unruli tonneau and cargo box with golf clubs

Comparing Pickup Tonneau Cover Materials

Truck owners often fail to consider the importance of the type of tonneau cover material used by the brand manufacturer. At a glance, pickup truck tonneau cover material looks similar, they are not. Many tonneau cover manufacturers use a vinyl covered mesh material. Before purchasing your new tonneau cover consider the long-term performance and stability of the cover material. In this feature post we will compare the widely used materials for soft roll-up tonneau covers.

Vinyl Tonneau Covers

Vinyl or vinyl coated tonneau covers are the most common types of tonneau cover material. Vinyl tends to be a less costly fabric for the brand manufacturer. Often these vinyl materials are called “Elk Grain”, for their animal hide-like textured pattern. Vinyl products have lower and higher-end varieties. Higher-end varieties include UV protection and non-bleeding dyes. Vinyl tonneau covers repel water well.

The negatives of vinyl material is excessive heat can cause vinyl covers to stretch, sag, crack and not fit properly. Dimensional stability is an issue long-term. UV rays can cause the vinyl to fade over time. Sagging allows water to pool between supports of the tonneau cover. The textured crevices of Elk Grain texture are difficult to fully clean. Vinyl covers do not have breathability and if not washed often vinyl covers can be subject to excessive mold and mildew build up.

Unruli tonneau material

Multi-Layered Acrylic Microfiber Fabric

Synthetic fabric of multiple layers, such as solution-dyed polyester and acrylic microfibers, are considered advanced material technology, but are not as common in tonneau covers due to the increased cost of the fabric. Layered acrylic microfiber fabric offers a balance of water resistance and breathability. The fabric is often soft and pliable which also provides natural ultraviolet light and mildew resistance and water repellency. Multi-layered microfiber fabric is not subject to cracking like vinyl material. It is easy to clean and retains color. It is more abrasion and tear resistant than vinyl and can be as much as two times stronger. The added benefit of multi-layered acrylic microfiber fabric comes at an extra price, costing as much as twice the cost of vinyl material.

Do Your Research

Before making your final decision on your new tonneau cover, research the best type of material, maintenance, and performance factors to meet your needs. Also consider any added components, and the features and benefits that are included with your purchase, such as cargo and storage box systems. Tonneau covers like the Unruli Cargo Management System are made of advanced technology multi-layered acrylic microfiber fabric and include the added benefit and convenience of a sliding drawer like cargo/storage box. To see Unruli’s tonneau cover manufacturing and assembly process in action, click here.