Over the past year, we’ve been fortunate enough to customize our ’12 Ford F-150 Raptor to better fit our needs. With a set of King shocks, Addictive Desert Design bumpers, and our 35-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires, we’ve been able to transform our truck into something that works even better on- and off-road. Using our truck as a base camp for photo shoots, wheeling adventures, and family trips to the beach, we found our truck was only slacking in one area—cargo storage.
While there’s no shortage of bed cap options in the aftermarket, we wanted something rugged enough to survive off-road, but still stylish enough that our daily driver didn’t look like a work truck. After searching the interwebs and our local bedcover retailers, we landed on an Overland series cap from A.R.E. As one of the largest manufacturers of made-in-the-USA bedcovers, A.R.E. has a wide assortment of cap configurations and options for late-model and older trucks. Our draw to the company’s Overland cap was immediate as it’s specifically designed for outdoor enthusiasts.
Since A.R.E. caps are distributed through authorized dealers, we drove our truck to our local dealer, Hall’s Storage Buildings in Wilmington, North Carolina, to get our cap installed. To find out more about the cap and why it was the right fit for our F-150, read on.
Installing the cap took less than an hour as the truck-specific cap rested on the bedrails and was secured by four heavy-duty clamps. Since the Overland cap is fit with an LED third brake light, the crew at Hall’s Storage used the included harness to tap into the Raptor’s taillight harness, and then secured the cap to the bed. Total installation time was well under an hour.
The cap weighed in around 180 pounds and is comprised of a unique polyester resin fiberglass laminate. Since the buyer provides A.R.E. with their vehicles paint code, the cap comes color matched to the truck. We were impressed with how spot-on A.R.E. got the Raptor’s Tuxedo Black Metallic.
While A.R.E. reinforces the sides for added strength, another step it takes to increase the durability of the top is by coating the front half and bottom with Line-X. These are what A.R.E. refers to as high-stress areas. Having taken other hard caps off-road in the past, we can attest that these are common areas to find damage.
A standard feature that outdoor enthusiasts will definitely appreciate is the roof rack. Ours was fixed with Yakima Jetstream series crossbars. We did find that the bars do have a slight whistle at highway speed, but we’re enjoying the fact that we can haul extra gear and toys safely up top.
If you’re more particular than not when it comes to washing your truck, we highly recommend A.R.E.’s tilt-down window option. Ours was built with a sliding rear glass as well so we can easily let the air flow through to the back of the cab.
Speaking of airflow, for camping and hauling pets, the Pet Screen option is excellent. Sliding the windows open offers a nice breeze, while the screens keep your critters and cargo from escaping.
There’s also an assortment of ceiling mount options, such as a fabric headliner, LED light strips, fishing rod holders, and clothes rack. We chose the fabric headliner and clothes rack. We liked the finished look of the fabric liner and found the clothes hanger makes for a great spot for airing out wet gear and tossing up a light at night.
All of the A.R.E. shells are lockable, and the Overland series can be optioned with a single or dual rear glass latch. We went with a single system for ease of use. To ensure the rear glass stays raised, a set of gas-charged support struts are fixed on the corners of the window.
If you’re constantly searching for more storage in your truck, we’d recommend checking out the A.R.E. SwingSafe. It’s truck-specific and bolts to the inside of the bed using self-starting bolts. With a simple pull of the lever, the storage box swings out so you can easily access your gear.
Serving as a work base, our truck is constantly being used on and off the tarmac. We’ve been extremely impressed with how well the cap has worked to keep our gear out of the elements, and how well it’s handled our sometimes aggressive off-road driving. Though a cap might not fit everyone’s needs, it has definitely checked all of the boxes for us.
A.R.E. Accessories, LLC
Massillon, OH 44648