Earlier this year we conducted a survey and one of the questions was "How have you outfitted your pickup for hauling tools and materials?" The answers were multiple-choice and it was possible to choose more than one because tradesmen often install more than one accessory on the beds of their trucks. Choices included:

Cross box
Side boxes
Tonneau – bed cover
Aluminum cap
Fiberglass cap

We asked the same question in a 2011 survey that lumped all of the trades together; the most recent survey was set up so the answers could be separated by trade. The charts in the slideshow on this page contain answers from all who responded in 2011, all who responded in 2014, and from those trades that received at least 25 responses in the most recent survey: remodelers, GCs doing new construction, handymen, finish carpenters, and electricians.

The responses from other trades count towards the total but are not individually called out. Nothing against those trades, but it would be unreasonable to draw conclusions based on the handful of responses received from plumbers, painters, and the like.

Here are some of the comments we received from tradesmen who answered the question about outfitting a pickup:

"2 of us working together (15 years). Both had vans several years ago, but decided on a cargo trailer. Vans are noisy, cold in winter and hot in summer. Why spend extra gas money just to lug your tools back and forth every day? One truck (mine) has a cross box and Trac-Rac, so bed is open to carry random sheet goods, etc. Other truck (partner's) has commercial steel cap with rack over. Being enclosed, we can haul random tools under cover for small jobs when trailer is not needed. This way we have a lumber hauler and tool carrier between the trucks." [Remodeler; drives Dodge pickup; 8 cylinder; 4WD; gasoline engine; 10+ years old]

"I am currently using a pickup truck because it is more affordable, and a pain in the ass. My preferred vehicle is a box truck rated for around 19,000 pounds to allow capacity for schlepping tools from job to job and to have ample carrying capacity be able to pick up materials as necessary, but they are expensive to run & maintain." [Remodeler; drives Ford pickup; 8 cylinder; 4 WD; diesel engine; 10+ years old; with removable racks for transporting extension ladders, pump jacks & picks.]

"When not camped out on a large job for weeks on end, my small job box stays in the bed of my truck. I carry most of my tools in a low overhead 6x10 enclosed trailer packed full and organized with all the essentials like miter saw and 18' saw table set up, table saw, 13" planer on a stand, 20 gallon compressor, and almost every small tool one could think of." [Finish carpenter; drives Dodge pickup; 8 cylinder; 4 WD; diesel engine; 3-6 years old; with rack]

"Customized walk in utility body." [Remodeler; drives service body on Mitsubishi LCF chassis; 4 cylinder; 2 WD; diesel engine; 10+ years old}

"My truck is an extended cab. Tools are all very carefully organized in the back seat and passenger seat area." [Handyman; drives a Ram pickup; 8 cylinder; 4 WD; gasoline engine; 0-3 years old]

"Custom cap over a utility bed cap has a rack built over the cab for hauling lumber ladders etc." [Remodeler; drives a Chevy pickup with a service body; 8 cylinder; 2 WD; gasoline engine; 10+ years old]

"Color matched Linex coating (white) to reduce heat absorption in New Mexico sun." [Handyman; drives GMC pickup; 8 cylinder; 4 WD; diesel engine; 0-3 years old; has a dual axle trailer]

"I've added shallow trays to hold small tools and supplies the length of each side (accessible from the side windows of the cap), hooks for storing hoses and cords, holders for spirit levels, etc." [Remodeler; drives Ford pickup; 6 cylinder; 2 WD; gasoline engine; 0-3 years old; with rack and fiberglass cap]

"I built 4 drawers under a platform in the bed for small tools, fasterers, etc. 4 drawers by 8 'long is a lot of storage!" [Remodeler; drives GMC pickup; 6 cylinder; 4 WD; gasoline engine; 6-10 years old; with aluminum cap]

"Built my own sliding box in the bed of the truck" [GC; drives Dodge pickup; 8 cylinder; 4 WD; gasoline engine; 6-10 years old]

"Side doors allow easier entry and 8 foot carpenters boxes for full use of bed. Space on top for materials…Heavy duty tow capacity means I tow what I want." [GC; drives Chevy pickup crew cab dually; 8 cylinder; turbo-diesel; 2 WD; 10+ years old; with rack and fiberglass cap]

"Side windows add flexibility to the shell. It would not do well in cities where theft is a huge issue." [GC; drives Toyota pickup; 8 cylinder; AWD; 6-10 years old; with fiberglass cap; "hauls trailer nicely"]

"Don't haul material!!" [Finish carpenter; drives Ford pickup; 6 cylinder 2 WD; gasoline engine; 0-3 years old; with fiberglass cap]