plates and sockets included.
They are waterproof and will last the entire life of your truck. The only real downside is the added weight.
BED TOPPERS OR TONNEAU
No, I’m not talking about a lovely soft squashy mattress topper for your bed here, but a cover that goes over the bed of your truck to protect it and any cargo you place there.
There’s a wide variety of different styles available. As with the bed liners, these are usually available from the manufacturer of your truck and fit almost seamlessly, blending perfectly with your cab.
If you’re getting your truck second-hand, you may not have the option of a topper from the manufacturer (or the budget) so, what other options do you have available?
If you’re handy, then you could opt to make your own from plywood. A word of warning here, however, if they aren’t properly secured, your wooden masterpiece will simply catch in the wind and fly off, potentially causing a serious accident.
What else should you consider?
- Ease of use – Some covers can make accessing the items in the back of the truck difficult. Be sure to check this out when making your choice.
- Security – Chances are you’ll have some pretty expensive tools in the truck sometimes. Think about how secure the cover you choose will be against thieves.
- Protection – Probably the main reason for having a cover is to protect the contents of your truck, not just from thieves but from bad weather.
- Functionality – Do you need to be able to access items at the front of your truck just as easily as the rear? Perhaps you need gull-wing doors or a roll-back cover, and what about some windows?
- Durability – Spending money on something that isn’t going to last is just a waste, it’s better to think longer-term and go for a cover that will do the job well for the life of the truck.
- Compatibility – If you want to fit other options, such as a saddle-style toolbox, will it be compatible with the cover?
- Cost – Depending on what you choose, the price can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. When weighing up your budget, don’t forget to take all the other points into consideration, or you may end up spending out more than once.
There are full height hardtops, low profile soft tops, or aluminum chequer plate tonneau with a plastic rim and a waterproof seal that stops any water ingress into the truck bed.
Lastly, you might consider a custom build that can create something to your exact preferences. This gives the opportunity to add a whole bunch of accessories including built-in drawer units, storage boxes, dog crates, or whatever else you desire.
In this video, you can see a wide variety of different bed covers and how they work:
Having a mounted toolbox, in my mind, is an absolute must-have. It protects your equipment from thieves, and keeps it all stored safely and tidily. Best of all you can always find the things you need.
Having items rolling around loose in your cab, particularly heavier items, is incredibly dangerous and may even kill you or any passengers if you were unfortunate enough to have a crash.
Never buy cheap tool boxes, they simply aren’t worth the money, invest in something that’s heavy-duty and permanently mounted to your truck. A saddle style works really well and still leaves the entire floor space of the truck bed for fitting in fence stakes, lumber, plywood, or other longer items.
Ensure the lock is strong and tamper-proof so it stays shut if an opportunist tries to lever it open.
Later we’ll take a look at what items you might want to carry in your toolbox.
Some of the taller trucks can be hard to get in and out as they are so high off the ground. Having a running board makes it a lot easier! If you don’t want to fit a whole running board, then consider a step instead.
Another really useful step is one for the tailgate. They can help you access the back of the truck more easily, and are really useful if you’re loading heavy implements.
You can even opt for an assisted tailgate that lowers gently and moves back into place once you’ve finished loading up.
These are great if you’ve got any kids that may be running around, as it helps prevent crushed fingers and bangs on the head!
Should you ever want to put an ATV or motorcycle on the back of your pickup, a ramp will likely make the job a lot easier. You can use them to hold things in place on the truck bed too.
Open-topped truck beds may require ratcheted cargo bars to hold things in place. They work by creating bays where you can place items to keep them secure and prevent them from rolling around as you drive along.
FLOOR LINERS AND SEAT COVERS
Earlier we discussed lining the bed of the truck to keep it protected, but it can be equally important to line the inside of the cab too. Wet, dirty boots, clothing, kids, snow, rain, other stuff that comes from animals… All will make your truck dirty and smelly in no time!
By putting in some washable, easy-to-remove liners and seat covers you can save yourself a heap of time and expense. Better to wash a few covers than spend a fortune paying a detailer to clean the inside of your truck every few months.
Good covers will keep the inside of your truck clean and looking almost brand new when you remove them.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but not putting a trailer hookup on your truck is, in my opinion, a huge mistake. The ability to connect a trailer to tow livestock, supplies, and equipment is beyond necessity, it is absolutely vital!
Due to the expense of fitting a hitch, I always try to buy vehicles with them already fitted.
What Tools and Equipment Should I Keep In My Truck?
This is going to vary a bit depending on the season, the type of farming you do, and where you live. I’ll try to give a list here that includes most eventualities and you can tailor it to suit your own requirements.
- Toolkit – Ratchets, sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, vice grips, hammer, pliers, zip ties, utility knife, gear clamps, duct tape, WD40.
- Vehicle Maintenance Tools – Floor jack, tire inflator, tire plug kit, antifreeze, washer fluid, engine oil, seafoam, flashlights, jumper cables/electronic jumper, spare bulbs, distilled water.
- Safety Gear – Hi-viz vests, comprehensive first aid kit, flashing hazard lights/road flares, tow ropes, tree straps.
- Snow Gear – Snowchains, snowbrush, scraper, shovel, rain boots, vacuum-sealed blanket.
- Large Tools – Handyman/high lift jack, power puller (PullZall), bolt/wire cutters, snatch block, shackles, chains 2 x 10 ft ⅜ inch with hooks, wire tensioner.
- Vehicle Accessories – Winch bumper, winch, and cable roller, sturdy hooks mounted front and rear (not to the bumper), floodlights front and rear, trailer hookup, bed liner, bed cover, mounted toolbox, running boards, tailgate step.
- Other Useful Items – Wet weather clothing, spare clothing, bottles of water, snacks, tarp, insect repellent, sunscreen, bungee cords, ratchet straps, ear muffs, work gloves, microfibre cloths, paper towels and toilet roll in plastic ziplock bag, sharpie pen.
You don’t need to carry all of this kit, just tailor it to suit your situation.
Getting some practical upgrades for your farm truck and carrying useful kit can make your life a lot easier. You always have the things you need to hand when you want them and always know where they are.
Be careful about the tools and equipment you buy. Sure, it can be tempting to buy an unbranded tool that’s half the cost of a branded one, but most often you’ll pay the price as it will fail when you need it most.
You get what you pay for really is the truth.
Have fun kitting out your truck and I hope this article has given you a few ideas about things you hadn’t thought about.